The WordPress Plugins library is huge. ‘19,000 plugins’ huge, to be precise!
I’ve always been of the opinion that WordPress is, hands down, the best way for anyone to start a blog or a full-blown website. One of the major reasons for that is the fact that the platform is backed by a great development community.
Essential WordPress Plugins
I’ve been working with WordPress websites and blogs for a while now, and used countless plugins and tools along the way. Along the way and over the years, I’ve stumbled upon a few plugins that I personally feel are essential, a must-have for any blog – new or old.
I’ve been using these plugins with all the blogs that I’ve been maintaining (personal and for clients). I’ve now compiled a list, so let’s get to it:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: Probably the plugin that you absolutely must get from this list. This helps you improve your writing and assists you in writing better content by making you choose a focus keyword and having you use that keyword throughout the article. In addition, it also optimizes your WordPress site for search engines (SEO) by setting up title tags, meta and link elements, breadcrumbs and page analysis.
- All-in-one SEO: Never hurts to have more than one SEO plugins, does it. This is another excellent and a rather popular SEO plugin for WP that optimizes your blog for search engines, or does SEO for you. It achieves this feat through multiple ways: optimizes links and titles for search engines and adds META tags automatically. It comes with Google Analytics support. It can be tweaked extensively, but beginners can use it without having to worry about the advanced options.
- Backup Buddy: Prevent a potential doomsday scenario from ever happening and get Backup Buddy plugin right now. I think it’s safe to say that it would be nothing short of a disaster if one morning you were to wake up only to see all your hard word gone forever. Hence, the importance of backing up your data cannot be overstated. (Alternatively, you could even use this to easily backup your blog to Dropbox).
- Editorial Calendar: Developing a blogging schedule with this plugin, and then stick to it. Makes blogging much more easy, manageable and convenient.
- WP Broken Link Checker: Pretty self-explanatory. A highly configurable blog that checks your website completely – from top to bottom – from posts, pages and comments – for broken links and notifies you either through the dashboard, or via email.
- Contact Form 7: A popular and a rather excellent plugin for creating contact forms. Allows you to create and manage multiple forms, all of which are highly customizable. Extremely simple to use, and all forms come with CAPTCHA support, as well as Ajax-powered submitting and spam filtering. Very handy tool to have for your blog.
- Akismet: If I were to describe Akismet in one word, it would be ‘lifesaver’! Akismet comes by default with all WordPress blogs, but needs to be activated with an API key. It is an anti-comment spamming plugin and checks comments against its own database to determine whether they’re spam or not. It is very accurate and even let’s you see (and approve) the spam comments.
- Social Sharing Toolkit: Add buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social networks on your blog and blog posts with this, to allow easy sharing and connecting on social media. You get the Facebook ‘like’ button, +1 for G+, Tweet button for Twitter, and button for Reddit, StumbleUpon and many more.
- Jetpack: One of those rare but excellent ‘all-in-one’ plugins for WordPress. Jetpack provides you with Quantcast-powered stats about your blog, provides email subscription options, URL-shortener, a Twitter plugin, and perhaps most importantly (for me anyway), lets you embed videos from all popular video hosting websites with the utmost ease.
- WPTouch: If you’ve been thinking of developing a mobile-friendly version of your blog, WPTouch is probably all that you’d ever need. It is a beautiful looking cellphone theme for your blog, compatible with almost all major cellular operating systems including iPhone, Android phones and BlackBerry. It requires no code modification or anything. Simply apply the theme and you’ll have a fully functional cellphone-compatible version of your blog.
- Post Ender: Easily add text to the end of your posts (all or selected posts only) with this, like an optin asking people to subscribe.
Like I said before, there’s a lot to choose from when it comes with WordPress plugins. Having plenty of options at your disposal can only be a good thing.
What plugins you actually are using or eventually end up using actually depends on the kind of blog or website you run and the like. But these 11 plugins should be enough to get you started!
Do let us know which set of plugins makes up your ‘must-have arsenal of plugins’ by leaving a comment in the comments section.