In the last years I created a lot of blogs and websites with WordPress.
For me WordPress is the best and easiest way to create blogs that perform well. It saves time and does a really good job considering SEO and the user experience.
Choosing the right WordPress plugins
When it comes to the planning stage for a new blog, there is always the question:
“Which plugins do I need and which plugins satisfy my requirements most?”
If you browse the WordPress plugin market, it can be just overwhelming – there are tons of possibilities and different plugins for each subject.
Therefore it is just not possible to test them all, so I decided to write down my knowledge and advices. The listed plugins are all free plugins.
1. List Category Posts
With the List Category Posts plugin (LCP) you can place post lists anywhere. Just enter the shortcode and sort by categories or tags. Everyone who is working alot with WordPress knows that it’s not easy to create simple post lists, but this plugin does it great and has a huge load of different shortcodes. If your theme does not provide post lists, grab LCP!
2. WPSEO or Yoast SEO
For every blogger and owner of a website, the SEO aspect is one of the fundamental things. For all of us it is necessary that people can find our website easily.
SEO is easy to learn but hard to master and the two WordPress plugins WPSEO and Yoast SEO lighten your workload immense. The important aspects you need for good onpage SEO are highlighted, thus you can see which of them you have to optimize for your website.
I recommend to use WPSEO, because I am using it since a long time and it always does a great job and it works out of the box. WPSEO is a premium plugin, if you want to go with a free plugin use YOAST SEO, it performs nearly as great as WPSEO.
3. Zencache for great caching
One division your website or blog has to compete in, is the page speed. For the visitor and for search engines as well, page speed is an extremely high weight factor. Not only for SEO but also for the user experience it is an advantage if your page loads quick and nice. It’s more fun to browse and people will stay.
There are a bunch of famous WordPress caching plugins: W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, WP Super Cache and Quick Cache and so on…
I recommend to use Zencache, it is the Version 2 of Quick Cache and is free to use. It is the newest of all listed and combines the best things. Also it is super easy to install, while other plugins might take hours to install (like W3 Total Cache and Super Cache). Try Zencache – you will be satisfied!
4. Widgetize Pages Light
Ever struggled to place widgets somewhere in the header or in posts or pages? The Widgetize Pages Light plugin gives you the possibility to create as many “widget areas” as you want. These widget areas can be placed anywhere with a simple shortcode.
This is just awesome because many plugins provide widgets and it’s not always the best way to just throw them into the sidebar.
Content can be presented very clear and well arranged with tables. Tablepress is the best WordPress plugin to do this. The tables can be placed with shortcodes on any place and can be reused at any time. Tablepress also comes up with sorting and search functions inside the tables. One lovely plugin that I wouldn’t miss on new blogs.
6. Shortcodes Ultimate
The Shortcodes Ultimate plugin is a mega pack of WordPress shortcodes:
The shortcodes come up with nice functions and animations and work like a charm. I use the tabs and toggle boxes on each of my blogs to separate content. But in total there are about 50 of these shortcodes and all of them are easy to handle and clean to use.
7. Contact Form 7
Now comes the 7! Most Websites or blogs need simple forms for the contact & checkouts.
The Concact Form 7 plugin is simple but also extensive. You have full control over the input fields, emails and you can even add captcha to prevent bot spam.
Metaslider is a responsive WordPress slider. On the home page and on important category pages a slider with some animations gives a professional look and a positive first impression. In the slider a post feed of the latest posts can attract a lot of attention!
9. Google XML Sitemaps
This handy tool creates a sitemap of your blog. On the one hand Google says that a sitemap is not needed, for pages that have below 10.000 pages to be indexed. However I always use it, because it’s a one-time quick install and it guarantees that every content can be found by search engines. Google XML Sitemaps is the best plugin for that!
10. Antispam Bee
Spam protection is quite useful, when comment functions are enabled. Antispam Bee is the one to go with, if you run into spam notifications. You only need this if you have comments enabled or got input forms on your page.
Since WordPress exists, there have been so many plugins for the comment section. I never was satisfied 100%. I used “Disqus” for a long time, but it is hosted somewhere else and I do not feel good with it anymore. I also tried to use the default comments and combined it with the WP Ajaxify Comments plugin, which is a simple and good solution that might work for you.
Right now I am using wpDiscuz which is very new on the market and comes up with good basics. wpDiscuz works like the normal comments (you can leave a name, email and domain when entering a comment) and adds captcha and like & share buttons for the comments. Give it a try!
12. Password Protected
I love to create things directly online. If you are in the construction phase I recommend to create a password protection on your page. Like this it’s up to you to decide when the page will be reachable and online. When things are ready, deactivate/delete the plugin and launch the page!
13. Cresta Social Share
The last plugin is for social sharing! You should give users the possibility to share your content the easy way. Shared content is always nice for getting more visitors.
I like to show the amount of how many times the post has been shared – if the number is high, it is a trust factor that shows the user that he can believe what the author is saying. I use the Cresta Social Share plugin, it provides a share counter and nice hover effects.
If you want to create a new blog, these are my top 13 WordPress plugins you should use. I use all of the listed plugins on Appdino. This does not mean that you should not use any other plugins, but in my opinion these plugins definitely win in their specific topic against other variants of plugins.
Do you miss any plugins that are essentially necessary for a new blog?
Let me know in the comments!