WordPress Plugins play a vital role in the world of website management with nearly 25 Million websites all using wordpress theres bound to come a time when you just want to do more with your website.
Plugins have been a core feature of WordPress since its inception way back in 2003 and throughout the 17 years its been around there have been over 50,000 plugins created to make managing your website that little bit easier.
So with that much choice on the market, how do you know which plugins are the best ones for you?
There are several factors to consider when activating a plugin.
How old is the plugin?
as there are over 50,000 plugins there’s bound to be some that are just outdated. This means they may not actually work anymore or worse still, they could contain security vulnerabilities that could lead to an attack on your website! So let’s try to avoid that …
How Often is it updated?
Just like I said before, security holes crop up from time to time and its important to take note of how frequently the plugins you install are updated. A good sign is on the Plugin installation page, it if was updated within the last 30 days. It’s probably a winner.
Can I just hard code the functionality?
This may not apply to everyone, but when I have a look at a plugin, I look at what it does and decide if it would be worth me adding the functionality myself. There are a few issues with this approach. Security is one of them. If a bug is found in the functionality of a script that you pull from online, it’s actually a lot worse to have it hard coded that it is to have a plugin. At least if a plugin becomes vulnerable to attacks, we as website owners can simply hit ‘Deactivate’ and the problem is gone. However, that being said, if you are tech savvy and want to hard code various parts of your website then feel free, just remember to check up on your code from time to time to ensure the security of your website remains intact.
Okay, so with all of that out of the way, Here are my top 5 plugins that every website should have.
Google Site Kit is one of those ‘set it and forget it’ kind of plugins, it adds some useful functionality to your websites such as traffic analytics and page speed data, but beyond that, it will largely be one of those plugins that quietly runs in the background. I wrote an article on Google Site Kit which I recommend you read before installing.
2. Jetpack By WordPress
Jetpack is another one of those plugins that can go unnoticed but there are some really useful features that you can add to your site and its absolutely free.
Jetpack is primarily a security plugin built by the WordPress Development Team (Automaticc) but it does so much more than protect your website from brute force attacks and Malware scanning.
With the paid versions of the plugin you can activate SEO Tools, monetisation options and automatic backups of your website.
But with some of the plugins below this may end up seeming a bit redundant.
3. WordPress SEO Plugin By RankMath
There are multiple plugins that handle the on site SEO of your website, but the reason I have chosen RankMath as my prefered plugin of choice is the fact that its SUPER user friendly. Even a complete novice, with no SEO knowledge can have their posts ranking in the Google search results as a result of this plugin. The installation walks you through and helps you to understand what is happening behind the scenes.
My favorite feature of the plugin is an SEO analysis tool that scans your entire website and tells you in plain English, what you need to do to increase the SEO of your site.
4. WP Optimize
This is another super simple plugin so anyone can get started with this plugin right away.
My final plugin is Hustle, this is the plugin for anyone that wants to build an audience and reach more people. With its advanced Social Sharing features and ridiculously easy to use opt-in management, Hustle makes your site viral proof.
If you want to begin email marketing then the opt-in section will integrate with many of the popular email marketing services such as Aweber or Mailchimp. You can choose how and when your opt-in boxes display and stop them from appearing on certain pages or posts.
That was my top 5 plugins that every WordPress site needs, but there are over 50,000 others that I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface with.
So let me know in the comments down below, do you use any of these plugins and if not, what alternative plugins can you recommend to other readers?