WordPress has a lot of features built-in that will make building your website a breeze. With such a large and vibrant developer community, there are also tons of amazing plugins to fill in any voids left by your theme. Below is a list of some of our favorite WordPress plugins. Does that mean you should immediately install all of them on your site? Not necessarily. The use of plugins will vary based on your own individual website needs, but we feel these ten are beneficial across a wide swath of industries.
Google Analytics by Yoast
While WordPress does allow for basic stats to be tracked through JetPack, Google Analytics is the gold standard. To get the most out of your WordPress sites, install Google Analytics by Yoast.
Much like Yoast SEO, Yoast Analytics will take care of all the technical details that are needed to make sure Google Analytics is running on your WordPress site correctly. Simply install the plugin and enter unique Google Analytics site ID and you will be good to go.
WordPress is surprisingly SEO-friendly without any additional plugins. That said, there’s no reason not to give your WordPress site the best SEO boosts as possible when it is so easy to do.
Yoast SEO analyzes your pages (including articles), makes your permalinks easy to read, and adds meta-tags automatically to your articles. Yoast will also let you edit your .htaccess and robots.txt files (though you should tread carefully when editing both of these).
Disqus is a popular and widespread commenting platform for WordPress sites. Once installed and activated, visitors to your site can comment on articles and pages using their Facebook, Twitter, or Google account. Disqus also lets you moderate comments to prevent bad actors from taking over your web site.
While Disqus comes with its own spam protection, Akismet, provided by WordPress, is second-to-none in protecting your site from spammers adding useless content to your site.
Even if you don’t plan to activate a comments section, this plugin is still worth installing. You never know when the hordes of Internet spammers will begin to target your site. And by installing the Akismet plugin, you won’t even have to care.
Broken Link Checker
It’s always good Internet practice to share the love and link to other people’s websites. That said, websites come and go. And there is no way that you can manually make sure that everything you’ve linked to is still working.
Broken Link Checker will check all your links and ensure that they are alive and well. If a link is no longer working, you are given the option to either remove the hyperlink automatically or replace the dead link with one that is working.
You can even specify how often the Broken Link Checker plugin should check for broken links on your website.
Large images can have a huge impact on how fast your site loads. And since Google cares a lot about the speed of your website, you should always compress images — even though it can be a chore.
Thankfully, WP Smush.it takes the chore out of compressing your images entirely. By working in the background, WP Smush.it will automatically compress your images as you upload them to WordPress. You can even bulk compress up to fifty files at a time.
WP All-in-One Security Plugin
It is always good idea to batten down the hatches on your WordPress install. It is an easy-to-use plugin that will guide you through securing your WordPress site step-by-step.
This plugin is 100% free. That means there’s no excuse for you not to take advantage of this plugin.
Losing your website is a terrible nightmare that can come true. Thankfully, BackupBuddy, provided by iThemes, is the complete backup package. It will backup your entire WordPress database, media library, theme files, and plugins.
To make it even easier, you can set an automatic schedule for your backups. You can even use your backup to easily migrate to a new WordPress install.
Contact Form 7
When you’re running a small business, it’s likely your number one goal is making sure people contact you. Install this free contact form plugin that you can customize in a number of ways. You can also add code that redirects your contact form to redirect to a thank you page once your visitor completes the form.
Event Calendar WD
If you offer workshops, classes, seminars, or any other event you want to share online then an event managing plugin is a necessity. This particular plugin is our choice based on its ease of use, performance across all devices, integration with Google Maps, social sharing capabilities, and numerous other features. The simple, yet elegant, build allows this plugin to integrate seamlessly with most WordPress themes.
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. At the time of this article, there are over 40,000 plugins available to download at WordPress.org. Chances are if there is some sort of functionality you are looking to add to your WordPress site, somebody has built a plugin to help you do it. With so many plugins, there are bound to be some bad apples in the bunch. Fortunately, you can find reviews for most plugins to help determine whether or not it’s a right fit for you. Happy installing!