With so many choices out there, which plugins should you have on your WordPress site?
Free vs Paid
We always have a free option to start with, but we also want you to see others that we recommend to invest in for your business (now or down the road).
Limit For Speed
Yes, we all want our sites to look amazing. But too many plugins slow down your site. Limit your plugins to what you actually need for a better user experience and SEO.
Ensure that every plugin you use follows privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA. While you can’t control how data is handled by plugins, YOU are legally liable for what you place on your site.
Ease & Function
As things change online, this list is updated to provide the best recommendations.
Many of these plugins focus on site speed, security, and anti spam (ugh spam). But we’ve thrown in some that we use daily on our own sites to save sooo much time.
Your starter site through Kit Blogs will come pre-loaded with the necessary plugins to run your theme (like the free version of the Elementor page builder).
But, there are other plugins to think about. See our recommendations below:
This site contains affiliate links, meaning Kit Blogs will earn a small commission if you click on some links and make a purchase. See the Disclaimer for more details.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important things you will learn online for your business.
There are a couple of very popular SEO plugins that will make you life easier as a website owner.
Both are free but also offer paid plans. Most are perfectly fine using the free version.
These plugins will help you enter meta descriptions for your pages and posts, add no index (as needed), and so much more.
Before you install a plugin to back up your site, check with your host to see if this is a service they provide.
If they do not, a common and popular (free) plugin is Updraft. They do have a Premium plan, but most people have what they need with the free version.
You can set it to back up on a schedule and in the location (like Dropbox) of your choosing.
Make sure that this does NOT save back ups to the files at your host – this will fill your storage space.
There’s no doubt that online users are incredibly visual. We all want to have beautiful sites to attract our readers and customers.
But you want to make sure that those amazing images you are using aren’t slowing down your site (which is bad for your users and SEO).
We personally use ShortPixel on all of our sites using a single payment (rather than a monthly payment) to cover a certain number of images optimized. For existing site owners, you can just click a button to optimize images already on your site!
Keep in mind that if you sign up for ShortPixel that WordPress tends to create duplicates of your images when you upload (thumbnail, etc) so assume that every image you upload is actually 4 images!
Caching & Site Speed
Caching helps speed up your site by temporarily storing assets (images, etc) for faster loading times.
The popular free option is W3 Total Cache.
While we use this for a while, we quickly upgraded to WP Rocket on all our sites (starts at $49 per year) – this plugin not only helps with caching but also does lazy loading of images (so your site can load even if your images haven’t quite yet – it’s all about site speed!) and soooo much more. That’s why this is listed under 2 categories!
There are a few options out there for site security – protecting you from hackers and others (attacks, viruses, etc) – think of it like the security software you use to protect your computer.
We always recommend Wordfence. It has both a free and paid version ($99 per year). The free version is just fine, but you will get more protection with the paid plan.
Ugh. Spam. Between bots and spamming people, you’re bound to get tons of spam comments on your site.
You can use the simple and free Anti-spam plugin or get more protection with the paid Akismet Anti-spam (what we use on all our sites – it’s about $59 per year). Yes, Akismet has a free plan, but it’s against their TOS to use it on a site that makes money.
You are going to have some amazing content on your site so you want to make sure to allow others to easily share your content!
There are tons of options out there for free share buttons. Many use Shareaholic (free).
We prefer to add additional Pinterest help to our sites with Grow by Mediavine (formerly Social Pug – $34 a year). This plugin allows you to easily add pin images, hide pin images, add pin descriptions, and helps you mark some images as “no pin”. All without a single line of code!
We also love WP Tasty Pins (which has similar functionality), but there is a known conflict with Elementor as your page builder.
Unnecessary But Time Saving
These plugins are on almost every site we create but are completely optional.
Header & Footer Code
To help you avoid figuring out where code needs to be placed in your “header” (like integrating Google Analytics, your email provider, etc). We use Header Footer Code Manager (there are few out there that are similar) that allows you to create a specific entry for each piece of HTML/code you need to add (so you can keep track!). Free!
Force your site to always use your SSL license using Really Simple SSL.
Some hosts (like SiteGround) offer this functionality with a plugin they add to your site.
If you do not have an SSL (https rather than http – the industry standard), check with your host to see if they offer one for free or if you need to purchase one.
This is by far one of our favorite plugins. While they removed some features from the free plan, we have still never spent a dime by upgrading.
Pretty Links allows you to create redirects to URLs or clean up the look of links on your site. Our favorite usage is easily adding “sponored” to affiliate links (that allow “masking” – NOT Amazon links) without any code. And you can update the link from one place and have it changed across your site instantly.
Broken Link Checker
You are going to have TONS of links on your site – both to articles or pages on your site or to other sites.
This Broken Link Checker plugin scans your site regularly to detect any links that are broken…then sends you an email letting you know!