WordPress Plugins are essential and are used to add more functionality to a WordPress site. It has been said that if there’s something that you want your site to do that it currently does not do, then there is probably a plugin that will help you do it.
This article is about what I believe to be the most important plugins with a WordPress site, but not so much on specific plugins, but on the type of plugin used.
Most Important Areas of Your WordPress Blog
I believe the most important areas of a WordPress blog are:
- Comment Spam
If you have a WordPress blog and you allow visitors to comment on your posts, then you are opening yourself up to spam. This is just a fact of life.
There are hundreds of plugins out there to help you with spam, but the most basic and reliable one is Akismet. It comes with every install of WordPress and just so, as it really does its job. There may be better paid ones out there, with more things that they can do, but you won’t find a better free one, then Akismet.
With Akismet, its just a matter of setting up a free account with Akismet.com, getting an API key, entering it into your plugin, and then you are protected against spam.
Backups For Your Blog
It is very important that you backup your WordPress site. Anything can happen. You can make a mistake on your site that can break it, literally. It is essential that you have a offsite backup of your site that you can easily install to get you backup and running.
One of the best backup plugins, and easiest to use, I believe, is UpdraftPlus.
Once you install and activate the plugin, you can go into UpdraftPlus and set up the files that you want backed up on a regular schedule. You can set the schedule to backup your WordPress database every day and your can set your WordPress files to be backed up on a weekly basis.
This is a good practice to follow as usually most of the problems you will run into with WordPress, can be corrected by just restoring your database.
Not only will UpdraftPlus backup your files and database, it will also save them to an off-site location, like DropBox, Google Drive, etc. This will make your files easily accessible if you need them to restore your site.
I am a big fan of using DropBox, as it is very easy to setup a Dropbox account, and you will get 2 gigabytes of space, which is more than enough space to keep your WordPress backup files in tact.
SEO For Your Blog
SEO, or search engine optimization, is very important for your WordPress blog if you want your blog posts to get found and read.
When people search the internet, looking for ways to find a solution to their problems, or wanting to know how to do something, what they find in their search results, is blog posts or pages.
The SEO plugin that I recommend to help you with this, is Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO is the most widely used plugin to help you with SEO. It will help you write better content that is optimized for search engines, enabling people to find your blog posts or pages. It has a lot of features and settings, but it is very easy to follow the step by step instructions on setting it up properly.
Page Loading Speed For Your Blog
How fast your website loads is very important to SEO and the whole user experience. It has been said that if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, that the visitor will give up on your site and move on to the next one. Also, Google will bypass a slow loading site for a faster one.
There are numerous plugins out there to help you speed up your site. W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache and WP Fastest Cache, to name a few. I always seem to come back to WP Super Cache. I have found that this plugin is the easiest to install and setup. And for most of the sites I have worked with, it seems to do more to increase the website speed than any other plugin.
Communication With Your Readers
The most important reason you have a blog is to put your content out there for people to read. You want those readers to be able to contact you with their questions or problems. The easiest way to do this, is by setting up a contact form on your site for them to fill out with their information that they are requesting.
Again, there are a lot of Contact Form plugins out there, but one that I really like and recommend is WP Forms. This plugin uses a drag and drop interface to build the forms, making it very easy to setup the contact form with the fields you need to help your visitor submit the information needed.
Which Plugins Do You Use?
So there you have it. 5 essential features that you need on your WordPress Blog and my recommended plugins to add those features. I want to add that all of these plugins I mentioned are free, although some have paid versions as well.
Which areas do you think are most important, and what plugins do you use to accomplish this?
I would love to hear about this in the comments below.