When it comes to blogging, undoubtedly Google Blogger and WordPress are the most recommended platforms for all – the beginners as well as for the professionals.
Now if we have a blog at WordPress, then we might as well also have the best of the WordPress Plugins; because we want our visitors to experience the best on our website. We can add as many features as we want with the help of plugins. For instance, we can add a plugin for Top Posts, Subscription Letter, ShortCodes, and many more…
We might say, “customization is possible in Google Blogger too, isn’t it?” Well, we are 100% correct, customization is possible in Blogger but in Blogger for any customization to happen, we need to work with vast lines of code. And in case we don’t know how to code, then we are nothing short of a nightmare.
WordPress has made things easy for us because we can do almost anything and everything with just a single click as all the necessary plugins are always available. Before we discuss the best plugins for WordPress, let’s get to know a plugin.
What Are Plugins In WordPress?
Plugins are the add-on programs or software that can be installed on a site and they perform unique and specific functions. Plugins are used to increase the functionality of the WordPress site with hardly any technical know-how. WordPress as a platform is developed on PHP and MySQL, and the WordPress plugins too are coded in PHP, so these plugins support forever.
Plugins are programs or software, that need to be installed, just like we install apps on our smartphones. There are two ways to install a plugin on a WordPress site.
1. Directly With WordPress
2. Alternatively With FTP
The easiest way of these two is directly with WordPress. We need to follow the below steps to install a plugin –
- Login to the Dashboard.
- Go to Plugins > Add new.
- We then see a search page where we can directly search for any of the desired plugins.
- In case we have the .zip file with us, then click on Upload plugin.
- Select the .zip plugin file and click on upload.
And it’s done. 🙂
We can use this alternative method of uploading plugins through FTP, which we can resort to if we encounter an error in the above method. We need to follow the below steps –
- First, go to C-panel.
- Click on the File Manager and open it.
- Now, if it is just one domain, then go to public_html folder.
- If there are multiple domains which are hosted, then select the domain folder.
- Now go to wp-content (in both cases – one or multiple domains).
- Select the desired folder, and click on upload and upload the .zip file.
- Once uploaded, unzip the file and delete the .zip file.
We are done again.
We now know what a plugin is and how to install it. So now let’s get to know the best WordPress plugins.
Top 10 Best WordPress Plugins
We have identified the top 10 best WordPress plugins basis their functionality, usability, and popularity.
- Yoast SEO
Why this plugin? If we search for best WordPress plugins for SEO, we definitely come across this plugin as this plugin very nicely manages the SEO of the site. Yoast SEO helps to grow the rank in Google Search results if we sincerely follow the rules laid down by it.
A good site with good content does not deliver if we do not also focus on the SEO of the website. We get real traffic through search engines like Google, Bing and so on. And to get on to the search results we need to focus on SEO.
Yoast SEO is a free plugin. If we want additional features such as multiple target keywords and automatic redirections, we need to go with the Pro version which is of course payable. Else the basic version works like a charm. This plugin also has features like Twitter Post Preview and Facebook Post Preview, which helps to handle the posts on social platforms.
- 301 Redirect
Why this plugin? Many of us are not aware that if we modify the slug (URL) of a blog post, its search ranking may be slain. The only possible way to keep it safe is to make a redirection from the old URL to the new URL. This plugin helps us in gaining the redirects of any URL permanently.
This plugin is immensely useful in cases, when we have changed the URL of an article, or have deleted an article. For instance, we had written an article – quencible.com/how-to-earn-money-online and later we had changed the URL to quencible.com/earn-money-online. Despite the URL change, the first link is still generating good traffic, while the new link has yet to catch up. In such a scenario, 301 Redirect conveys to the search engines that we have moved the URL to a new location, and the old URL is to be redirected to the new one.
This step impacts the SEO positively and we do not lose out on the search rankings.
- All 404 Redirect to Homepage Plugin
Why this plugin? No one likes to see 404 pages, not even the search engines. Too many 404 pages and the site rank goes down drastically. So 404 Redirect plugin conveys to the search engines that the content is no more available and to ignore the error page by redirecting to the homepage.
Google and other search engines pay attention to content as well as to errors. In scenarios where the site lacks substance, the content’s link deleted or the URL mistyped, we face a 404 error. We may even think that we can also do a 301 redirect to the homepage if we generate a broken link? Well, this is a bad SEO practice, if we redirect any 404 pages with a 301 redirect (permanent redirect), then this creates a negative impact on the site. Why? Because this action conveys to Google that this link has wholly moved to the newer page. (And now this newer page will be the next victim.)
404 redirects to a page work best, as the search engines get to know that this is a broken link and deals with it differently. This plugin also has a feature to add 301 redirects.
- Google Analytics
It is foolish to act without knowing the audience. This plugin helps us to know and understand the audience. Google Analytics by ExactMetrics is a plugin which fetches the analytics of the traffic moving through the site. This plugin provides an analytical and graphical statistic of the traffic for the date range we input. It also gives us the source of traffic and many other valuable insights.
If we have a good site, useful content and enjoy a good ranking; it’s all great! However, to maintain the ranking we need to monitor traffic and observe live analytics, and for this, we need to login to Google Analytics time and again. Through this plugin, we directly get to see the live status of all the incoming traffic to our site on the WordPress dashboard itself. This is widely used and a much-acclaimed plugin, in the list of the best WordPress plugins.
- Autoptimize/ W3 Rocket/ WP Fastest Cache
All of these plugins are different plugins but have the very same functionality. These are the plugins which create a Cache data of the site for a limited (desired) period. So that the next time a user visits the site – he or she has a faster experience. We already know that the site speed is a key ranking factor for Google. If the site loads slowly, then for every second of delay we lose out on visitors.
The Solution – Cache. Now, What Is A Cache? As explained by Wikipedia:
A web cache (or HTTP cache) is information technology for the temporary storage (caching) of web documents, such as HTML pages and images, to reduce server lag. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_cache)
- Smush Image Compression And Optimization
If we are a blogger, in all probability we use images in our blog post. But if we use too many pictures, it increases the page load time and is not suitable for SEO. Well, this plugin is used to compress the uploaded image on the site with hardly any loss in quality so that the page load speed improves.
Images play a vital role in an article. However, if the image won’t open or takes too much time to open, then this will inevitably decrease the page and site rank, and users do not prefer to visit such a site. So a compressed image is a great idea. This plugin exactly does what its name suggests and takes its place on the list of the best WordPress plugins. Although the free version is limited, we may need to buy the pro version to compress a lot more images.
- A3 Lazy Load
If we have quite a few many images or even a single image on the site, and the user isn’t interacting with that image; then probably there is no need to load that image. And this is what this plugin does. A3 Lazy Load only loads the images/videos/iframes if and only if the user is near the image or near the viewing area. This plugin improves the user experience and decreases the load time of the site.
Therefore, it is one of the best WordPress plugins to have. We can download this plugin from WordPress.org and may directly install it through the dashboard.
We have a great site and it carries quality content and generates good traffic. Now, to further improve the site, we experiment and install a new theme and import dummy or real data. In such a scenario, some themes completely remove the older data in order to import the dummy or new data. This results in the loss of the older existing content. Therefore, we first need to take a backup of all the data available on the site before trying anything new on the site. Now if we ever face data loss due to a new theme import or install, and for similar data loss situations, we can re-import from the backup. Thus we never lose our content.
UpdraftPlus takes regular backup of all the WordPress data and saves it on our desired location. UpdraftPlus can even save the data on Google Drive, FTP, Dropbox and on Amazon AWS. This is an amazing plugin.
- Advanced Ads
If we have a blog, we generally monetize it with AdSense (Adnetwork platform of Google). We place ads and to accommodate all ads we need to rotate them. Instead of doing the rotation manually, this plugin Advanced Ads, automates the rotation. This plugin rotates ads, automatically inserts ads near to a post, sets the expiry date of an advertisement. All of these actions are automated.
If we serve ads on our blog, this is an amazing and lightweight plugin to have.
- Adsense Invalid Click Protector
When we have ads on our blog, we generate clicks. However, sometimes some of these clicks may not be genuine. A couple of users may have malicious intent and may generate duplicate or random false clicks to negatively impact the ads served and to damage the site. The solution to this problem is the AdSense Invalid Click Protector. This plugin helps us to have an eye on the click bombers. We can quickly get to know them, stop the display of ads to them and even block them. We can even set a click limit, i.e., if the threshold clicks are reached, it blocks the person or IP generating the false clicks. And this is how we can save our AdSense account from getting suspended. If we want the best WordPress plugins, then this plugin should always be on that list.
If you want us to grow this list to Top 15 or Top 20 Best WordPress plugins, do let us know. Or if you feel that any other plugin deserves a mention here, give us a shout out in the comment box section. For queries regarding the above-listed WordPress plugins or any other WordPress plugin, feel free to reach out to us.