When you’re new to WordPress and using YouTube videos to get your website set up, it can be frustrating trying to figure out exactly which plugins to use.
(Definition: a WordPress plugin is a piece of software that “plugs in” to your WordPress site and adds functionality to it.)
With over 55,000 WordPress plugins to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know what you need and what you don’t.
However, for a basic website, like most coaches, authors, and service-based businesses have, you really only need a few plugins for everything. And, the fewer plugins you have, the better. Adding the wrong plugins can slow down your site and leave you open to security risks.
To have a WordPress website that’s easy to build, loads fast and is secure, there are five types of plugins every WordPress website should have. These plugins will help to easily build your pages, increase security, speed up your site, and boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Here are the 5 types of plugins every WordPress website should have, and the ones I recommend for each type.
Table of Contents
1. Drag and Drop Page-Builder Plugin
For those new to website building, (and even those of us who have done it for years), it’s much easier to build a website with a drag and drop page builder. I highly recommend Elementor and Elementor Pro*.
Elementor is a free drag and drop page builder that comes with several free templates you can import and easy styling and customizing for everything you create.
The paid Pro version (which I highly recommend at $59/year) adds extra capabilities like pop-ups, contact forms, direct header and footer styling, integration with your email service provider, blog post styling and several more.
By using the Pro version, you won’t have to add other plugins for this functionality–it’s all included in one.
2. Security Plugin
Every website should have some form of security to keep hackers away.
The first step is to make sure you have SSL installed on your site. This is usually free through your hosting provider. Your website should always start with https.
Your hosting provider may also provide some security on their end, but it’s also a good idea to add a security plugin.
A security plugin will give you more advanced security features to keep hackers from getting into your site and making unwanted changes or adding viruses or code on the backend that you are not even aware of.
If you are using Siteground* hosting (my favorite and what I recommend and use for my own site and all my client sites), I suggest the free plugin SG Security.
SG Security is installed on your website automatically when you set up a WordPress site with SiteGround.
If you do not have Siteground, I recommend the free plugin WordFence.
3. Caching Plugin
Adding caching to your website will significantly improve the speed of your site. When visitors come to your site, they don’t want to wait more than 2 seconds for your site to load.
You want a caching plugin that not only speeds up your site, but cleans it regularly and optimizes your images for you. (Large images will significantly slow down your site.)
A good caching plugin can make all the difference in speeding up your website from slow to under 2 seconds.
For those using Siteground hosting, the free plugin SG Optimizer is the best one to use. It will not only speed up your site with various caching features, but it will also optimize your images as they are loaded, convert them to .webp images for faster loading, and clean up your site regularly.
4. Backup Plugin
You always want to keep a backup of your website in your own files, just in case. Plus, you should always run a backup of your site before updating anything.
Many hosting providers keep a daily or weekly backup, but it’s also good to have your own backup files of your site.
I recommend the plugin UpDraftPlus. You can set it to automatically create a backup daily, weekly or monthly, and you can set the location of the backup to be a Google Drive, Dropbox or other various locations.
5. SEO Plugin
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is an important part of your website and organic search strategy. And an SEO plugin is one of the best ways to help with that.
You can determine what the title and description of each page on your website says, as well as which image shows up when you post a link to your page or blog article.
SEO plugins can also help you better optimize pages, set descriptions for images, set up redirects when you no longer need a page, and so much more. They can even link to Google and other search engines and send a notice when your pages have been updated or new pages added.
I highly recommend the free plugin RankMath. The free version is great and most likely has everything included you will ever need.
For more great information about SEO, and easy to implement SEO tips for beginners, read this article on “7 Easy SEO Tips You Can Do in 5 Minutes or Less.”
Finally, the last plugin I recommend is not required, but is incredibly helpful to see which of your pages are getting the most traffic.
I recommend adding the plugin Top 10 to your site. It adds a column directly to your WordPress dashboard pages that tells you how many visits each page on your site is getting. This helps you know where most of your website traffic is landing without having to go into Google Analytics every time!
For a fast, secure website, there are really only 5 types of plugins your WordPress website should have. Everything after that is extra and will often slow down your site.
My Plugin Stack
I build most of my client websites using Siteground hosting.
I have a total of seven plugins on each site: Elementor & Elementor Pro, SG Security, SG Optimizer, RankMath, Updraft Plus and Top 10.
After that, everything else is extra and only added if needed.
Take a look at your website and see if there are any plugins you don’t need or are not using. If so, get rid of them and see how much faster your site loads. Or, if you are missing any of the types above, be sure to add them.
If you need help installing or setting up any of these plugins, I offer hourly WordPress tech consulting. You can schedule an appointment HERE.
Ready to DIY your website? Sign-up for the Done Right Website Academy today! And get your website launched in as little as 7 days!
(*Note: affiliate links used in this post. I only recommend products I use in my own business and have thoroughly tested and vetted.)