This site is made with WordPress. It’s awesome. It’s free. It’s easy to use. You should use it too.
It’s great out of the box and to make it even better there are thousands of plugins. I’ve made lots of websites using WordPress as the CMS over the last 20 years and have listed a collection of plugins I found most useful for each task below.
I have no affiliation with any of them and it’s always best to do your own research before installing something on your webserver. Some of these are free, some paid (with free versions). It’s always best to backup your site before you install anything new and test each one before adding more.
Creating quality content for the readers of your blog needs to be the #1 goal. Great content generates inbound interest, builds trust and helps potential customers find out about your services without the hard sell.
Editorial Calendar. Useful if you’re planning to create regular content (which you should be doing). It provides you with a schedule when each post will be released. Makes it super easy to reallocate posts, modify posts directly in the calendar, and handle multiple authors. You should also consider using Edit Flow which can help you to collaborate with your editorial team inside WordPress.
Embed Plus Plugin for YouTube. Sould be an easy thing to do out of the box but this plugin makes it very easy to embed YouTube videos into WordPress.
Word Stats. Get statistics about your writing with the goal of helping you improve it. The better the content the better the user experience. Helps you target specific reading ages too.
Elementor. Makes creating page layouts as easy as using a word processor in WordPress with its drag and drop interface.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. This will display a list of posts or pages that relate to the current post. A great opportunity for your readers to see other relevant content from your site, making them spend more time on your site.
TablePress. This plugin helps you create and embed tables. Something which is very difficult without writing code in vanilla WordPress. Will even import excel tables.
Managing your Site
If you have a website you have to manage it (or pay someone else to). These plugins make that task easier and will save you time/money along the way.
Akismet Spam Protection. This will stop comment spam (without it you’ll get hundreds of dubious comments). There’s a free version if it’s used in a personal blogging context and paid for for corporate licensing which is well worth the investment.
WP Forms. A simple to use (drag and drop) way of creating and managing forms, surveys and polls on your site.
UpdraftPlus. You must back your site up regularly. An easy way to do it is via a plugin. UpdraftPlus is a free plugin which can help. It schedules a complete backup of your WordPress site and stores it either on the cloud or on your computer.
Broken Link Checker. Monitors and tests all internal links & external links on your site looking for broken links. It helps you fix bad links to improve SEO and user experience.
Optimize Database. Your database will need a good clean up every so often.
WooCommerce. If you’re running an online shop and/or selling merchandise this plugin turns WordPress into an eCommerce store. Helps with storefront creation, product listing, and order management.
The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of the search engine results page… make sure your content is given the best chance possible of being seen.
Yoast. Helps with the optimisation of the meta tags on your WordPress site. Gives you full control over how your pages appear in search engines and on social media (stops a random photo getting displayed when your url gets shared). RankMath is also building a following which works in a similar way to Yoast and is worth a look.
Google Search Console. This monitors a site’s performance in the Google search results. Shows you which keyword the site is ranking for, what position it appears at in the results page, which anchor text other sites use to link, page impressions and a load of other stuff you never knew you needed to know.
Ahrefs. This isn’t a WordPress plugin but I’m giving it a mention here anyway. This site provides data which you can use to determine which keywords are the least competitive for your particular niche. Expensive but powerful if you’re doing your own content creation research.
MonsterInsights. This integrates with (and improves) Google Analytics to display visitor statistics via your WordPress dashboard. The upgraded (paid for) version provides a load of extra metrics which help out a lot on larger sites who have multiple authors.
Increase your Site Speed
People have short attention spans and will move on if a site takes a long time to load.
Smush. Compress the size of your images down without using photoshop so they load faster and keep your users happy.
W3TotalCache. Speeds up your site by reducing load times. Uses technology like the content delivery network (CDN) which is a network of servers all over the world holding copies of your website. Also worth considering is WP Super Cache.