WordPress plugins are a great way to add new functionality into your website and extend what features you can provide to your website visitors. I believe the list for best WordPress plugins is very subjective since ehat plugins you will use in your website completely depends on your requirements, but I thought I should prepare a list of most essential WordPress plugins which you should install in your site to have the bare minimum requirements covered.
You can do very well without these plugins but if you go by the following list and use these plugins, you will have a lot of added features and advantages, which does not comes out of the box with WordPress.
- Akismet: : The best way to prevent spam comments in your WordPress blog and keep the comments section tidy. Set it up once and forget about spam once and for all.
- Wp-DB manager: This plugins lets you automatically backup your database at scheduled intervals and store it in your web server. If you want other ways to backup your WordPress database, please read – backing up your WordPress database.
- YARPP – The most useful plugin for showing related posts beneath your blog posts or in any part of your website’s template. There are other solutions available but this one is without any doubt the most effortless solution which works without any problems.
- Yoast SEO – The best plugin for doing SEO of your WordPress site, and by far the only plugin you will ever need for seo purpose.
- XML Sitemaps – Yoast SEO does a good job generating an XML sitemap but if you just want an XML sitemap without having to use any plugin for SEO, go for this one.
- TD word Count – This plugin displays the word count of every post as you type in WordPress post editor. An easy way to know the length of your blog post. You can also give Wp Post count a try but I prefer TD word count since it’s simpler to use.
- Redirection: The best WordPress plugin to redirect old links to newer ones. You will need this plugin
- Broken link checker – This plugin checks for broken links on your WordPress website and shows broken links on the WordPress dashboard. You can also choose to be notified through a daily email and can fix all broken links at once by “unlinking”. Its a good way to keep your site links healthy which results in good user experience and lesser leaks with respect to seo.
- W3 Total Cache – If your site get’s too much traffic within a short span of time, it can really hog down the web hosting server where you site is hosted. Sudden traffic loads can cause downtime and in worst cases, get your hosting account terminated. To address those scenarios, you should install a caching plugin which helps to cache web pages and serves those pages without putting too much load on your web hosting server.
- Wp-Touch Mobile Plugin – Having a mobile friendly site is very important if you want your readers to be able to read your content from a mobile or tablet device. Wp-Touch is the best way to setup a mobile friendly version for your WordPress website and the free version comes with 5 templates you can choose for your mobile friendly site. The Pro version has some added features such as shortcodes, related posts, advanced themes and so on.
- Thirsty affiliates – This is the plugin you should use to cloak your affiliate links. If you do not promote any affiliate products on your site, you can give this a skip.
- Pubsubhubbub -Pubsubhubbub is the easiest way to tell the world that your site has new content. You can enter the URL’s of content hubs in the plugin settings page and this plugin will notify all those hubs whenever there is new content available on your site.
- PHP Code for Posts – This plugin lets you add PHP code in your WordPress posts, pages, themes or sidebar widgets. This is pretty handy when you want to sneak in some PHP code in a particular post or page.
- No Self Pings – If you have enabled pingback in your WordPress site, it will send you ping notifications when you link to your own content. This can be really distracting and this plugin ensures you don’t receive pingbacks when you link to your own content or pages.
- Contact form maker – I am not a big fan of advanced contact form plugins for WordPress since they are complicated and not simple. This is the only contact form I recommend for WordPress sites, since it is very simple to use and you can even manage responses from your WordPress dashboard, and keep the inbox tidy.
This is just a short list of plugins which should cover the bare minimum requirements of a blog. You can add more plugins if you need added features but I would strongly suggest you to keep the number of plugins to as low as possible. The rule of the thumb is
Use a Plugin only when it’s needed and only when there is no better way to do it than install the plugin.
Why is the list so short? There are so many plugins you have missed
You might wonder why I have kept the list short and not added more plugins which deserves to be in this list. I will explain the reason
The more plugins you add, the more your site will get slower. This is not much utility in adding another plugin because you want sharing buttons under the title of your post. That won’t help your article to go crazily viral on the web. You can add social sharing buttons by manually copying the code and adding it to your theme, that way, it will be much faster and you’re not dependent on a plugin for that.
Similarly, there is no need to add another RSS subscription plugin if you can hand code it into the theme which your website or blog is using. There is no need to add a whole bunch of security plugins to improve the security of your site. You can take basic steps to secure your WordPress site and that should be fine.
Problem is when you overdo the use of plugins to an extent that it becomes a bane than a boon. Use a plugin if you really really need that feature on your site and there is no better way left than using that plugin.