More than once a client has asked me this question, what plugin to install on my website? Like most answers in digital marketing and SEO the answer is “it depends”, the reality is that the number of plugins is determined by the objective of the website, do you need to create custom forms? Are you going to sell products? Will you accept reservations?, but whatever the objective is of your website, I always recommend having these 7 plugins, because they will help you to manage it and keep it safe.
The 7 essential plugins for any website are:
When selecting Plugins you must not only take into account its function, you must also consider the opinion of the users who have installed it (it goes from 0 to 5 stars), the number of active installations it has, if the version was tested WordPress most recent and the date of its last update, this last part is of utmost importance since there are many plugins that are no longer updated by their developers and this is a risk to the security of your website and the people who do it. they visit.
The first three plugins in the list are basic for the website as they will help you configure it, have data about it and make SEO adjustments to improve search engine rankings, while the rest of the plugins are essential for the security of your site. web, cache and email management.
We will explore each of the plugins and I will explain their function.
This is the first plugin on our list and it is the one that I consider the most important, it is one of the first that I install when creating a new website, it is developed by Google and allows you to easily and quickly connect your website to all its tools designed for websites.
Once installed you will be able to access the data that Google has on your website without needing to enter each of the tools separately, which allows you to be up-to-date with the vital signs of your site without, the best thing is that you do not need having to enter codes to your website to achieve this (as before).
The Google Site Kit allows you to access the data of:
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Page Speed Insights
Each of these tools are essential to know how much traffic your website is receiving, from where they are visiting it, which pages are the ones that are working best, what search terms are the ones that are bringing visitors and how much money are you generating in advertisements Google, among many other data that are very useful to understand where you are with your website.
You can think of this plugin as if it were the vital signs of your website.
It lets you know what search terms are driving traffic to your website
It shows you data on how long your visitors are spending on your site, which page has the most traffic, what is the bounce rate, etc.
In case you have Google advertising on your website, it will give you an estimate of what your earnings have been today, it will show the RPM of the page and the pages with the most visits
It shows what the loading speed of your website is, it also allows you to enter a URL to check its speed without having to leave your website.
In summary, this plugin allows you to have all the Google data in one place, which is very useful, since they are the vital signs of your website and it is always important to take them into account to know where you should make improvements and if your website is achieving its goal.
Secondly, we have the Head, Footer and Post Injections plugin, this is also a totally free plugin, that will help us to insert codes easily to our WordPress site without having to make modifications in the source code.
For example, Google Tag Manager (a Google tool that allows us to create labels on our site in an easy way) it is necessary to add a small piece of code in the “header”, this plugin makes that easy by allowing us to paste the code and it will automatically integrate it into the source code.
Unless you have experience programming websites, I would recommend you not to try to modify the code of this manually and use the plugin for this purpose, apart from that it is free.
All websites need a plugin that allows them to handle common SEO tasks when publishing a new page or a new post, so this plugin is of utmost importance since it will allow us to do that on our website easily, It is totally free and the best thing is that it has functions that you only find in the paid version of Yoast ( $ 89 USD a year ).
Rank Math allows you to make different settings that will help Google to understand more easily what your website is about, among the different functions it has is to carry out an evaluation of the SEO rating of your post or your page.
It also allows you to choose an image for default when sharing a link of your website on social networks and that does not have an image within its content for this purpose, this will make your website always look professional when your Users share links from this.
Moving on to a slightly more technical aspect, an important part of this plugin is that it allows you to configure Google Schema Markup on your site, these are small codes that allow search engines to better understand your content and give better results to their users.
Surely you have seen many examples of this when searching on Google, for example, when the result Google shows you is inside a box (featured snippet), when you see a cooking recipe and you don’t have to open the website to see the steps to follow or as a result it shows you a series of questions with a drop-down menu, all this can be done by Google thanks to the fact that these sites have Google Schema Markup implemented.
Other functions of Rank Math are Local SEO, monitoring pages with error 404, performing an SEO analysis of your entire website, ranking of keywords in Google, performing content analysis, making suggestions for internal links, it is a lightweight plugin that does not it affects the loading speed and has integration with the Google Search Console.
For all this Rank Math is a necessary plugin for every website, since having a good SEO will allow your page to rank higher in Google results and therefore have many more visitors every day.
Speed is one of the factors Google uses to determine the ranking of a website, the faster it loads it also improves the user experience and reduces the number of people who leave the page before it loads, on average a website It should load in less than 3 seconds.
So having a plugin that caches your website is essential.
WP Fastest Cache is one of the most used Caché plugins, it has more than 1 million active installations at the moment and a five-star rating.
One of the advantages of this plugin that is included in the free version is that it integrates directly with Cloudflare (a free service that allows you to distribute your website more quickly by having servers around the world), which improves the experience for your users and improve the loading speed of your site.
The free version of this plugin is usually enough for most websites, but if you can it’s recommended to get the premium version.
Even if your website is small or you are just starting, it is always a good idea to have a security plugin in it, as small as the website might be, it still could be a victim of hacking or cyberattack without you realizing it.
There is nothing more horrible than waking up to see a message that your site has been blacklisted for distributing malware or worse, realizing that you don’t have access to your own website.
And that’s why you should always have a security plugin on your website, regardless of the size or traffic you have, it is better to be forewarned than to regret later.
For this purpose the plugin that I recommend is Wordfence Security, it has a free version and a paid version, however, the free version is enough for most websites when they are just starting.
Wordfence Security helps you block malicious traffic directed at your website, limits the number of login attempts to your website, has a Malware scanner, harmful URLs, looks for back doors, SEO spam, malicious redirects and attempts to code injection on your website.
It also checks the integrity of the source files of your website, the theme and the plugins when comparing them with those that exist in the official WordPress list and alerts you if there is any difference between yours and the official ones, in case of that there is a difference, it allows you to repair the file when rewriting using the official WordPress code.
Check for vulnerabilities on your website and report them, also scan files and comments on posts for suspicious content or URLs that may affect your website.
As the security of your website, it is extremely important that you have a backup of this since sometimes update or a change you are making can drastically affect it and the only way to repair it is to return to a previous version, or in case your site has been violated you can install a version that is clean and you will not need to create your website from scratch.
There are several plugins to do this, no matter which one you use, always try to keep two copies of your backup, one on your computer and the other in a cloud service, such as Google Drive.
UpdraftPlus WordPress offers you this option, this plugin allows you to make a backup of your entire website with a single click and either download it directly to your computer or save a copy in Google Drive without having to download it from your website and then upload it.
I hope you should never have to use that backup, but it’s always a good idea to have it need it and not have it.
Every website must allow you to have a communication channel with your users, generally, you do this through a contact form where they can send an email or subscribe to your newsletter list, the problem is that sometimes WordPress is not very good when sending emails.
What to do when someone sent you a message that you never received? This plugin will allow you to receive emails from the contact formats that your users have on your website consistently and without problems.
The plugin can be integrated with various email services including Google and mailing services such as Sendinblue, which allow you to automate the sending of emails to new users or confirmation when they send a contact form.
This plugin is totally free so it is a must for all websites, it is easy to configure and it helps you to be sure that the messages that your clients send reach your inbox.
This is the list of plugins that I think you should have on your website, they will help you to have the pulse of your site, improve the speed of its loading, the experience that your users have and be sure that no matter what happens, it will not you will have to start from scratch.