8 Essential Plugins for Your WordPress Site

October 18, 2021Samuel Dean

There are a plethora of advantages to using WordPress for your website. Most notably, the availability of plugins. Ideally, a plugin will extend the functionality of your website and or add new features without having to write custom code. These plugins integrate seamlessly with WordPress and are often backed by a strong community of users. In addition to having a reliable community, the overwhelming majority of plugins are free and easy to use. Generally, a WordPress user is just a few clicks away from being able to drastically enhance the performance of their website. Performance aside, plugins also provide the ability to improve SEO, create/manage forms, prevent spam, and so much more.

Over 58,000 WordPress plugins exist to date. This number can certainly be daunting, which is we have put together a list of a few must-have plugins for your WordPress site.

1. Yoast SEO

The Yoast SEO plugin is by far the most popular plugin on WordPress and for good reason. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial component of any good website. Whether you have an online business or even a small blog, improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to your site is the first step in achieving online success. Yoast SEO is packed with features to help you rank higher in search engines, most of which are available for free.

2. Gravity Forms

Every site needs a contact form, which is why we are ranking this plugin so highly. Gravity Forms allows you to create and manage custom web forms and it does so elegantly. The plugin offers an especially user-friendly interface and can handle even more complex features such as online payment collection and easy integrations with other popular platforms. Gravity Forms does not have a free version, but they have multiple levels of pricing depending on your needs, and in our opinion it’s well worth the investment. If you are looking for a free alternative, WPForms is also a good option.

3. Advanced Custom Fields

As websites grow, managing content can suddenly become very complicated making the job of the developer much more difficult. Advanced Custom Fields, or ACF for short, will undoubtedly make managing content on your site much easier. To achieve this, ACF allows the user to create extra content fields to the WordPress edit screens. In turn, these fields will shorten development time and allow your clients to understand the flow of content on your site. Although this plugin is geared for developers, the availability of extensive documentation, a large community of users, and a responsive support team makes this plugin a must-have even if you are new to WordPress.

4. WP Rocket

Website speed is not just important, it’s crucial. 40% of people who visit a website will leave if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. On top of that, if your site is slow in the eyes of Google, prepare for your SEO to plummet. Scary, huh? With WP Rocket’s caching tool you can trust that your site is enjoyable to visitors. WP Rocket is one of the most used and highly-regarded performance plugins in the WordPress ecosystem. According to WP Rocket’s official site, “It will instantly reduce your load time and boost your Google PageSpeed and Core Web Vitals scores. No coding skills needed.” Hard to argue with that.

5. Imagify

We can’t talk about speed or performance without mentioning the magic of Imagify. Imagify is a free plugin that automatically compresses the images on your site, leading to speedy page loads and satisfied visitors. Today images dominate the web, often to the dismay of those without a fast connection. Imagify solves this problem with only a few clicks by reducing file sizes and even automatically converting images to the more web-friendly WebP format.

6. Beaver Builder

The almighty page-builder. Beaver Builder may not be as well-known as its competitors but it certainly can hold its own when you consider how easy it is to build with, especially when outsourcing your WordPress build. Beaver Builder works in real-time as you create/edit the front end of your page. Its built-in responsive tools allow you to create a fully responsive website in no time. There are a myriad of page builder plugins out there, yet none seem to have as intuitive of an interface as Beaver Builder does. Along with an awesome community, it’s the reason why it’s on this list!

7. Akismet

Spam. It’s come a long way since the early days of the web, constantly evolving to be better at… well… spam. The best way to combat spam on your WordPress is to install Akismet. Akismet is a free plugin that is extremely effective at filtering out spam comments on your site. Just download it once and forget about it!

8. Migrate DB

Migrate DB is available in two forms, free and paid. Its free version boasts easy migration and exporting your WordPress database. It’s simple to use, only requiring three steps to reach a successful migration. The paid version, Migrate DB Pro, comes packed with useful features such as the ability to push and pull databases across multiple sites. Either way, you can’t go wrong here.

A Solid Foundation

In many ways, plugins are an extension of your website and brand. They act as tools, just as those of a carpenter or plumber, giving the user the ability to solve problems, improve quality, and save time and money. The plugins mentioned here will give you a solid foundation for SEO, performance/optimization, backups, content management, and more. Once these are installed, you are on your way to success.

Samuel Dean

Samuel joined our team in 2020 to help supplement our team of rockstar developers. Apart from learning new technologies, Sam loves the outdoors, especially with the company of his two dogs. His interests include soccer, architecture, and stoicism.