Top WordPress Plugins You Need in Your Life
Way back when I shared my essential blogging tools I briefly discussed a few of the top WordPress plugins and shared why I absolutely can’t live without them. Now it’s time to revisit that idea and elaborate on 25 stellar plugins I use to keep Violet Roots up and running!
For those of you who are on another blogging platform or who haven’t yet started their blogging journey don’t fret! If you’re on another platform just hop on over to see my other non-platform specific blog tips. You’ll find plenty of content to get your blog in shape and if you haven’t yet started one but want to then bookmark this extensive list for later!
What’s a Plugin
First things first, let’s explain what a WordPress.org plugin is. To put it simply a plugin is a type of software that you can add to your website in order to expand its functionality and achieve several different goals. There are plugins that show statistics, plugins that allow you to edit your blog theme, plugins that add icons to the menu bar and plugins that allow you to add a membership component to your site. Those are just a few examples but there are so many different ways that you can use plugins. The sky is the limit!
When to Use Plugins
This one depends on your current goals and needs. You honestly don’t have to use a single plugin if there isn’t an inherent benefit for you. Personally, I only use a plugin if I absolutely need it in order to achieve a certain goal.
For instance, I had a plugin for a slider because that was the look I was going for at the time. I wanted to highlight my content in that way and having that plugin allowed me to do so. Now I have a different theme with different focus points and as a result, I deleted that plugin.
There is no reason to clog up your website and potentially slow it down with unnecessary plugins. If you only stick with the top WordPress plugins and none of the filler then you’re moving in the right direction.
How to Manage Plugins
Like I previously mentioned, it’s so important to manage your plugin use and to only keep the top WordPress plugins installed and active – nothing else. Before we get to the 25 plugins that I’m obsessed with I thought it would be a good idea to quickly go over a few rules of thumb when it comes to managing your plugins.
- Check in to make sure everything that’s installed still has a use. If you aren’t using it – delete it.
- Did something go haywire after you installed a new plugin? Deactivate it. Some plugins don’t play well with others so it might work fine on its own but freak out when paired with a certain theme or another combination of plugins.
- Went a little plugin crazy? Scale back. Too many plugins can make your website extremely slow and no one wants that.
Okay, got that? Cool. Now’s let’s dive straight into the 25 top WordPress plugins you need in your life!
Website Performance & Maintenance Plugins
Broken Link Checker
This plugin is pretty self-explanatory. It notifies you whenever any broken links appear on your site so that you can either unlink them, edit the link or test the link to see if it’s still not working. Why does it matter if you have a few broken links? Not only is it annoying for your audience to be directed to an error page but search engines hate it!
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
This one is purely a preference choice. Although I think that everyone with a blog should have Google Analytics I don’t think that you need to have it in your WordPress dashboard. I like being able to see my WordPress stats right next to my GA stats. There is always a bit of a discrepancy so seeing the two side by side allows me to gauge how I’m doing.
This one is a no-brainer. SEO is so incredibly important. It might not be the easiest to understand (I’m still learning the ins and outs) but the Yoast SEO plugin makes learning the basics a breeze! If I had to whittle this list down to only 5 top WordPress plugins then this one would still be front and center. If you want to improve your organic reach, improve your internal link use and more than you need to add this one!
Google isn’t capable of seeing your images but it can read the alt text associated with it as well as the image’s name. Improve your search ranking further when you add YOImages.
Reduce Bounce Rate
What’s the point of writing your heart out if people immediately leave your blog? Or worse, let’s say they stay on your blog but it’s recorded as a “bounce” instead of time on site. Unfortunately, even top bloggers have a bounce rate to contend with. It’s unavoidable. Still, there are steps you can take to let Google know that someone is viewing your site even if it’s just one page.
404 to 301
We’ve all seen that 404 error page pop up from time to time. Combat that issue, and the negative impact it has on your SEO by redirecting visitors to a 301 page instead. I created this custom error page so that users have a soft landing whenever they mistype a direct link or land on a page that no longer exists.
This plugin speeds up the load time for images and helps the overall load time of your site.
Smush Image Compression & Optimization
Smush reduces the size of your images and gets rid of all the extra data you don’t need. The result is high-quality images with low file sizes that won’t drag out your page load times.
Content Upgrade Plugins
Anyone who is a part of my mailing list gets access to my resource library full of wallpapers, worksheets, magazines, and a course. I protect that content and hide it so that only my Violet Visionary members have access to it with the use of this plugin.
The Download Monitor is definitely one my top WordPress plugins! I love being able to see which of the freebies I’m offering are being downloaded the most. It allows me to see what my audience wants, what I should do more of, and where to put my energy as far as products go.
Content & Share Plugins
Nelio Content Calendar
Ultimately I use my Conquer Your Editorial Calendar system to keep my content in order. My content calendar encompasses a lot more than just blog posts – roadmaps, opt-in copy, passwords etc. Still, it’s helpful to have a calendar within WordPress that I can use to visually see when each post is scheduled to go live.
Title and NoFollow for Links
Not enough people talk about NoFollow links. If you are posting any kind of sponsored content at all, have affiliate links etc. You have to not only disclose your collaboration but you also have to mark those links as NoFollow links so that “paid for” links don’t impact Google search results.
Easy Google Fonts
Want more than just the basic fonts? Our friends at Google have got you covered!
Reorganize the order of the tools in the WordPress post editor in whatever way suits you best. Get more options than the standard editor like emoticons, page breaks and more.
Shortcodes by Angie Makes
Shortcodes allow for endless possibilities. Want columns? Highlights? What about drop down tabs, a pricing table or even a countdown timer? This makes it possible without having to be super HTML savvy. Another equally awesome option is Shortcodes Ultimate.
Simple Custom Post Order
This one allows me to order my posts in whatever way I please. I create sticky posts so that the latest content appears first but it only displays post in order of how recent they are. If I ever want to change that this plugin allows me to display posts in whatever order I please. It uses an easy to use drag and drop tool and has a zero learning curve.
Disqus Comment System
Some people hate Disqus others love it. Personally, I like that it notifies me of new comments and gives me an easy way to keep up with ongoing conversations.
You spend a lot of time on your blog so the worst thing you could do would be to not give your audience a chance to share your work. There are plenty of share platforms to choose from so you don’t have to use this exact one. Just make sure you pick one and get it up and running ASAP!
Better Click to Tweet
I use a different click to tweet system now but I used to rely on this plugin. Currently, I use this site along with an image. Use either option if you want to turn your blog posts into a more interactive experience. Give your readers an option to share as they read along with you.
Contact Form 7
Whether you blog for profit or not you want to have a way for you audience to contact you. Design a form that’s simple or add an extra tab like the contact form I use.
YITH Pre-Order for WooCommerce
This plugin is a useful tool for pre-orders. Sometimes you want to gauge interest in a project before you put in the leg work and other times you just want to give yourself some leg room. Use this if you want to pre-sell products as well as offer same day sales.
Backup & Security Plugins
UpDraft Plus Backup/Restore
You can pretty much get away with missing out on almost all of these suggestions but this one not so much. Backing up your site is essential. You don’t ever want to find yourself in a position where you’ve lost all of your content and have no way of getting it back. Do yourself a favor and make sure this top WordPress plugin is on your must have list!
If you want extensive reports on hacking attempts, where they’re coming from and what loopholes you have on your site then this is the plugin for you. It’s comprehensive, shows real-time results, blocks known malicious entities and alerts you to needed updates.
This one is a bit techy but bear with me. Every time you create a new page, post etc. on your site your site then saves multiple revisions as well as your final draft. Those several copies take up space and this plugin allows you to put a cap on the number of revisions that are saved.
What do you think of my picks for the top WordPress plugins? If you’re a WordPress user which ones do you need in your life?