Last Updated on December 2, 2020.
In this post, I’m going to list 7 essential plugins you should install on your new blog.
Yet to start your blog? Check out my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.
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 can’t make of your blog; you can make a forum, make an eCommerce store, make a picture gallery, take donations, whatever you want.
While there are numerous plugins to get these customizations and modifications done, some are very essential for the smooth running of your blog. The ones I’ll talk about in this post are necessary for the security and optimum performance of your blog.
If you don’t know how to install plugins, check this out: how to install a plugin in WordPress.
For security, speed and enhanced performance of your blog, install these plugins.
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 gain access to a website is through the login area. In fact, it’s the easiest way to gain access to a website. You only need to guess the login details or send bots to try different credentials in the hope that one’d be correct.
As a blog owner, it is best that you send these guys away from hacking in by merely guessing your login details. With Limit Login Attempts, you can stave off hackers by setting a limit to the number of times a single browser or IP can try logging in.
If you set the log in 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 the duration you set.
- 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 the wrong login details and pass the limits, you’ll have to wait past lockout time before you can sign back in.
The fight against spam is real. When your blog goes live and becomes accessible via the Internet, you’d start fighting this thing in the shortest time possible.
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 or products you don’t even know exist. These bots will tell you about how long they’ve been a fan (even if you launched last night) and still go ahead to offer you Viagra.
Install this plugin to stop these bots.
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.
This plugin is a must-have for your blog; you need it more than anything else. Nothing can be worse than losing all of your hard work due to a technical error just because you changed themes or installed a new plugin.
If you don’t know, updating your blog to the latest version of WordPress can break your site. The version you update to may war with the plugins on your blog or even your theme. The only way to save yourself from “finishedly” losing it all is to have a backup you can revert to.
While you can manually back up your blog, it is better to automate the back up such that even when you’re busy with other stuff, you can rest assured you won’t lose your hard work. UpdraftPlus does just that: automatically backup your blog.
I particularly 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 Google Drive and Dropbox.
- 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
Insert Headers and Footers
This is yet another important plugin for your website.
As a blog owner, there are third-party services that you need to track your blog’s growth. Some of these services (such as Google Analytics) require you to paste some strings or lines of code in your website header or footer and while it is easy to edit your theme header and paste these lines of code, it is discouraged. For one, you may break your site if you do not place the code correctly. And two, you’ll lose the code when you update or change your theme.
Why go through the trouble of pasting every time you update your blog theme when you can do it just 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.
- Quick to set up
- Simple to insert scripts
- Insert header code and/or footer code
- Add Google Analytics code to any theme
One of the most important aspects of managing a blog is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization if you like.
While YoastSEO will not go about bringing people to your blog, it tells you what to do to attract them.
With YoastSEO, you can implement some of the best On-Page SEO practices. The plugin will vet your posts and pages and give you suggestions on how to position your content for the best performance in the search engines.
- 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.
This plugin is from Automattic, the founding company of WordPress and is true to its name – a jetpack.
With this plugin, you can see how many people visit your site, what pages they view, their countries, get notified when your blog is down and more. You can also set this plugin to automatically share your posts on social media immediately you hit publish.
What I particularly love about this plugin is the intuitive interface. You don’t need any tutorials to use the plugin.
- 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.
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 them over again) when they visit your blog subsequent times (after their first visit). This will give your blog a boost in loading speed thereby improving user experience and increasing dwell time.
After installing these essential plugins, you may then install other plugins to customize your blog and expand the functionalities.
Here are some recommendations:
- Constant Contact
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. That’s a win-win.
See this post on how to install a plugin on your blog. Here’s another one on how to change your theme and customize your blog.
Go make an awesome website!
Got questions? Drop them in the comments.
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