6 Essential WordPress Plugins

white woman with black hair, weating red lipstick and black cats eye glasses writing in a book

By Gemma Forster

In this post I’m sharing my favourite ESSENTIAL WordPress plugins that all businesses should install.

Whilst WordPress is without a doubt amazing and offers a ton of features, you still need to add some functionality by using the right plugins.

Essential WordPress Plugins

Yoast SEO

Yoast Banner

Out of the full list of essential WordPress Plugins, this has to be my number 1 favourite.

Search Engines can be a big source of traffic when it comes to your website but most people bury their head in the sand as they think it’s so difficult.

Search Engine Optimisation is still relevant. It isn’t going away any time soon. If you want to increase your traffic organically then the Yoast SEO plugin is an awesome tool.

Yoast isn’t a miracle cure. You don’t just install it and leave it to do it’s thing. You still have to put the effort in but what Yoast WILL do is hold your hand and guide you through.

Yoast integrates with Google Search Console, allows you to edit your SEO title and meta description as well as giving on page content analysis.

Yoast screenshot

If your not familiar with SEO then I suggest you download my FREE guide The Ultimate Beginners Guide to SEO or have a read of The Beginners Guide to Yoast SEO

Nimble Portfolio

Nimble Banner

If you need to showcase photography, videos, portfolios or logos then you need a feature rich media gallery such as the Nimble Portfolio plugin.

It comes with built-in PrettyPhoto lighbox, supports Youtube, Vimeo and Quicktime, and allows you to group the contents of your media gallery. Of course, it’s also fully responsive across all devices such as desktop, tablet and mobile. It’s easy to customize too.

WP Smush

WP Smush banner

It’s important that your images on your website are optimised for the web as large image files can significantly slow down your site.

You can of course optimise (is it optimize or optimise?!) every single image that you upload manually, which is the better option as WP Smush doesn’t always optimize the image as much as using other methods. However, if your short on time it’s handy to have the WP Smush plugin available.

WP smush screenshot

Ultimately, for beginners, WP Smush is an easy way to optimize your web images and improve your site performance.

Updraft Plus Backup

It’s a sad and scary fact that your website can be ruined in minutes. Imagine all of that work you’ve put into it, only for it to be hacked or for the server to crash and poof, all your data is gone.

Believe me, this happens. Don’t just assume it will never happen to you. It CAN happen and it WILL be disastrous. Unless you have a backup plan.

Every website needs to have a backup plan in place and one of the easiest ways to do that is by using the Updraft Plus Backup plugin.

  • Updraft Plus will complete manual or scheduled backups of your full site including files, databases, plugins and themes.
  • You can set backup schedules every 4, 8 or 12 hours, daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly
  • You can restore backups direct from the WordPress control panel.


Akismet Banner

Akismet is a spam filtering service that filters spam from comments, trackbacks, and contact form messages.

Your WordPress site will come with Aksimet already pre-loaded but you do need to activate it.

Here’s an example of Akismet filtering a spam comment on one of my blog posts:

Akismet screenshot

Once you’ve activated the plugin you do need an API key to use it. Just click on settings next to the activate/deactivate link and it should take you to the API key page.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache banner

Google will rank faster websites higher than slow loading ones. FACT.

W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your site by increasing website performance, reducing download times via features like content delivery network (CDN) integration.

Here’s what the guys at W3 Total Cache have to say about the benefits of using this plugin:

  • Improvements in search engine result page rankings, especially for mobile-friendly websites and sites that use SSL
  • At least 10x improvement in overall site performance (Grade A in WebPagetest or significant Google Page Speed improvements) when fully configured
  • Improved conversion rates and “site performance” which affect your site’s rank on Google.com
  • “Instant” repeat page views: browser caching
  • Optimised progressive render: pages start rendering quickly and can be interacted with more quickly
  • Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
  • Improved web server performance; sustain high traffic periods
  • Up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds

Do you agree with my list of essential WordPress plugins? Let me know in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “6 Essential WordPress Plugins

  1. Nice listing Gemma! All these really are very useful plugins.
    I also want to suggest you one pretty good WordPress plugin called Trash Duplicate and 301 Redirect. This plugin helps you to find and remove duplicate content. Also permanently redirect removed content URL to the main URL to divert traffic to one URL and be safe from being penalized by Google for duplicate content.

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