If you are confused about what plugins to use for WordPress or how to get maximum functions with minimum plugins, this is your post. I will walk you through the top 5 most essential and must have WordPress plugins that you should install on your WordPress blogs.
Akismet is a spam fighting plugin that protects your blog from spammers and hackers who are always on the lookout to spam other blogs. This anti-spam plugin is developed by the official WordPress developers.
Akismet typically uses an API key (which is free but requires you to have an account on the free WordPress platform WordPress.com), and your blog is associated with that account. It will automatically detect spam comments and filter them out to a spam folder. WpBeginner has a great article detailing the use of Akismet.
Caution: Akismet sometimes lands original comments in the spam box so be sure to check the comments on the spam box before moderating them.
With WordPress you now don’t have to worry about meta data, submitting sitemap, social sharing meta data and other stuff. WordPress SEO by yoast is the most popular and free SEO plugins for WordPress that automatically lets you customize these settings based on your requirement.
It is by far the best plugin for setting up the most correct on-page SEO. It tells you what you are missing in order to be a good optimized post. This is indicated by a bulb near the right hand side of the post editor. The greener the bulb the most optimized is your post. Read this review from Evolving SEO for more on Yoast.
I personally believe that you are not safe until the content you write is owned by you. With the passing years, there have been many instances of blog hacking and malware crashes that could potentially get your site shut down.
The best solution to this problem is that you have a backup for your blog. Having a backup makes it easy for you at times of a hacking, or bot attack. It is also useful if your server goes down.
While there are premium plugins for creating backups automatically on a routine basis, I would suggest you to use BackWPup which works pretty fine and schedules backups of your entire blog. These backup files will be automatically sent to your email or dropbox account. Backwpup allows you to send backups even daily, though taking weekly backups is a great idea to start with.
Here is a review of BackWpup by Wpnugget that will help you get a clear picture.
Jetpack is a jack of all trades plugin. This is a must have plugin and is also developed by the developers of WordPress. It has so many functionalities that will make you a power horse if used properly. The most used features of jetpack are the ones like stats provider (shows you visitor count), contact form, share buttons above or below post, and many other features like displaying a portfolio of your writing assignments etc.
Jetpack also adds a subscription box to your blog through the readers can subscribe to your blog updates via email. If you don’t already use jetpack download it now. Be sure not to activate all of its features those you are not using as it will then hog on your server resources. Here is a detailed review of jetpack.
Alternative: Jetpack is so feature rich that it doesn’t have an alternative that single handedly handles all the tasks of jetpack.
Any blog has a first and foremost section where you can contact the owner or webmaster. In order to add a contact form in your blog, I recommend you to add contact form seven which is a very robust and feature rich contact form plugin for WordPress. You can also integrate it with akismet to have a captcha feature that will block spam emails to your contact id. Here is a review of contact form 7.
Alternative: You can also tryany of the contact form 7 alternatives listed here.
Simple tips when installing WordPress plugins
- Do not get carried away by the functionality of plugins, use only as many as you need. Because more the plugins, more they require server resources to run and can make your site cloggy and slow.
- Deactivate plugins and delete unused ones.
Suppose you use a plugin once a month or once a life time like the blogger importer plugin that helps you in importing your blogger blog to WordPress and then finds no use, please remove or delete them.
- Make sure you use the plugins that have a god number of ratings or a good number of installs. Many plugins are not updated over time and may not be compatible on your version of WordPress.
This was the list of top 5 WordPress plugins for bloggers. I would love to know your views on these plugins. Do write them in the comments section below.