Hi there, so you have kick start your blog and have made your first post as I published here. Now you should get familiar with the WordPress essential plugins to have a smooth ride. However, checkout how to install wordpress plugin here.
First and foremost, you should not be here if you are not powering your blog with WordPress application. Also, you should be on your self hosted site not the free WordPress.
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It is most noteworthy to understand that each plugin use your web hosting resources. Therefore, you can not afford to activate unnecessary plugins. Also, do not activate multiple plugins doing the same work. This list of my WordPress Essential plugins will consider your website resources.
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Meanwhile, WordPress comes with 2 plugins by default. You can always delete one of them that bears “HELLO DOLLY”.
WordPress Essential Plugins by Functions
I will be listing the WordPress essential functions while i name the plugin I personally use for that function. Although. you should not do without the #1 and #5, but all are keys in your smooth ride.
1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Meeting up with Search Engine Optimization practices can be daunting but for the sake of plugin. I am listing it as my number because its best to start from the scratch.
The plugin I personally use for this purpose is YOAST SEO plugin. Aside helping you take care of technical aspects of your SEO, it also helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere. Yoast SEO is worth every penny even though the free version is enough for me. You can install this plugin remotely from WordPress repository.
2. SPAM COMMENTS
Trust me, the real headache for any website owner is nerdy spam comments or feedback. Fortunately, there are plugins that take care of blocking the spam comments.
The plugin I use for this purpose is AKISMET. This plugin checks your comments and contact form entries against their global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. You can either set it to allow you manually review the spam content or to automatically discard the spam contents. You can install this plugin remotely from WordPress repository.
3. Setting Featured Image
When you visit a blog homepage or the article listing page, the image that represent each article/post is what we call featured images or thumbnails. After writing an article, you have to manually select an image to set as featured image. If you wondering what happens when you forget to add featured; 1) it gives an unprofessional impression. 2) when your posts goes to your social networks automatically, then it will be missing the featured image, which might make it very less of an impact.
For this purpose the plugin below is created by me. It will help you set the featured image automatically. You will need to download it below and upload it to your site. Learn how to upload plugin here.
Automatically set first image as featured image ONLY if you have not set it manually.
Size: 1.19 KB
4. Creating Internal Link
Internal linking is pretty much important in writing quality content. This enables your article to pass juices onto each other. Its more like doing home networking of posts. But sometimes, it might become time consuming trying to locate the links. Fortunately, I made another plugin to make that happen using your posts tags. Its very important to note that your tags must also be existing in your posts. That is why you see links inside this post pointing to another page on my site.
AutoTag links your post tags to your post automatically. Thereby creating automatic internal links which helps in SEO.
Size: 0.89 KB
5. Website Caching
You should be very interested in the speed of your website. Hence the need for a cache plugin on this list of wordpress essential plugins. WordPress is built on PHP which have to speak to each other to render a page. Excessive load times can limit your traffic and lessen your blog’s overall potential. Cache plugin simply store pages as static html files temporarily, thus limit requests to your files.
The most complete WordPress plugin I know is W3 Total Cache. However, the challenge people face here is configuring it due to its complex nature. Fortunately, I have done the configuration for you in advance. You will simply upload my configuration backup after installing it.
This is a backup configuration file for W3 Total Cache for best optimized settings.
- Download this config file and unzip it on your device
- Install and activate ‘W3 Total Cache’ plugin
- Navigate to: PERFORMANCE > General Settings > Import/Export > Chose File > Upload
- OR copy and use this link after loggin into your blog –
“example.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=w3tc_general#settings” > Chose File > Upload
Size: 24.4 KB
My list of wordpress essential plugins above are not all you will need to run a successful blog. But these are very important plugins to have. Therefore, if your web designer happen to omit the plugins above, simply make it happen yourself like a boss.