Here are some of the most important items that every website should have. If you’re a web designer, this is an excellent cheat sheet for creating your own “must-haves” list!
The “12 Must-Haves for All Websites” is a blog post by the website, “What Should a Website Include”. In this article, they list 12 must-haves that they think all websites should have. Read more in detail here: what should a website include.
People often ask me what I consider to be the most important WordPress plugins. It’s such a popular question, in fact, that I felt it’s past time to write an essay on it!
So, let’s get this party started.
Plugins and Their Importance
Unless you know how to code and can build websites from the bottom up, your best bet is to utilize WordPress and customize it with a carefully picked theme and plugins to provide the features you want.
Yes, you could create a website with just WordPress, a simple theme, and no plugins. It will, however, have a number of issues, including:
- It will be very rudimentary, with almost little functionality.
- Options for customization will be extremely restricted.
- It won’t be very secure, since it will be vulnerable to hackers and other cyber-attacks.
- It will not be optimized for search engines.
Plugins assist keep WordPress safe and optimized for search engines and performance, as well as increasing its capabilities. Furthermore, they aid in the correct maintenance of your site and enable you to restore your site in the event of a severe disaster.
Many Plugins vs. A Simple Approach
There are benefits and drawbacks to having the functionality that many plugins provide against keeping things as simple as possible and sacrificing capabilities for performance.
The ‘clean’ approach (i.e., minimal plugins) will, of course, decrease bloat on your site. However, it’s likely that it’ll reduce functionality and force you to give up some crucial features.
On the other side, although having a large number of plugins will provide you with all of the functionality you seek, it will come at a cost. Plugins may cause problems such as:
- Extraneous bloat that might degrade the efficiency of your website
- You may face conflicts between plugins, your theme, and the WordPress core since they are built by different developers and updated at various periods.
- Despite the fact that there are plugins meant to improve security, they might actually make your site more susceptible.
You might try using a single plugin to replace many plugins. That might lessen the bloat, but you risk losing part of the functionality you need or gaining a slew of extras you’ll never use.
Alternatively, you might choose a different theme that has more of the features you want. This will assist you to become less reliant on plugins.
The following is the rest of the article.
As a general guideline, just install the bare minimum of plugins to acquire the functionality you need, and avoid those having a plethora of capabilities you’ll never use.
Check out “How Many WordPress Plugins is Too Many in 2021?” for more information on the topic. WPLift’s “The Answer Might Surprise You”
Essential WordPress Plugins I Recommend
Here are a dozen plugins that I believe are required for every WordPress site.
Please keep in mind that these are merely suggestions. Which one you choose (if any) is mostly determined by what you want from your site and your own tastes.
Wordfence provides security.
Wordfence is the first plugin on my list of important WordPress plugins. This is a well-known freemium security plugin that provides basic protection in the free version and much more in the commercial versions.
Scheduled security scans (although only every three days), plugin and theme vulnerability monitoring, intrusion warnings, file change detection, and protection against brute force attacks are all included in the free version, which may be adequate for many applications.
The ‘Premium’ version of WordFence costs $99 per year and includes unlimited security scans, real-time IP and country blocking, and customer assistance. However, there are two more premium options available.
‘Care’ ($490 a year) includes extensive reporting as well as installation, setup, optimization, audits, malware clean-ups, and other tasks performed by the developer. ‘Response’ ($950 per year) adds a one-hour response time and 24-hour incident reporting to Care.
Wordfence may be downloaded here.
Check out the WPLift post “3 Best WordPress Security Plugins to Lock Down Your Site” for some alternatives to Wordfence.
Elementor is a page builder.
Page builders are a touchy topic, with everyone having a preference and moaning about competitors’ performance concerns, bloat, and so on.
Elementor has gotten a lot of flak when it was initially released in 2016. Some of the criticism was legitimate back then. However, the developer has made significant progress in resolving the flaws, and Elementor is currently used to create more than 10 million WordPress sites.
Drag and drop makes Elementor a breeze to operate. Furthermore, it allows you a lot of flexibility over the style and presentation of your material, with a lot of customization choices.
The free edition comes with a lot of useful features, such as a library of pre-built templates, various widgets, several ready-made website ‘kits,’ and so on.
Elementor Pro is a paid add-on that starts at $49 per year. That is a good value, since it adds things like theme, form, and popup builders, more templates and widgets, dynamic content, and more customization choices to the feature list.
You can read WPLift’s latest review of Elementor here.
In the WPLift post “9 Best WordPress Page Builder Plugins Compared (Based on Real Experience),” you’ll discover eight alternatives to Elementor.
Caching & Performance: WP Rocket
WP Rocket, a premium-only caching plugin that helps increase your site’s loading performance, is next on my list of important WordPress plugins. Although there are free solutions, WPRocket is one of the easiest to use since it is plug and play.
WP Rocket not only improves page loading speeds, but it also features image lazy loading and database optimization technologies, eliminating the need for other plugins. You don’t have to worry about page and browser caching or GZIP compression since it takes care of everything for you.
WP Rocket costs $49 per year for one site, $99 for three sites, or $249 for an unlimited number of domains. That’s a great deal, considering you get three plugins in one, all of which will help your site operate better and impress Google. You also receive premium customer service.
WPLIft’s entire review of WP rocket can be found here.
Obtain WP Rocket
Alternatives to WP Rocket might be found in the article “10 Best WordPress Caching Plugins in 2021.”
UpdraftPlus is a backup program.
UpdraftPlus is the next plugin on my list of must-have WordPress plugins. This is a fantastic freemium backup plugin that has a lot of helpful features even in its free version.
With the free version of UpdraftPlus, you can backup your WordPress database and files on a regular basis and save them in an external service like Google Drive, FTP, or Dropbox. Furthermore, in the event that the unexpected occurs, restorations are really straightforward.
Upgrade to the ‘Premium’ version for two sites costs just $70 per year (after the first year, the price reduces to $42). Premium unlocks a slew of new capabilities, including incremental backups, expanded storage choices, website cloning and migration, and more.
The free version of UpdraftPlus is a fantastic place to start for most WordPress site owners, and it can be upgraded for a little fee if you need additional features.
UpdraftPlus may be downloaded here.
Please visit my post “8 Best WordPress Backup Plugins in 2022: Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down!” for other alternative backup plugins.
WPForms is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create forms.
There are many forms plugins to choose from, but WPForms is one of the most flexible and user-friendly. Its drag-and-drop editor makes creating forms a snap, whether you’re a WordPress novice or a seasoned pro.
Many people would benefit from the free version, which allows you to construct an infinite number of basic forms such as feedback or contact forms.
For fancier and more complicated forms, an upgrade to a premium plan would be required. These start at $39.50 per year and let you develop more complicated forms with features like pre-made customisable templates and conditional logic. In addition, premium plans remove the WPForms logo and provide email alerts anytime a form answer is submitted.
For a more in-depth look at what WPForms can achieve, see WPLift’s comprehensive WPForms review.
WPForms is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create forms.
Gravity Forms is a great replacement for WPForms. For a full comparison of the two, check “WPForms vs. Gravity Forms (2022): Two Popular Form Builders Go Head-to-Head.”
SEOPress is a search engine optimization service.
Plugins for search engine optimization are a must-have for every WordPress site.
I used to be a Yoast SEO lover, and although I still believe it’s a fantastic WordPress SEO plugin, I’ve lately switched to SEOPress. While both provide a lot of the same things, SEOPress has the advantage in my opinion.
For starters, SEOPress’ free edition enables you to optimize for an infinite number of keywords, but Yoast SEO’s free version only allows you to optimize for one. In contrast to Yoast SEO’s basic offering, SEOPress additionally offers comprehensive nofollow control. Additionally, SEOPress’s more advanced readability assessment is worthy of note.
Both offer easy-to-use interfaces and use a traffic light system to indicate where things might be improved. The one thing I don’t like about SEOPress is that I have to constantly refreshing the page — Yoast SEO performs everything in real time.
The Pro edition of SEOPress costs $39 per year and comes with a slew of additional capabilities not available in the free version. A broken link detector, robust redirect management, additional sitemaps (including video,) and other features are among them. Best of all, that $39 is for an infinite number of domains, not just one. Yoast SEO, on the other hand, charges $99 per year per site.
Yoast SEO, All in One SEO, and The SEO Framework are all alternatives to SEOPress. Additionally, please visit here for some useful search engine optimization advice.
SendinBlue is a service that allows you to build an email list.
SendinBlue is a freemium full-service email marketing solution that enables you to email subscribers and helps you expand your email list. Additionally, automatic mailings are feasible, and everything can be done from your WordPress dashboard.
SendinBlue’s free edition allows you to construct opt-in forms and email and SMS marketing campaigns, as well as chat with consumers. It also comes with advanced contact management and marketing automation tools.
The cost of upgrading to a premium plan begins at $25 per month and increases dependent on email usage. A/B testing, sophisticated statistics, and support are all included in the premium upgrades.
WPLift published a comprehensive review of SendinBlue in 2020, which you can read by clicking here.
Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp are two alternatives to SendinBlue. The article “Campaign Monitor vs. Mailchimp vs. SendinBlue: Which Email Marketing Service Wins?” by WPLift compares the three.
Slimstat Analytics is a tool for analyzing data.
Many individuals panic when they attempt to utilize Google Analytics since it has grown into such a monster. Slimstat Analytics, a free, open-source WordPress analytics plugin, appeals to me because of its simplicity.
Slimstat Analytics does not scrimp on functionality despite the fact that it is free. You’ll receive a real-time access log, for example, that tracks things like server latency, page events, and bounce rate. You also receive a fantastic global map with your visitors’ whereabouts on it. You may also use shortcodes to incorporate reports in pages, articles, or widgets if you wish.
Slimstat Analytics may be found here.
For some alternatives to Slimstat Alternatives, head over to my article “8 Best Google Analytics Alternatives (Free & Paid) in 2022: Is It Time to Switch?”
Smushing is a technique for reducing the size of an image.
Images are required on all websites, despite the fact that they are notorious storage and bandwidth hogs. As a result, a slew of image optimization plugins have sprung up throughout time.
Smush is the next plugin on my list of must-have WordPress plugins. Although the free version is restricted to lossless compression of photos up to 5MB, many users will find it enough. You may also compress an infinite number of photographs for free.
Smush Pro is $6 per month or $60 per year for a single site if you require additional freedom. This unlocks a slew of new capabilities, including improved picture compression, auto-resizing and scaling, image processing up to 32 MB in size, and image backups. This is ideal for those with portfolio sites that include a lot of huge, high-definition photos, such as photographers.
See “Best WordPress Image Optimizer Plugins in 2021” for alternatives to Smush and advise on what to look for in an image optimizer plugin.
Akismet is an anti-spam service.
The second WordPress plugin on my list is Akismet, which is a fantastic free plugin that prevents most spam from accessing your site’s comment areas. It operates by examining all user comments and recognizing and removing those that seem to be spam.
It’s easy to set up Akismet. However, you’ll need to get an API key first (don’t worry, you’ll be able to do so when you setup the plugin.) These are available for personal websites, such as blogs, for no cost. Commercial sites, on the other hand, will need a subscription plan, which starts at $120 per year.
Akismet is one of my favorite spam filters since it performs a superb job at detecting spam and seldom gets it wrong.
I suggest reading “6 Best WordPress Anti-Spam Plugins to Stop Spammers in Their Tracks” for additional anti-spam plugin solutions.
WP Accessibility is a WordPress plugin that allows you to make your website more accessible.
Accessibility is frequently overlooked by WordPress website owners. However, according to the numerous principles and requirements for making websites accessible today might save you a lot of trouble afterwards.
Unfortunately, no one plugin can completely compile your site. WP Accessibility, on the other hand, helps to fill in many of the accessibility “gaps” that afflict many WordPress themes.
WP Accessibility is a free plugin that does not need any technical expertise. It contains a number of useful features, such as a tool for locating photos with missing alt attributes and the ability to add’read more’ links to post titles, among others. Furthermore, the plugin may create thorough reports on your site’s accessibility.
WP Accessibility Plugin
Please also my post “10 Best WordPress Accessibility Plugins in 2022: Help Everyone Use Your Site” for several amazing options to WP Accessibility.
AddToAny is a social sharing tool.
AddToAny is the last plugin on my list of important WordPress plugins. This free plugin makes it simple to add social sharing and follow buttons to your website. There are over a hundred social networks included, including all of the well-known ones as well as some lesser-known ones. Furthermore, you have the option of using the official buttons or creating your own.
The plugin also contains social share counters, as well as universal email sharing, which enables users to share through Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, and Hotmail, among other email systems.
Please see the post “12 Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugins in 2021” for some alternative social plugins to AddToAny.
Which WordPress Plugins Do You Use the Most?
So, there are twelve plugins that I believe are essential when creating a WordPress website. Of course, you may not need all of them, and in the case of plugins, less is more. Those I’ve listed, on the other hand, will guarantee that your site is secure, optimized for speed and search engines, provides a wonderful user experience, and can swiftly recover from a big catastrophe.
Which WordPress plugins are your favorites, and which do you consider essential? As usual, any comments left below would be very welcomed.
The “how many pages should a website have” is a question that has been asked for years. There are many different answers to this question. The answer is not only dependent on the type of website, but also how long the user wants to spend on the site.
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