Before I share my favorite plugins, I should probably explain what a plugin actually is.
A plugin is a software component that adds a specific feature to a WordPress website. Plugins are great because they can extend functionality or add new features to your website.
WordPress plugins integrate seamlessly with WordPress and they make it simple to add features to your website without having to write or edit any code.
If there’s something you want your website to do, and the feature is not available in default WordPress, chances are there’s a plugin that can make it happen!
Plugins can be small and offer just one feature (like adding an image to a footer) or they can be quite large and actually act as their own platform (like an e-commerce or membership plugin).
Plugins are essential for building great WordPress websites and that’s why I wanted to share my favorite plugins with you.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins available. Some are free and some are premium plugins that you need to pay for. Many plugins have a free and a paid, or pro, version whereby the paid version will offer more features and, usually, support as well.
As a site administrator, you can install and de-install plugins from your WordPress website.
It’s important to choose your plugins carefully. There are many plugins that offer the same functionality and some plugins are higher quality than others.
So, when choosing a plugin, here are some things you should look for:
How long has it been since it was updated?
Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress?
What type of rating does it have?
How many installations does it have?
Some important things to keep in mind about plugins:
1. Don’t overdo it.
While plugins are wonderful, the more you have the greater the risk of problems occurring within your site. Plugin problems can be random, can be related to WordPress upgrades and they can also conflict with other plugins and even themes.
2. Make sure you keep your plugins updated.
Developers update their plugins to add new functionality, to fix bugs and security issues, and to keep up with WordPress updates. If you don’t update your plugins, you are exposing yourself to possible security breaches and lots of frustration.
3. If you’re not using a plugin, delete it.
Because you can deactivate a plugin, many people leave them and don’t bother deleting them. However, even disabled plugins can cause a security risk. So, the best practice is to delete ones you’re not using and you can always reinstall them at a later time.
4. Avoid overlapping plugins.
You only need one plugin for each function. There is no need to have three security plugins and two anti-spam plugins. Do your research and choose the one that will work best for your needs. Also, plugins that provide the same function can conflict with each other and cause you problems.
5. Use trusted plugins from reputable sources.
Only install plugins that come from either the WordPress Plugin Repository or from a trusted premium plugin developer.
There are certain plugins that every WordPress website should have. At a bare minimum, you should have a plugin for backups, security, caching and search engine optimization.
Now, let’s get to it. Here is a list of my favorite plugins:
In my opinion, Elementor is the best drag and drop page builder for WordPress. It allows you to easily customize your website design and create custom page layouts without writing any code. It works seamlessly with most WordPress themes and is easy to use. It has a free version which is great and it also has a pro version that you pay for that has even more functionality. I use the pro version on my website and all the websites I design.
The security of your website is incredibly important and Wordfence is a fantastic way to protect your WordPress website. It includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner. It’s an incredibly comprehensive security plugin option.
While WordPress is SEO friendly out of the box, there is a lot more you can do to increase your website traffic using SEO best practices. Yoast SEO is a fantastic SEO plugin and it will help you add meta tags, generate sitemaps, connect your site to Google Search Console, optimize if for social media and more. Yoast also has an incredibly informative tutorial for beginners with step by step instructions.
Every website should have a contact form because it makes it easy for your visitors to get in touch with you. WP Forms is an incredibly user-friendly form plugin that utilizes a drag and drop builder so you can easily create contact forms. It has a free version and a premium version which will allow you to create email subscription forms, online order forms, payment forms, surveys and polls.
WP Mail SMTP
By default, WordPress uses the PHP mail function to send emails. Because this isn’t a great way to send emails, it often means you may not receive important emails. The WP Mail SMTP plugin solves this problem by sending WordPress emails using a proper SMTP mail server.
Google Analytics by Monster Insights
MonsterInsights is a great Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your website with Google Analytics so you can see exactly how people find and use your website. What’s great about it is it shows you the important stats right inside your WordPress dashboard!
GDPR Cookie Consent
This is an excellent plugin to help you with your GDPR compliance. It’s highly customizable and has a lot of different features.
WP Auto Terms
All in One WP Migration
This plugin will export your Word press website including the database, media files, plugins and themes with no technical knowledge needed. This plugin is also a convenient solution for backing up your WordPress website.
This is a plugin developed by Siteground to improve the performance of WordPress websites hosted on their platform by multiple optimization techniques. This plugin will take care of caching, image optimization and front-end optimization so you don’t have to install separate plugins for each of those. This plugin is only available for websites that use Siteground hosting. To find out more about why I recommend Siteground for hosting READ HERE. To sign up for Siteground hosting CLICK HERE.
This is a fantastic coming soon and maintenance mode plugin. It includes features like integration with your email marketing platform, countdown timer, social media integration and lots of templates to choose from.
I hope you find this list of my favorite plugins helpful. If you think someone else could benefit from it, please use the icons below to share it.