Must-Have WordPress Plugins

Essential Plugins

Don’t want to get hacked, lose or even destroy your own website? Then you’re going to want all five of these MUST-HAVE WordPress plugins before your website turns into a horror show.

It’s a website owner’s nightmare but it’s actually really easy to avoid the website of doom. I’m Kat Reynolds, website strategist and I’ve helped thousands of small business owners to grow their business through their websites. I always recommend starting a website with these five plugins and they’re all completely free!

5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins

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The Security Plug-in

The first plugin I always install is a security one. One of the top fears of business owners I work with is that their website is going to get hacked. Yes, this is a problem and they can take over your site, add hidden files.  I even had one client whose website hosted a whole secret porn site in the back end. She had no idea about it! You don’t want that –  no one wants that! So, always install a security plug-in to stop the nasties from getting in.

must-have wordpress plugins security

Hop onto your WordPress dashboard and click new plugins and there are so many options for security. My preferred option is Wordfence Security, it does the job without too many tweaks for the basic plugin and the free version is absolutely fine! Others, like iThemes Security and All-In-One, are great too. They will all block hackers from logging in, scan for malware and are all constantly updated to respond to any new vulnerabilities. Just don’t leave your website unprotected!

The Backup Plugin

Plugin number two is the backup plugin. Yes, many hosting services include some level of backup but they often save to the same server that you’re hosted on. If that server goes down – not good! So you want to make sure you have control of your own website.

A backup plugin will also protect you from the “oh my gosh I just broke my website, I lost my content, I accidentally deleted all my products!” nightmares you’ve probably already run through your head.

I recommend UpdraftPlus because it’s super easy to set up and makes sure your site is backed up to a safe space. It is also super easy to resurrect if things do go a bit pear-shaped. Just activate the plug-in and you’ll be taken through to complete your first backup. Then you’ll need to automate your backup. (So you don’t suddenly discover that the last time you backed up was 20 blogs ago and you’ve lost all that work!)

must-have wordpress plugins updraft plus

Choose daily backups for the database, which saves all the words and things, and weekly for the files. Then choose a platform to back up to and you’re covered for any “oops i did it again!” moments.

I know the fear of people hacking or breaking your site puts so many entrepreneurs off from even starting a website. Is this you? Type ‘solved!’ in the comments below – because now your security and the backup plugin is sorted, you really can’t break your own website anymore.

Website of doom averted!

The next three must-have WordPress plugins are there to make sure your website works for your business, starting with plugin number three – your caching plugin.

The Caching Plugin

A successful website needs to be fast. Your website visitors won’t want to wait around for the site to load. Really, you only have about three seconds to make an impression before they click away. Also, Google will rank your website higher if your website is faster. A caching plugin basically saves your page information so it can serve it quickly to your website visitors. It can cut vital seconds off your load time, which is crucial for getting more views.

I use SiteGround Optimizer. It’s dead easy to set up, with just the right amount of options to turn on without looking horrendously complicated.

must-have wordpress plugins siteground optimizer

However: it’s only available if you host with SiteGround (my favourite hosts – link here!)

There are loads of caching plugin alternatives though. Such as WP-Optimize, which also has some really good features to optimize your database and files. It also smashes up your images so they aren’t enormous. Test a couple out! Test your website speed using a tool like Pingdom Speed Test, before you activate the plugin and after. Then you can see which one does the job best for your site.

The SEO Plugin

Plugin number four is your SEO plugin. Now, this little tool won’t get you to the first page of google but it WILL help you optimize your site and content to be Google friendly. I recommend the very popular Yoast SEO.

 wordpress plugins Yoast SEO

It adds a very handy little SEO tool below the text editor, so you can optimize your pages, your posts and your products for a particular keyword. It then grades your efforts from red to green and gives you lots and lots of hints to improve your content. Plus, you can then edit the excerpt that appears on the Google search results so you can get more click-throughs.

This plugin is a must if you want your website to be found.

The Analytics Plugin

Plugin number five is your analytics plugin.

I know…the thought of stats might make you come out in hives

However, it’s so important to know how your website is doing because it has a job to do! If it’s not bringing in the visitors and not making you sales, you need to be able to see where it’s all going wrong. You will need to connect up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

Google Analytics will show you:

  • All the figures you need
  • The visitor numbers
  • What they’re looking at
  • What activity they’re up to on your site.

Google Search Console will tell you how your site is being found.

You can connect to these by adding code to your header –  not the most beginner-friendly solution! This is why I recommend using a plug-in like Monster Insights which takes you through the process of linking up to Google Analytics. It will also show you some of the stats right on your WordPress website. Super easy and super handy!

google analytics monster insights

So, those are the five must-have WordPress plugins that will stop the ‘website of doom!’ from raising its ugly head. They’ll make sure your website is doing its job and bringing you in more business.

Are you going to be adding any of them to your website? Let me know in the comments.

Kat x

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