A vital element to what makes WordPress such a useful open-source web building environment are plugins. To those who are newer to WordPress, plugins are PHP software that can be added to a WordPress website which adds additional features and functionality.
Over the past six years of building websites for clients, I’ve been exposed to a large variety of free and premium plugins that have helped create better website experiences. However, not all plugins are created equally which caused many issues that I personally had to trial and error my way through. With all trades you eventually find yourself to have accumulated a toolkit of tested tools you can rely on to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
In this post, I want to share 10 plugins I normally install to any new website project. My hope is to get people who are newer to building websites on WordPress useful tools that I have personally used and can ensure work and function well together.
Classic Editor is an official plugin maintained by the WordPress team that restores the previous (“classic”) WordPress editor and the “Edit Post” screen.
As someone who has been using WordPress for so long this change made more problems than it fixed. The main reason I added this first was because I believe the Classic Editor makes finding and sorting metadata for each page/post much easier. However, if you’re new to WordPress I do recommend trying both out and seeing which you find better for you.
Elementor Website Builder is one of the most powerful drag-and-drop builders available on WordPress. Elementor provides high-end page designs and advanced capabilities not seen with other builders. With Elementor, you’re editing the site live, and simultaneously see exactly how it looks like. Elementor features live design & inline editing, so the whole process of writing and designing is done directly on the page, with no need to press update or go to preview mode.
This plugin is great for both beginners and veterans of web design and development. With continuous updates and new tools being added to the builder it’s easily one of the best and fastest ways to create high-quality websites on WordPress.
Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan is the most popular security plugin on WordPress with over 3+ million installs as of 2020. Wordfence includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner that was built to protect WordPress. Wordfence is up-to-date with the newest firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses it needs to keep your website safe. Rounded out by 2FA and a suite of additional features, Wordfence is the most comprehensive WordPress security solution available.
Keeping your website secure is vital to ensure both your client and their users are able to have a positive website experience without the threat of malicious intent. This plugin selection is a no-brainer to add any and all WordPress websites.
Yoast SEO is the top SEO plugin on WordPress helping 5+ million users with their search engine optimization to improve search engine ranking. Yoast SEO does everything in its power to please both visitors and search engine spiders. A dedicated team of developers, testers, architects, and SEO experts work daily to improve the plugin with every release. With useful tools such as sitemaps, previews, meta tags, duplicate content avoidance, you have everything you need to start improving your organic traffic.
SEO is an important element in creating high traffic websites. Curating the right content for your audience with proper keywords can have a massive effect on your monthly sessions. Not only is Yoast SEO a free plugin, but its website proves all the latest tips and tutorials on how to improve your SEO skills. Learn more about SEO from the best SEO plugin.
W3 Total Cache/WP Super Cache
Both W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache improve the website’s performance and reducing its load times. Basically, these plugins will generate static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress website. After the files are generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.
A fast and responsive website is important for both user experience and search engine ranking. Make sure you add this plugin as part of your basic setup.
Yoast Duplicate Post/Duplicate Page
Yoast Duplicate Post and Duplicate Page are simple plugins which allow users to clone posts of any type, or copy them to new drafts for further editing. There isn’t too much to say about this choice except that it just helps increase productivity and that they are extremely useful WordPress plugins.
Really Simple SSL
Really Simple SSL automatically detects your settings and configures your website to run over https. According to Digicert, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser, or a mail server and a mail client (e.g., Outlook).
SSL allows sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials to be transmitted securely. An SSL is essential if you’re website is going to be excepting any card payments. Many hosting services offer free SSL with their packaging so make sure you choose a good hosting plan that offers this and add this simple plugin to ensure all your content runs on https.
UpdraftPlus is one of the simplest ways to backup and restores websites. Easily backup your files and database backups into the cloud and restore with a single click of a button. You can also send those backups into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), UpdraftVault, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, DreamObjects, Openstack Swift, and email.
Keeping backups of your work is just a smart move overall. Anything can happen to a website and it would be terrible if you didn’t have a way to bring everything back to normal. Make sure you make backups regularly so that no matter what happens, you can always ensure you have a functioning website ready.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce plugins for WordPress.
With this plugin, WooCommerce allows you to create an online shop with full control over its design and its functionality. With it, you can sell anything you want, use the many different payment options, and grow your sales. An easy option for any website that wants to sell products both physical and digital.
Easily manage your orders and products all from your WordPress website. The customization available for this plugin is more than enough reason to use it over its competitors. With many eCommerce related services offering complete WooCommerce integration and APIs you can see why this plugin is the world’s most popular open-source eCommerce solution.