When creating sites for clients, fun, or profit, I always install the same few WordPress plugins right off the bat.
Here are descriptions of 10 plugins that I always install immediately on every site I make:
Jetpack is more like a toolbox of WordPress plugins than a single tool.
It includes things like:
- Tracking site stats
- Publication via social media
- Blog subscriptions via email
- Site backups
Plus many other functions designed to speed up your site, make it more user-friendly, and improve the admin experience.
I mostly use it for the social media functionality and on some sites for the email subscriptions.
2. Google Analytics
If you use Google Analytics, adding a plugin is a no-brainer, unless you want to plug the code into your site manually.
Google Analytics plugins make it easy to configure options and view stats from inside your site.
There are plenty to choose from but I currently use Analytify on most of my sites.
3. WP Super Cache or LiteSpeed Cache
WP Super Cache and LiteSpeed Cache produce static HTML pages instead of requiring your server to process the PHP each time.
They can speed up your site performance dramatically, which improves the user experience and can help SEO.
4. Disable Comments
Comments are useful on some websites, but I never use them – I simply don’t have the time.
To get rid of commenting functionality completely, install Disable Comments.
If you want to use comments on your site, set up Akismet instead of this plugin.
5. Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder is a drag-and-drop page builder that massively speeds up development time.
Currently, it’s my favorite page-building tool.
You can make great-looking pages in hours instead of minutes and you can do it from the front end of the site. This way you can pretty much see how it will look after it’s published.
There are also additional plugins that will add even more functions and modules to the Beaver Builder – when you search for “Beaver builder” you’ll see them pop up in the results.
Elementor is another nice page builder that’s free and easy to use, which reminds me of X Theme’s Cornerstone editor.
WP Bakery’s Visual Composer is another robust option – which works well with The7, one of my favorite WordPress themes – but I’m using it less and less because it’s buggy and costly.
A captcha plugin, such as the one called “Captcha,” will cut down on the number of spambots that fill out your web forms. It can also prevent a lot of malicious site attacks.
7. List Category Posts or WP Sitemap
List Category Posts isn’t one that jumps to mind for most people, but I use it if I want to create a user-friendly “Table of Contents” page.
It creates a bullet list of posts, making it easy for people (and search engines) to look at all the post titles on your website. You can also choose from a wide range of variables to limit, filter, or categorize the posts you list out.
If you want to paste a complete sitemap into a page, use WP Sitemap.
I add a page at the bottom of every site and include it both of these plugins … I want to make sure search engines have zero trouble getting a picture of my website.
8. Yoast SEO
Yoast makes SEO a breeze.
It helps you optimize each page and post for SEO keywords, gets you connected with Google Search Console, and does a lot of SEO’s heavy lifting for you.
9. Mailchimp & Conversion Boosters
Though I used Aweber for a bit, I currently use Mailchimp, so you definitely need a Mailchimp plugin for your sites.
Good options are Mailchimp for WordPress by ibericode or Contact Form 7 Mailchimp Extension.
If you have an email newsletter, then I strongly suggest using some other conversion-boosting plugins, like Boxzilla, Optin Forms, Magic Action Box, or Popups by Optinmonster.
10. Featured Image Admin Thumb
I use Featured Image Admin Thumb to add featured image thumbnails inside the All Posts page – very useful when you’re dealing with lots of posts.
This plugin keeps you from using the same featured images on different posts.
Conclusion: There Are WordPress Plugins for Everything
These are the WordPress plugins I install right away but they’re just a few of the many that I use.
- Duplicator, for migrating, cloning, or backing up sites
- Contact Form 7, for creating flexible contact forms
- Gravity Forms, for creating very, very robust contact forms, surveys, and questionnaires – last time I used it, though, it was paid
- Duplicate Post, which does just what the name suggests – useful for creating template posts
There is an ocean of WordPress plugins out there, and most of them can make your life way, way easier.
If there’s specific functionality you’d like to add to your site, make sure to do a plugin search – chances are someone’s already made a tool for that problem.