One of the most popular questions is which plugins to use for a fresh WordPress installation. Most site owners want their site to look unique or different from other sites. But there are some plugins that every new WordPress installation should have to help you get your site up and running from scratch.
The most popular SEO plugin that most WordPress site owners install is Yoast SEO. This plugin makes it easier to understand critical SEO issues with your site. It only acts as a guide, so it doesn’t guarantee that your site will get more traffic.
Yoast can provide better meta descriptions, meta tags, and other SEO basics. The plugin works by default for most WordPress sites and you don’t need to connect it to your Google Search Console.
The plugin also has red, orange, and green bullets that act as a guide for your SEO and content optimization. The focus should not be on mindlessly chasing the green bullets, but more on keyword strategy, content strategy and site structure.
With the free version of the plugin, you only get one keyword or key phrase per page. Plus, you won’t get real-time suggestions for internal links or alerts for outdated pages that need updating.
Yoast Premium version is ad-free, offers real-time suggestions for internal links and previews of social media pages. It also helps you avoid and fix dead links with the redirect manager, among other benefits.
It is important to have external backups of your WordPress site that you can manage.
While your . could use hosting service backups from your provider, you may not be able to save your site when something bad happens, like a security breach or hacking.
UpdraftPlus is an excellent backup plugin for any WordPress installation. The plugin is available in a free and paid version and you can connect it to a cloud storage service such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Amazon S3.
Nobody likes to receive spam on their websites, but it is one of the challenges of managing a website. The moment your WordPress website goes live, spam comments will appear, generated by countless automated bots or simply people piggybacking on your site to promote their sites.
However, you don’t have to dealing with spam comments if you install the Akismet plugin. Akismet is the official WordPress plugin designed to tackle spam that fills your site and ruins your readers’ experience as they navigate your site and content.
Akismet keeps out spam comments that could damage your brand’s reputation or drastically reduce your readership. You can use the free version of the plugin or upgrade to the premium version for more advanced features.
Feedback is an important part of any website. Not only will it help you interact with your readers, but it will also give you more ideas about what to write about now or areas that need improvement.
If you want your readers to be able to reach you easily, adding a contact form to your site is better than just putting an email address on the contact page. You can also create a newsletter signup form to add subscribers and grow your email list.
WPForms plugin provides an easy and simple way to add contact forms to your site. The plugin also allows you to add fields for the name, email, phone number (optional) and a space for the reader to enter their question or message to you.
You can get the Lite or Pro version to create contact forms for your site using the available pre-built templates.
Most website owners have social media pages for their businesses or brands on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. If you want your visitors share your content with othersthe Grow by Mediavine plugin provides them with a way to do this.
Once you install and activate Grow by Mediavine on your website, your readers will see all the social sharing icons on your posts and pages, making it easier to share your content.
The Grow by Mediavine plugin gives you two options for choosing where your social sharing buttons will go: floating sidebar or inline content.
The social sharing plugin has a free and paid version. In most cases, the free version works fine, especially for a fresh WordPress installation, except it doesn’t offer buttons for WhatsApp and Telegram.
The Scriptless Social Sharing plugin makes it easy for your readers to share your content on their social media networks. It is easy to use and it does not slow down your website.
The plugin adds social sharing buttons to your posts and pages using a set of simple sharing links.
You can choose which content types the sharing buttons should have, which buttons to add, and where the buttons should go (before or after content). You can also choose the order of the buttons and select whether to use the plugin styles or not.
The difference between Scriptless Social Sharing and Grow by Mediavine is that the former is free and offers more social sharing buttons including WhatsApp and Telegram.
In addition, Scriptless Social Sharing does not provide social sharing counts, which are known to slow down the loading time of websites.
Wordfence Security helps you deal with malware and hackers. Your new WordPress installation, like any other WordPress site, is a target for hackers, so you need to make sure your site stays secure.
Wordfence Security ensures that your new WordPress installation is safe by leveraging its malware scanner, endpoint firewall, blocking, login protection, live traffic analytics, and more. Plus, it gets the latest malware signatures, firewall rules, and malicious IP addresses from its Threat Defense Feed to keep your site safe.
The plugin is available in a free and premium version. The premium version has more advanced features such as real-time IP blacklist, malware signatures, firewall rules, country blocking, more frequent scans, premium support, spamvertising, and spam checks.
One of the main causes of slow site speed is large and/or full size images. To fix this, it’s best to have a plugin that: reduce the file size of the image up to 100 kb or less.
ShortPixel is one of the best image optimization plugins for WordPress. It makes sure that your site loads quickly no matter how many images you upload.
For a fresh WordPress installation, you can download ShortPixel for free and get 100 image credits per month. This allows for about 10 image uploads per month because for every image you upload, a few more thumbnails are created.
Another way to avoid paying for ShortPixel is to use free compression tools. Just run the images through the compression tools and then upload the compressed images to your WordPress site.
ShortPixel has its own image compression tools too. If you need more image credits, you can buy it for just $4.99 for 5,000 image credits.
A slow site results in a poor user experience, frustrates visitors and hurts conversions. One of the ways you can reduce the loading time of your new WordPress installation is by adding a caching plugin.
A cache stores data temporarily by taking a snapshot of a page on your site. This translates into faster loading time, improved SEO and more conversions.
WP Rocket is a premium caching plugin that makes your site faster. Once you install and enable the plugin, page caching will be activated immediately.
Get your site up and running
There is a misconception that you should not use too many WordPress plugins. However, your WordPress site is not affected by the number of plugins, but by what they do with and for your site. There are other must-have plugins for WordPress, but these 9 are enough to get you started.
We have other WordPress guides to help you manually set up WordPress on a domain and remove all traces of a plugin when you no longer need them.