You’ve chosen the topic, installed WordPress, and are kind of thinking of the theme. But which plug-ins should you install? There are so many, and most do secret little behind-the-scenes things. Do you really need them? Maybe it’s from being “conditioned” by the speakers at WordCamp, but I tend to go light on plug-ins. I also monitor server speed, so I may be going a little excessive, but that’s just my preference. I have twelve currently installed, but just noticed one or two may be redundant with last week’s redesign, so that may drop a little. The conditioning at WordCamp suggested having 10-12 plug-ins as a maximum. I also work on pages others have built with many more and it doesn’t seem to be a problem – just more time updating and ensuring they don’t conflict.
What are My Must-Have WordPress Plug-Ins?
These are the ones I install for all sites. Some are free, some paid. There are less than ten because I have a couple that are specific to a post or my theme. I may list these at the end.
Akismet is the only security plug-in I use or need to use (knock on wood). With WordPress running 23% of the internet there are many hacks attempted. A couple of years ago Akismet glitched. In the two days before I realized it was switched off I had hundreds of spam comments caught in the filter. Why manage that manually when it can be automated. Oh, and this is free registration for a single site, or pay to cover them all. It’s worth it.
This is another premium one, and worth it. I paid $100 for a ten site license, so I know everything’s being backed up. I changed hosting companies recently, and they missed one of my low priority sites. I hadn’t done a back-up (I know, bad) and lost everything. They give you back-up space, but you can also send it to your favorite cloud. BackUp Buddy frequently offers discounts, so keep your eyes out.
For Google Analytics to work you need the code on every single page. I know I can’t be bothered doing that, so I use this plug-in to do it for me. It also pulls in reports from Google Analytics, but I don’t use that bit.
I LOVE JetPack. It’s a Santa’s sack of plug-ins, without creating extra load. Remember, minimalist. I use its stats for a quick look during the day. Publicize shares my new posts on LinkedIn (it can do others, but I prefer to customize posts for each platform). Monitor emails me if the site goes down. Shareable makes it easy for readers to share posts, and gives the stats publicly on the post so it shows what’s popular (yep, peer pressure endorsements). There are a heap more features. Automattic is the organization behind WordPress, so you know this stuff works.
This is a new one I added for this theme. It sets a default image for sharing to social, etc. Some themes so this well, but having a plug-in and setting it means you know it’ll always look your best. This one may disappear from my list. It’s also in WordPress SEO, but I missed seeing the settings last week.
If I weren’t going in alpha order, this would be up with Akismet. VERY. IMPORTANT. PLUG-IN. We know I’m a content girl and for a long time I ignored technical SEO. On a chance, I added this and wow. I even wrote about it. WordPress SEO adds your webmaster tools codes, creates and submits site maps, and gives the site meta data. At post level it really shines. It’s a very useful writing tool. I don’t tell clients they see a plug-in. I just include choosing a focus word and “writing for green” in the process. Even if you ignore the reminders like adding an image and H2 tags, having a focus word to write around make your writing process so much easier. Here’s the how-to guide I wrote a few months ago.
OK, I have decided to include the WordPress plug-ins.
Social Author Bio – hasn’t been updated in two years. There’s probably a better option.
Social Media Widget – as above.
What are your must-have WordPress plug-ins? Do you have any to add?