Plugins are excellent tools to extend the functionality of WordPress websites without spending much money. Many WordPress plugins are available for free and can be useful in many ways, including for web design and analytics.
However, WordPress has more than 59,000 plugins, which can seem overwhelming for new users when looking into suitable options for their websites.
To make things a little less stressful, this article will list must-have plugins for every new WordPress site, ranging from page builders to social sharing plugins.
Elementor is a popular WordPress page builder with more than five million installations. Compared to other page builders, this is an excellent solution for new WordPress website owners because:
- Elementor comes with a live drag-and-drop editor providing an accurate frontend appearance.
- It offers many pre-made templates for various website types, including a portfolio, WordPress blog, and landing page for your self-employment business.
- The free version provides many widgets, like image galleries, icons, and buttons.
This plugin gets more impressive when you purchase a premium plan. It unlocks advanced page builder capabilities, such as animations and custom CSS.
Freemium with plans starting at $49/year.
Yoast SEO is a top-level search engine optimization (SEO) plugin for WordPress sites. It helps create better content and rank higher on search engines by:
- Providing content analysis while considering important metrics, like readability score, keyword density, and internal linking.
- Displaying a Google preview showing how your listings will appear in the search results.
Compared to other SEO plugins, Yoast SEO offers more optimization options even in the free plan, like canonical URLs and XML sitemaps. This WordPress plugin also tailors its premium plans for specific purposes, like eCommerce and local SEO.
Freemium with a $199 yearly subscription.
Site Kit by Google
Site Kit is an official WordPress plugin from Google that provides insights into how people find and use your website directly in the WordPress dashboard.
This free WordPress plugin will show essential statistics and information from multiple Google products, including:
- Analytics. Learn your visitors’ data and explore how they navigate your website.
- Search Console. Understand the traffic sources and statistics, as well as popular queries.
- AdSense. Track how much you earn from your site.
- PageSpeed Insights. Analyze your WordPress website performance and improve it with actionable suggestions from the tool.
To use this plugin, ensure that your site is publicly available and connect it to your Google account that you use for the WordPress site.
The main advantage of Jetpack is that it serves multiple purposes, including:
- Backing up your site automatically.
- Managing migration to a new host.
- Performing malware and security scans.
- Blocking spam comments.
- Monitoring your website uptime or downtime.
- Offering free global Content Delivery Network (CDN) for faster data transfer.
It’s a practical solution if you want to avoid plugin overload. Moreover, this plugin is modular, meaning it’s possible to buy and install only the tools you need.
Jetpack also launched an email marketing feature in 2020 named Creative Mail, but it still has limited functionality. Therefore, consider installing another email marketing plugin like Mailchimp.
Freemium with plans starting at $4.77/month.
Mailchimp is one of the best choices for email marketing, with over two million installations. Installing this kind of plugin helps drive traffic to websites and engage with the audience via personalized messages.
Some of Mailchimp’s prominent features are:
- Templates. Pick one of the predesigned templates and customize it however you like.
- Automation. Send automated emails triggered by particular events, like welcome and reengagement.
- Segmentation. Target people based on the data, such as location and open or click history.
- Reports. See who opens and clicks your emails. Google Analytics integration can also show you how your email campaigns affect website traffic.
Moreover, Mailchimp’s interface and tools are intuitive, helping beginners use the features easier.
Freemium with plans starting at $9.
Large image files are one of the main culprits of slow-loading websites. Therefore, install an image optimization plugin like Smush. This plugin applies lossless compression, meaning it can compress images and strip unused data without affecting the image quality.
Smush is beginner-friendly. Once you install this plugin, you only need to go to its settings and activate the bulk optimization tool compressing existing and new images.
Still, this feature can only compress up to 50 images at a time. Press the button several times if you have more images than that.
The most satisfying part of Smush is it provides details about your image file sizes and how much space you’ve saved. This plugin even integrates the Gutenberg editor to view the stats directly in image blocks.
Freemium with plans starting from $5.
Sassy Social Share
Sassy Social Share is a great social sharing plugin. It lets you display over 100 social sharing buttons for free, including LinkedIn and Instagram, encouraging people to share your content on their social media.
This plugin also comes with two types of sharing interfaces:
- Standard. Place the static buttons at the top or bottom of your content.
- Vertical. Enable responsive floating sharing buttons across devices.
Besides sharing buttons, you can display the number of shares and like buttons from Facebook and Twitter.
Freemium with a $9.99 paid plan for each addon.
New WordPress users are sometimes overwhelmed with a massive library of third-party plugins. However, if you focus on the most important ones only, you can have a fully functional website with all of the plugins you need in no time.
Here are seven plugins and their benefits for new WordPress sites that you should consider:
- Elementor. Create appealing pages.
- Yoast SEO. Improve your SEO.
- Site Kit by Google. Analyze website metrics and stats.
- Jetpack. Protect your website from data loss, spammy comments, and malware.
- Mailchimp. Create, send, and analyze email campaigns.
- Smush. Compress old and new images.
- Sassy Social Share. Display social sharing buttons.
That wraps up our list of recommended WordPress plugins for every website. Make sure to pick only necessary plugins because too many of them can slow down your site.