Are you starting up a new WordPress blog and not sure where to start? This post goes over the 9 must have WordPress plugins to get you started on your blog ASAP. These are the exact plugins that we use on our site and all the reasons why.
If you are just starting out with your WordPress blog or just looking to update your plugins to the latest and greatest, this post is perfect for you. I remember being so overwhelmed by setting up our blog but once I got my design and plugins set up I don’t really have to touch that part of the blog anymore!
We’ll talk about the best plugins for design, the best plugins for security, the best plugins for accessibility, and more.
These are the exact plugins we have on our website and all the ways we use them.
This post is all about the WordPress Plugins must have.
WORDPRESS PLUGINS MUST HAVE:
1. ELEMENTOR PRO
First of all, I love Elementor. I am sure there are other plugins that may be able to perform similar tasks or you can of course code everything if you are so skilled. However, I will likely never deviate from Elementor.
This plugin allows you to fully customize your WordPress website. It is set up in an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop way. This means that there is no coding if you don’t want to. What you see as you edit, is what you get.
They have a free version that comes with so many features, you could easily build a full website with a great theme. We loved the features so much with the free version, we decided to upgrade to the Pro ($49 per year for one website) and it was well worth it for us.
Here are the features I use the most with Elementor Pro:
- Single Page Templates for Blog Posts
- Templates for Portfolios
- Header & Footer design
- Countless Blocks (Posts, Gallery, Media Carousel)
- Popup Design (for Cookies & Newsletter)
- Customer Service
The real winner for me is customer service. They are absolutely stellar. Anytime I get stuck on something, I am able to look through their vast archive of articles and videos to show me how to do something, and 9 times out of 10 that helps. But for one of the times I am still stuck, (because like I said, I am not fluent in code or technical jargon) I simply send my question into customer service. They respond promptly and with so much detail it blows me away. They walk me through a few options of what to do, step by step where to go, and sometimes will even send me the exact code to copy and paste to fix my problem. It is over the top impressive.
> Try out Elementor Pro!
2. Yoast SEO
This is one of our most used plugins. We utilize it with every blog article we write and post. At the bottom of each post, it provides a Readability Analysis and an SEO Analysis and score. We follow these to a tee and never post a new blog post without having a green score in both. They detail exactly how to fix your score and even highlight sentences that need fixing for certain criteria.
We also use this plugin for adding our Pinterest Website verification. It allows you to customize how your search results show up (to a certain degree). You can add a meta description and customize your tab appearance. There are quite a few features in Yoast that we haven’t explored yet but it really does add great customization to your overall site.
> Download the free Yoast SEO plugin!
3. Updraftplus – Backup/Restore
This is one of the most crucial apps we have. UpdraftPlus allows us to fully back up our entire site automatically. You can set the time period on when the backups will happen (we have them set to weekly as that is how often we add posts to the site) and how many it will keep at a time (we have it set to 4). This takes the responsibility off your plate and you can trust that everything will be backed up automatically. If anything ever happens to your site, you have as many backups as you would like right at your fingertips.
We are also able to save our backups wherever you would like. We chose Google Drive so we always have access and they are not sitting on a dead computer somewhere. And with the ability to only keep 4 at a time, we are not taking up our entire storage limit.
We could not imagine what we would do if something happened to our site and we didn’t have backups. I would, for sure, cry. A lot.
> Download the Updraftplus plugin!
4. Wordfence Security
Yet, another super important plugin to have. It’s not glamorous by any means but helps keep your site safe so you don’t have to use those backups. Wordfence looks for malware by scanning your entire site, checking on your server, and your site’s online reputation. It also provides brute force protection by blocking password guessing attacks and manages your firewall protection as well.
Luckily, we have not had any issues with attacks on our site. But Wordfence always keeps updated. Wordfence emails us each time there is an Admin login to our site to ensure it is always us. They give us weekly updates on the number of failed logins, blocked attacks, and all recently modified files. This helps give us a summary of our protection and we can spot any unusual activity. Not only does this keep the site safe for you and your information but also for your users and clients you are trusting you with their information.
>> Download the Wordfence Security plugin!
5. Accessibility by UserWay
This plugin adds a toolbar to every page of your site allowing the page to become more accessible to all users regardless of disability. It, of course, does not do all the work for you as there is so much more needed to make your site fully accessible. However, this plugin does by adding a toolbar to help with contrast issues, font sizes, link location, etc.
Website accessibility is definitely going to become a huge focus in the coming years just as we saw physical accessibility become a huge focus a few years ago. It may seem easy to not do this but someone can easily come to your site and find that it is not accessible and not be able to use the site, buy your products, or worse: SUE you! We know a local business owner that was sued for not having an accessible site and now owes thousands of dollars to the customer.
Again this plugin is not an end-all, be-all, but can set you up in the right direction.
>> Download the Accessibility by UserWay plugin!
6. One-Click Accessibility
We talked about accessibility earlier with the toolbar you can add to all pages through Accessibility by UserWay. This also helps your accessibility with some site-wide settings. Again not bulletproof, but certainly helpful for the basics. We have the “Skip to Content Link,” “Add landmark roles to all links,” and “Site-wide Accessibility” all enabled.
One of the most common issues affecting online users is keyboard accessibility. Ensuring your site can be fully navigated without a mouse and only a keyboard is key. You can add a “Skip to Content” function that will allow users to tab through all your links and skip the top menu or sidebar if they wanted to.
>> Download the One Click Accessibility plugin!
7. Broken Link Checker
Having broken links on your site makes for a poor user experience and could cost you views or even sales! Having a plugin automatically checks your site at all times saves you from having to manually check every link.
Links can become broken ages after posting something if someone deletes a page, changes where it’s located on their site, or simply changes the URL. This is especially helpful for your older posts that you don’t often check on.
This has been a lifesaver for us to ensure our user experience is as great as it can be. If they find a broken link, they send you an email telling you what link it is and where it is located. This way you can easily pop into the post or page, edit it quickly, and be on your way.
> Download the Broken Link Checker plugin!
8. Envato Elements
Another great thing about Elementor is that you can purchase more plugins to add on more features to Elementor. Say you still can’t get a menu item quite right on your page or your popup needs a little more pizazz that you can’t put together, you can find tons of templates or new blocks in other plugins.
The one I have used the most is the free version of Envato Elements. I actually found a template that I liked as a foundation for our site and customized it from there rather than starting from scratch. This was extremely helpful when starting out since I had no experience designing websites.
Envato Elements has a paid version for templates and tons of other features that are not even related to WordPress. They can help with YouTube End Screens, Transitions, and even PowerPoint slides.
> Download the Envato Elements plugin!
9. Feed Them Social
We use this plugin specifically for adding our Instagram feed to our footer. The free version does just enough for us for now that we have not needed to upgrade. We love the look of adding a constantly updated feed on our website and this allows us to add it into our footer with very little work.
You are also able to integrate feeds from YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. We are working on using this to add playlists to our destinations pages.
>> Download the Feed Them Social plugin!