There are a few tens of thousands of plugins available for WordPress which makes figuring out the essential ones a difficult task to say the least. The good news is you only need a handful of plugins to optimize your site. The essential areas that are worth focusing on include email marketing, content, security, and optimization. There is a few WordPress plugin must haves for each category and a few good reasons why each plugin might be good for your website.
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Email Marketing Plugin
Email marketing is a cheap and effective modern advertising solution for your online business. There are a few plugins to make your marketing efforts more effective, quicker and easier in the long-term.
This email marketing plugin is made specifically to track leads to your website. It details visitor’s actions and is a great resource for a website owner who wants to understand his audience better. It a detailed program that even lets you know how many subscribers each opt-in form brought in.
Rapidology is a perfect resource for the business owner who wants maximum control over his email marketing campaign. The plugin allows for multiple opt-in forms in a variety of formats. These include widgets, inlines, slide-ins, pop-ups and more. Its split-testable feature means that you get to choose which opt-in form to integrate with your preferred email delivery service. The best part is it’s free.
Even the best run email marketing campaign is useless if you don’t have good content that offers real value to the visitor. There is a few WordPress plugin must haves to help you manage your content better.
This plugin replaces the default plugin comment section with the Disqus version. The advantage here is Diqus looks better than the default option and is also much easier to use on both ends.
This plugin from SiteOrigin is extremely efficient and useful for crafting page layouts and posts. The winning feature is its drag-and-drop content builder shaving off precious minutes or hours when updating your content. It is definitely one of the best content plugins that you can get for free.
WordPress default installation doesn’t come with the classic HTML tables. TablePress solves this problem. It is free, functional and easy to use and is at least worth considering for your site.
Most business owners don’t need to be told about cyber security and the risks that hackers pose to a site or blog. The reality is investing in security is not a priority especially for small business owners working on tight budgets. Fortunately, there is a few security WordPress plugin must haves to help on this front.
WordFence security is a game changer because it allows virtually anyone to enjoy enterprise-level security without the matching cost. It is a free plugin to protect your website from hackers. It includes real-time updates and alerts for potential threats and is definitely worth having.
This plugin does exactly what it sounds like; it backs up your WordPress to your Dropbox account automatically. This guarantees that you can always recover your website even in a worst case scenario. It backs up daily.
This is an auditing and malware scanner that helps to get that extra level of security you need for your website. It automatically searches for malware and other potential security threats. It also has a variety of settings to give you ultimate control over your website security.
Lastly, there is no getting around SEO if you want your website or blog to rank high in search engine results. As with the other plugins suggested here, you don’t need necessarily need a huge budget to optimize your site. There are a few plugins worth considering for this purpose.
This plugin offers a simple solution to the common problem of visitors getting redirected to a missing URL. The plugin helps to easily redirect users to an existing page and solving the problem of 404 pages as you work on the missing URL.
Yet another optimization WordPress plugin must haves is the Yoast SEO. It ranks top 3 in the most widely used WordPress plugins of all time and for good reason. It offers some of the best functionality you could ever wish for in an optimization plugin and is very easy to set up. It is highly recommended for anyone who wants to optimize his site quickly, easily and cheaply.
It is an open secret that Google penalizes for broken links. Never lose out on high rankings because of faulty links courtesy of Broken Link Checker. The plugin checks your comments, pages, and posts for broken links so you are always on top of your site’s functionality and performance.
Bonus: Social Media Plugins
It is impossible to ignore the importance of social media in reference to websites and blogs. There are a few useful plugins to help leverage the power of social media.
This plugin helps to keep track of all your social media posts regardless of the platform and gives feedback on your performance for each site. The dashboard displays the numbers of likes, shares, and other important metrics so you are always aware of which posts or sites are working well and which ones need to be improved.
The aptly named website does exactly what it promises. It ensures that none of your posts go stale and is a great way to stay interactive on social media. The plugin randomly picks old posts from the archives and shares them on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. All you need to do is set how often you want it to post and let it do its job.
EXTRA BONUS: The one you really need
These are just some of the notable WordPress plugin must haves that make the biggest impact on your website or blog’s performance and optimization. The best part is these plugins don’t require any coding knowledge or experience. Most importantly, they are cost effective and allow you to compete favorably with bigger businesses with much larger budgets.