You can create many different kinds of websites with WordPress which is why it has become so popular. This is possibly because of the massive range of plugins that are available that provide additional functionality. However, there are a couple of WordPress plugins you must have on your website to make it faster, more secure and SEO-ready.
WordPress plugins you must have on your website
WordPress out the box is already pretty good at being search engine friendly making it a great platform to put your content on. What Yoast SEO is trying to achieve is to improve a few of the technical SEO requirements such as sitemaps and what content search engine crawlers can and cannot crawl.
However, one of its best features is improving the content that is produced on your website. It has a look at keyword density, content length, sentence complexity and readability to make sure that your content can be consumed by humans (something that Google’s crawlers love). I’d highly recommend installing this on every WordPress website that you have.
Having a website that is fast is not only great for SEO, but the general experience is just so much better for the user (a key metric in search engine ranking anyway). To paint a picture, Amazon’s data shows that for every second that the site takes to load, they lose a couple of billion dollars (yes, that is no typo).
Whilst the above example is purely about scale, the fundamental issue of speed can be applied to any site of any size. This is why site speed is so important and WP Rocket is a great tool to help your website perform a bit better.
I would like to note, however, that installing this plugin won’t solve all your speed issues. You will still need make sure that your hosting infrastructure is good quality and allows your website to perform.
This plugin has become a standard for all of our WordPress websites. The concept of it is quite simple, but under the hood it is a robust plugin that should be on every WordPress website. This plugin simply allows you to add redirections from one URL to another, which is great for making sure people don’t get 404 errors and search engines know where to find your new links.
A great feature it has is that it monitors changes to post/page URLs so that it can create a redirection automatically for you. It also has a 404 error log to make sure you don’t have any URLs that should be redirected.
SPAM seems to follow you everywhere, whether it is via SMS, email or comments. There are people trying to get you to buy their product or get a backlink to their website (most common form of SPAM on WordPress).
Akismet uses the combined power of millions of WordPress blogs to fight SPAM. If a comment somehow gets passed the Akismet SPAM check, the user can mark it as SPAM and this then informs Akismet who can now use that data to update its algorithm and improve its SPAM detection.
Pretty much every website needs a form. This is easy with WordPress and there are a couple of form plugins that are free and generally work well. However, we’ve been using Gravity Forms for almost six years now and we absolutely love it.
It has all the features you need like a form builder, email notifications and confirmation messages (all of which are highly customisable). On top of that, it also has integration add-ons with payment gateways and other services so the possibilities are almost endless.
Much like SPAM, I often wonder who goes around and hacks sites. It’s frustrating! More importantly, it can damage the reputation of the hacked site. The truth is, there is a lot to gain by a hacker. They can either promote a cause that they believe in or, more commonly, they can flood your site with links to other sites that have been hacked creating a backlink network – the objective being to get a site more PageRank on Google.
Wordfence has quickly become a popular plugin that protects WordPress websites from being hacked in a number of ways. The free plugin does a great job of it as well. There is a premium upgrade, which gives you access to a few more features, but this is without a doubt a must-have plugin for every WordPress website.
In conclusion, there are a number of additional WordPress plugins you must have that could probably get onto this list. For example, WooCommerce is the best ecommerce plugin for WordPress. As a start, though, these plugins should be on every single WordPress site you setup to make your life easier and to make your site faster and safer.
Are there any other WordPress plugins you must have that are not on this list? Let us know in the comments below.