Often times I get asked what plugins I recommend when creating a WordPress website, so I decided to write a blog post about the 4 plugins that I like to use the most when creating a nice website. Some of these plugins are free and some of them are paid (sometimes both).
These are mostly the “framework” plugins that I would get setup before starting to build the website. The one main thing I want to stress to you is that with WordPress more is not always good. When installing plugins you must be cautious as to how active they are, when their last update was, and keep your plugin list short. The more you have, the slower your site can be… especially if you are new to WordPress website development.
Elementor and Elementor Pro are in my opinions the best website builder plugin in my arsenal of tools. It provides beautiful stock widgets right from the start and allows you to build your page with simple drag and drop tools. There are some key differences between the free version and the pro version, you can find out more about that by checking out their Official Elementor Pro page.
My recommendation to anyone starting out is to use the free version, learn how it all works, and then decide whether or not you even need the extra features that the pro version gives you. However if you do decide to upgrade to the pro version, the pro version relies on the free version so make sure that you keep the original Elementor installed. You can also see the list of themes that work well with Elementor.
The All In One SEO Pack is my #1 recommended WordPress SEO tool at this time. I used to use Yoast SEO and although it was great, I felt like it did not give me as much freedom to customize the settings to my liking. If you are new to SEO and feel like too many options might scare you, Yoast SEO is always a great way to go and I would still recommend that to people.
If you are not sure what each setting does and how you should use it, the plugin is nice enough to give you a link next to each one so you can read the documentation on what it does. Set meta data for each page, each blog post, and even change what your shared links will look like when they are posted on social media. This plugin is generally a powerhouse for SEO and I recommend you at least check it out.
WP Rocket boasts its “Superior WordPress Performance” and I do feel this plugin lives up to that slogan. What WP Rocket does is optimize, cache, cache preload, minify and even combine files to improve load times for people that visit your website. This is very important today as the golden rule or number on load times of a website is about 3 seconds or less. This plugin usually helps you hit that target.
This plugin offers you an CDN (content distribution network) addon for about $7.99 but I have no experience with that as I usually go with the usual Cloudflare. For those of you who also use Cloudflare, this plugin has a nice integration option for it so you don’t necessarily have to feel forced into buying their $7.99 addon.
A few of the other Integrations options are Sucuri, Varnish, Facebook Pixel, and Google tracking. Last but not least are the media options of this plugin. Included options are lazyloading (image, iframe, video), emoji disabling, WordPress embed blocking, and webp compatibility. This webp compatibility option will allow me to switch to the next plugin which is called Imagify.
Imagify is an image resizer, compressor, and optimizer with a few extra features. Image optimization is very important when building your website because you really don’t want a bunch of full sized images loading on your site at once. The more data and images a visitor has to download when visiting your website, the longer the load time will be.
It allows you to choose from 3 levels of optimization (Normal, Aggressive, and Ultra) where image quality drops slightly with each one but compression gets better and better. My favorite feature however is the ability to create webp versions of all the images you upload. WebP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. The lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs and offer better performance and load times on websites.
As mentioned before, this plugin integrates with WP Rocket really well and I always recommend people to use them together.
Well, there you have it! Those are my top 4 plugins that I would recommend to anyone that is starting to create a website using WordPress. There are plenty of alternatives to the plugins that I listed and they might even be better, but this list covers the ones I have used and can recommend to you.
Thanks for checking out this post and stay tuned for more articles that may help you.