There are a few plugins that I use on every site I set up and that I recommend to every client. In fact, I wouldn’t set up a site without them. I answer questions all the time on LinkedIn and forums about this. So, I decided to put my must-have plugins into a post for easy reference.
My Top 5 Plugins
Following are the plugins I include on every single site.
BackupBuddy – This is one of the best plugins ever made and it pays for itself every time I use it. The plugin includes an automated backup solution that lets you select your interval and storage destination. It integrates with Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more. It also includes a malware scanner by Sucuri, which is top drawer. And, it has a site migration feature, which I use to port my client’s private training sites to their hosting service.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – I can hardly believe this SEO plugin is still free. It wipes the floor with everything else out there. It includes customization of every SEO setting available on a site, plus an XML Sitemap Generator, and what you need to make AuthorRank and social media SEO connections with your site.
Akismet and G.A.S.P. – This combo is a must-have for filtering comment spam. Bad Behavior is another good substitute for G.A.S.P. but the latter is easier to use. If you use the CommentLuv plugin, G.A.S.P. is built in.
Login Lockdown – This plugin stops brute force attacks on the front door of your site. Limit Login Attempts is another popular plugin for this. Read my post on them, and why you need to use one.
TinyMCE Advanced – The WordPress text editor does not write well formatted HTML code, which is the baseline of what’s required to display content in a browser. This plugin takes care of that. Get smart on how to use it, though. It has powerful features that you don’t want to poke around and play with if you don’t know what they do. I take all of my client through setup on this plugin. Here’s my video overview. A more detailed explanation is available in the BlogAid Video Tutorial Library.
My Other Plugin Favorites
Following are the other top plugins that I recommend most often.
Google Analyticator – This plugin connects your site to Google Analytics, and it also gives you a module with an analytics overview in your WordPress Dashboard, which my clients love. The Google Analytics plugin is a good alternative, and it’s made by Yoast. (Yes, the plugin has the same name as the service from Google. It’s a bit confusing and I’m not sure how the developer got away with it.)
Revision Control – Keeps your database free of tons of auto-saved revisions as you are creating a post. It does require minor setup.
WordFence – This is a great overall site security plugin. However, nothing substitutes for a site that has been well setup and the security hard-coded into the root files of the host and the core files of WordPress.
W3 Total Cache – This is one of the most popular caching plugins because it works on almost every hosting service.
How Many Plugins Can I Use?
I see this question all the time. The answer is, as many as you need. And that is the key. Every plugin is a potential security hole and one more thing you have to keep updated and rely on always being available and working.
Only use the ones you need and don’t use plugins for things you could manually do on your site. If you don’t know how to do something, learn. A good example is a plugin to create custom text widgets. You can do that by making a draft in a page and then copying the HTML over to the widget.
If you’re not using a plugin any longer, deactivate and delete it. Be sure you know what all of your plugins do and that none are overlapping each other in function.
Learn About Plugins
If you want to know more about plugins, what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s new, I invite you to follow my Tips Tuesday posts where I report on them, and other site success tips, each week. It comes in a podcast too!
Look over at the top of the sidebar and subscribe. (You’ll get Tips Tuesday and the Podcast if you subscribe to All Blog Posts too.)
What Are Your Favorite Plugins?
Which are your must-have plugins? Tell us what they do and why do you like them.