There are tens of thousands of plugins available to WordPress users. So many, in fact, that it’s difficult to know which ones really make a difference and which are overhyped. Plenty offer useful niche solutions, but few are truly must-have WordPress plugins for all sites.
No matter what kind of site you’re running, or what niche it belongs to, there are certain plugins that you’ll want to install. And those are the tools we’re going to discuss today.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to nine must-have WordPress plugins and explain what makes each one stand out. Better yet, we’re also going to provide real data to justify why we think each plugin is essential.
Let’s get right to it!
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is by far the most popular SEO tool in the WordPress landscape, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of our must-have WordPress plugins. Not only can it help you improve your SEO, it can even analyze your content’s readability. About 79% of users only scan through your posts and pages, so the more accessible your copy is, the greater your chance of retaining their attention.
As far as SEO is concerned, there are plenty of ways to drive traffic to your site. However, none offer as much potential as search engines. Each day, Google alone handles over nine billion searches. It’s not an exaggeration to say that organic traffic can make or break a website, and you can’t buy your way to the top in most cases. Just to drive home that point, only 5% of search engine traffic leads users to paid results. That’s why working on your keyword strategy is critical for every website.
- Optimize your WordPress posts and pages using keywords and meta descriptions.
- See how well your content is currently optimized, and make improvements easily.
- Improve your content’s readability with simple tips.
The base version of Yoast SEO is 100% free, and there’s a premium version with additional features.
An average of 30,000 websites get hacked every day. When you consider the fact that WordPress powers nearly 30% of sites on the web, you can see why it’s a frequent target. Moreover, parts of your WordPress website can sometimes stop working due to simple errors.
For example, if most people use 10 or fewer plugins on their sites and half of those receive monthly updates, it’s clear that the risk of running into compatibility errors is common. A single recent backup can save you a ton of headaches, whether you’ve been attacked, encounter a compatibility issue, or simply want to migrate your site.
This is where our next must-have WordPress plugin comes into play. There are plenty of WordPress backup plugins available online, but few of them are as powerful and easy to use as UpdraftPlus. It integrates with multiple cloud storage options to safeguard your backups. And you can even automate your backups with a recurring schedule.
- Create automatic or manual backups of your website.
- Store your backups locally or on the cloud.
- Restore your website to a previous state.
There are both free and premium versions of UpdraftPlus available.
Images take up more than 50% of the average webpage size. That means optimizing your images can make a huge difference to your site’s page load times.
Why is that important? Because if your website takes more than three seconds to load, over half your visitors will abandon it.
In case that isn’t worrying enough, 79% of online shoppers might not return to your website if they find its performance lackluster. While images aren’t the only thing that impacts website performance, optimizing your WordPress images is a key component of improving your page load times.
Optimole takes every graphic you upload to WordPress and optimizes it so that it takes up less space. In addition to that, it uses a cloud-based system to speed up your site. Optimole auto-detects the screen size, and resizes images to provide a fast loading, responsive experience to your users.
- Automatically compress your images.
- Optimize your JPEG and PNG images.
- Bulk optimize any old images that you have
- Resize any images you upload to your website.
- Supports both Retina and WebP images.
- Uses global CDN.
- Compatible with modern page builders like Elementor.
This plugin is free for up to 5,000 visits per month. After that, you can opt for the premium version for $22.52 / month charged annually.
4. Revive Old Post
Social media is the source of over 30% of referral traffic to most websites.
(Charts by Visualizer Lite.)
That means you’re losing out on a massive amount of potential traffic if you don’t remain active on social media. Just to give you an idea, approximately 2 billion and 300 million users log into Facebook and Twitter respectively each month. If every post on those networks can increase your chances of reaching even a sliver of those users, it means that the plugin we want to point out to you here is definitely worth your time.
Another one of the must-have WordPress plugins on our list is Revive Old Post. It’s designed to help drive more traffic to your website via social media. To accomplish this, the plugin takes your site’s new and old publications and automatically shares them to Twitter and Facebook.
- Share your new and old posts to Twitter and Facebook automatically.
- Set a schedule for your social media publications.
- Include hashtags and links back to your website.
There are both free and premium versions available.
5. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a powerful caching plugin that helps you to speed up your loading times. It does this by creating cached copies of each dynamically-generated page on your site, so your servers have to do less work.
We’ve already talked about why quick page load times are critical, and caching solutions can be an even more effective solution than image optimization. For example, the W3 Total Cache plugin can decrease your loading times by over 43% on average.
WP Rocket does even better – in our caching plugin tests, it decreased page load times by a whopping 63%. It may not be free, but the results are more than worth it, especially if there are conversions on the line.
- Cache your website’s dynamically generated pages.
- Improve user-end browser caching.
- Enable lazy loading for faster loading times.
- Integrate your caching solution with a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
WP Rocket is a premium tool that starts at $49 for a single site’s year-long license.
With over 5,000,000 active installs, Elementor is one of the coolest additions on our must-have WordPress plugins list. It is a visual page builder that gives you the ability to craft original designs for your pages that are somewhat independent of your current theme.
This means you don’t have to be a web development aficionado to add all those cool effects like background overlays, hover effects, animations, and more, it can all be done with a simple drag-and-drop. It is fully compatible with the Gutenberg editor and other WordPress plugins on this list.
Elementor (read review) is useful for those who want to create a beautiful landing page for their business. It is also a good choice for those who want to have a custom design for parts of their website but don’t have deep pockets to hire a developer to do the task.
- Select from 150+ beautifully built templates from the Elementor library.
- Create a value proposition with a simple drag and drop.
- Build fully original designs for your website.
The main Elementor plugin is available for free in the WordPress directory. If you need more features, unlocking the premium version has its price tag:
- Personal – $49 per year for one site
- Plus – $99 per year for three sites
- Expert – $199 per year for 1,000 sites
WPForms is an amazing WordPress plugin for building beautiful forms (contact forms and other). This plugin offers a perfect blend of useful features and ease of usage. It is highly user-friendly and mobile responsive.
WPForms gives you a customizable, modern contact form that not only improves interaction but also generates better conversions, gets more survey results, and much more.
- Create an attractive contact form for free.
- Save your time with pre-built form templates.
WPForms Lite is available for free and works well for sites that want to use it on their contact page. WPForms Pro will unlock more features and integrations. You will have access to a lot of form templates for $39.50 per year.
Otter is a lightweight WordPress plugin for adding useful extra functionality to Gutenberg. It is a library featuring Gutenberg templates and additional blocks.
While Gutenberg is a nice replacement for the WordPress classic editor, there’s still a long way down the road for Gutenberg to offer premium class functionality. However, you can install Otter for additional Gutenberg blocks and then create intuitive pages with it.
- Add Google Maps and advanced heading block.
- Create an attractive contact form for free.
- 13+ Gutenberg blocks for unique pages.
Otter is a free WordPress plugin.
Since we are talking about must-have WordPress plugins, we cannot possibly miss out on Redirection. It is a redirect manager for WordPress. Redirection lets you set up custom 301 redirects within your website and then keeps a full record of data on clicks. You can even use it to track broken URLs on your site.
We all know how much Google (and other search engines) hates bad user experience. A 404 or broken page contributes to the same. But, you cannot check every single post or page on your website by hand, especially if you have hundreds of posts. Simply installing the Redirection plugin will show you a list of pages that are 404s, and all you need to do is enter the URL where you want the plugin to redirect the visitor.
- Track all 4xx error pages.
- Set up page-level redirection easily.
Redirection is available for free.
Enjoy these must-have WordPress plugins
No matter what type of website you’re running, there are certain plugins that are always worth installing.
As far as must-have plugins go, these nine are our top picks based on the data:
- Yoast SEO: You can increase your organic traffic using simple SEO techniques.
- UpdraftPlus: Backups are critical for any website, and this plugin makes them simple.
- Optimole: Image optimization can help you make your site load faster.
- Revive Old Post: This plugin can help you drive traffic to your site using social media.
- WP Rocket: This is a powerful caching solution that will speed up your website.
- Elementor: A page builder to craft custom pages with original designs.
- WPForms: Use it to create beautiful contact forms with simple drag and drop.
- Otter: Gutenberg functionality can be highly improved using this plugin.
- Redirection: Set up custom 301 redirections with a couple of clicks.
Do you have experience with any of these must-have WordPress plugins? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!