Which WordPress plugins is more appropriate to install? Very popular question on the web, in fact, so much so that every self-respecting blog in the sector has its beautiful list of the kind, even if – most of the time – it is … useless (sorry to admit it). This is because, if you think about it, most of the time these lists are made to generate traffic and without any other purpose. After so many years that I work, personalize, optimize and modify WordPress genetically, it seems to me that the time has come to write a list that is really worthy of the name, with that touch of presumption (consentitemelo) that sometimes serves to give that little bit of quality that on the web, often, in the free information is missing.
Introduction to WordPress plugins
Since you decided to install WordPress, the plugins have never been a problem in themselves: they are not difficult to understand and to install, but in fact there is a certain overabundance, you find for all (or almost all) the most common needs, and it is not always easy to choose (and I would add: you will not always find the plugin suitable for your specific need). WordPress plugins are powerful and versatile but, to be added, most of the time they are used with inexperience – and without really realizing what they really do. Which ones to choose, especially for the most common needs? I tried to extend the discussion so that it is practical and effective even for the technically less experienced, so I propose to you the one I drew up recently, in the light of some renewed experience with WP that led me, I must say, to change my mind about some and find others simply better than those I used two years ago (my first list was back in 2011 and the last update you are reading is of May 2018, ed).
Therefore prickly to the bands, or call to ciancie if you prefer: in this post we will try to clarify which plugins to install, and above all to understand what is needed to your blog anyway and what it is instead optional according to specific cases. No spam, nothing stupid, no known plugins or all too popular as useless: only concreteness and useful things for your sites.
Seeing is believing 🙂
Only requirement: you need to know how to install the plugins
In about thirty minutes / an hour of work you should be able to equip your blog with the most interesting ones addon of the moment: good work. If you don’t know how to install a plugin, it’s very simple:
- the most common way is to log in as an administrator to your WordPress site;
- then you have to select Plugin -> Add new
- in the search box at the top right, search directly for the desired plugin name to install it on the fly
- …that’s all? …that’s all! 🙂
How to install plugins, step by step
I repeat step by step: to install the plugins – none of those listed is for a fee – copy the name of the plugin you are interested in, and then paste it into the window that appears in Plugins -> Add new in your administrative WP menu, by clicking on the installation link from time to time.
Alternatively you can download them by clicking on the link “downloads“At the end of each description, then upload it to your blog.
The following is a list of plugins to use always and in any case on any blog, without specific indications or indications.
WordPress plugin for rotating advertising
Easily insert banner ads. The place that was of the glorious Ad Injection (now abandoned or nearly so, that I know of) it’s time to install Advanced Ads: a very good plugin, very up-to-date, works just fine, has practically the same functionality as its predecessor and quite easy to use. Remember one thing: the ads alone do not appear, but must be inserted inside a special one placement (Positioning Section) which can be: on top (therefore under the title of the article it automatically puts up a banner), inside the article (after the number of paragraphs specified), at the end of the article or bottom. Remember that it is recommended, using this plugin, to maintain a fixed structure for the articles you publish in terms of paragraphs (for example minimum 6 paragraphs): in this way you will give a sense of uniformity to the ads on all the pages, and you will avoid that they can be seen bad on some pages.
WordPress plugin for sites with heavy images
Speed up image loading. Chatting on Skype with a Tophost hosting manager I was told this “pearl”, which they recommend for their famous hosting plans both Topweb and Topweb Plus: a plugin like Jetpack , apparently not very useful, instead it has a very interesting functionality, which meets especially the need for photo blogs to quickly load their galleries. Well, just activate the feature “Speed up images and photos“With the relative check, and this will be enough for all the images of your site to be automatically loaded on the WordPress.com CDN. To do this you will need to authenticate with an email and activate the free JetPack plan (the paid one also allows you to make backups and lots of other interesting stuff; see also here on this topic).
WordPress plugin for comments via social media
To activate the comments on your WordPres siteIt’s enough to install Disqus for WordPress which offers ordered comments, no longer saved (uselessly, taking up space) in the database and with the possibility for users to comment via Facebook, Yahoo !, Twitter, Google Plus, anonymous and / or with name / URL. This is very, very comfortable and highly recommended.
WordPress plugin to find 404 errors (missing pages)
Internal link checking / Finding missing or corrupt pages. To avoid linking resources with invalid URLs over time and to correct the inevitable mistakes you can make in writing post inside the attributes href, exists Broken Link Checker which allows the automatic detection of i outgoing links from your blog that do not work, distinguishing them in 404 errors, non-responsive server and so on. The operation can also be planned over time (for example every 72 hours): I remember that the 404 links do not necessarily have an influence on the SEO, and (also for this) they must not be your obsession unless, of course, they do not concern pages very visited or popular on your site. Be careful not to do too frequent checks if you have a shared hosting, because the site could slow down considerably. Download
WordPress plugin to index the site (SEO)
Indexing / Sitemap. Among the software to generate sitemaps in many cases that BWP Google XML Sitemaps is the most complete choice: it allows you to customize the map, exclude pages and categories and easily set the priority. Quick and easy, it synchronizes automatically with search engines by sending a ping every update. Download
WordPress plugin to organize categories and tags
Organize your content. For those who work a lot on the content structure and its organization, a plugin like Categories to Tags Converter Importer allows you to quickly convert categories into tags (or vice versa): useful when organizing the structure of the blog for the first time or when you want to give WordPress a completely different cut. Vecchiotto, but in my opinion still acceptable because it still concerns operations to be performed once and because many, even today, continue to confuse categories and tags. Download
WordPress plugin for site security
Better WP Security increases the level of protection of the blog considerably, is a plugin security feature that allows you to change the name of the administrator (who still uses admin on your site?), change the prefix of the WP tables and so on. Remember, in this regard, that “password” is not a good password even if it is easy to remember … Download
WordPress plugin for onpage SEO
SEO. Abandon any other plugin that claims to be usable: SEO Yoast is the final choice, few doubts to date. It allows to flexibly configure both categories and home and pages and posts, and also allows to edit individually and independently title and meta description of the individual pages. The subject is still vast and I discussed it extensively on Webhouse long ago. Download – Note: as a backup solution, if you do not have special needs, even a simple All in One SEO Pack can be good for you.
WordPress plugin for social sharing
Flare. Excellent choice to integrate into a simple one click Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus and facilitate the sharing of their content: excellent for most of the themes, it has some problems on some of them since the counters are not seen. Try it without hesitation. Download
Social. Facebook Like Box Widget is the easiest and most painless way to install a widget with the box Facebook custom (fan page) in your blog. Download
He could not miss another excellent one plugin for the company and to implement the sharing of articles on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Linkeding: I speak of Social Sharing Toolkit, which is easily configured for Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, StumbleUpon and so on. Unmissable! Download
WordPress plugin for the most read articles
Most read posts are another desirable feature within WordPress (they should put it as default functionality), which can be exploited through the plugin Popular Posts. You can easily create shortcodes using (wpp) with various options available. Cabrera is the developer of the plugin and has worked in a way I would say egregious, for being a free software. Download
WordPress plugin to vote for articles
To allow your visitors to vote on your articles, the plugin I think the most efficient I found WP-PostRatings, another truly indispensable suggestion to understand how we are writing and what to correct directly from the readers. Download
WordPress plugin to speed up the site / for the cache
To improve your blog uploading performance, especially if you can’t afford high performance hosting, I suggest using WP Fastest Cache. In the past I have tested other solutions with great calm (W3 Cache, above all), but the simplicity and operation that you can achieve with Fast Cache is priceless (even with the simple free version). Very, much faster sites thanks to this plugin. Download
The following ones, unlike the previous ones that I consider useful in “average” sites, are slightly more specific plugins and by necessity more “localized” than common.
WordPress plugin to insert tables
TablePress is another great plugin to import, export and publish tables in HTML inside the posts and pages of your site, with various addon usable for this purpose. The new version released a few months ago is really excellent. Download
WordPress plugin to make site backups
Backup. For what concerns i plugin interesting to carry out backup in comfort refer to the specific post on the topic backup: manual and automatic.
WordPress plugin to insert additional fields in posts
Additional fields for posts. In many cases, posts and pages are not enough and it becomes convenient to be able to manage custom input fields (forms); to solve this type of problem you can resort to one of the best and most powerful plugin open source of WP, or Magic Fields 2. Basically it allows you to create custom types for your sites, such as product evaluation forms, structured elements of a library, archives and all the rest, making them consultable and usable directly by backend without going crazy (relative concept, but so … in my opinion). It integrates easily with what has been installed, offers ready-made predefined fields to allow the wordpress user to upload files, images, use select HTML and radio button, and does not require excessive programming skills to work. Download
WordPress plugin for analytics
WordPress integration – Google Analytics it is a moment to realize, if you install Google Analytics Dashboard: it also shows visits to individual posts and pages, and is simply a must. Login both traditional and through Oauth, which however does not seem to work properly on some hosting. Download
WordPress plugin for similar articles
nrelate Related Content does nothing but show posts similar to the one set, based on the content of the text and its similarity (adjustable in basic, medium and advanced mode). If similar posts seem uncorrelated to you (for Italian it still doesn’t work very well, to be honest), maybe it’s the case to make use of a plugin based on categories and tags like Similar Post By Category. Download / Download
WordPress plugin for question and answer sites
Question and answer plugin on WP. Enter a plugin of questions and answers to the Yahoo! Answers can, in some cases, increase the spread of the blog and its number of visits: a valid example was, until recently, Q&A Lite, or – more complete – its paid version. Keep in mind, however, that the latter is not exceptional, I experimented on my site and it does not seem very easy to use, not to mention that in some cases it has some bugs. The question is rather controversial: there are various plugins and themes that support this functionality, but they are all paid (and are not even too cheap). In fact the best free and open source solution, in my opinion, remains that of integrating your WP installation with Questions2Answers, of which I had already spoken at the time. Download
WordPress plugin to regenerate image thumbnails
If your theme uses i thumbnail, an interesting idea is to install Regenerate Thumbnails to refresh the images periodically, especially when you change them after a while, and to keep everything aligned and prevent old images that you have removed from appearing again. In some cases the thumbnail functionality is activated by Thumbnail For Excerpts, but obviously it is appropriate to directly install themes that support it (some are better with 5.2, others with PHP 5.3). Download
WordPress plugin to create additional fields
In many cases, posts and pages are not enough and it becomes convenient to be able to manage custom input fields (forms); to solve this type of problem you can resort to one of the best and most powerful plugin open source of WP, that is Magic Fields 2. Basically it allows you to create custom types for your sites, such as product evaluation forms, structured library elements, archives and all the rest, making them consultable and usable directly by backend without going crazy (relative concept, but so is … in my opinion). It integrates easily with what has been installed, offers ready-made predefined fields to allow the site user to upload files, images, use select HTML and radio button, and does not require excessive programming skills to work. Download
WordPress plugin to retain readers
Another very useful plugin to increase the pages visited (and i return visitors) on a WordPress blog is Subscribe to Comments Reloaded, which allows visitors to subscribe to the post, receive updates or comment and view replies by email. Download
I tried to make a complete review of the main WordPress plugins, based on the ones I installed in the various orders and considering that the best changes are often made by creating a child theme and manipulating the code, and at that point the plugins only serve to speed up certain processes. In principle, however, the tendency is to assemble sites by means of plugin combinations: I say that we should be more personal but then, rightly, everyone does as they like (especially on the web of improvised or done bloggers)from the ggggiente“In which, paradoxically,” we all have a little reason “).
PS: I promised it: it is not the usual list of plugins thrown down to make fun of the reader: it is the result of a work of over Eight years of work in the sector on more than 100 different WP sites. Here is the list of the 21 best plugin for WordPress suitable for the most diverse uses: webmaster tools, SEO, analytics, advertising banners, custom types (that is when you want users to create product data sheets, reviews or structured data “in fields”) and who has more, put them.
PPS: the topic is greedy for many bloggers, and it is common for many to talk about it without knowing what they write. Amen, I mean, but it’s something that verges on spam, in my humble opinion, and it happens in at least half the cases made in Italy since, without words, those lists are not useful to a beloved (five-letter word). I will spare you further considerations on how debatable this way of proceeding is (and that according to some, even more absurdly, would correspond to identifying an SEO as such, see keyword overload in the title “best plugins, etc.”), and I propose the list of “mine”: simple, (I hope) understandable, useful and above all tested on at least forty different sites. Unlike those who play to compose letters in an attractive way for readers in order to come out on the first page on Google for their personal gain.
Photo by Sean MacEntee