One of the best things about using WordPress as your website platform is all the amazing free plugins that are available. There are literally thousands with new ones being added every day. If there is some type of functionality you want your website or blog to have chances are there’s a plugin for that.
The downside is that for beginners it can be daunting to try and figure out which plugins you should be using. There is no cookie cutter approach to this for the most part because every site is different and may require some unique functionality. However, there are a handful of plugins that no site should be without. As soon as you get your WordPress site up and running these 5 plugins are the first ones you should install.
1. Yoast SEO
This is by far the most important plugin you will ever install. It’s the most useful and valuable plugin there is in my opinion. Yoast SEO will help you lay the foundation for a successful website or blog by keeping your posts and pages properly optimized for Google. This plugin is perfect for both beginners and advanced users. It walks you through the setup step-by-step and will ensure that every page on your site is properly optimized. If you need more help check out this handy guide from the folks over at wpbeginner.
These days you can never have too much security. With all the viruses and malware floating around the threat from hackers and evildoers has never been greater. That’s why it’s a good idea to go ahead and install Wordfence. It will enhance the security of your site by blocking malicious networks, blocking bruteforce attacks, scanning for vulnerabilities, and adding advanced firewall features.
When you write content that you’re proud of it goes without saying you want people to share it so you can get more readers. Having your content shared on social networks is key to building a successful blog or website. There are thousands of plugins that will add the share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Some don’t work that well and will slow down your website because they take a long time to load. Some sharing plugins will break or not look right with your theme.
My personal favorite sharing plugin is Mashshare. It’s based on the sharing functionality on the website Mashable. It has beautiful big buttons and loads perfectly every time. After having tried dozens of sharing plugins over the years I feel fortunate to have discovered Mashshare. The only downside is that the free version only comes with sharing to Facebook and Twitter. You will need to buy the premium version to get other networks.
Allowing your website visitors to easily contact you is crucial to your site’s longterm success. WPForms is the most user friendly contact forms plugin for WordPress. It has drag & drop functionality that lets you easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, payment forms and more.
5. WP Optimize
If you want people to keep returning to your site over and over again you need to keep it running fast and smooth. WP Optimize keeps your site running tip top by optimizing your databases, deleting old post revisions, cleaning out spammy comments, and all removing all the junk you’ve deleted that’s not really gone. It’s just like when you run a hard drive cleanup on your computer. The same thing is necessary on your WordPress site.