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WordPress Plugins: Don’t Leave Home Without These Installed

If you’re reading this than chances are you chose WordPress for your content management system. Good choice!

As I mentioned before, one of the cool things about WordPress is that there are a lot of easy-to-use plugins that are free. All you need to do is download them and install in your WordPress dashboard.

This not only saves you the hassle of trying to dig through code, or the cost of hiring a developer, it saves loads of time.

What are the Best WordPress Plugins for SEO?

There really are a ton of plugins, but as this is meant to be part of the Beginner’s Guide to SEO, let’s stick to the basics.

Not all of these plugins are directly going to help your SEO efforts, but I still recommend installing them to make your life easier and your site more secure. Here are the big five that I usually end up using on any money site.

Note: A money site is the site you want to rank in the search engines. Some people then build other smaller websites that they use to artificially boost the authority of their money website in order to help rank it. This is a more advance gray hat SEO tactic. 

In no special order we have :

  • Akismet
  • Wordfence Security
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast / Yoast SEO
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com
  • SumoMe

Akismet

This is a must have. It currently comes pre-installed with every new WordPress installation, and for good reason. When activated Akismet will protect your website and all of your posts and pages that allow users to comment on them from automated spam.

If you have never created a website before you have no idea how much comment spam a site can receive. What’s really bad is that the better you site ranks, the more the spam increases.

Akismet takes care of that problem and frees you up to work on improving your website, not on maintaining it.

There are both free and premium plans, but for smaller site the free plan should be plenty. For more details on this absolutely essential WordPress plugin, check out the Akismet homepage.

Wordfence Security

The name should pretty much explain what this plugin does. If you hadn’t guessed, Wordfence Security keeps your website safe and sound.

It does a whole heap of stuff including but not limited to:

  • scans for malware
  • scans your site for security holes
  • keeps track of where your visitors are coming from
  • allows you to block certain IP addresses, ranges and even entire countries

But, my favorite feature is that you can limit login attempts.

That means you can set up Wordfence to block people that try to login to your website using the wrong credentials. You can set the amount of bad logins, and then when a user passes that they are locked out and you receive an email informing you of the attempted hack.

This plugin also has free and premium plans. There really isn’t any good reason to not at least use the free option. For more details about Wordfence Security, visit their site.

Rank Math or SEO Press

Yoast used to rule the WordPress SEO plugin wars, but after several debacles and better options hitting the market, many SEO pros have moved on. Two of the most popular options are Rank Math and SEO Press.

No matter which one you choose (I personally have more experience with Rank Math), you'll be taking major strides into prepping your site for SEO success. The ability to easily set up each page's SEO title and met description is unbelievably handy. And, they can help with sitewide settings that you might otherwise need to pay a developer to set up for you if you don't have coding experience. 

I wouldn't even think about having a WordPress site and not using an SEO plugin. And, at the very least, you can still use Yoast if that's your personal preference. 

Jetpack by WordPress.com

As the title states, WordPress makes and supports this very robust plugin. It has way too many features to go into.

But, a few of my favorites are Custom CSS which let’s you make changes to your website without the need to dig into the coding of your theme and Photon which uses the WordPress CDN in order to speed up your site, an important aspect of SEO.

In total, Jetpack has 36 different features that you can take advantage of. You can take a look at all of them here.

Genesis Simple Edits

If you decided to use the Genesis framework for your WordPress theme, then this is a super useful plugin. If you went with a different theme, then disregard.

What Simple Edits does is allows you to, you guessed it, make simple edits to your Genesis themes. It’s a very easy to to change what shows on each post, such as author namedate publishedcategories, and more.

I use it mostly to make editing the footer easier.

For a full list of Genesis plugins, click here.

Awesome! How do I Install Them?

Very good question. WordPress makes this extremely simple.

The very first step is finding the Plugins option on the menu bar in your WordPress backend.

install wordpress plugin

Next, when you hover over Plugins a new menu will open. Click on the option to Add New.

add new plugin

From here you have two options. You can either browse and install plugins from the WordPress Plugin Directory —

wordpress plugin directory

Or, you can upload plugins that you’ve downloaded elsewhere by choosing the Upload Plugin option at the top of the page. Make sure you upload the .zip file.

upload plugin

Easy peasy, right?

Wrap Up

That’s all there really is to it. Plugins can save you time and money. The can help with your SEO efforts as well as overall website performance.

These are the must haves in my opinion. But, don’t simply take my word for it. Get your website up and running and have a go at using and toying with them. 

Just keep in mind that a few plugins go a long way. There’s no reason to install dozens upon dozens and bloat up your website. Use what you need, and nothing more.

If there’s a plugin you think I should have include on this list, please leave a comment below.