So you just started a blog and you need all the information you can get to have an awesome ride.

Want a practical guide on how to create a blog? Check out this comprehensive guide.

One of the upsides of using WordPress to create a blog is that there are lots of plugins out there to help you make a great one. With plugins, there is nothing you cannot make of your blog; you can make a forum, make an eCommerce website, take donations, make a picture gallery, make your blog appear on Google, whatever you want to achieve.

While there are numerous plugins to customize your blog, there are some that are must-haves. The ones I’ll talk about in this post are necessary for the security and optimum performance of your blog.

In this post, you’ll learn about 7 plugins you should install on your new blog or website.

7 Must-Have Plugins for Your Website

Limit Login Attempts Reloaded

Thousands of websites are hacked every day and one of the ways the bad guys use to gain access to a website is through the login area. In fact, it’s the easiest way to gain access to a website that is not yours. You only need to know (or guess) the login details.

As a blog owner, it is best that you send the bad guys away from hacking in by merely guessing your login details. With Limit Login Attempts, you can stave off hackers by setting limit to the number of times a single browser or IP can try logging in.

If you set the login limit to your blog to, say, two trials, once someone fails the second time, they won’t be able to try the third time. This plugin will block their IP and browser for how long you set it.

Key features:

  • Limit the number of retry attempts when logging in (per each IP).
  • Limit the number of attempts to log in using authorization cookies in the same way.
  • Informs the user about the remaining retries or lockout time on the login page.
  • Optional logging and optional email notification.
  • It is possible to whitelist/blacklist IPs and Usernames.
  • Woocommerce login page protection.
  • GDPR compliant.

Spoiler: The same applies to you! If you enter wrong login details and pass the limits, you’d be blocked, too! You’ll have to wait past lockout time to sign back in.

Akismet Anti-Spam

The fight against spam is real. When your blog goes live and becomes accessible via the Internet, you’d start fighting this thing in no time.

There are millions of bots parading the web looking for the next vulnerable website to spam. These bots will leave comments on every single post on your website. They’ll scout your blog for contact forms and send you mails about services you don’t need. These bots will tell you about how they’ve been following your blog for a while (even if you launched last night) and still go ahead to offer you Viagra.

Akismet key features:

  • Automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
  • Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
  • URLs are shown in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links.
  • A discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam, saving you disk space and speeding up your site.

UpdraftPlus

This plugin is a must-have for your blog; you need it more than anything else. Nothing can be worse than waking up to see all of your hard work gone. That is exactly what this plugin (and every other plugin like it) prevents; it allows you to set automatic backups of your blog. While you can manually back up your blog, you can schedule backups of your blog such that even when you’re busy with other stuff, you can rest assured you won’t lose your hard work.

I like this plugin because it has the option to backup to external drives such as Google Drive, Dropbox and so on. My backup schedule is daily and I backup to both my server and Dropbox.

Key features:

  • Restores, as well as backing up
  • Backs up to more cloud options than any others
  • Allows you to set up automatic backup schedules, for the ultimate in convenience
  • Is faster, using up fewer server resources
  • Has been tested on over 1 million sites

WPSuperCache

You need WPSuperCache to enhance the performance of your blog. It is a caching plugin that stores the static elements of your blog on your readers’ browsers so that they’re served these files from their browsers (and not download over again) when they visit your site some other time. This will allow your blog load faster thereby increasing user experience. This is super important, because people don’t wait beyond 3 seconds for a blog to render completely. Anything further than that will have you looking at their backs.

Insert Header and Footer

This is yet another important plugin for your website. As a blog owner, there are third party services that you need to monitor the performance of your blog. Some of these services (such as Google Analytics) require you to paste some strings or codes in your website header. While it is easy to edit your theme header and paste these lines of code, it is discouraged. One, you may break your site if you do not place the code correctly. Two, you’ll lose all modifications when you update or change your theme. Why go through the trouble of pasting every time you update your blog theme when you can just do it once and focus on other important aspects of your blog.

With this plugin, copying and pasting lines of code or tags in your blog header or footer becomes easy. Do it once and forget about it.

Key features:

  • Quick to set up
  • Simple to insert scripts
  • Insert header code and/or footer code
  • Add Google Analytics code to any theme
  • Insert any code or script, including HTML and Javascript

Yoast SEO

One of the most important aspects of managing a blog is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, if you like.

While Yoast SEO will not go about bringing people to your blog, it guides you through. With this plugin, you can implement some of the best On-Page SEO practices. Yoast SEO will vet your posts and pages and give you suggestions on how to position your content for the best performance in the search engine rankings.

Key features:

  • Title and meta description templating for better branding and consistent snippets in the search results.
  • A state-of-the-art Schema implementation helps search engines make sense of your site and increases the chance on those coveted rich results.
  • The most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality at the push of a button.
  • Full control over your site’s breadcrumbs.
  • Automatically set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content.

Jetpack

This plugin is from Automattic, the founding company of WordPress.com and is true to its name – a jetpack.

With this plugin, you can see how much people visit your site, how much pages they view, the pages they viewed, their countries, get notified when your blog is down and more. Another good thing this plugin does is automatically posting your posts on social media upon publication, if you allow it.

What I particularly love about this plugin is the interface: very intuitive. No buzz words. You don’t need any tutorials to use the plugin.

Key features:

  • Brute-force attack protection, spam filtering, and downtime monitoring.
  • Backups of your entire site, either once daily or in real time.
  • Secure login, with optional two-factor authentication.
  • Malware scanning, code scanning, and automated threat resolution.
  • A record of every change on your site to simplify troubleshooting.
  • Fast, priority support from WordPress experts.

Conclusion

As shown in the post, these plugins are essential for running a blog or website made with WordPress. Before considering other plugins, you should have all of these plugins installed on your website. They are necessary for performance and security.

The security of your blog is very important. It matters a great deal to you. Your blog’s performance matters a great deal to both the search engines and your readers. It a win-win.

See this post about how to install a plugin on your blog. Here’s another one about how to change your theme and customize your blog.

Go make an awesome website!

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Got questions? I’m a mail away.


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