WordPress is the leading content management system today and is being used by millions of websites and blogs worldwide. As you know that every WordPress user has access to a vast range of plugins, free and paid, ready to install and use on their websites. The features that these plugins provide are so good that any WordPress user who sees them gets tempted to install as many plugins as he wants. But this is NOT a good thing to do!
Which WordPress Plugins should I use?
As I told you earlier that it is not a good thing to install many plugins on any WordPress install until and unless the functionality that these plugins provide is required by your website for sure. One simple reason is that these plugins make your website database heavy, which leads to a slower website. Themes and images are the only things that affect page loading speed.
Must-Have Plugins List
Akismet Anti-Spam – Spam is a major problem online. Any person who is active online generally gets approx 3-4 spam emails on a daily basis. Running a website or a blog also has to deal with this issue. Akismet is a leading plugin by the makers of WordPress itself and helps you fight with spam in a very effective way. Install this free plugin for sure.
Classic Editor – The new versions of WordPress comes with a more advanced text editor called Gutenberg. It is a very powerful editor but many people who have been running the old editor of WordPress are so used to it that they don’t want to move to something new. If you are also in the same boat then you need this plugin for sure. You just have to install it and that’s about it. No settings etc to be made.
Media File Renamer (Auto Rename) – When you upload images to WordPress without renaming the file beforehand then it can lead to all sorts of awkward and no sense names. For SEO purposes also it’s a good thing to name your files properly. This is where this plugin comes in handy. You just have to install it and do some adjustments in the settings according to your needs and the plugin takes care of everything else.
Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions – With time WordPress blog starts to have many revisions of posts saved in its database. Not only that you might also have comments, transients, trash posts and so on in your database, so this is where this plugin helps you to get rid of them all and clean your database and decreases the size of it too. It is actually very useful and much recommended.
Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer – When you upload any image on WordPress then it is generally uploaded at the highest quality and size. But this has an adverse effect on the site loading time. So you should use some plugin like Smush or EWWW to optimize your images. They decrease the file size without affecting the image clarity at all. Smush also helps you in adjusting the image size too, like you can change its settings to have the biggest image size to be 1920×1920 pixels. These plugins help you save a lot of disk space.
Really Simple SSL – The primary reason why SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can access it. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server. So it is your duty to enhance your website with SSL.
You can purchase a certificate for more advanced protection if you have a website focusing mainly on money transactions like online shops etc. If you run a blog or something like that then you can use free SSL provided by your hosting provider and then use this plugin to properly activate the SSL for WordPress.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore – We all start our websites with a lot of enthusiasm. We all spend money and time to make our websites, even more, better with new content every now and then. We do so much of other work too like customizing the theme, installing and updating the plugins, sharing posts on Facebook and Twitter, and more. But what we all forget to do is to take a backup of our websites.
Like any other website, WordPress powered website can also be messed up. It can be due to something that you might have done or maybe due to some hacking attempts or anything in general. So to protect your hard work you should take local backups of your websites at regular intervals. Good and reliable web hosting providers like Bluehost do provide backup services but still, I recommend you to take local backups just to be extra safe.
Just these? Why so?
What only 7 plugins to use? Yes, you read that right. There is absolutely no need for installing 10-20-50 or more plugins on your WordPress site. If there is an absolute need for a plugin, say, for example, TablePress for creating tables in your posts, then only you should install it.
Why should I not install many WordPress Plugins?
As discussed earlier when we see that there are so many ways (plugins) to extend the functionality of WordPress then we literally get carried away and install them all. I have personally seen one client of mine who had as many as 127 plugins on his website and out of them, he was using 50 plugins. That is HUGE! Nobody should need so many plugins on their websites.
Installing too many plugins on any website only makes it even heavier and this adversely affects the loading time of the pages. You simply don’t want to do it since you can’t afford to lose website traffic. Any website that is slow always scare away viewers. So be careful.
Before installing any plugin just give it a thought once more. Ask yourself, “can my website work without this particular plugin?” and if yes is your answer then bravo you took the correct decision. And if no, then friend you must install that plugin as it is so important for the functioning of your website.
Plugins that are not available on the WordPress repository or are not from reliable sources should also not be used. The reason behind this is that it opens an easy door for hackers.
Also to be remembered at all times that some websites give away paid plugins for free. I am talking about cracked or nulled plugins or themes etc websites. You must not download these files from such websites as once again they can be infected with viruses and may affect your website very badly. Why take such a big risk just to save a few dollars. Try to find a free plugin from a reliable source if you are not in a position to spend money at the moment. Piracy is not encouraged and is also full of risks of all sorts.
Yoast SEO – To be very frank SEO plugins don’t matter much now as claimed by some people. Recent changes in Google’s algorithm shows that they don’t work wonders as earlier. Yes, they help you in making your blog posts, etc kind of SEO optimized, but the reality is that they won’t help you get much higher rankings on the search engines as you are made to believe. But still, if you want to make everything look beautiful and organized then you can go for Yoast.
WP-Optimize – It is one of the most used optimization plugins for WordPress. It has a free version and a paid version too with added advanced features. As the name suggests it helps you to optimize your website and get rid of all sorts of junk that might reside in the WordPress database.
All 404 Redirect to Homepage – If you have removed a few posts or pages from your website which were already listed by the search engines then your website can be penalized by them, especially Google. To get rid of this issue All 404 redirect to homepage plugin comes to your rescue. Adjust its settings to point all 404 page not found errors and redirect the user automatically to the homepage of your website or any other page you decide as desired by you. This also helps in SEO (sort of).
Republish Old Posts – Most of the websites have evergreen content. Let’s say that your website is based on Health and Fitness. And there are posts on Muscle Building, Natural Supplements, Household tips to get rid of Acne and so on. All these posts are valid today and will be valid for 5 years in the future too. Republishing old content to make it reappear on the homepage is a good thing as it promotes old posts on your website to the users who haven’t seen them yet.
Contact Form 7 – Adding a custom contact form on a WordPress powered website is actually very easy. One of the most popular plugin to achieve this functionality is Contact Form 7. Just install it and configure the form settings, add additional fields if need, save it and copy the shortcode and add it wherever you want on your blog or website.
Ultimate Social Media Icons – We all know how important it is to share your content on various social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, all are important. For this, I recommend this particular plugin as it has a vast range of features. Try it out.
If you think that there is some very special plugin that should be featured here then do comment below.