A complete list of mostly free essential WordPress plugins that every Wordpress blog must have as he embarks on the blogging journey.
In this article, I will discuss the essential WordPress plugins that every WordPress blog must have in 2021. These plugins will supercharge the WordPress website.
In the sea of plugins available for WordPress, it becomes confusing which one is the best one to be used for what you want to do. The principal reason I built this list of the most essential of essential WordPress plugins one needs in 2021. This list of plugins is a must-have for any WordPress blog or website.
The list entirely focuses on plugins that are free (but some are premiums), mandatory, lightweight, have fantastic features.
Another key point I want to mention is I have compiled a useful guide on How to Start a WordPress Blog. This guide will significantly help you craft your websites in WordPress without any technical expertise.
Henceforth, without much ado, let’s play the plugin list.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO plugin is the best WordPress plugin (since 2008) to power up your website SEO game. It is free with limited functions. Yoast guides users to achieve a high ranking in Google and Bing SERPs. Take a look at what Yoast does regarding website functionality and SEO.
- Most advanced XML sitemaps features
- Webpage title and description for rich snippets in Google search results
- Set of tools to write unmatched SEO-friendly content
- Snippet previews to see how it looks in the search results
- Best internal linking feature to tell you which existing content is related to the current one being written.
- Site performance and fixing scrawl errors
- Users can make large-scale edits to the website using the bulk editor
- Keyword optimization and google page previews
- Flesch Reading Ease score to analyze the readability of content
And lot more features when you go with a premium Yoast subscription.
Contact Form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi helps WordPress users to create forms without the help of a developer. It supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering, and so on. One can configure contact form 7 on pages where you want them.
Detailed information about the contact form 7 setup guide is available at contactform7.com.
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. This WordPress plugin automatically adds accelerated mobile page functionality to your WordPress site. AMP makes your website faster for mobile visitors. Listed below are some exciting features of the AMP plugin.
- New page builder 3.0 for AMP
- Pre-built layouts for business websites and landing pages
- Advanced WooCommerce support
- Contact form 7 supported
- Support for Google tag manager.
- Users can add separate content for AMP websites
- Drag and drop page builder added
- Google Adsense support with four different Ads slot (AMP-AD)
- Separate WordPress Menu for AMP version
Jetpack is 3 in one plugin that offers hassle-free integration of WordPress.com features in self-hosted WordPress sites. The user can create and customize their websites using JetPack. It has hundreds of professional themes to design various websites. Jetpack also provides powerful customization tools and lazy image loading for mobile devices. On top of that, it also provides a powerful WordPress CDN to serve images.
Some of the critical JetPack features:
- Site stats and analytics
- Auto and advance social media posting and scheduling
- SEO tools for Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com
- Advertising program integration with AdSense, Facebook Ads, AOL, Amazon, Google AdX, and Yahoo
- Simple PayPal payment buttons
- Jetpack’s site accelerator feature to load pages faster
- It reduces bandwidth usage, which lowers your hosting costs
Login Lockdown restricts malicious and forceful logins to your WordPress panel. It records the IP address and the timestamp of every failed login attempt. If a user tries to log in for more than the speculated numbers of times from the same IP, then the login function is disabled on that IP.
The site admin can, of course, unlock the IP address manually afterward from the panel.
6. Pretty Links
Pretty Link is a significant WordPress link tracking plugin. It helps mask affiliate links. (To track pretty links clicks, you can use Google Tag Manager) What pretty links do is it shortens links. Everyone does with bit.ly or other external link shortening tool. But they aren’t links from your domain. Pretty link not only shortens the link but also tracks every hit on a link. It provides a detailed report of the browser, operating system, and host where the hit came from.
Some Features of Pretty Links:
- It helps you create short and simple URLs for your website
- Tracks the number of clicks per link
- Tracks the number of unique clicks per link
- Reporting interface to see clicks per day
- A cookie-based system to track visitor activity across clicks
- Users can switch tracking on/off on each link
Really Simple CAPTCHA work within Contact Form 7 or any other plugins. It is not intended to work alone. Users can integrate it into their contact form plugin for added security. As the name suggests, it is simple to use.
Disqus is a popular commenting system to grow reader engagement, audience, and traffic. Using Disqus, you can directly connect with the blog comments audience. It is a way to build loyal readers base on real-time interaction with users. It helps in retaining them for a long time.
Akismet checks comments and contact form submissions against possible spam. It performs an auto check for all comments to filter out the spam one. Each comment scanned by Akismet will have its history to see which one is clean. Akismet will clear the spam comments.
If you are using Really Simple Captcha, along with Disqus comments, you don’t need an Akismet plugin at all.
10. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is the best cache plugin for WordPress. Though we have W3Total Cache as the free alternative, WP Rocket is way above all the paid alternatives. The most important of all, it makes WordPress load much faster. Check out my view about WP Rocket in detail here.
Here are some free alternatives just in case you don’t want to spend $49/yearly.
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Super Cache
- Quick cache
- Hyper cache
- WP Fastest cache
VaultPress is a real-time backup and security scanning WordPress plugin powered by jetpack, designed and built by Automattic. It effortlessly backs up every post, comment, media file, revision, and dashboard setting on your site to their servers.
In other words, VaultPress safeguards users towards potential malware attacks, hackers, and undue accidental damage.
The paid plans include automated daily backups of the entire website, 1-click restores, stats, priority support, brute force attack protection, uptime monitoring, spam protection, site migration, and an activity log.
Imagify is an image compression and optimization plugin for WordPress. Moreover, it also generates WebP images to help serve compression and optimization. The best part of WebP images is faster web loading on mobile. Imagify strips down heavy information from pictures and reduces image size without affecting the appearance.
It efficiently scans every single image uploaded and cuts all the unnecessary image metadata.
13. Google Analytics
MonsterInsights is a popular (2M active installs) Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It shows valuable statistics that are essential for your business to grow.
It allows the user to enable all Google Analytics advanced tracking features. Access actionable analytics reports right WordPress dashboard. MonsterInsight helps you filter the stats that are important for your website growth.
Moosend’s WordPress plugin allows visitors to subscribe to your newsletter service by tightly integrating WordPress & Moosend account. Simply connect your Moosend account and get started.
Moosend offers an entirely free email marketing solution up to a thousand subscribers. Check out my review of Moosend.
AddThis is to add a media share button plugin to a website. The plugin does the same for WordPress. It connects you with more than 200 social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Whatsapp, and many more. AddThis offers four types of share buttons viz Floating, Expanding, Inline, and Image sharing buttons.
An essential WordPress plugin that is compatible with all devices offers a wide selection of social media platforms.
16. Sucuri Security
If you are concerned about your website security on WordPress, then Sucuri is the best bet. The Sucuri Security WordPress plugin is free for all WordPress users to begin with. A set of security features that a user will get for their website are:
- Security activity auditing
- File integrity monitoring
- Remote malware scanning
- Blacklist monitoring
- Effective security hardening
- Post-Hack security actions
- Security notifications
- Website firewall (paid)
TabePress is an essential WordPress plugin to help users create and manage tables in the content. It even works with the latest Gutenberg Editor. Users can embed charts into a post, pages, or text widgets using a simple code.
Heavy coding is not required as tables can be edited in excel kind of interface. One can add formulas or any kind of data using Tablepress. If you have readymade data tables in Excel, CSV, HTML, or JSON file formats, it can now be imported into WordPress post or page with this plugin.
18. WP Mail SMTP
Sending emails from the server should always be avoided. On top of that, WordPress sends emails from firstname.lastname@example.org. It is never a recommended email to send emails from.
To customize the “from name” and “from email” of outgoing emails, one needs a plugin anyways. So the best alternative is to use an external email server like Amazon SES or any other external SMTP service provider to send emails inside WordPress. It not only reduces the load on the server but also makes sure emails have a customized with the “from name” and “from email.” A must-have WordPress plugin.
So this is it with the list of many essential WordPress plugins every blog should have in 2021. I have been using almost all of the ones mentioned above on all my blogs. Henceforth, my experience is good to date, and I recommend you too.