Essential WordPress Plugins

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes 23 seconds

Finding the right plugins  for your site is something we all have to do and they often need to be tailored to the individual site. There are however some essential plugins that help keep your site running smoothly and looking ace.

I have put together a list of what I think are the most essential plugins (with a few variants) for your WordPress site. These will cover a variety of bases including spam, speed, and SEO. Hmm, maybe I should call this post the 3 S’s!

Anyway, read on to understand a bit more as to why I choose these plugins.

Akismet

A plugin created by the owners of WordPress, Automattic, and comes bundled with each WordPress installation, this plugin is in my eyes the number one spam protection plugin. Now its not 100% accurate but it does a fine job considering all the spam that gets thrown at it daily.

Plus its on a “pay what you can” type scale, meaning if your blog isn’t earning money, you don’t have to pay anything. Though I do recommend that when your business is flourishing, to send some love back to the creators and sign up to pay for the service.

All in One SEO

WordPress itself is naturally SEO orientated, though it can be further improved and fine tuned by using an SEO plugin. Though many people use other SEO plugins such as WordPress SEO, I personally find All in One to be effective, and more importantly easy to set up out of the box, and customisable when necessary.

CBnet Ping Optimizer

I came across this plugin via Jay at Wealthy Affiliate.com, and I think that its a lovely addition to your plugin armament. When you update a WordPress post (which if your like me, you do all the time!) then it pings all the search services to say “Hey! Look, new content!”.

However, if you end up editing and updating the file 20 million times in a short space of time, it can look a bit like Ping spam, which isn’t good. CBnet Ping Optimizer, stops this by only pinging the first time you publish the post, which is enough, though you can still manually ping it.

Google XML Sitemaps

Creating a sitemap makes life a bit easier for Googles search bots, by basically making a road map for where everything is on your site. Rather than doing this by hand, Google XML Sitemaps automates the process for you. Out of the box, the plugin will do what’s needed, but it has numerous options for tweaking what is shown on the sitemap and what isn’t.

Robots Meta

I hate writing Robots.txt files! They can be too complex for the beginner and even intermediate user, and I just find them annoying to write. What is it? Well this is where all good search indexing spiders and bots (the programs Google and others use to search your site) come to find out where they can go and where they cant.

For example you may not want them to index your tags if you don’t use them, or if you have a ‘secret’ page with an Ebook download or whatever, you don’t want that available in the search engines. It must be noted that not all search engines follow this, and spiders sent out by naughty people will certainly ignore it, but it’s definitely useful to have.

The Robots Meta plugin creates the Robots.txt file automagically and has all the bells and whistles available for you to disallow access (or allow it) to different parts of your site as needed.

W3 Total Cache

This is an interesting plugin, and one that can help speed up your site for your users. What it does is takes the dynamically driven content and creates a static cache of the site. Why does this help? Well when a visitor views the page they are served the static html file which is much quicker as the server doesn’t have to actually do any processing, it just sends the file. Once more there are a myriad of options with which you can tweak and adjust the level of caching, but the standard options are OK to begin with.

Wp-DBManager

Backing up a WordPress site is very important, who wants to lose all their hard work and effort? However, remembering to back up for site is quite different. With so many things going on, IM’ers have enough on their plates, so why not use a computer to automatically do things for you.

With WP-DBmanager, you can set a time interval (i.e. daily, weekly, etc.) and the plugin will email you a back up of the data of your site. Not only that but it can automatically optimize your database too!

NOTE! This does not back up your images, other media files or themes, just the database. If you’re looking for a fully fledged back up system, try BackupBuddy a premium plugin.

All of these plugins benefit your site one way or another and these are the core plugins that I would recommend to be used on any new WordPress site, along side your favourite social media plugins and other functionality plugins of course!


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