The 4 Must Have WordPress Plugins When Starting Your Own Blog

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If you’re just getting started with your first WordPress blog, you’re probably not aware of the basic plugin essential to get your site optimized for SEO, performance/load speed, and specific content your visitors want.  Whether you’re a business blogger, photography blogger, or simply want the best must have plugins for your personal blog, take a look at the below plugins and try them out.

  1. WordPress SEO or Squirrly – If You aren’t familiar with SEO, give the Squirrly plugin a try for your new blog. It’ll help you understand the basic principles of optimizing your content for search, and help you get more traffic/visitors to your blog by teaching you how to tailor your content to specific needs your visitors are looking for. If you already know about basic optimization, use the Yoast SEO plugin, as it has far more other features that will replace having to add secondary plugins to get sitemap functionality and so on.
  2. Search Meter – Search Meter is probably to number one most under utilized must have wordpress plugin on the planet! Imagine you could see what your visitors wanted when they came to your website (content that it), and the next time you published a blog post, you already knew it was something desirable… How would that improve your blogging ability and your blogs effectiveness overall?  That’s exactly what WP Search Meter does!  It shows you the internal search queries from your blog, the very things your readers are looking for.  Where this becomes super useful is when you check it once or twice a month, and find a trending searches that have no matches. That means your visitors want something you don’t have, and it makes it very easy for you to go and create exactly that!
  3. WP-Optimize – Have you ever navigated to your WordPress dashboard and it takes a minute to load?  Have you been revising posts or pages over and over by clicking that “Update” or “Publish” button hundreds of times?  What you may not know is that every time you do that, a post revision is being saved to your database, causing a tiny bit of bloat each time.  Over time, when you keep doing this, it grows and can cause your WordPress admin dashboard to load slower than normal especially if you’re on shared hosting.  There are much better uses for those resources, so it’s a good idea to install the WP Optimize plugin and run it every once in a while to clean up your blog.  What I do is run it once a month, or right after I’ve finished setting up a new blog or theme… generally when setting up a new blog, you make tons and tons of post revisions while you’re tweaking it to get it to look thew way you want.  This will take care of the mess left behind in under a minute flat!
  4. Fastest Cache –  Again, especially if you’re on shared hosting or have a lot of posts, WordPress can lag every once in a while on page load.  Big images, poorly coded themes, and waaaaaay to many plugins are what most people have going on in their wordpress install.  In 2016, a caching plugin is almost an essential must have on any setup.  Fastest Cache, formerly Zen Cache, is one of the easiest to use caching plugins available for the wordpress platform. You don’t have to fool with htaccess modifications, change file permissions, or anything else that you might find cumbersome.  All you have to do is download and enable it, and enjoy the faster loading times of your blog!
  5. WP Stock Photos – Free stock photos downloaded straight to your wordpress dashboard!
  6. Contact Form 7 – Easy to use wordpress plugin for professional contact for for your contact us pages.
  7. Broken Link Checker – A plugin I’ve been using to detect broken links on my site and fix them quickly.

Update December 23rd, 2015 – I added 3 plugins to the list… 7 Must Have WordPress Plugins

Hopefully those will help you out if you’re looking for plugins you need to be using in 2016 on your WordPress blog.  If you have any questions or would like to know about plugins for other needs, let me know in the comments or use the Question Of The Week page!

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