Whether your site is already built on WordPress or you’re just beginning to discover the wonderful features that WordPress has to offer, you may already know that there are thousands of features available through easy-to-install plugins.
Expanding the functionality of your site and keeping it secure are simple with the right plugins, but with so many to choose from, it can be challenging to figure out which ones to use.
In order to provide some assistance, we’ve compiled this list of the WordPress plugins that are on our absolutely must-have list.
1. Updraft Plus
You never know when a plugin or theme update will break something else on your site.
Put your mind at ease by creating automatic backups of your website with this essential tool. You can even save your files to a remote location such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
The Migrator add-on is also well worth the minimal cost to move your site from one location to another (for instance, from a test to production server).
The peace of mind this one supplies puts it at the top of our must-have list.
2. Yoast SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital step in getting your site to rank high within the search engines which, in turn, brings visitors to your site.
Optimize your pages’ titles, content, meta descriptions, images and more with this important plugin.
Get ratings on how well all of your pages and posts are optimized, as well as tips on making SEO improvements.
If you’re not actively tracking your user statistics with Google Analytics (a free tool, by the way), then you are really missing out.
This plugin will not only enable you to add the GA tracking code to your site, but also adds your analytics reports directly to your WP dashboard.
You’ll be able to get a quick overview of your web stats, as well as track your posts’ performance every time you log into your site.
Every business website should have an easy-to-use form that enables potential customers to reach out to you.
However, some form plugins are overly complicated and prone to errors.
This plugin allows you to easily add, remove or re-order multiple fields, send a customized confirmation email to the user as well as to the admin, and even includes CAPTCHA, which will ensure that you don’t receive spam submissions through your contact form.
Author Update 4/26/17:
If you find that the Fast Secure Contact Form plugin is a bit too technical to set up, try the Ninja Forms plugin instead. It’s easy to use and gives you lots of options for customizing. There are several premium extensions you can purchase for more power, including one for creating a multi-part form. We recently switched to this one ourselves!
While once thought of as a nice to have feature, favicons have quickly become the website norm.
Many themes come with the ability to create and install a favicon for your site, but if yours isn’t one of them, this plugin will do the trick.
Help build your brand recognition by quickly creating and installing an icon that looks great on any platform or device.
Securing your site is a necessity in order to prevent hackers from accessing your site’s database.
iThemes Security allows you to strengthen user login credentials, block IP addresses that shouldn’t be accessing your admin panel and even set an away mode to make your WP dashboard unavailable during certain hours.
7. IP Geo Block
For many users, implementing iThemes Security is enough to protect your site from hackers.
But should you find your site the target of frequent brute force login attempts, you may need an added layer of security.
Eliminate malicious access to the core files of your site by blocking IPs or blacklisting whole countries with this robust plugin.
Some themes come with social media widgets installed, but you may not like how they look or function.
This plugin is a great alternative, allowing your users to not only follow you on social media, but to also easily share your content.
If you have a Facebook page for your business, you may as well engage with your visitors by asking them to like your page.
There are many plugins available for this functionality, but this one seems to be the most straightforward to implement through the use of a widget.
Are there any plugins that we missed that you feel are essential? If so, please let us know!