These are the six WordPress plugins I consider indispensable on any WordPress site I build for a client.
The web is full of lists with names like "The Fifty Best WordPress Plugins" or "93 WordPress Plugins You Must Install". There's a reason there are so many lists of this type: they're easy to write and you don't need any actual experience of WordPress plugins. A quick trawl through the plugin repository is more than enough. This sort of list barely counts as curation, and it's not what I want to do here.
Over the years, I've created many WordPress sites and in that time, I've developed a finely honed minimal list of the plugins I think that the vast majority of WordPress users will benefit from. I've used almost all of the plugins in each of the categories I'm about to discuss, and I've often swapped out older plugins when newer and better alternatives are released. The result is a list of plugins that I'm happy to recommend to anyone who is setting up their first WordPress site or blog.
It's a short list — just six plugins — but it covers everything I think WordPress needs to turn it from a great content management system into a perfect publishing platform for bloggers, news sites, and business marketing sites.
Like every dynamic content generator, WordPress could do with a bit of help in the performance department. WP Rocket is the best all-in-one performance optimization solution I've come across. It isn't as configurable as W3 Total Cache, but for most sites, I don't need or want that complexity. WP Rocket takes care of caching, asset minimization, and the lazy loading of images, all of which make browsing a WordPress site faster and more pleasant.
I'm a strong believer that the best way to do well in the SERPs is to write great content and promote it properly, but a default WordPress installation benefits from a few technical and user interface tweaks to maximize its SEO potential. Yoast SEO is the single best comprehensive SEO solution available for WordPress.
Sometimes, it seems like every online criminal in the world is gunning for WordPress site owners, but, in reality, a well-maintained and up-to-date WordPress site is very secure.
All In One WP Security adds a range of security features that make WordPress even safer, including user account and login security, database security, brute force protection, and a great firewall.
WordPress includes everything you need to write and publish content, but it's not the best for planning and managing more complex editorial workflows. The Editorial Calendar plugin adds a host of features for advanced editorial management and publication.
The majority of business site owners don't care that their site runs on WordPress, or have any clear idea of what WordPress is. The Ultimate Branding plugin lets me style a site so that it conforms to the business's branding. It makes it their website, rather than just another generic WordPress site.
If you're new to the WordPress world, and you learn only one thing from this article, it should be this: always backup your site — both the site files and the database. BackupWordPress makes it super easy to automatically backup a WordPress installation and moves the data from the server to a safe location.
Of course, these aren't the only plugins I install, but most of the others are to meet the specific needs of a particular site. The six plugins I've discussed here form the foundation of any WordPress site I build.
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