One of the reasons so many people love WordPress is because it’s open source. There are over 58,000 plugins available for users, however, if you’re just starting out with WordPress you might find this a little daunting to say the least.

I’ve designed my fair share of websites in WordPress and I have found my go to list of plugins, these are the plugins that I use on most of the sites that I build and I want to share them with you.

Contact Forms

Every website needs a contact form, you need a way for prospective clients to get a hold of you. Two of my favorite plugins for this are the Contact Form 7 and WP Forms.

Contact Form 7 is amazing for it’s versatility. If you know a little bit of HTML and CSS you can easily code and manipulate the form to fit the style and layout of your website. However, if you’re not as tech savvy you may find it not as user friendly and not as attractive.

That’s why I also like WP Forms! WP forms is more user friendly, it’s easy to use and intuitive once you’re within the editor. WP Forms also includes a few templates to get you started if you don’t know where to begin.

Search Engine Optimization

If you want a successful website you need traffic. SEO is one way to help drive traffic to your site and my favorite SEO plugin to use is Yoast SEO. It’s been around forever and is very user friendly. The plugin tells you exactly what you need to help your pages rank within search engines, from your keywords, meta descriptions, copy length, links, and images. It also automatically creates a site map for your site so you don’t have to worry about that extra step.

Google Analytics

While we’re on the topic of traffic it’s also wise to have Google Analytics connected so you can actually measure the traffic and not assume your strategy is working. 

While I typically go directly to Google Analytics to see exactly how everything is performing and where my traffic is coming from a great plugin to have on your site is Monster Insights. This plugin is very user friendly and gives you high level information on your website traffic right on the backend of your site without requiring you to log into another account.

Backup Your Site

It’s so important to have back-ups of your website, if you didn’t learn from my experience and losing the entire site because I thought it was backed up on my host server, sometimes it’s good to have a backup plan for your backups! 

UpdraftPlus is the most downloaded back-up plugin through WordPress right now. It automatically backs up your website and stores it remotely to your FTP, Dropbox, and more. You can also easily restore your site from the backup. 

Creating Great Headers

Lastly, I had to add something for the design side of things and less tech-y! 

When creating my header images or sliders I typically use a plugin and two of my favorites are Slider Revolution and Smart Slider. Both of these plugins have a slight learning curve but it’s nothing to be scared about, once you take them for a stroll you’ll love the creative possibilities. You can easily add movement, videos, slides, and graphically layout your slide with ease.

That’s my short list of plugins for WordPress to get you started. I’m sure you’ll find as you build your site you’ll need other features that aren’t listed above. Have fun exploring the plugins that are available to you and build your website with confidence.

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