9 Essential WordPress Plugins I always Install

WordPress is awesome, but it falls short just a little bit by itself.

Luckily, there are thousands upon thousands of plugins that make just about anything possible!  With the technical focus of my websites being usability, security and building traffic there’s my usual favorites that make their way onto every single one of my websites.

Most of them are free!

So whenever I get a website up and running, these are the first plugins to be installed!

All in One SEO Pack

This plugin simply allows you to add all of the important meta tags to your pages and blog posts that you need to rank in Google.

Without being able to add you Title, Description and Keywords to each page, Google has to rely solely on your content when it’s discovering what you page is about (and therefore what search terms it will want your to rank your website for).  If you’re looking to create a website optimized for search engines then this plugin is a must!

Just search for ‘All in One SEO’ through Plugins page in the WordPress dashboard!

*If you run a SEO Optimized WordPress Theme like Thesis or Builder, you won’t need this plugin.

Google XML Sitemaps

Another quick and easy way to increase your search engine optimization is to send what’s called a ‘Sitemap’ to Google, Bing & Yahoo, etc.

This plugin will generate a sitemap for you, send it to the major search engines and update automatically as you update your website.

Simply set it and forget it!

 Search for ‘Google XML Sitemaps’ through the Plugins page in the WordPress dashboard!

iThemes Security

Straight out of the box, WordPress is vulnerable to hackers – just like any other website.

iThemes security is a free plugin that takes all of the most vulnerable aspects of WordPress and helps you to make them more secure.

Once you install it there is a check list of actions that you simply go through and check off one by one – it’s dead easy and makes your website much more secure.  However, I recommend backing up your website before starting, just in case!

Search for ‘iThemes Security’ through the Plugins page in the WordPress dashboard!

Google Analytics

Google Analyticator

I always use Google Analytics with my websites.  It’s free and easy to discover how many visitors you’re getting, who they are and where they came from.

This plugin makes it easy to link your Analytics account to your website and everything else takes care of itself from there.  You simply have to go to the Google Analytics homepage to sign up before installing.

Once again, search for ‘Google Analyticator’ through the Plugins page in the WordPress dashboard!

Sumo Me

Do you see those Social Media share buttons to left or below this text? That’s Sumo Me.

Sumo Me has a huge range of social media apps and email list growing apps that plugin right into WordPress and allow you to make your site more shareable.

On top of that they have analytics and there’s a lot of options.  I use the free version and it does wonders!

You can find Sumo Me through your WordPress plugin search in your dashboard.

Make your First Backup!

Backup Buddy

This is all about the end of the world! Ok, not the world – just your website, which can feel like the end of the world if you lose it after years of hard work!

Setting regular backups is important if you want a little insurance –  in case you hacked, your server crashes or hosting company goes out of business – whatever the reason.

Backup Buddy backs up your entire website both on your server and to remote destinations such as Dropbox or the Free ‘Stash’ server that comes with the plugin.  You can set a schedule and this will all happen automatically! It’s not free but well worth the money!

This plugin has saved me a couple of times in the past!

There’s more info on Backup Buddy here or download it from the official website.

W3 Total Cache

The performance of your website is important. There’s a massive amounts of evidence that shows a higher bounce rate when your website loads slowly.

Search Engines take website performance into consideration when ranking your website in search results.  Seamlessly quick loading websites pop open in a second or two and are ready to use – both Google and your audience will appreciate this.

The W3 Total Cache decreases the load on your server and speeds up load times for your WordPress website.  So it’s a top plugin for enhancing user experience and making everything run that bit smoother.

Look for it in the plugins section of your WordPress dashboard.

Pretty Link

Pretty Link

The Pretty Link plugin is a very useful linking tool I always use on my WordPress websites.

If you’re selling affiliate products on this website (I have a few here), you can give the hoplink a much more attractive address (such as designwebidentity.com/link) as opposed to the long confusing looking hoplinks most sites provide.  This method has been proven time and time again to add a higher level of trust to your links.

It can be used as a way of changing the address in one spot by using the ‘pretty link’ in your posts (just in case you produce more up-to-date versions of your posts and want to redirect your links).  Not the most essential of these plugins but it always finds its way onto my websites.

Pretty Link Lite can be found through your dashboard also.

Limit Login Attempts

This is another little precautionary plugin for those looking for a more secure website.

There’s a type of hack used on website called ‘Brute Force’ – where a program simply tries every combination of username and password until the website unlocks.  Limit login attempts makes this almost impossible by setting a limit to how many failed login attempts can be made, blocking that user for a set period of time.

It’s a terrific added layer of security I highly recommend!

Look for it through your Plugins page in your WordPress dashboard!

You may or may not use all of these plugins…

…but I highly recommend each one or at least one with a similar function to create a more complete website that urns faster, is more secure and brings more visitors.

If you have any essentials you use that aren’t listed here, let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Related Posts for WordPress Advice & Tutorials