While I’m sure that everybody has their own list of Essential WordPress Plugins, I thought that I’d share mine (and hopefully you’ll share a few of yours in the comments). Always remember that I’m a just a blogger, albeit one with seven years experience, not a WordPress expert, coder or designer. These are plugins that I find essential for security, design, SEO, and social media purposes.
Gosh, I’m not usually that modest. If I haven’t chased you away, here is my list of Essential WordPress Plugins.
My Top 13 Essential WordPress Plugins
I’ve said before that I’m a bit of a plugin junkie. I know that’s a bad thing, but I can’t help myself. If the only downside, though, is that my blog loads a millisecond slower, then I guess it’s something I’ll live with.
I once wrote a list of my six favorite non-essential plugins. If you’ve read it (or if you check it) you might note that some of my non-essentials have developed into essentials. That is because I wrote the post last year, and with more use of those plugins, now I can’t see how I could blog without them.
I should also point out that I use WP Site Care for my WordPress support, so they take care of certain aspects of security and backup, so that I don’t have to deal with it. They’re awesome, by the way. Anyway, a couple of my essential plugins are ones that they installed and use for my blog. I’m including them because everything seems to run just fine.
Essential WordPress Plugins for Security
Wordfence is like a security net for your website. It is a free plugin (with some paid upgrades available, but not really necessary). It scans for viruses, malware, and other suspicious links at regular intervals, then reports any issues. It catches any attacks from potential hackers, and will lock them out after a certain number of attempts. You can also block certain IPs and even entire countries if necessary. You can set your own scan times, and even use Whois to look up suspicious IP addresses. Want to learn more?
Backup Buddy is not free. But at only $80 a year (blogger price), it really is priceless. Seriously, how much is it worth to you to be able to restore your entire site if it crashes? That’s what Backup Buddy can do.
Essential WordPress Plugins for SEO
Yoast SEO makes Search Engine Optimization easy. Most WordPress bloggers have already discovered the necessity of this free plugin (with premium upgrades available), but if you haven’t, get it now. Yoast SEO will tell you what you need to do to have your blog post rank better in search engines, including adding alt tags to photos, setting a meta description, keyword usage, and much more.
Google Site Map by Best Web Soft. It took me a while to get my site mapped properly. I tried it the hard way, tried other plugins, but it was never right. While that certainly could have been user error, when I started using Google Site Map by Best Web Soft it all came together.
Essential WordPress Plugins for Marketing
Sumo has so many tools that it’s hard to know where to start. I currently use the Smart Bar (that bar at the top of my page where you can subscribe to my emails); the Image Sharer, which allows readers to share your photos to social media; the List Builder, that pop-up that encourages you to subscribe. Hopefully, that pop-up only happens every few weeks or so because Sumo also allows you to set it up that way. You can also link to Google Analytics and see real-time traffic on your blog. There are lots of other bells and whistles, some free, some paid, that can help you market your blog.
Essential WordPress Plugins for Genesis
These plugins are specific to the Genesis Framework, so if your theme is not Genesis-driven you can just skip this section.
Genesis Simple Hooks. Have you ever read directions to add code to your blog “before the header,” or “before the closing </head> tag? It can be a little scary to do these things, but Genesis Simple Hooks makes it so easy!
Genesis Design Palette Pro is for blogging do-it-yourselfers like me (and probably for blog designers too!). Genesis Design Palette Pro allows me to make changes in fonts, colors, modify my header or footer, navigation, sidebars, or content area without knowing how to write a single line of code!
Essential WordPress Plugins that keep me sane
This is an all-around category of plugins that make my life easier, save me time, and solve those little blogging problems that the non-experts among us always seem to have.
Anti Spam was one of my non-essentials in my last post, but now it has moved up. Most bloggers use Akismet, which is fine, but I got tired of hundreds of spam messages which, even though they were caught, I still had to check to make sure that nothing fell through the cracks. With Anti Spam I never see any spam, it seems to disappear into cyberspace. It rarely makes mistakes, so my spam folder stays empty.
CoSchedule. I finally took the plunge and signed up for CoSchedule. I told myself if I could consistently use the free WordPress calendar for a while, I deserved to get the best. CoSchedule goes way beyond being an editorial calendar, though. It is also designed to be your social media scheduling hub, and I intend to make the most of all its features.
Change Permalink Helper. Six months ago I decided to change my permalink structure so as not to include the date. My purpose was to make my evergreen content seem more timeless, but it also raised a problem. All those old links floating around needed to be redirected to my new permalinks. The Change Permalink Helper automatically changes all of my old permalinks and I don’t have to worry about it.
Essential WordPress Plugins for Reader Appreciation
Comment Reply Notification has not been updated for a couple years, but it works so well for me that it is still on my essential WordPress plugins list. Have you ever left a long, well-thought-out comment on someone’s blog, never to hear a response? Until you go back a week later and find out that the blogger responded, but you didn’t receive notifiaction about it? Comment Reply Notification puts an end to that. When you reply to someone’s comment, it sends an email. Simple as that.
CommuntLuv lets you share a little love with your commenters by giving them the option of sharing their last blog post. And it’s always nice to share the Comment Luv.
Broken Link Checker has moved up to the essential list with this post. Broken Link Checker monitors your posts, comments, pages, blogroll, and other custom fields for broken links, images, and redirects, and notifies you when it finds them. This is useful for older posts, when old websites have disappeared, or when pages that you may have linked to have changed. It’s much easier than going back through hundreds of old posts to check for bad links. You can fix the problem directly within Broken Link Checker too, so you don’t have to edit a post or delete a comment.
What are your favorite essential WordPress plugins? I always have room for a few more!
This post contains a few affiliate links. While most of these plugins are free, some do have a cost associated, and if you purchase using one of my links I will make a few dollars. Thank you.
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