For every blogger there is a situation in his early days of blogging where he/she might have the below questions running in their mind:
- Shall I use WordPress plugins?
- If so what are the essential WordPress plugins to be used?
- What are the must have WordPress plugins to use?
- How many WordPress plugins do I use?
- Is there any specific list of WordPress plugins I must use in a Specific Category?
- Can I use Free as well as Premium plugins? Or can I use all Free Plugins?
- What if I will not use any plugins?
This is a few list of questions even I have faced and struggled to find right answers in my blog journey so far. Even today, I am still in a dilemma that I am using right plugins or not and what are the important WordPress plugins that I should use. I read many blogs and watched many videos on this questions and found many huge list and many of them are included plugins that I don’t need or not suited to my niche at all.
In this scenario, I thought of an idea of collecting a list that every blog must have. So I approached many of the industry leads and experts in WordPress and who are successful in Blogging for several years.
The question I put to these awesome experts is that “Must have WordPress plugins for any blog’s optimum performance“.
The list of categories that I have prepared for this question is :
- Comment/Spam filter Related
- Database and File Backup Related
- SEO Related
- Security Related
- Statistics Related
- Caching Related
- Image Optimization related
- Photo Gallery
- Subscription related
- Contacts Forms Related
- Social follow & Share related
- Google Adsense
- E-commerce specific
- Membership plugin
- Affiliate related
- Other must have plugins
So I am furnishing their answers for this list in their own writings below.
16 Experts Sharing their views on Essential WordPress Plugins for bloggers
1) Justin Germino: (dragon blogger)
Justin Germino is the owner/operator of Dragon Blogger Technology as well as several other WordPress sites. He has been working with WordPress since 2008, and mostly do site builds with pre-made themes, but experiment with a lot of plugins and have been known to edit robots.txt, .htaccess and various PHP files in text editors to get some simple edits and changes needed with a site.
Here is what Justin has shared to us about his favorite must have WordPress Plugins:
Comment/Spam filter Related
Disqus is my commenting plugin and all filtering done with Disqus admin, so I don’t use default WordPress commenting at all.
Database and File Backup Related
WP-Optimize for keeping the database trim, optimized and removing bogus wp-options table entries as well as old post revisions not required.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the SEO plugin that I use and trust, I make sure to update my post to get “green” on all content areas and good to go.
When using a WordPress plugin, I recommend Wordfence, but I also prefer to use Incapsula cloud-based security in front of my website, this way the resource requests or attacks aren’t even hitting the web instance so you don’t have to worry about your plugin or other probing attacks against website, they are stopped at the Incapsula cloud so it doesn’t hurt your Web Hosting resources or let those exploits even hit your website to find a vulnerability when they are detected. They have great reporting, DDOS and blacklisting capabilities as well as caching features too.
Google Analyticator is still my preferred plugin for integrating with Google Analytics and putting an Analytics dashboard on my WordPress Dashboard.
Incapsula cloud security and caching, also W3 Total Cache in some cases where appropriate.
Image Optimization related
I personally use 2 and one of those is WordPress Image Shrinker which integrates with TinyPNG API to compress images so that they take up a fraction of their normal size and does this while uploading images to WordPress so it saves time. I also use One press Image Elevator which allows you to cut and paste images from your clipboard memory directly into the WordPress editor and has some excellent default options with easy editing and compression while uploading.
I don’t specifically use a photo gallery plugin, but use FooBox Free Image Lightbox so that when people click on an image it expands cleanly without redirecting them off my post to an image.
I don’t specifically use any subscription related plugins, my site doesn’t have subscriptions other than my newsletter which I use SendinBlue for my mailing list newsletter. It offers great rates and options for sending news blasts and integrates with the Gleam.io giveaway platform.
Contacts Forms Related
Formidable Pro is my favorite forms based plugin, extremely flexible, allows integration with PayPal and other mailing list providers, can be used to create forms that create instant posts from forms, accept file uploads, calculate various field entries to create surveys or scoring…etc. I haven’t specifically used Gravity Forms but from what I can see Formidable Pro can do anything Gravity Forms can do.
Social follow & Share related
AddToAny Share Buttons Plugin because they render perfectly on Google AMP pages, AMP is a function that renders your site clearly for mobile devices by removing scripts and ads and sidebars, this plugin allows the share buttons in the article to look nice and play on AMP enabled mobile pages, want to see example just use this base URL:
Same Post with AMP: gleam-giveaway-platform-now-supports-sendinblue-integration/amp/
I use the Quick AdSense plugin for Google AdSense in both posts, pages as well as in sidebar. It works for you to place any script code including Amazon script code, BuySellAds script code or just about anything plus gives you a great deal of control on where it places, how frequent it displays…etc.
I don’t use on my sites, but some sites I work with use InfusionSoft WordPress plugin.
WP-Members or Infusionsoft are the only two I have used.
I use EasyAzon for Amazon Affiliate optimization, I also use Author hReview plugin which is also replaced with the more comprehensive Rich Snippets Plugin wp rich snippets which allows you to create review content with various meta rich data for search engines including rating stars and other criteria.
Other must have WordPress plugins
AMP plugin to make sure your sites render cleanly on mobile aware search engines that leverage Google AMP is coming. I use Fanciest Author Box to render really clean and elegant feature rich author bio boxes at the end of posts as well. Finally, the most recent plugin I use is the Multipage Plugin which is ideal at allowing you to create 1 really long post yet break it out into separate sub posts that still only take up a single WordPress post, you can see an example of this with this post here which leverages the Multipage Plugin.
2) David Schneider: (self made businessman)
David Schneider is the co-founder of Ninja Outreach, an innovative new Blogger Outreach software for marketers. He writes about business and entrepreneurship at selfmadebusinessman, and enjoys travel.
When Dave’s girlfriend wants to know why the dishes aren’t done he writes her a blog post. He excels in content marketing and all things written.
Here is the list of David’s must have WordPress plugins:
- Contact Form 7
- Disqus Comment System
- NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster
- SEO Smart Links
- W3 Total Cache
- Yoast SEO
- Thrive Visual Editor
3) Nick Loper : (side hustle nation)
Nick is an author and online entrepreneur featured on The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, and speaking at a TEDx event.
His latest role is as Chief Side Hustler at Side Hustle Nation, a growing community of aspiring and part-time entrepreneurs, where he also hosts the top-rated Side Hustle Show podcast.
He is a Marketer, skier, author, business nerd, podcaster, Seattle sports fan, Parrothead.
Nick’s choice of must have WordPress plugins:
- Sumo Me
- Magic Action Box
- Tiny MCE Advanced
- Rel NoFollow Checkbox
- Yoast SEO
- WP Smush
- Revive Old Post
- All in One WP Security
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox
4) Atish Ranjan: (Tech Tricks World)
Atish is a workaholic from Delhi, who expertise in the field of SEO, SEM, SMO and WordPress. He is a BCA graduate from IGNOU, and has a knack of learning new things and implementing them.
Intrinsically, Atish absolutely loves blogging and it has been his hobby since the very beginning. Apart from blogging, the youngster is a music lover. He enjoys watching television shows featuring dance. Atish is very active on social networking sites such as G+, Facebook and Twitter.
The below is the list of Atish’s must have WordPress plugins for the topic discussed in this Article:
- Comment/Spam filter Related – GASP and Akismet
- Database and File Backup Related – BackWPUP
- SEO Related – Yoast
- Security Related – Bulletproof Security
- Statistics Related – Google Analytics
- Caching Related – WP Super Cache
- Image Optimization related – WP Smush
- Photo Gallery – NextGEN Gallery
- Subscription related – MailChimp
- Contacts Forms Related – JetPack Comments
- Social follow & Share related – Monarch
- Google Adsense – Quick Adsense
- Affiliate related – Easy Affiliate Links
- Other must have WordPress plugins – Commentluv, Incoming Links, P3 Profiler.
5) Marko Saric : (howtomakemyblog)
Marco Saric is a Blogging and content marketing advisor at howtomakemyblog.com.
His passion for online media has been bubbling for many years, starting back when he was a teenager.
Marko is also exploring the digital nomad lifestyle.
He regularly speaks about online content at different events and conferences. HowToMakeMyBlog was featured in Forbes, FHM, Inc. Magazine, Yahoo!, Social Media Examiner and several other high-profile sites.
Here is the list of Marko’s must have WordPress Plugins list:
- Database and File Backup Related – BackWPUP
- SEO Related – SEO by Yoast
- Statistics Related – Google Analytics
- Caching Related – W3 Total Cache
- Image Optimization related – WP Smush, BJ Lazy Load
- Photo Gallery – NextGEN Gallery
- Social follow & Share related – Simple Social Icons, Social Sharing by Danny
- E-commerce specific – WP- eCommerce
- Membership plugin – Members
- Other must have WordPres plugins – P3 Profiler, Redirection, WP-Optimise, Broken Link Checker, Search Meter, WordPress Importer, Search and replace, Post type switcher, Better Click to Tweet, Social Locker, Fancier Author Box, Q2W3 fixed widget, Max Mega Menu.
6) Erik Emanuelli : (No Passive Income)
Erik Emanuelli is a founder of No Passive Income, Blogger, Freelance Writer and an entrepreneur and considers himself as a Citizen of the World.
He has traveled for business and pleasure in over 30 countries across four continents (and still counting).
Apart from this, he is an extreme Sports Lover, Certified Skydiver & Social Media Addict.
Here is what Erik shares about the must have WordPress Plugins list:
- Comment/Spam filter Related : Akismet + G.A.S.P. plugin, the perfect combo to fight spam comments
- Database and File Backup Related : BackupBuddy
- SEO Related : All in One SEO Pack
- Security Related :Wordfence Security
- Statistics Related: Google Analytics
- Caching Related : WP Super Cache
- Image Optimization related : ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
- Photo Gallery
- Subscription related : OptinSkin 3.5 and Genesis eNews Extended
- Contacts Forms Related : Contact Form 7
- Social follow & Share related : Monarch Plugin
- Google Adsense : I monetize the site with BuySellAds (but I use Ad Injection for my niche sites that I monetize with Adsense).
- Affiliate related : Pretty Link
- Other must-have plugins: CommentLuv premium, Broken Link Checker, Outbound Link Manager (see my blog post at must-have-WordPress-plugins for more details).
7) Kulwant Nagi: (Blogging Cage & knowledgecage)
Kulwant Nagi is the owner and Founder of Blogging Cage & Knowledge Cage.
He is an Internet Entrepreneur, Professional Blogger, Writer, Affiliate marketer and a visionary human being.
He is also managing blogs on niches like blogging, SEO, Android and various other small niche. He is a B.Tech graduate in ECE from ITM, Gurgaon, India.
Kulwant shared the below list on the topic discussed in this post:
- Comment/Spam filter Related: zero-spam
- Database and File Backup Related: wp-database-backup
- SEO Related: squirrly-seo
- Security Related: wangguard
- Statistics Related: wp-statistics
- Caching Related: w3-total-cache
- Image Optimization related: wp-smushit
- Photo Gallery: nextgen-gallery
- Subscription related: plug matter-optin-feature-box-lite
- Contacts Forms Related: gravity forms
- Social follow & Share related: ultimate-social-deux
- Google Adsense: ad-injection
- E-commerce specific: woo commerce
- Membership plugin: s2member
8) Anil Agarwal: (Bloggers Passion)
Anil Agarwal is a professional blogger from New Delhi, India and the founder of Bloggers Passion. He possess a master degree in computers and I got the motivation to start BloggersPasion blog after seeing the success of some of leading blogs in blogging and make money online niche like Problogger, ShoeMoney and JohnChow.
BloggersPassion is featured on the top blogs like Problogger, DailyBlogTips, SEMrush, Zac Johnson, Successful Blogging, ShoutMeLoud, Basic Blog Tips and many others.
In the own writing of Anil, “I personally recommend anyone to use the following 2 WordPress plugins”:
- Yoast SEO: It’s a free plugin and used by over 1 million users worldwide to easily optimize their content. If you are a beginner or an SEO enthusiast, this is a must have WordPress plugins.
- W3 Total Cache: If you want to increase your website’s overall loading speed, you need to minify the unwanted cache from your databases and files. This is the best plugin (free) which helps you quickly clears the cache without putting any burden on your web hosting servers.
If you want to make your blog search friendly, here are the top 10 WordPress plugins I highly recommend you to give a try.
9) Yannis Valencia:
Yannis Valencia is an Affiliate Manager at Hostgator.com.
HostGator recommends securing your WordPress with plugins that specialize in security. The first on their list isn’t specifically a plugin for WordPress, but for your site in general and it’s call SiteLock. It’s more reactive meaning that it scans for malware and removes any that it finds.
The second on their list is iThemes Security which provides over 30 options to help protect your website. One of which is to help with automated (mostly Bruteforce) attacks.
10) Jacob Gube: (Six Revisions)
For optimal web performance, you’ll want to limit the number of plugins you use. Each plugin has the potential to significantly slow down your WordPress site. Not only that, each plugin is a potential security vulnerability (an attack vector); especially plugins that aren’t well-written and maintained properly. So have to be really picky, and you have to carefully evaluate a plugin’s usefulness to see if it really adds enough value to your site to merit using it.
At Six Revisions, we only use these plugins:
- W3 Total Cache helps make our web pages load fast. It has a full suite of features for optimizing front-end web performance. A slow website negatively hurts the user experience, so we want to do our best to make our site load as fast as possible.
- Akismet reduces the amount of comment spam we get. Comment spam devastates the usability, community engagement, and value of a blog’s comments section. So this plugin is a must-have for Six Revisions. It has blocked more than 17.8 million spam comments ever since we’ve started using it. Manually moderating that much comment spam is impossible, so Akismet has really stepped up for us.
- Yoast SEO is the only SEO plugin we use. It has everything we need.
11) Zac Johnson: zacjohnson
Zac Johnson has been making money online for nearly 20 years now and would love to help you do the same.
That’s the reason why he created his own blog at ZacJohnson.com.
With over 1,000 original and real life experience based articles, he will continue to walk you through the ups and downs, and in and outs of affiliate marketing and how others are making money online.
Here’s three plugins Zac Johnson enjoys using:
- Thrive Content Builder – Creating content within WordPress is nice, but using Thrive Content Builder gives you control and customization like nothing else. All without the requirement of being a designer or getting your hands messy with code.
- SumoMe — It’s a great app that provides a ton of useful tools for online marketers and site owners. Many of the tools are free and advanced options are available for premium members.
- Yoast SEO – It’s basic, easy to use and works! A necessity for every site owner.
12) Tim Soulo:(bloggerjet)
Tim Soulo is the head of marketing at Ahrefs and you can get more great marketing tips from him on his personal blog called Blogger Jet.
In Blogger Jet, he talks about online marketing, blogging, SEO, conversion optimization and tons of other cool stuff.
He used to be a professional DJ, spinning records in nightclubs when he launched his first blog about electronic music. In the next 7 years, he has grown a bunch of blogs in different niches, worked at a few companies and launched a couple profitable online businesses.
Here is what he shares on must have WordPress plugins:
In “Subscription related” category my favorite WordPress plugin is hands down Content Upgrades PRO (content upgrade pro).
“Content upgrades” is an amazing email list building strategy that is widely used by all top bloggers.
After implementing “content upgrades” on my own blog, I saw immediate increase of email signups by 300% (see case study here:email-conversion-rate )
In “Social follow & Share related” category my favorite WordPress plugin is TweetDis (tweetdis).
This plugin takes advantage of a great SMM strategy called “tweetable quotes” (more info on it here: create-tweetable-quotes).
If you want to make your readers tweet your articles more often – you have to give them some catchy quotes to tweet.
After you plant a few tweetable quotes into your articles – you’ll see your total number of tweets growing.
13) Pradeep Kumar: (hellboundbloggers)
Pradeep Kumar is the Owner/Founder/Editor of HellBound Bloggers (HBB). He founded HBB when he was 17 years, and HBB faced several hard years to become a standard blog. Pradeep loves Blogging and he considers the term ‘Blogging’ as a tool or weapon which can change the world, or, at least, a person’s life.
He is an Atheist, and he has his own personal valid reasons for that. Pradeep loves Marketing, Cloud Computing, Movies, Games, Walking, Dreaming, and yes, Blogging.
These are the plugins he often use on his blog network:
- W3 Total Cache
- Yoast SEO (Premium)
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- WP DB Manager
He thinks these 5 are more than enough for a typical blog.
14) Sue Anne Dunlevie: (successfulblogging)
Sue Anne Dunlevie takes the guesswork out of building a profitable blog. The owner of Successful Blogging , she has been passionate about business since she started her own toddler daycare group at her swim club.
After 27 productive and rewarding, but stressful years in sales and sales training, blogging has provided her with the freedom to reinvent her life and set a more enjoyable pace (while working in her yoga pants!).
Sue feels that the below plugin is a must have WordPress plugins to every blog:
Social follow & Share related:
I use and love the Social Warfare plugin. It’s the only social sharing plugin that allows you to create images of the correct size for each social media platform. So when a reader shares my blog post on Pinterest, the ‘long and lean’ ideal Pinterest image will be shared!
15) Marius Ghitulescu:
Marius Ghitulescu is a Happiness Engineer at ThemeIsle.
ThemeIsle is the leading theme shop which produces Pixel Perfect WordPress Themes.
ThemeIsle is the only place where clients are called pirates, and the word pirate doesn’t mean bad guy.
Here is the list of Marius which he feels the best to have WordPress Plugins:
- Comment/Spam filter Related: Akismet
- Database and File Backup Related: VaultPress
- SEO Related: WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Security Related: Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall
- Statistics Related: Google Analytics by Yoast
- Caching Related: WP Rocket
- Image Optimization related: ShortPixel Image Optimizer
- Subscription related: OptinMonster
- Contacts Forms Related: Pirate Forms
- Social follow & Share related: Super Socializer, Revive Old Posts
- Affiliate related: WP Product Review
- Other must-have WordPress plugins: Shortcodes Ultimate, Redirection, Easy Content Types
16) Mi Muba: (Be a Money Blogger)
Mi Muba, the founder of beamoneyblogger.com has been blogging for the last 4 years. He has worked as a content writer, SEO and SMO for two blogs of a UK-based NGO for 2 years in 2012-13.
So Far he has written 1,300 big and small posts on the topics of blogging, money-making, healthy living and green lifestyle.
He has been published as a guest blogger on several blogs including AllBloggingTips, MyBloggerLab and ShoutMeLoud as the most prominent ones.
Mi Muba’s list of must have Plugins is as under:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Floating Social Bar
- W3 Total Cache
17) Vladimir Gendelman: (CompanyFolders.com & Printwand.com)
Vladimir Gendelman is the Founder and CEO of Company Folders, winner of multiple awards, including ranking in Inc.’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies in America three years and counting. He is a thought leader in print design, and has published a variety of articles in major publications, including Forbes and Time.
Here are Vlad’s must have WordPress plugins:
Broken Link Checker – Essential for detecting and eliminating broken links on your blog.
Search Meter – Allows you to keep track of what people are searching for your blog, which can help generate content ideas.
Social Metrics Pro – Excellent for tracking social media activity and identifying which of your posts are performing best.
Social Warfare – Great way to establish social share buttons on each of your blog posts, including allowing users to pin a specific image on Pinterest or tweet a certain piece of text.
Yoast SEO – The bread-and-butter for SEO on WordPress sites, allowing you to handle multiple SEO considerations from one easy location.
By seeing the responses we can conclude that many of them are not using any or few plugins and others are using plugins as per the situation or niche type. So after analyzing the list of these 16 experts along with many over the phone/ offline chat and regular interaction, we have found few plugins that are a MUST have WordPress plugins for “Optimum Performance” of a blog. The list is as shown below:
- SEO by YOAST
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Smush
I hope you like this article and I request everyone who reads this article to share their views and also list which plugins they use and tell us why you think it a MUST to any blog.