WordPress is a fantastic content management system and one of its major advantages is the fact that you can extend its functionality through the use of third-party plugins. But, with nearly 56,000 plugins now available, how do you what are the best plugins for WordPress? Well, in this post, we list our must have WordPress plugins.
What Are The Best Plugins For WordPress
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
The first and most important thing that any website must have is Google Analytics installed. Without any form of analytics running, it isn’t possible to know how your website is performing and there is no better analytics software than Google Analytics.
Although it is important to keep the number of plugins on your website to a minimum, this is one plugin that is worth having.
Yes, I know you can add the Google Analytics tracking code manually to the head section of the website, avoiding the need for another plugin. However, the Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights comes with a load of additional tracking for events, goals, AMP, etc. This saves you having to modify the tracking code manually yourself to give you all the extra conversion data.
If you want to find out more about event tracking, then take a read of this post: how to setup Google Analytics event tracking.
To find out more about the Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/.
A plugin that we would never dream of not installing on any WordPress site is Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin available for WordPress which comes with a load of features to help your site be found easier in the likes of Google.
Although WordPress is an SEO friendly system by default, there are still many areas of the system that are not SEO friendly at all. Yoast SEO was designed especially for WordPress and with a few setting tweaks within the plugin, you can ensure your site has the best chance of ranking highly in search results.
The plugin allows you to edit your search snippets and page content using a traffic light colour system, based on a focus keyword you set, to ensure it is optimised correctly.
It also allows you to avoid duplicate content issues by setting certain archives and taxonomies to noindex, adds basic schema markup to your pages, as well as help you get into Google’s Knowledge Graph by adding additional information about your business to the code of your website.
Our post on how to setup WordPress categories and tags correctly will also give you some hints and tips on how to use Yoast SEO to avoid duplicate content with taxonomies.
To find out more about the Yoast SEO plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/.
If you are using the premium version of Yoast SEO, there is no need to install this plugin. However, if you are using the free version of Yoast SEO, you will need an alternative way to add 301 redirects to your website and the Redirection plugin does just that.
When a page or post on your website is moved or has the URL changed, that page will no longer be available at the original URL. This will mean that if someone lands on that original URL, they will be presented with a 404 Not Found error page.
Even if you have made the effort to go through your website and update the menu and any internal links to eradicate any links to the original URL, there may still be links out there on other websites that you are not aware of.
For example, Google will take a while to crawl and update their index, so they may still show the original URL in their search results pages. Or, someone may of added a link to that original URL within the content of their own site.
You never want anyone to land on a 404 page, so you can use the Redirection plugin to redirect the user to an equivalent page by setting up a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect indicates to a search engine that the content of that page has moved to another location. You can also set up additional status codes like a 410 Content Deleted response.
To find out more about the Redirection plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/redirection/.
I absolutely love this plugin. If your website only needs a simple contact form, then there are other free plugins available. But, if you want something a bit more complex, Gravity Forms is the way to go.
In order to use Gravity Forms, you do need to buy a licence, but it is well worth the investment. The plugin allows you to create any form that you can imagine and you can even set things like conditional formatting to have certain fields show to certain people or when certain rules are met.
The plugin stores all submissions within the admin of your site and you can set up bespoke HTML branded emails to go both to yourself and the customer.
Another great benefit of using Gravity Form is the add-ons that are available. For example, if you use MailChimp for your email marketing, add the MailChimp add-on and the form will automatically send submission details over to your newsletter list.
To find out more about the Gravity Forms plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://www.gravityforms.com.
Disqus for WordPress
Disqus is an external commenting platform that helps publishers increase engagement of their content whilst also building loyal audiences. It is free to open an account and setup a profile for your website.
Once you are all set up in Disqus, people can ‘follow’ your company on Disqus like they would on other social platforms. When you have the Disqus for WordPress plugin installed, your followers on Disqus get notified about your posts and can easily comment and share that content within the Disqus community.
As well as helping to improve engagement rates, Disqus also helps fight spam as the comments go through the Disqus server rather than your own, and they give you a whole load of analytics and audience insights data to play with.
To find out more about the Disqus for WordPress plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://wordpress.org/plugins/disqus-comment-system/.
Really Simple SSL
By now, we all know the importance of having your website load its content over HTTPS – if you don’t, have a quick read of this post: what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.
However, setting up SSL on your server to ensure your content is all HTTPS compliant, isn’t always easy to do. That is unless if you have WordPress and running the Really Simple SSL plugin.
This plugin makes the whole process unbelievably easy. All you have to do is install an SSL certificate on your server, install and run the plugin and the work is complete. Our WordPress HTTPS redirect guide shows you the full steps involved using this plugin.
To find out more about the Really Simple SSL plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/really-simple-ssl/.
AMP for WordPress
The AMP Project is an open-source initiative aiming to make the web better for all. The project was set up by Google to enable the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms. You can find out more about the AMP Project by visiting: https://www.ampproject.org.
However, creating AMP versions of your web pages isn’t easy; your content has to meet certain standards and it involves having a separate AMP version of each of your pages available for Google to crawl.
This is where the AMP for WordPress plugin makes things a breeze. Simply install the plugin and it will automatically create a separate, scaled-down AMP version of each of your posts.
To find out more about the AMP for WordPress plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/amp/.
Instant Articles for WP
Facebook Instant Articles are basically Facebook’s version of AMP, where a scaled-down version of your posts are created and stored on Facebook’s server for super-fast load times when someone shares your content on Facebook.
You can find out more about Facebook Instant Articles by reading our post on what are Facebook Instant Articles?
However, when it comes to implementing Facebook Instant Articles on your website, you face the same issues as you do with AMP. But, not when you are using the Instant Articles for WP plugin.
The plugin simply takes your posts and creates a separate Instant Articles version of it, which is scaled down for instant load times. Then, when someone shares that post on Facebook, they will display the Instant Articles version within the news feed.
To find out more about the Instant Articles for WP plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/fb-instant-articles/.
In this day and age, website security is more important than ever, and although the WordPress system comes with a lot of security features by default, there are known loopholes. This is where the Wordfence Security plugin can help.
Wordfence provides the best protection available for WordPress websites. It is powered by a constantly updated Threat Defence Feed and a Firewall that stops you from getting hacked.
Wordfence Scan leverages the same proprietary feed, alerting you quickly in the event your site is compromised and our Live Traffic view gives you real-time visibility into traffic and hack attempts on your website.
To find out more about the features available, do take a look at their website: https://www.wordfence.com.
To find out more about the Wordfence Security plugin, and to download the latest version of this must have WordPress plugins, visit: https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/.
What Are Your Must Have WordPress Plugins?
The plugins mentioned above are the best must have WordPress plugins in my own personal opinion and are those that I use on both our website and our clients. But, when asking the question “what are the best plugins for WordPress” you may have your own list of favourites.
So, feel free to leave us a comment below with the plugins that you personally recommend, as I would love to give them a try and happily add them to this list.
Remember, if you are thinking of having a WordPress site built yourself, then take a look at our WordPress web design company page where you can have a professional WordPress website built and managed for as little as £60 per month.