Thinking of starting a new WordPress site?

There’re tons of plugins available that could help you protect your website — keeping your data safe — and grow your website traffic.

While most of the plugins listed here are free, there’re a few premium plugins that I’ve been using on all my WordPress sites and I’m extremely satisfied with the result.

So I decided to compile 15 essential WordPress plugins that are important for your website.

Here we go!

15 Must Have WordPress Plugins in 2020Click To Tweet

15 Must Have WordPress Plugins

WP Rocket

Page loading time is an important factor when it comes to search engine rankings after Google announced in July 2018 that it has become one of the search ranking signals.

Do you know that on average people would leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load? Websites that take longer to load tend to have higher bounce rate that hurts their SEO ranking.

WP Rocket is ~ hands down ~ the best caching plugin for WordPress. You can configure WP Rocket easily — unlike other popular caching plugins — without any technical knowledge required that’ll improve your website performance instantly.

WP Rocket has the most comprehensive features on the market from minifying your CSS and Javascript files, deferring your javascript files, image/video lazy loading to optimizing your database and more.

What I like the most about WP Rocket is the ability to generate Critical Path CSS. WP Rocket will crawl your website based on your sitemap and generate critical CSS for each post type.

Critical Path CSS is the CSS required to render above the fold content of your page, it lets browsers render and display your website faster before it finishes loading.

Check out this tutorial to find out more about all the features.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO has been around since 2008; with over 5 million active installations, it’s probably one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time. Yoast SEO provides comprehensive features you need to improve your on-page SEO.

With Yoast SEO, you could configure meta tags (title and description), generate a sitemap for your site, connect to Google Search console, control what gets indexed on Google and many more.

Yoast SEO helps you increase your readers’ engagement ~ increasing the average time people spent on the page by analyzing the readability of your content and calculate the Flesch Reading Ease score. It’s advisable to always try to get the highest reading score possible.

Yoast SEO premium comes with few great key features such as internal link suggestions that suggest links to related posts as you write and redirect manager that prompts you to do 301 redirect whenever you delete a post or page preventing 404 errors that hurts your SEO rankings.

UpdraftPlus

How often do you back up your website? If you’ve never done it before, you’re risking losing your data ~ all your hard works when the worst does happen.

If you’re looking to back up your WordPress site for free, UpdraftPlus is the right choice for you. UpdraftPlus lets you back up your WordPress site files and database and restoring them easily.

Now, you could choose to backup manually or you could automate your backup on an interval basis and store it remotely on the cloud. You could send your backup files to Google Drive, Dropbox, S3, FTP, and even email.

With your backup files safely stored on the cloud, it helps to minimize downtime during maintenance or when your hosting provider failed you.

WordFence

WordFence is an easy-to-use security plugin that protects your websites from hackers and doesn’t scare you away, it’s the most popular WordPress security plugin with over 3 million active installations. It’s baked in with an endpoint firewall and malware scanner built specifically for WordPress.

Security is a complicated thing and WordPress hacking increases over time. With WordFence Premium, you could get real-time firewall rule and malware signature updates via its Threat Defense Feed.

With the security scanner, WordFence will check for WordPress core files, themself and plugins for any malware, bad URLs, backdoor, SEO spam, and code injections.

It also has login security protection that protects your admin panel from brute force and bad login attacks.

ShortPixel

If you’re using tons of images on your website, your website might be slow. Big and unoptimized images size are often the biggest issues that slow down websites which in turn hurts your SEO ranking. You could easily fix this issue and instantly improve your SEO ranking with an image optimization plugin.

While there’re few great image optimization plugins for WordPress but ShortPixel is my recommended choice. ShortPixel supports both lossy and lossless optimization and reduces your image size by up to 90% without compromising image quality.

If you’re using Cloudflare CDN, you’re gonna love the Cloudflare integration feature. Simply key in your Cloudflare’s details and ShortPixel will make sure all your images get updated automatically in Cloudflare.

ShortPixel is a freemium plugin. Register for a free account that lets you compress 100 images per month without any file size limit.

MonsterInsights

Google Analytics is an important tool to grow your traffic and MonsterInsights is the best plugin for it. With MonsterInsight, it’s easy to connect Google Analytics to your website making sure you don’t lose any tracking data.

What I like about MonsterInsights is you could get an overview of your websites such as top posts/pages, page views, sessions, and bounce rate right on your WordPress dashboard.

MonsterInsights Pro version provides a lot more tracking features on your website making sure you don’t lose any important data. One feature worth highlighting is its page-level analytics where you get detailed statistics for each post and page so you could focus and optimize content that matters to your visitors.

Sucuri

Sucuri is a complete security and monitoring solution for WordPress. It prevents website hacking on the firewall layer with its web application firewall.

Its monitoring features help you monitor for any malware and DDOS script on your website. It even monitors any changes on your DNS and alerts you when your website is down.

RankMath

SEO is the best and most consistent source of traffic and RankMath helps you with just that. Dubbed as the Swiss Army knife of WordPress SEO, RankMath is a new — free — SEO plugin that proves to be a good alternative for Yoast SEO.

It comes with a cleaner and simpler user interface that’s make it easy to use even for a beginner. The step-by-step wizard makes sure you set up SEO for your WordPress site correctly.

I switched to RankMath because it gives me premium quality features for free. You could

  • Optimize your post for up to 5 keywords ~ not just 1
  • Added Rich Snippets to your post easily ~ over 14 types of Rich Snippets
  • Track your keyword ranking in Google
  • Redirection Manager, 404 Monitor, and many more.

All for free…

Check out over 60+ features of RankMath and find out why it’s a game-changer.

Social Warfare

One of the best social sharing plugins that let you add beautiful social sharing buttons on your website that actually boost social sharing.

With Social Warfare, you could set minimum share count before displaying the counts to could avoid the negative social proof ~ where people won’t share your post when nobody else sharing.

If you pinned a lot or rely on Pinterest to grow your traffic — which you should — this is the plugin for you. Social Warfare’s advanced Pinterest feature ensures your Pinterest pins are search engine optimized — making your pin searchable.

Redirection

Have you ever encounter a time when you need to redirect the user from a page to another page?

Often times, you’ll want to repurpose old contents and redirect the user to certain pages instead for SEO purposes but adding redirect rules on your web server directly could be confusing and hard to manage even for seasoned developers.

Redirection is the most popular redirect manager for WordPress. It makes it easy to add and manage all your redirection rules from your WordPress dashboard.

If you’re using Yoast or RankMath plugin, it comes with a built-in redirection manager but the Redirection plugin gives you much more advanced features.

With Redirection, you could create your own redirect patterns using a regular expression. You could redirect users based on certain conditions, such as login status, browser type, IP address, page type and many more.

Akismet Anti-Spam

Akismet Anti-Spam is one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins that gets included with WordPress installation.

Akismet checks for comment and contact form submission on your website against their global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.

It protects your sites from people leaving spam comments that hurt your credibility. It has a free plan and it’s easy to setup. I would recommend to set it up right from the beginning.

Broken Link Checker

If you have a high bounce rate on your website, it’s time to check for any broken links. Broken links have negative effects on your SEO, it causes users to leave your website faster and slow down search bots crawling — which hurts your search engine ranking that you tried so hard to build.

Broken link checker is the best plugin to fix the 404 errors on your site. This plugin scans for every link on your website — posts, pages, and comments — and highlights if links have changed or broken or no longer exists. You’ll get a notification via email or the admin dashboard so you could always fix it fast.

Final Thoughts

These plugins should get your website in good shape. Fewer worries on SEO, social shares and security.

Do you use any plugins you find important to have? Drop it in the comments below.

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15 must have WordPress plugins in 2020. Use these plugins to protect your website, speed up your website and grow your website traffic.