What are WordPress Plugins?
WordPress is extremely flexible and very easy to use and extendible with Plugins and themes as discusses in my other blog post on how to create and develop a child theme. The possibilities with WordPress are endless. Here are personally my favorite WordPress Plugins for 2020.
These are personally my favorite and most important WordPress Plugins that everyone should try and use on their personal blog. I know each situation is different and some might also consider social media plugins a must, or WooCommerce for eCommerce.
Remember that this list is a personal opinion and is based on my personal situation.
Lets Dive into the WordPress Plugins.
1. Classic Editor
Good news for people who don’t like the new block editor in WordPress. The Classic Editor is now available as a WordPress Plugin and maintained by the WordPress developers team. I personally cannot get used to the new block editor yet. For me personally, I prefer the classic editor, it is familiar easy, and still offers tons of features I personally like.
You can also use it next to the block editor depending on the kind of content you want to write. This plugin is fully supported by WordPress until 2022 or as long as is necessary.
2. Contact Form 7
Contact form 7 is a simple must-have Contact Form plugin. This plugin is extremely easy to use. You can insert your contact form everywhere you want with a simple WordPress shortcode in your theme file, on your pages, and in your posts. Create unlimited amounts of contact forms for different situations, edit contact forms.
This plugin also supports Google CAPTCHA, Akismet to prevent your site from spam messages.
You cannot have a website without a mailing list these days. Mailing lists are powerful tools to stay in touch with your visitors. This no-nonsense number 1 mailing list (newsletter) plugin for WordPress that has tons of features out of the box. MailPoet seamlessly integrates with WordPress, drag & drop email builders, with tons of features makes it a breeze. MailPoet also hooks into Contact form 7.
Elementor is a fully-featured drag & drop True Live Page Builder for WordPress plugin with tons of addons available, There are more page builders but this one sticks out with head and shoulders above all the others. It is easy to use and has lots of capabilities.
And it personally is much easier to use than the WordPress block editor.
There are also a bunch of addon plugins packs to extends the Elementor functionality.
Essential Addons for Elementor is a great addon Plugin for Elementor with tons of extra effects, template and more.
5. JetPack by WordPress.com
JetPack used to be one of my favorite WordPress plugin. Today it has been stripped down a lot, just like Yoast SEO is. The only reason I use JetPack is for the infinite scroll, lazy loading images, social sharing, and statistics, and the spam login blocker.
6. LuckyWP Table of Contents
I Highly recommended a Table of Contents plugin to everyone that blogs and LuckyWP Table of Contents gets the job done. Install this plugin and activate it and forget it. It automatically ads it to your posts so users can go to the section they want without having to scroll through your lengthy posts.
7. Rank Math SEO
Rank Math SEO is in my opinion currently the new No. 1 SEO WordPress plugin, It offers tons of features not available in Yoast for example, Rich snippets, AMP, keyword research tools together with a much faster and a lean codebase compared to Yoast SEO.
Yoast used to be my favorite and still does the job, but it also got stripped down a lot of its functionality for some reason which is a shame, but this plugin is truly a diamond under the SEO plugins for WordPress and sticks above Yoast with head and shoulders.
AddToAny is personally my most favorite social media plugin. It is lightweight and offers tons of features. I have. It offers standard sharing buttons, floating sharing buttons. AddToAny also has counters which show you how many times an article or page has been liked or shared.
The great thing about this WordPress plugin is that loads asynchronously meaning it won’t slow down your website speed.
9. AMP for WP – Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMP for WP automatically adds Accelerated Mobile Pages to your WordPress site. AMP makes your website faster for Mobile visitors. The free version gives you basic functionality and you can customize the colors, logo, menus to match your normal WordPress theme.
It comes with tons of features by default with some of them are paid. Give this plugin a try.
10. WP Fastest Cache
I did some extensive research and WP Fastest Cache plugin came out to be on #1 on each one of them. For this reason, I recommend this plugin. The free version supports the following;
- Desktop Cache
- Minify HTML
- Minify CSS
- Combine CSS
- Combine JS
- Browser Caching
11. ThirstyAffiliates Affiliate Link Manager
ThirstyAffiliates is a must-have plugin for people who want to monetize their blog. This plugin lets you cloak ugly links into pretty looking links, and this prevents you also from commissions fraud.
Other Main Features include;
- Inbuilt affiliate link shorter/link Cloaker (creates pretty links like: http://example.com/recommends/your-affiliate-link)
- Commission protecting affiliate link redirection options (301, 302 & 307)
- Click stats tracking & reports
- Hierarchical link categorization to easily segment links
- Affiliate link picker tool which works just like the WordPress link tool
- Advanced link picker tool (hit the cog icon after clicking the “TA” button on your editor) for more advanced options
- Insert standard links, shortcodes, or even images! (with full instant search capabilities)
- Makes it easy to insert affiliate links in posts, pages, and even comments. ThirstyAffiliates is there everywhere there is a standard WordPress editor
- Handy quick add tool lets you easily create new affiliate links without even leaving the post edit screen
- Customizable link URL prefixes – change “recommends” to something else, loads of pre-done link prefixes to choose from, or use your own custom prefix!
- Choose to show category slugs in link URLs
- No Follow option (global or per link)
- Open in a new tab (global or per link)
- Full importing and exporting support via standard WordPress tools
- Full backup compatibility via standard WordPress backup solutions
- Uses WordPress approved storage techniques – doesn’t bloat your database
- Add your graphics, banners and other images to affiliate links for easy insertion
- In-built proactive link fixer which detects outdated affiliate links in your content and fixes them automatically
- Completely modularized so you can turn on only the parts of ThirstyAffiliates that you need
12. WP Recipe Maker
WP Recipe Maker is a free WordPress plugin that creates SEO friendly recipes, which ads rich snippets in Google Search results and the ability to print the recipe.
Main features include the following;
- Compatible with both the Classic Editor and the new Gutenberg editor.
- Includes an Elementor block and shortcode can be used in other page builders.
- Easy workflow to add recipes to any post or page.
- Uses schema.org/Recipe JSON-LD metadata optimized for Google Recipe search.
- Uses schema.org/How-to JSON-LD metadata optimized for non-food recipes and instructions.
- Supports both regular and Guided Recipes for Google metadata.
- Google AMP compatible.
- Integrates recipe metadata with Yoast SEO schema graph.
- Option to disable metadata per recipe if you want to publish non-food or DIY recipes.
- Compatible with Pinterest Rich Pins and a setting to easily opt-out.
- Outputs ItemList metadata for Recipe Roundup posts.
- Keyboard accessible and AMP compatible ratings for comments.
- Interactive print recipe page with room for ads and optional credit to your website.
- Fallback recipe shows up when the plugin is disabled.
- Include a recipe video in the template and metadata.
- Add photos or videos to any step of the recipe.
- Print recipe and jump to recipe shortcodes.
- This plugin is fully responsive, your recipes will look good on any device.
- Easily change the look and feel to fit your website in the Template Editor.
- Structure your ingredients and instructions in groups (e.g. icing and cake batter).
- Full text search for your recipes.
- Access your recipes through the WordPress REST API.
13. Google Site Kit
Google Site Kit integrates Google Analytics and Search console into the WordPress Admin panel. It also shows metrics for individual posts and pages. Google Site Kit also helps you manage your AdSense and tags.
Other features included are;
- Search Console: Understand how Google Search discovers and displays your pages in Google Search. Track how many people saw your site in search results, and what query they used to search for your site.
- Analytics: Explore how users navigate your site and track goals you’ve set up for your users to complete.
- AdSense: Keep track of how much your site is earning you.
- PageSpeed Insights: See how your pages perform compared to other real-world sites. Improve performance with actionable tips from PageSpeed Insights.
- Tag Manager: Use Site Kit to easily set up Tag Manager- no code editing required. Then, manage your tags in Tag Manager.
- Optimize: Use Site Kit to easily set up Optimize- no code editing required. Then, set up A/B tests to Optimize.
My Final Conclusion
These are (in my opinion) the must-have WordPress Plugins for every blog that is available right now. Rank Math SEO, Contact Form 7, and Elementor and even JetPack are all must-have WordPress plugins for everyone that are serious about blogging and to have a great start with your brand new WordPress blog.
JetPack isn’t what it used to be anymore, but it is still a must-have plugin with some features that will absolutely help with the traffic and speed of your blog.
Rank Math is a plugin I never heard about a couple of months ago, now it’s a must-have SEO plugin that sticks with head and shoulders above Yoast and all the other SEO plugins.