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The First 10 Plugins You Should Add to Your WordPress Site

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Once you've built your website, which WordPress plugins should be first on your list? From contact forms to Google Analytics to security, we've rounded up the most essential plugins for your site. 

Congratulations! You just built your website.

If you’re like most website owners, chances are you built it with WordPress. WordPress powers a full third of the websites that are live today.

The beauty of WordPress is the wealth of plugins it offers—both free and paid—to empower you to trick out your website with all the custom functionality you want.

10 Plugins Every WordPress Site Needs

Every website is unique, but there are a handful of features every website needs—regardless of whether you’re running an eCommerce site, writing a blog, or hosting a business website.

You’ve launched your website, and you’ve published your content and pages. Now it’s time to supercharge your website performance with plugins.

Here are the first ten plugins you need to install after launching your WordPress website. 

1. Contact Form Plugin: WPForms

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

You likely have a contact page on your website, where you list out your phone, address, and email. 

Wouldn’t life be a lot easier if you gave visitors a simple form to fill out, so you could tell them the things you want to know (like their contact information and why they’re contacting you)?

This is where a contact form plugin comes in handy. Our favorite is WPForms

This drag-and-drop builder makes it easy to create custom forms for your website, but it stands out for its rich analytics and third-party integrations. You can subscribe people to your email newsletter, accept job applications, and even collect payments.

Price: Free, or $39.50 to $299.50 per year. 

You can get started with WPForms Lite, a freemium version of the plugin that offers most of the basic functionality, or you can upgrade to the Premium version for more features.

2. Social Media Plugin: Shared Counts

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

Social proof refers to the idea that people are more likely to do something if it looks like other people do it. For websites, social proof can range from customer reviews and testimonials to logos of the blogs and publications you’ve been mentioned on.

For an easy way to show off social proof on your WordPress website, install a simple social sharing plugin like Shared Counts. Shared Counts will install a bar of social media sharing buttons on your web page, along with a total of how many people have already shared the page. This is a great feature to use on any blog pages you want to encourage your visitors to share. 

We love this WordPress social media plugin because it’s free and straightforward in its functionality. You can customize the look of the bar, and decide which social networks appear. 

But you may find you outgrow the basic functionality of this plugin. If this sounds like you, check out the Instagram Feed plugin to embed your Instagram photos on your site, or Easy Social Share Buttons on CodeCanyon to unlock analytics and more designs.

Price: Free

3. SEO Plugin: Yoast SEO

Hiring a SEO professional can get expensive. You can establish a solid SEO foundation for your website much faster—an for a lot cheaper— with a comprehensive WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO.

Yoast has managed to boil down many of the best practices of SEO into an intuitive, easy-to-use plugin. With Yoast, you can:

  • Set up your XML sitemap so Google can easily crawl your web pages 
  • Set up schema to increase your visibility in search
  • Add title tags and meta descriptions for all of your pages
  • Manage the technical aspects of SEO, like canonical URLs 
  • Integrate with Google Search Console to fix errors as needed

Here’s the best part: Since you’re using a WordPress plugin, you can do all of this without having to touch a line of code.

Price: Free, or $89 per site. 

The features provided by the free version of Yoast are more than generous, although you can upgrade to the Premium version for additional analytics, URL redirects, and dedicated support. Save with these Yoast promo codes.

4. Image Optimization Plugin: Smush

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

Speaking of SEO, one of the technical aspects most people don’t know about is the importance of site speed. In fact, it’s so important that Google came out and told us it was a ranking factor. 

For many sites, optimizing your images can make a huge impact on the speed of your website. Large, multiple megabyte images increase the size of your page, so it takes longer to load in your visitor’s web browser. 

Compress your images, and your page loads faster—providing a better experience for users and search engines alike. 

Don't know how to compress your images? No worries. You can let the Smush plugin do it for you. 

Using web design best practices, this tool will automatically resize, optimize, and compress all of your images for fast-loading while maintaining their good looks. All you have to do is push a button. Extra features include lazy loading, lossless compression, and bulk smush (for up to 50 images at a time). And if you’re wondering why lazy loading matters…here’s a comprehensive guide to lazy loading that shows you how to easily lazy load images in WordPress.

Price: Free.

WPMU DEV, the developers of this plugin, are behind many other popular WordPress plugins. Check them out and save with these WPMU DEV promo codes.

5. Site Performance Plugin: W3 Total Cache

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

Just as image optimization can work wonders for your site performance and load times, so can caching. 

What’s caching, you ask? Basically, when you have caching set up, you instruct the visitor’s browser to store some of your site data (like your CSS files, logos, and other standard data) in the cache, so it loads faster the next time they visit. 

This sounds technical, but it doesn’t have to be—as long as you have the right plugin. W3 Total Cache is the most popular caching plugin for WordPress. Beyond different caching options (page, database, object, and browser), you can also use it to minify and compress your HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files—for up to 80% savings in bandwidth. (Translation: your site will load even faster.) 

If you try W3 Total Cache and don’t love how it works, WP Super Cache is another popular option.

Price: Free

6. eCommerce Plugin: WooCommerce

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

Plan to sell products with your WordPress website? You need WooCommerce.

Think beyond online stores here. If you plan to sell anything on your website (like blog and fan merch), you need an eCommerce plugin. 

Technically, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, but to call it a plugin feels like an understatement. This is truly a eCommerce platform in itself, with plenty of extensions you can install to develop your online store functionality. Extensions are basically WooCommerce’s version of WordPress plugins, just developed specifically for WooCommerce. 

With WooCommerce, you can build out a few product pages orset up everything you need for a full-fledged online store, like payment processing, shipping and tax, wish lists, promo codes, and more. It also includes detailed analytics that allow you to track orders by date and customer. 

Price: Free. While WooCommerce itself is free, you’ll probably end up buying a few of their premium extensions. When you do, save with these WooCommerce promo codes.

7. Google Analytics Plugin: MonsterInsights

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

Having a website is great and all, but it’s much more fun when you can see just how great it’s doing. You’ll need a solid Google Analytics plugin for that.

Google Analytics provides you with all the insights you’re dying to know about your WordPress site, such as: 

  • What are your most popular pages
  • Where in the world, and from what websites, are your visitors are coming from?
  • How much time do they spend browsing on your site?

You can manually set up Google Analytics separately, but it’s much easier to install and bring Google Analytics in to your WordPress dashboard with a WordPress analytics plugin like MonsterInsights.

Beyond integrating with Google Analytics, MonsterInsights provides additional guidance and tools for optimizing your traffic to bring in more visits, email subscribers, and sales. The plugin also integrates with Google Ads, so you can track your PPC performance within WordPress as well.

Price: Free, or $99 to $399 per year. Upgrade to the Premium version to enjoy features like enhanced analytics, outbound link tracking, and A/B testing. 

8. Link Maintenance Plugin: Broken Link Checker and Redirection

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

When you first launch your website, there are only so many pages to go with it. You have your home, about, and contact pages, and maybe some product or service pages. Perhaps you set up your blog, with a few intro articles seeded in.

Today, things seem manageable. With time, however, things change. You sell new products, and discontinue others. Your blog takes off, with guest contributors and regular writers. Before you know it, you have a bunch of pages on your site that you’ve deleted (accidentally or not) and long forgotten about.

Broken links are terrible for your SEO, and they’re even more frustrating for users. No one likes to click on a page only to be presented with a 404 error telling them it couldn’t find what they were looking for. 

With the WordPress Broken Link Checker plugin, you’ll be notified anytime a broken link displays on your site, so you can fix it quickly.

Not so fast, though. Some of those dead pages may have built up backlinks or traffic that you don’t want to go to waste. Good news: you can set up a redirect from the broken page to the new one with the Redirection plugin for WordPress.

Price: Both of these plugins are free.

9. Site Backup Plugin: UpdraftPlus

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

You put your heart and soul into your website. You’d be crushed if you lost it. 

Sadly, experts suspect about 30,000 websites are hacked every single day. What if yours was next?

Well, if you used a backup plugin for your site, you could get it back up and running fairly quickly. A WordPress plugin manually or automatically backups your website on a regular basis, so you always have a copy of it. That way, if you ever need to restore your site—or if you ever decide to migrate it to a new web host or domain—you’ll have a copy ready to go.

The UpdraftPlus plugin allows you to set up regular scheduled backups for your WordPress site, which are stored in a cloud storage provider of your choice, like Dropbox or Google Drive. 

Price: Free, or $42 to $195 yearly. 

Upgrade to the Premium version of UpdraftPlus, and you’ll be able to choose from a larger selection of cloud storage providers, as well as unlock additional functionality like incremental backups (which can be particularly useful for site redesigns). Save with these UpdraftPlus promo codes.

10. Security Plugin: Sucuri and Akismet

the first 10 plugins you should add to your wordpress site

Want to prevent having to deal with a hackers in the first place? Protect it from the start with a WordPress security plugin. 

We recommend two plugins for securing your WordPress website: Sucuri and Akismet. With Sucuri, you’ll enjoy firewall protection that blocks DDoS and brute force attacks, and various forms of malware. You’ll also get to see detailed info, such as IP addresses and usernames, for the people behind these attacks. 

Price: Free. The Sucuri plugin for WordPress is free, although you can contact the company for enhanced website security solutions. Save with these Sucuri promo codes.

Sucuri takes a broad approach to security, while Akismet has a much narrower focus: battling comment and contact form spam. 

Akismet automatically filters out spam commenters and any form submissions that might contain malicious content. You can also mass-delete spam content to free up space for your site. This plugin is essential if you have any type of site where you allow for a lot of user-generated content, such as in your blog comments, product reviews, or member forum replies. 

Price: Free, or $5 to $50. Akismet’s Premium plans include dedicated support and anti-spam protection for enterprise sites.

Whichever plugins you choose, you can always get the latest WordPress plugin promo codes from Knoji.

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Amelia Willson
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