There are literally 100’s of 1000’s of plugins you can install when you first set up WordPress. From SEO to photo gallery plugins to How you do you know which ones you actually need? Well, my friend, that’s where I step in. In this post, you will learn exactly what WordPress plugins you need to install when you are first setting up your website. So stop wading through the thousands of plugins and read on to find out which ones you actually need.
Haven’t started your blog or website yet? Sweet as, just check out how to start your blog from scratch right here.
The Top 9 WordPress Plugins You Need To Install ASAP
Yoast SEO is the FIRST WordPress plugin you should install when you are getting your website up and running. It is an all in one plugin that will help you on your way to SEO genius (insert evil laugh here). It is super easy to use and not rated 5-stars for nothin’.
The plugin has content and SEO analysis included at the bottom of each post or page you edit, this will help you improve your content for readability and SEO as you go. Enter your keyword and it’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to improve the SEO of your content. Handy huh? The snippet preview allows you to see how you post or page will look in search results and many more features. Plus, Yoast SEO will take care of XML Sitemaps so you don’t have to (who has time for that nonsense?). If you upgrade to premium version you get the added benefits of support, multiple keywords and other features.
Yoast SEO is easy to find on your dashboard, just keep on a scrollin’ down your admin homepage until you stumble across it. You can also find it in your top bar, it’s that little Y in a box. It can even be found on the sidebar of your dashboard panel, again it is the little Y in a box, this time it has SEO written beside it. There you can change your settings and configure your account. Make sure you do this straight away. It is nice and easy, all you need to do is follow the steps on the screen and you are done. Just like a done thing.
Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights
Google Analytics for WordPress by Monster Insights is a complete Google Analytics plugin. You can see exactly who is visiting your site, where they are coming from and many more other useful insights that you can take advantage of. Add e-commerce analytics quickly and easily.
You need to have Google Analytics set up to use this plugin. Luckily for you, I have just the post that will help you step by step install Google Analytics (insert thumbs up here).
Pop your stalker hat on and see:
- Real-Time Stats
- Universal Tracking
- Ads Tracking
- E-commerce Tracking
- Events Tracking
- File Download Tracking
- Link Tracking
- Author Tracking
- Referral Tracking
- Popular Post Tracking
You can pull your stalker hat down even further and see what times people are visiting your site, what country they are coming from, which type of device they are using and much more.
Askimet Anti-Spam checks all your comments and contact form submissions for spam, this is handy if you are expecting to be a Blogging Superstar (which you WILL be) and don’t have time to manually approve each and every comment you will be getting. ‘coz let’s face it, you have more important things to be doing than checking for spam. All the comments that make it through the check will be in your comments admin section awaitin’ for you to reply or approve.
Another cool thing that Askimet does is block malicious login attempts, you can be sure that your site is nice, safe and hacker free.
Editorial Calendar is one of my favourite plugins. I’m a planner-nerd. I like to see the monthly spread of posts right in front of me all in one place and this plugin does just that. Quickly drag and drop your drafts onto the day you want to schedule them for and plan out your month with ease. You can move the posts around, change their status from draft to scheduled easily and manage posts from multiple authors. Easy peasy, just like lemon squeezy.
To find the editorial calendar after you have installed it click Posts on your dashboard -> calendar. You can then add posts, drag and drop to rearrange your calendar, quick edit posts, schedule posts and easily find the post you are looking for. Just like lemon squeezy.
Jetpack is another plugin you need to activate ASAP. This handy plugin helps you with website creation, marketing and security. Choose from hundreds of free themes and customise your site with ease. Site stats and analytics are integrated so you can check out how many peeps are visiting your fabulous site. Automated social media (publish on your social media accounts when you publish your post or page) is included annnd you can schedule your posts in advance, all you need to do is press publish and forget about it until The Big Day.
PayPal payment buttons and an advertising program that includes AdSense, Facebook Ads, Amazon and more, start monetising your site straight away are incorporated in Jetpack. Security features include spam filtering, brute force attack protection and daily or real-time backups of your site. Plus you get loads of support from WordPress experts. That’s always handy.
Jetpack is easy to use, all of the customisation features are already included in your customisation admin panel. Click Appearance on your dashboard -> Customize -> Widgets -> the area you want to add your widget to (sidebar etc) then scroll down to find widgets such as blog subscribers, display recent posts, Facebook Page plugin, countdown timers and much more. Add them and have a play and see what you can find.
I use Elementor as my page builder, there are other ones you can use but I find this one easy to use and like the layout of the dashboard. You should always install a page builder so that you have further control over the customisation of your site. Standing out and making a great first impression is hard when there are so many people are using the same themes and layouts. Using a page builder allows you to put your own spin on your theme and site.
Elementor allows you to create global templates that you can set so that all your pages look the same. Being consistent is key when you are creating your brand. However, his plugin does have a bit of a learning curve but once you are at the top of the curve (or even kind of halfway), creating your layouts is as easy as drag and drop. The live editing allows to see your page change and grow as you edit. No need to keep pressing that preview button, just edit as you go. If you don’t like the changes you made, hit the undo button and try again.
The template library enables you to choose from pre-made templates which are easily customisable. Just insert your own photos, colours, sizes, fonts and text to add your own brand of magic. You can even create landing pages and coming soon pages, just remove the header area and you have yourself a blank canvas. Boom!
Shareaholic is the social sharing plugin I use but SumoMe is another popular choice. I use Shareaholic as it is easy to use, I can customise it to my own needs and it is simple to use. Just head to the Shareaholic setting on your dashboard and you’re away. Pop in your brand colours, choose where you want your sharing buttons to be visible, add follow buttons and highlight related posts and content and more.
There are several themes you can choose from and further customise those by adding your own text, font and colours. If you are a stats fiend (let’s face it, who isn’t?) you can analyse your site stats, including top referrers, popular pages by integrating Google Analytics.
WP Smush compresses (or smushes) all your media files which increase the loading time for your page. Which is always a good thing. If you have a slow loading page, chances are people aren’t gonna stick around. We are impatient beings after all.
An incredibly easy plugin to use, manual smush images one at a time in your library or bulk smush up to 50 at a time. You can also configure auto-smush to automatically scale and compress your images as they uploaded. Just set it and forget it. The best kind of plugin.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache helps improve the SEO of your website by increasing your site performance. This helpful plugin reduces page loading time, has mobile support, SSL (Secure Socket Layer) support, import post attachments directly into the Media Library and all other technical things that you don’t really need to worry about now that you have W3 Total Cache.
The gist of W3 Total Cache is that it does a crap tonne of things behind the scenes that improve your site visitors experience.
Bonus: 4 Extra WordPress plugins you need to install (just for fun)
Instagram Slider is a widget that allows you to place your Instagram feed as either a slider or gallery on your blog, encouraging readers to go hang out with you there.
Contextual Related Posts
Contextual Related Posts helps lower your bounce rate by encouraging visitors to stay on your site and have a look around. It will show posts related to the content that they are viewing.
Addons for Elementor
Addons for Elementor does exactly what it sounds like, it’s like an expansion pack for Elementor (guess who is the Sims fan here?). Some of the addons include blog post grids, portfolio grid, team profiles, post carousel, pricing plans and testimonials.
Pin it button for Pinterest
Pin it button for Pinterest is another plugin that does exactly what sounds like. It adds a pin it button on your images that allows your readers to quickly and easily pin to Pinterest.
Things to note when installing plugins
- Be mindful of how many plugins you install, each one slows down your site slightly.
- Try not to be overzealous, people don’t like busy websites, they are distracting and can look unprofessional. Clean and simple is best.
- Play around with the settings of your plugins. If they are customisable, make sure to use your brand colours and the plugins or widgets fit the overall feel of your site. Consistency is the key (I’ve said it before and will most likely say it again).
- When installing a new plugin, think about its function. Does it enhance your website behind the scenes? Does it enhance your readers experience on your website? Can it help you grow your website subscribers, readers or customers? Does the plugin make your life easier as a blogger? If it doesn’t answer any of these questions, you don’t need it.
- Uninstall any unused and unnecessary plugins. They slow down your site. If they are unneeded, kick ’em to the curb, baby.
- The same with double ups. If you have any plugins that are similar, you only need one of them. One will probably fit your needs better. Keep that one and say bye-bye to the other.
So those are the Top 9 WordPress plugins you need to install on your blog ASAP. Let me know in the comments how you get on installing them.
Any questions, just fire ’em away,
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