Basic WordPress Plugins for WordPress blogs
Basic WordPress Plugins for WordPress blogs
Before we delve into what are the basic WordPress plugins for WordPress blogs, let us understand what exactly a plugin is?
Plugins are tools used to extend or expand the functionality of a website. They are basically codes written to perform a particular function which does not already exist in the Website Theme.
While plugins are important they also reduce site load speed which could hamper your site’s ranking in search engines. So it is very important to have few plugins as possible.
There has been a lot of debate about how many plugins should one have on their website or blog however there are no definite answers to this. It depends on the type of plugin you are using and whether it is absolutely necessary for your blog or website.
The below list is not an exhaustive one as there are more than 30,000 plugins available in WordPress. However the below list will help you understand which are the important plugins and the reason behind it. Without a useful guide like this it is really overwhelming to understand the best plugins to choose from for a new site.
Plugins are either free or paid. Since you are beginning a new site I would suggest to go as light as possible on your wallet. It is practical to use the free version rather than go for a paid one.
The below mentioned list of plugins are all free versions but are not less important!
Some of the basic and most important plugins are listed below for a New WordPress Site:
1. Yoast SEO plugin:
My previous favourite and for most bloggers was the All In One SEO. However the new Yoast SEO plugin is a really great one to switch to and here is why:
In addition to the benefits of the All in One SEO plugin it has indicators which tell user whether the post is geared up for SEO.
It provides step by step instruction on each facet of SEO in real time as you are typing, with instructions that guide you. This plugin analyses your titles, descriptions, keywords, etc.
Once you decide to submit posts on Google Webmaster you will need to create a sitemap for the bots to regularly search and index your posts or pages. This plugin also offers an additional feature of XML sitemaps which reduces the need to add another plugin called the Google XML sitemap which is important for SEO.
Needless to say why this plugin features first in this list. SEO is very important to drive organic traffic and this plugin sure makes your job easy. Rather than trying to remember all the important points for making an article SEO friendly, the Yoast plugin provides a checklist to make it SUPER EASY for you to follow.
2. WP Spamshield:
Websites are bombarded with spam all the time and it becomes very important to protect your site from these. Spam can hurt your rankings. These at times sound like good comments which say a lot of generic good things but are rarely relevant. This plugin is free and does a good job to stop most spam. This why it is in the second spot in this list.
3. WordFence Security:
WordFence is a free security plugin for WordPress that provides enterprise level security. It can scan your entire file system comparing files to the core WordPress repository including themes and plugins. This is excellent for detecting altered files which is most often and indication of a hack or security breach.
It not only detects existing breaches, but it also works proactively to harden your WordPress from attacks. Needless to say, why it is among the top 3 plugins required for your site.
4. W3 Total cache:
Since one of Google’s criteria’s for ranking websites is based on site speed it is very important to have this plugin. It is one of the best plugins available out there to increase your site’s load speed which makes it one of the must have’s. Check how to install W3 Total Cache.
5. EWWW image optimizer:
This plugin automatically and losslessly optimises your images as you upload them to your site. It also optimises images that have been previously uploaded. It converts images to the file format that produces the smallest image size.
6. Updraft Plus:
One of the basic things that you need to start doing from the day you start your blog or site is to back it up.
You could lose your site for many reasons like a) Changing a theme, b) Adding new plugins, c) Updating the version of WordPress, d) Installing any third party plugin or theme, e) Manipulating the code or style.css file of your website directly, f) Hacking or Malware, etc.
All your hard work could be down the drain unless you have backed up your website. This plugin gives you the peace of mind that your hard work is safe!
This plugin has more than half a million downloads and has a very popular user rating of 4.9 out of 5. You do not want to miss this plugin; it protects your time and effort invested in your site.
This is one of the most important plugins you will need as you progress. This plugin redirects 404 error pages using 301 redirect to a page of your choice.
Google does not like a 404 error on page or post and so do users. Google will impact your site rank if 404 error is found on your site. This plugin keeps a track of all 404 errors and also helps in redirecting it to different post or page.
Broken links that cause 404 error can happen due to various reasons like changing the permalink or url structure, corrupt .htaccess file or if you have deleted a page or post.
So what is the ideal number of plugins that one can have?
While there is no fixed number it would be best to have not more than 7 plugins. In fact Wealthy Affiliate (click link to know more about Wealth Affiliate – the Worlds Number 1 Online Business Training Academy) recommends no more than 5 plugins, especially if you are starting out.
This may not be possible once your site progresses. Hence most successful website builders have on an average of 8 to 10 plugins. But I guess it also depends whether a particular plugin meets the need of your website and is absolutely necessary.
Some Additional Plugins may be required as you progress.
1. Pretty Link Lite: Used to shorten URL’s to look better. It takes the raw affiliate link to a product you are promoting and will create a shorter, cleaner and readable affiliate link.
Another benefit of this plugin is that it allows you to centralize the management of all the affiliate links on your website. If for some reason one particular affiliate link were to change and you have many different location for this link on your site, you could update the link in a single place within your Pretty Link’s link management area.
2. Grammarly: This plugin is very useful for non native English speaking bloggers. Google will rank you negatively for grammatical errors and it becomes very important to get the grammar right. This plugin will highlight errors real time as you are typing.
3. Sumome: Social share is important to increase your reach when your audience decides your content is good and wants to share it with friends of different social media platforms. This plugin allows you to have social share buttons on your website with various customisations.
My previous favourite was the Addtoany plugin which is very popular and also faster compared to Sumome. However Sumome helps me do away with two other plugins while doing the same job. Sumome along with social share buttons also provides and Email Opt-in Form and a Contact Form as well, making it possible to do away with two plugins for these purposes.
I hope you found this article on, Basic WordPress Plugins for WordPress blogs, useful.
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