“Which WordPress Plugins do you recommend?” is a question we hear a lot and with over 55,000 plugins available, selecting the right plugin can be quite a challenge. To make things a little easier, here is our list of WordPress plugins we consider essential for any WordPress installation.

Criteria for picking the right WordPress Plugin

If you are totally new to WordPress Plugins, here are a couple of things you should check before getting started:

  1. Updates – When was the last plugin update? Is the plugin regularly updated and therefore works with the latest versions of WordPress. If the last update was years ago, don’t even bother to install the plugin.
  2. Rating – The most obvious criteria, the higher the better. If a plugin has only 3 stars but you still want to use it, take a look at the user feedback and the reasons for a low rating.
  3. Usage – How often has the plugin been installed? A lot of installs do not only show the popularity but are also an indicator for continuous development.

Enough with the guidelines, let’s check out the WordPress Plugins we recommend!

1. Yoast Seo

WordPress Plugin Yoast SEO
When it comes to SEO for WordPress, there are not many Plugins that come close to Yoast SEO. It is a complete site optimization plugin, allowing you to change Titles, Meta Descriptions and SEO friendly URLs, add OpenGraph Data, XML sitemaps and check your content for readability and duplicate content. The free version of the Plugin offers more than enough for an average WordPress site.

Why we like it:

  • The free version includes a vast array of site optimization features that should be a part of any website

2. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache
Since speed plays a vital role in any site optimization process. W3 Total Cache is the perfect plugin to optimize the performance of your WordPress Blog. The standard Browser caching features that come with W3 Total Cache will make your site faster instantly. For more advanced usage, the plugin offers features like CDN Support, Database caching and Object caching. If those features sound to confusing, we recommend to check out WP Super Cache, which in our opinion is a little easier to use.

Why we like it

  • Default activation makes your site instantly faster
  • Great features like CDN Support, Database caching and Object caching for advanced usage

3. Akismet

Akismet
If it’s not from Monty Python, we hate Spam. If you are using WordPress own commenting system, then Akismet helps you a great deal to filter out Spam comments and reveal hidden links they might include. Alternatively you can also check out Disqus, which is a popular alternative although recent reviews gave the Plugin a poor rating.

Why we like it:

  • Gets rid of many Spam comments typically found when using WordPress own commenting system

4. Wordfence

Wordfence
When it comes to security, Wordfence is an excellent Plugin for your WordPress Blog. It scans your site for vulnerabilities, blocks malicious networks and monitors any changes that happen on your website. There is also paid version of the Plugin, but even the free version offers so much, that Wordfence is an easy choice when you want to improve the security of your website.

Why we like it

  • Powerful malware scanner and firewall
  • Tracks any changes made to files within WordPress

5. BackWPup

BackWPup
To give you a little peace of mind, you should back up your WordPress Site on a regular basis. BackWPup is free and easy to use plugin to do just that. The plugin supports remote backups and lets you schedule backups automatically.

Why we like it:

  • Plugin makes it easy to back up your WordPress site
  • Supports remote backups

6. Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar
A very popular plugin amongst content creators, marketers and basically everyone who writes a lot of content each week/month. The editorial calendar plugin makes it much easier to schedule, rearrange and edit content with a Google Calendar feel to it.

Why we like it;

  • Posts are displayed in a calendar view
  • Easy to manage busy content schedules
  • Rearrange Posts via Drag and Drop

7. GDPR

GDPR
Since the release of the General Data Protection Regulation, Site owners and especially content creators are going crazy on what you can and cannot do on your website. While the goal is to give users more power over what happens with their data, we have our own humble opinion on how this new law was implemented and quite frankly it would need another blog post for that.

However, if you want to be heading in the right direction, check out the GDPR plugin, although the plugin does not substitute for legal assistance, it helps a great deal to make your Blog more GDPR compliant. Speaking of which, you might want to take a look at Cookie Notice for GDPR, to solve your cookie notification problems!

Why we like it:

  • Helps you a great deal to get through the GDPR

8. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the easiest and by far most popular WordPress Plugin to create contact forms. Due to its popularity, most WordPress themes come with their own styling for Contact Form 7, which makes the integration into an existing design very easy.

Why we like it:

  • Very easy to create forms
  • Widely supported by popular WordPress themes
  • Easy integration via shortcode

9. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a must for knowing who is visiting and how visitors are using your site. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP displays all the necessary data right in your WordPress installation. This way you don’t have to leave your WordPress site. You can also control who sees what report and set permissions, which is a nice features if you are working with a team.

Why we like it:

  • Displays the most important Google Analytics data in WordPress

That concludes our list of WordPress Plugins we consider essential for any WordPress site. What are the plugins you cannot live with out? Let us know in the comments!