WordPress is great. But adding plugins is better. Plugins allow you to do more with your site, make it safer, and make it more user friendly. Here are our top must have WordPress plugins that let you tailor your site to your own specific needs and optimize it for search engines:
Our absolute favorite spam-killer, Askimet analyzes every comment users attempt to post, and decides if the comment seems spammy or not. If it thinks something’s fishy, Askimet will catch or clear it, giving each comment a history status, so you can go in through your admin account and double-check Askimet’s work. You will need an Askimet.com API key to use the plugin, but it’s free for all personal blogs, and paid subscriptions are available for business and commercial sites.
A super simple way to check that you’re meeting all the basic criteria for SEO, the Yoast SEO plugin allows you to edit post titles, URLs, meta-descriptions, and your target keyword for each post. The plugin will then give you comprehensive page analysis of your post in relation to your selected target keyword, and reminds you of little things you might forget, like changing the alt text on images. Giving you all kinds of SEO options, the Yoast SEO plugin comes in both free and premium versions.
Really useful if you’re changing your directory, or migrating pages from an old website, Redirection helps you keep track of any 404 errors and 301 redirections. The plugin give you a full log of all your redirected URLs and lets you map any 404s to 301 redirects. Saving you all kinds of time, any time a URL changes Redirection will also automatically add in a 301 for that post. This completely free plugin will also provide you with redirect statistics, showing you where, when, and how many times a redirection has occurred.
Just as the title suggests, this plugin was made to clone your posts. Great for copying pages with a lot of formatting, it can take a lot of the hassle out of creating an entirely new post. You can edit any cloned posts, and this plugin, like many others is completely free.
This plugin makes creating forms ridiculously simple. Formidable offers form templates, and it allows you to easily make your own following a user-friendly drag and drop interface. You can also send unlimited email notifications and auto-responses to submitters, and you’re able to see all submissions from the back end. Formidable lets you insert your newly created form anywhere you like on your WordPress site, and is available in free and Pro versions.
W3 Total Cache
Probably the most efficient way to make your WordPress site more user friendly without changing your theme or your plugins, W3 Total Cache increases page speed and decreases download time. A great way to up your rankings is to improve your conversion rates and site performance, and this plugin let you do that by seriously reducing your page load time. When fully configured, W3 Total Cache offers an increase in overall site performance by at least 10x.
One of any site developer’s worst nightmares is a server crash. It’s even more devastating if your site isn’t backed up. That’s where this plugin, Backup Buddy comes in. Backup Buddy will backup your entire WordPress install from content to theme to plugins to images to htaccess files. Even better, you can put Backup Buddy on a schedule so it automatically backs up your site for you, without you lifting a finger. If something goes wrong, you’ll have your latest backup at the ready to recover and get your site up and running.
Tracking Code Manager
A great way to manage your tracking codes and keep them all in one spot, Tracking Code Manager stores all your codes and scripts on one page, and lets you place them wherever you want on your site. You can choose to apply each code to your entire site, or you can pick and choose which pages it goes on.
Mailchimp for WP
A really convenient way to link your Mailchimp account and your WordPress site, the Mailchimp for WordPress plugin lets you subscribe site visitors to your Mailchimp email list. You can create completely customizable signup forms for visitors to subscribe to your site. Additionally, since Mailchimp for WordPress is compatible with tons of other plugins, you can add your forms to just about anywhere on your site, including posts, pages, and widget areas.
Looking for some help getting started with WordPress Plugins? Check out or guide on how to install a WordPress Plugin.