As someone who’s been involved with WordPress for over eight years, I know a thing or two about WordPress plugins. Here is my hand-picked list of must-have WordPress plugins.
In 2016, WordPress was the top content management system (CMS); just like 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 (source) with 58.6% of the CMS market share that is 27.4% of all the websites on the Internet! Joomla is the runner up with just over 7% market share (source).
With powering more than a quarter of the websites on the net, I think it’s safe to say that WordPress is very popular. One of the main reasons behind the success and popularity of WordPress is the vast number of plugins available for its webmasters to optimise and customise their websites with.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins. Some are useful to all and some solve very specific problems. There’s at least one plugin for pretty much anything you want to do with your WordPress website.
Here, in this post, we’re introducing some of the best, most valuable and most useful WordPress plugins that any WP admin would need. So, let’s start with the first plugin:
#1. Best SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.
As being ranked higher on search results is the top priority for virtually any website, an SEO plugin is an essential part of every WordPress-powered site/blog. In the world of SEO plugins, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to compete with the one and only Yoast SEO.
Yoast SEO is the best WordPress plugin for SEO as it makes every detail of the SEO process very easy with real-time feedback.
Joost de Valk, the founder of Yoast SEO, and the Yoast team have gone a long way in making the complicated as easy as possible with step-by-step instructions. They also provide an analysis of your content, keyword, descriptions, slugs, and a lot more.
Yoast SEO is the choice of the professionals as it’s the best and the easiest SEO plugin whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
#2. Best Caching Plugin – W3 Total Cache
Search Engine (SEO) & Performance Optimization (WPO) via caching. Integrated caching: CDN, Minify, Page, Object, Fragment, Database support.
The loading speed of your website is a critical factor from both SEO and user experience perspectives. If it takes too long, you won’t get listed by search engines and even if you do, your visitors will leave before they even see your content.
W3 Total Cache helps your website by providing cached HTML pages to serve to your visitors, instead of running every piece of code that create each page every time it’s being loaded. W3 Total Cache increases the speed of your website just by installing the plugin.
W3 Total Cache is the best of all WordPress plugins providing caching features and is the go-to caching plugin for many top websites around the web.
#3. Best Social Sharing Plugin – Social Warfare
The most beautiful, lightning fast social sharing buttons built to boost shares and drive more traffic without slowing down your site.
Social Warfare is the undisputed world champion of all social sharing plugins. Not just because of its beautiful and sleek design, but because it’s fast and has everything you were looking for but didn’t find in other plugins.
Social Warfare gives you the ability to set custom titles, descriptions, and images for when people share your articles on social media. It offers a popular posts widget and click-to-tweet among many other features.
#4. Best Forms Plugins – Ninjas Forms
Drag and drop fields in an intuitive UI to create create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, send emails and more!
Ninja Forms provide an easy drag and drop solution for your form building and managing needs – even in its free version. But the amazing thing about Ninja Forms is that it’s not just how their user interface (UI) makes everything easy, but how their forms are absolutely beautiful and highly functional.
Ninja Forms doesn’t just serve their novice users with smooth and gorgeous forms. It also caters to its more advanced users by being exceptionally developer-friendly. If you’re an advanced user, the increasing number of add-ons available creates countless opportunities with these forms.
#5. Best Security Plugin – Wordfence Security
Secure your website with the most comprehensive WordPress security plugin. Firewall, malware scan, blocking, live traffic, login security & more.
No one wants to take the risk of losing everything they’ve ever worked for, and you don’t want to lose your WordPress site to hackers. Then security is a must, and Wordfence provides enterprise level security for your WordPress website for free!
Wordfence is a free and open source WordPress security plugin that scans your entire website and compares your whole file system to the core WP repository – including plugins and themes – to find any possible alteration to the files, which most often than not means a breach or hack.
Wordfence doesn’t just find current possible breaches, but it also proactively works to keep your website secure.
#6. Best Analytics Dashboard Plugin – Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Displays Google Analytics stats in your WordPress Dashboard. Inserts the latest Google Analytics tracking code in your pages.
In the world of website admins, there’s no such thing as a website without Google Analytics on it. It just doesn’t exist. Whatever you and your website do, tracking users and behaviours is critical if you’re planning to succeed at all.
To keep an eye on your analytics data, you can either go through the huge amount of data every time you want a quick glance, or you can have a glance and learn the main things just in your WP dashboard.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP helps you achieve that by showing main stats of your website (sessions, users, page views, bounce rate, referrers, and more) for different periods (today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 30 days, and more).
#7: Best Backup Plugin – Updraft Plus
Backup and restoration made easy. Complete backups; manual or scheduled (backup to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email + others).
Another critical part of not just a WordPress, but any website, is backup capabilities. Updraft Plus is simply the best choice among WordPress plugins for backing up your site.
With Updraft Plus, you have the option for scheduled backups as well as manual backups. You can keep a complete backup off-site on your preferred platforms such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Rackspace. You can even have FTP and SFTP setups as well as email! How cool is that?!
With the increasing number of cyber attacks on websites around the world, having a backup of your website is a necessary part of a good sleep at night and Updraft Pus does that in the best way possible. Rated five-star more than two thousand times and having over a million active installs are the signs of how well Updraft Plus is doing.
I hope you find at least a couple of these plugins useful and if there are any plugins that you think deserve to be on this list, please let me know in the comments.
Meanwhile, if we find any WordPress plugins that we’ve missed on the list, we’ll make sure to add it as soon as possible. If you want to keep up to date with this list [and more excellent posts], just add your name and email address in the form below. We’ll make sure you get it straight in your inbox.