This article will suggest and explain 7 different “must-have” WordPress Plugins that you’ll want to use for your WordPress site in 2020.
Depending on which web hosting provider you’re using, you may or may not have a number of plugins “included” with WordPress by default, and you almost certainly won’t need or want them all. Review each of them and delete the ones you’re not going to use.
Something to always keep in the front of your mind – the more WordPress plugins you’re using, the slower your site will be. It’s highly recommended that you keep your WordPress plugins to a minimum.
This is a list of plugins that in all likelihood you will want to use, with some exceptions based on your specific goals.
1. Akismet Anti-Spam
Before I do anything plugin related on a new WordPress web site, I install and activate Akismet. It will protect your site from so much spam it’s absolutely unreal.
As you can see in the screenshot below, Akismet has blocked over two million spam comments from appearing on this site. That’s crazy.
2. Classic Editor
This plugin falls into the “maybe not everyone will want it” category, it’s very much a personal preference. While creating content/writing posts in WordPress, the default method is to use the Gutenberg editor – which is a somewhat new addition to WordPress. There was more than a little controversy when it was introduced as it’s not exactly loved by all. I still don’t quite understand how it’s supposed to make it easier to write, but if you like it by all means keep using it! If you prefer to compose your posts in the “old” editor, you’ll want to install the Classic Editor right away.
3. Yoast SEO
You probably do need an SEO plugin. It doesn’t have to be Yoast SEO, but that seems to be the most recommended SEO plugin in 2020. Other commonly recommended SEO plugin is All in One SEO Pack. I use and prefer Yoast. There are too many features to list, but in a nutshell it helps make sure that people can find your content when they search the web. If you don’t install Yoast or another SEO plugin that creates a sitemap, you’ll absolutely want to install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin to make sure your site has a sitemap.
4. W3 Total Cache
This is another one that you’ll want to review and decide for yourself if your site needs a caching plugin. If you’re using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) you probably do not need or want a caching plugin. If you aren’t using a CDN, a caching plugin is probably a good idea – in almost every case it will increase the speed of your site. W3 Total Cache is the most popular one right now, but WP Super Cache is a commonly recommended one as well. When I used a cache, it was W3 Total Cache (now I use Fastly as a CDN instead).
Autoptimize is a must-have if the speed of your site is important to you. Google puts heavy emphasis on site speed when it comes to deciding where to put your site in its search results, and Autotimize does speed up your site. You’ll have to spend some time researching which features you want to enable, but the end result will see a bump in your site speed. You can use a tool like Measure to see what works and what doesn’t.
6. AMP for WP
This one is a bit tricky. Adding AMP to your site has benefits and drawbacks. If you decide you want to have AMP versions of your pages, AMP for WP – Accelerated Mobile Pages is the way to go. I did a ton of research on AMP for this site, and I landed on this plugin. I’m very pleased with it for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that once it’s setup and configured, you can pretty much forget about it. If you decide you want to have ads on your AMP pages, Advanced AMP Ads will help you enormously.
7. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the tried and true plugin for adding a “Contact” page to your site. Tons of features, it’s not going to slow your site down, it’s frequently updated, and it’s free. It’s the most popular Contact Form plugin for WordPress for good reason.
If you ever notice strange behaviour on your site, you may want to use Simple History to monitor WordPress.
That sums up my list of must-have WordPress Plugins – are there any critical plugins you think I’ve missed?