WordPress is perhaps one of the most preferred content management systems today. It is easy to use, comes free of cost and is a versatile system with lots of options to play around with.
Ever since WordPress was launched, it has grown its niche from being a mere blogging platform to becoming a full content management system.
The most significant advantage of WordPress is its plugins, which can add almost any functionality to your blog.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
Technically, a plugin is a piece of software. In simple words, it adds new functions and features to your website. WordPress plugins are very easy to install and manage. You can easily install or uninstall a plugin and choose the best plugins for your website depending on your requirement.
There are thousands of WordPress plugins created by independent developers. Most of them are pretty simple to work with.
Some Basic WordPress Plugins Every Blog Should Have
While there are thousands of WordPress plugins to choose from, there are a few essential WordPress plugins that are universal and are much needed for improving the basic functioning of any website.
Here’s a list of the most essential plugins every website should have.
Google Analytics+ (Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights)
One of the most important things that you want to do once you’ve set up your site is to track its performance. Google Analytics + plugin helps you easily monitor the analytics of your site. You can track visits to your site, page views, bounce rates, referrers and visit duration, and a lot more.
WP Forms Lite
If you want your readers to contact you via forms. This plugins helps you create a contact form, which can be used on your Contact Us Page.
This is another very powerful plugin for WordPress that takes care of all your SEO needs. It includes features like keyword support, meta robots plugin, XML sitemap, and other SEO generation tools. It is a complete SEO tool that helps you manage your search engine performance efficiently.
Affiliate Links Lite
It’s a plugin that cloaks your affiliate links. If you are monetizing your blog with affiliate programs, this might be particularly helpful. Another similar plugin is easy affiliate links, which we really like. We didn’t use it here because it didn’t work on this site for some reason.
Really Simple SSL
Google has now made SSL an important criteria in search engine ranking. Once you have an SSL installed for your blog, the easiest way to configure them without any technical knowledge is through the ‘Really Simple SSL’ plugin. The plugin does most of the work for you.
AddToAny Share Buttons
Your blog grows when people share your content. Social share buttons make it easy for your content to get shared. There are several social share buttons out there. We use AddToAny, while SumoMe and ShareThis are also popular options.
Disqus [Or any other commenting plugin]
A blog is not just content but a community. Comments are an important part of this community. I know several blogs that have disabled their comments section, but that’s more an exception than the norm. Although WordPress has a default comments section, it’s not very exciting. So you might want to replace it with something exciting, we’ve enjoyed Disqus on our other blogs. It’s a very robust plugin, we took it off on this blog primarily because it takes too long to load.
We now use CommentsLuv, we love it so far. And the best part of it is that whenever someone comments, it gets posted along with a link to their latest post.
Widget Options by Phpbits Creative Studio
The widget options plugin helps you control exactly where you’d like your widgets to be seen, or not be seen.
Akismet is an official WordPress plugin that prevents spam comments on your site. This is especially useful if you have an active blog page on your website. Akismet helps reduce the several spammy comments that you might repeatedly get on your blog.
If you want access to additional WordPress features, you can install Jetpack on your website. It allows you to enjoy WordPress.com services like Site stats, Proofreading, BuddyPress, Subscriptions and many others. It also helps you to monitor your site efficiently.
Google XML Sitemaps
One of the best ways to improve your search engine visibility is by submitting a sitemap. All you have to do is install the Google XML Sitemap, generate your sitemap, and submit it to Google’s Webmaster Tool. The plugin auto updates and notifies all the major search engines of anything new that you post on your website.
An essential criteria that Google uses to rank websites is the website speed. WP Supercache is a high quality, and popular speed enhancing tool. It offers features like site cache, preloading files, and server load reduction that enable your website to load faster, and perform better. If you want your website to work faster, WP Supercache is an essential plugin to install.
If you want to add a code in the header or footer or place an HTML text on every single post or page; this plugin is useful in doing so.
A plugin that helps you manage ads. It has 64 ad blocks, ad rotation, ad impression and click tracking, country level geo-targeting and much more.
Sometimes we modify posts and may want to redirect our older post URL to the newer ones. Redirection happens some time or the other. This plugin allows you to redirect URLs directly from your WordPress dashboard.
If you would want a pretty little author box at the end of your blog posts where you have the option to add website and social media links to author resources, this might be the plugin for you. We use this on our website, check them out at the end of this post.
WP Date Remover (Optional)
If you run a blog with evergreen content, you may want to remove the date from your blog posts. The verdict is still out there on whether you should or shouldn’t remove the date from your posts.
Classic Editor (Optional)
When WordPress replaced their classic editor with the Gutenberg Editor, it was perhaps one of their most unpopular decisions. Although the Gutenberg Editor received a lot of negative feedback, they still went ahead with their decision of replacing the classic editor. The Gutenberg Editor gives users the flexibility of blocks, however, if you are not used to it, it can make you uncomfortable.
Here’s an article if you want to figure out how to install a plugin.