The Most Useful WordPress Plugins That You Need

What Are The Most Useful WordPress Plugins That You Need On Your Blog?




Plugins are one of the greatest benefits of using WordPress for your blog.  But they can also cause you serious headaches. Install too many plugins, and you run the risk of hitting technical glitches and slowing your blog down, which is bad news for you and your readers. On the other hand, ignoring certain plugins means missing out on features that could seriously accelerate the success of your blog.



[tweet_box design=”default”]Finding the perfect balance is the key to making WordPress work for you. So only install plugins that solve real problems for you or your readers.  Then you can finally stop worrying about plugins and focus on what matters most – your readers[/tweet_box]



“If you don’t install a plugin from each of the following categories then you will put the long-term success of your blog in jeopardy”……..says Adam Connell, (the founder of Blogging Wizard )




 Start with the recommended plugins from each of these 7 categories to make sure you’ve covered the essentials:








#1 – Performance – Delight Your Readers with Quick-Loading Content

  • The time your blog takes to load is a big deal.
  • If it feels sluggish, readers get frustrated and they’re far more likely to bounce away.
  • Also, Google is known to penalize poorly performing sites, which means lower search rankings.
  • With a faster-loading blog, your readers get a better experience and Google stays happy.
  • What is the recommended plugin?
  • W3 Total Cache is an efficient and popular plugin that’s free to download.
  • It has the capability to use various types of caching and also integrates with various content delivery networks (CDNs) which can improve performance and reliability by adding off-site caching.


#2 –  Security – Lock Down Your Blog to Keep the Hackers Out

  • As bloggers, we put our hearts and souls into our blogs.
  • Unfortunately some people are hell-bent on trashing our hard work.
  • You see, one of the few disadvantages of choosing WordPress for your blog is that its vulnerabilities are well-known to hackers. And being so popular, WordPress offers them millions of potential targets.
  • Fortunately certain plugins can make minor changes to your WordPress installation that will protect against the most common security threats.
  • And while this won’t stop the savviest hackers, you’ll rest easier knowing your site is more secure.
  • What is the recommended plugin?
  • iThemes Security has a free version that gives you a good amount of protection and peace of mind right out of the box. (It was formerly known as “Better WP Security,” but has since been bought by iThemes which has sped up development.)
  • iThemes also has its own “Brute Force Protection Network,” meaning users who have tried to hack other sites will be blocked from accessing yours. But you do need to activate this in the settings.


#3 – Backups – Insure Your Blog Against Mistakes and Disasters

  • Backups are your safety net when things go wrong.
  • If your site gets hacked, your web host somehow loses all your data or you accidentally delete your own blog (yes, it happens), a recent backup will save the day.
  • What is the recommended plugin?
  • UpdraftPlus is a powerful plugin which boasts over 600,000 active installs – and it’s free.
  • The plugin has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on the WordPress plugin repository and is actively supported by its developers – which is awesome considering it doesn’t cost anything.
  • Backups can be stored in the cloud using services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Amazon Cloud as well as being transferred via email and FTP.
  • Importantly, UpdraftPlus will not just back up your WordPress database (i.e., your posts, comments, configuration, etc.) but all of your files too (i.e., your theme, plugins, images, etc.).
  • BackWPup is another popular free plugin you can find in the WordPress plugin repository.



#4 – Broken Links – Seamlessly Redirect Your Readers When Content Moves

  • Sometimes as a blogger you need to change the URL of one of your posts or pages – for example, to optimize your content for SEO.
  • So, you need to make sure that your blog automatically redirects anyone who tries to access the old URL to the new URL.
  • This can be achieved with a plugin or by delving into some code….Deciding which method to use is a trade-off.
  • Using a plugin is quicker and easier but makes your web server work harder.
  • On the other hand, not everyone is comfortable delving into code – especially when making a tiny error in the file you have to edit could bring down your whole blog!
  • What is the recommended plugin?
  • Redirection, which is free to download from the WordPress plugin repository.
  • This plugin allows you to manually add “redirects” for pages whose URLs have permanently changed.
  • The mechanism is totally search engine-friendly so you remove the risk of being penalized.
  • The Redirection plugin also supports “404 monitoring,” which means it tracks requests for URLs that don’t exist.


#5 –  SEO – Make Tweaks to Guarantee that Google Loves Your Blog

  • A purpose-built plugin will enable you to customize on-page elements such as page titles and meta descriptions, which will affect how your content appears in search results (and that can have a big impact on click-throughs).
  • It will also handle sitemaps (which make it easier for search engines to crawl your content) and give you precise control over which posts and pages will be indexed by Google.
  • An SEO plugin will do all of these things and more.
  • What is the recommended plugin?
  • Yoast SEO and while Yoast does have a premium version, you can do almost everything you need with the free version.
  • In fact it does everything described above and has additional features, for instance making it easy to add social metadata for Facebook and Twitter.
  • This means you can set network-specific titles, descriptions and featured images, chosen to appeal to that specific audience.


#6 – Social Sharing – Give Readers the Tools to Spread Your Content

  • You want to get more traffic and grow your audience, right?
  • One of the easiest ways to do this is to make your content easy for readers to share. And of course that means adding social sharing buttons.
  • What is the recommended plugin?
  • Social Warfare – Not only do its sharing buttons look super-slick, but it’s built with performance in mind so its behavior is slick too.
  • The plugin allows you to add “Click to Tweet” boxes to your content – another way to encourage social sharing.
  • The only downside to this plugin is that it isn’t free, but it only costs around $25/year.
  • SumoMe Share – an alternative (this is a free plugin) SumoMe has a suite of apps focused on helping you drive more traffic to your blog.




#7 – List-Building – Turn Casual Visitors into Loyal Subscribers

  • Regardless of your topic, if you want to grow your blog, you need to build an email list.
  • Social media can help you build an audience, but nothing draws people back to your blog quite like an email list.
  • You need a tool that makes it easy to add opt-in forms to your site, optimize them using split testing and generate reports that show your progress.
  • What is the recommended plugin?
  • Thrive Leads – You get access to a large number of opt-in form templates and a detailed visual editor, so you can customize existing templates or create your own forms from scratch.
  • It supports various opt-in form types including sidebars, popovers, widgets, in-content, notification bars, scroll boxes, scroll mats and more.
  • And you can make links or images that display a popover when they’re clicked – this works great for adding content upgrades.
  • Thrive Leads is a premium plugin with prices starting from $67. For that price you get one year of support and unlimited updates.
  • The alternative is: SumoMe – Aside from its Share app, the SumoMe plugin also has some apps related to list-building:
  • List Builder does popovers,
  • Scroll Box adds a form that appears as users scroll down the page and
  • Smart Bar adds a notification bar above or below your content.
  • Most recently, Welcome Mat was added which displays a full-screen call to action.



So, before you go ahead and install yet another plugin, here are some questions to consider:

Is the plugin genuinely valuable?

Is the plugin regularly updated?

Is the pricing model sustainable?

Where will you test the plugin?



Plugins are one of the greatest benefits of using WordPress for your blog – and the possibilities are almost endless.  So remember to only install plugins that solve real problems for you or your readers and try to resist passing trends.



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To Your Success,
Joan Harrington

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14 thoughts on “The Most Useful WordPress Plugins That You Need

  1. Interesting list of plugins you got there. When it comes to security, as a administrator of several dozen WP sites, I highly recommend WordFence plugin over iThemes and most other security plugins (with exception to several excellent premium security plugins that are available). However, the most important point is to HAVE a security plugin.

    For broken or redirected link checks, I use Broken Link Checker also found in the WP plugin directory for free. I’m not familiar with Redirection. But Broken Link Checker also allows you to make “on the fly” changes to links and redirects, plus allows you to “unlink” them if necessary without causing 404s.

    Overall, some really great tips you gave about plugins here Joan! I would add that it is best to keep the amount of plugins to a minimum (load time, compatibility issues, etc) when possible. Also there are some excellent robust themes that have most all these features built in (not requiring all those plugins) that already integrate well with those features. 🙂

    • Thanks Michel,
      Appreciate your recommendations as well! I would agree, need to keep the amount of plugins to a minimum 🙂 Only use the ones you really need!

  2. Thanks for an interesting post. I suspect I’ll be adding a plugin or two as a result of reading it.

    Like Michael I use Wordfence and Broken Link Checker. However I definitely want to have a look at UpdraftPlus. I apparently have a backup being made, but I thought that once before until I needed it!


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