Building the WordPress website for the first time is not an easy task. The problem is not technical but the fact that there is an information overload on internet. There are hundreds of reviews, hundreds of suggestions. This makes it very frustrating for a beginner to pick the essential WordPress plugins, to successfully launch the website/Blogs.
The following list mentions the tasks one needs to perform on the WordPress website/blog to keep it up, optimized, and secure:
Now we will list plugins which perform these tasks and keep your website up and running.
Users really appreciate a fast loading website. User experience hinges so much on website speed. A slow loading website can result in lower user conversions. Amazon learned the hard way that every 100 millisecond latency cost them 1% in sales. Then they have a potential of losing $1.6 billion in sales with a delay of 1 second.
Website speed depends on Theme chosen, Hosting Service Provider. Then there are plugins to improve the loading speeds. The best things in life aren’t free. But the best plugin to speed up website is.
W3 Total Cache is a plugin that covers all bases.
There is a very good reason why Mashable, Matt Cutt’s blog are using this plugin.
There are many other features that would put premium plugins to shame.
Images are usually the culprit behind slow page loading. Website must look professional, with high quality yet small-sized images. Also it reduces the backup and restore time of the website. There are many plugins for the purpose. However, the best plugin is one which is constantly updated, does not push you to buy premium memberships, and is feature rich.
EWWW Image Optimizer plugin provides automatic optimization of images as they are uploaded in WordPress media library.
It provides the following features:
SEO is the most important aspect of building a website. You want to be found. You want your website to get unique visitors through search engines. You want your content to be placed in first page of search results. There are plugins to make your life easier and make SEO a breeze for you.
Yoast SEO free version is one of the most famous Search Engine Optimization plugins available for WordPress.
It is feature rich.
The free version is powerful enough in itself. Over one million installs are testimony in itself for its capabilities.
You may familiarize yourself with the plugin through the video below:
Price: Free. (Optional premium paid version).
There are times when you change your existing URL to better fit your SEO strategy. Or sometimes just to make it more understandable. This causes bad user experience and increases bounce rate of your website. Which is a bad news for your SEO.
Redirection plugin solves that problem by monitoring 404 errors, accommodating 301, 302, and 307 redirects. It also adds automatic redirects when post’s url slug changes. For example, when www.yourwebsite.com/old-url-slug is changed to www.yourwebsite.com/new-url-slug then a redirect is automatically added for old page to new one. This is done because search engine will still show old page in search results until they crawl your website again and realize that the old page is gone. And there may be some users who have bookmarked the page.
Redirection also lets you export or import redirections, arrange them in groups, manual redirections, etc.
It is important to check your site for broken links. A broken link is a link on a webpage that no longer works because:
These are the primary reasons which lead to a broken link. This impacts user experience, bounce rates, search rankings.
Broken Link Checker is highly functional plugin that monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
It does the following:
In A/B testing, you compare two web pages by revealing the two versions (let’s call them A and B) to similar visitors at the same time. The one which gives a better conversion rate is selected and used. This test is usually conducted on landing pages. Landing pages are product pages where you want to make sale.
All websites on the internet have a goal – a reason about them to exist. E-Commerce websites desire products being bought by visitors. Apps and software programs want visitors signing up for a trial and converting to visitors. News and media sites want readers to click on advertisements or sign up for paid subscriptions. Every company website desires visitors converting from merely visitors to something different. The rate at which a website can do this is its “conversion rate”.
Simple Page Tester lets you do all this in a very simple way.
This plugin is easy to setup, SEO friendly, and cache compatible. It also provides analytics and conversion tracking (In premium version). The free version gets the job done.
However, premium version is game changer. It provides you with following extra features:
Price: Free. Optional premium paid version. $59 per year for unlimited websites.
Facebook is the second largest source of organic traffic. Super Socializerr is the best free social plugin.
It has following features:
You may choose to add additional functionality like Google Analytics integration at a premium.
User comments are great way to interact with your visitors. It also provides you insights into their reactions, thoughts, suggestions with regards to the content. However, spamming is a huge problem for any website with comments section. Akismet has long reigned the world of anti-spam and it is a paid plugin (it comes free of cost with VaultPress subscription). This has been changed recently by a free plugin called WP Spam Shield.
It blocks spam from even reaching your WordPress database, which supports site security. This plugin claims to make WordPress spam vanish. Notably it does not need users to type in CAPTCHA codes, thus enhancing user experience. It protects website against both human spam comments and automated spam bots using a two level security process, without any false positives. This plugin also protects the website’s email. It provides security against following spam:
Considering that hundreds of thousands of websites are hacked daily, you would want to have the website security in place.
Wordfence supplies the best protection available for your website.
It has following features:
Free version is quite powerful in itself. Over 1 million download and 4.9 star rating are testimony to the capabilities of this plugin.
Price: Free (Optional premium version available)
A backup saves your website from vanishing into thin air if server crashes, hard disk is wiped out, your website gets hacked, etc. Artist Dennis Cooper learned it the hard way when google accidentally deleted 14 years of his art work in few seconds. There was no backup and his art work is lost forever. You do not want that to happen.
Backing up your website is important. We have a good news and a bad news. Let’s start with bad news first.
The free backup plugins are too buggy, too cluttered, and do not work in a simple, elegant way. They have limited features, and are not reliable for this crucial job. The two most used free backup plugins are BackWPup and UpdraftPlus.
Good news is that there is a paid plugin which is very easy to use, and it has an affordable subscription.
VaultPress is the best one click backup and restore plugin.
It has following features:
VaultPress subscription starts at $5 a month for one website. If you think this is expensive, then remember that the most expensive is the backup you never did.
Pro Tip – Test your backups once a week.
Price: Premium paid version. $5 and above per month.
Email marketing is still the best way to generate traffic for your new content. It is better than Facebook and Google to get organic traffic. The people subscribe to you because they are interested in your content. You hand deliver it to them weekly or monthly. Email has a better click-through rate than Facebook, Twitter. The newsletters are the best way to keep the loyal user base engaged.
Email list building is an important, precision task which requires insights on user activity, appealing designs, formats that work best, different form/newsletter design format testing (A/B test), etc. Such features will always have premium. Hence, the best professional email lead generator and email promotion plugin is paid.
Thrive Lead is the best email builder plugin out there.
It has unrivaled features and affordable as well. It provides you following:
Price: Premium paid version only. $67 single site and $97 unlimited sites per year.
As the website grows and you avail multiple contributors who can login in your website and upload content. You may want to update the content regularly, make sure it follows the best practices, change the outgoing links, change the layout, etc. It may be a nightmare unless you have an editorial workflow defined. Steps that everyone should follow, deadlines everyone should meet.
Edit flow plugin is one stop editorial workflow manager.
It provides following features and more:
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