24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

The question of how many WordPress plugins you should have on a site comes up quite often. It’s also not uncommon to hear questions about the best WordPress plugins to include with every new WordPress installation.

Are you going to slow down a site by having too many? Are there some must-have WordPress plugins that you should never skip out on?

I wouldn’t say there’s such thing as a must-have plugin. After all, WordPress works just fine on its own. However, security, marketing, social media and other things like SEO come into the picture, and most companies would like to improve in all of those areas.

Therefore, we do have a list of the best WordPress plugins. It’s recommended you utilize this list as a starting point for all WordPress sites. After that you can look into more niche plugins that are more focused on your particular industry.

Keep reading to learn about the best WordPress plugins for brand new sites.

For Email Marketing

OptinMonster

OptinMonster 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

Although I’m keen on finding WordPress themes with built-in email marketing functionality, sometimes you have to go out and find a solution yourself. OptinMonster has consistently been at the top of the game, because of its beautiful subscription forms, strong integrations, and reasonable pricing.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It allows you to connect to your email marketing service like MailChimp, collecting emails right from the beginning.
  • The plugin has loads of templates for getting started. Basically, you don’t have to be a design genius to make your email signup forms look good.
  • A/B testing is provided to figure out what you’re doing wrong or if you need to change around the design or location of your forms.
  • The plugin also has various types of forms, such as float-in bars and popups. These are all wonderful for improving conversions and making the process a little easier.

For SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast-SEO 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

Quite a few SEO plugins are sold and given away for free online. The best one is Yoast SEO. The plugin boosts your search engine rankings by giving suggestions, offering tools for tweaking your meta data and exploring the world of keywords.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • You receive reports on each of your pages and posts. So if you need more keywords or if a page isn’t easy to read, it lets you know.
  • You have the opportunity to boost search engine rankings with simple, user-friendly tools. I like this plugin for beginners and designers who need to pass off the responsibility to clients.
  • XML sitemaps are submitted to the search engines. This speeds up the process of search engines crawling your site.

For Performance

Although it may seem intuitive to get as many performance plugins as possible, the opposite is often true. Basically, you don’t want two caching plugins conflicting with each other, and multiple CDNs can cause problems as well.

W3 Total Cache

W3-Total-Cache 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

You can find tons of caching plugins online, but W3 Total Cache is an old reliable one with rather basic tools and default settings filled in once you install it. This means that you typically don’t have to go through and adjust anything besides turning the plugin on.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • Caching minimizes the number of requests made by your website. Therefore, the speed of the site generally improves and you’re not using up as many resources.
  • Users who come to the site often notice significant improvements in the user experience.
  • It also has other tools for minifying and using CDNs.

CloudFlare

CloudFlare is a free content delivery network, meaning that it uses an entire network of servers around the world to deliver your website to the end users. For example, if you have a customer in China, but your server is located in Chicago, it will most likely take the site longer to load for that user. However, a network like this chooses the server that’s closest to the customer, speeding things up quite a bit.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It makes your site perform better, regardless of where your users are located.
  • The plugin has a free version that works pretty well for the average user.
  • This can help boost the effectiveness of your hosting account, especially if you decided to go with a cheaper shared hosting plan.

Jetpack

Jetpack 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

Jetpack comes with every WordPress installation, so you don’t need to go out and download it yourself. It’s tough to cover all of the aspects of Jetpack, but the shorter version includes image tools, SEO, security, spam filtering, site performance and content creation. If you were to choose only one plugin for your WordPress site, this would most likely be the one. Why? Because it has so many features packed in that you can eliminate the need for multiple plugins.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It has a tool for speeding up images and videos, which are generally the hardest loads on your website.
  • You get other tools for social media, security and SEO.
  • The stats provided through Jetpack are some of the best in the business. They’re simple and on the dashboard, making them wonderful for web design clients.

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

We’ve talked a little about how images and other types of media can slow down your site. Well, optimizing your images is a pain in the butt, especially if you’re doing it manually. The Smush plugin takes the hassle out of image optimization by doing it all automatically.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • The plugin speeds up your site after image optimizations.
  • Images that were previously uploaded still go through the optimization process.
  • Each new image is sent through Smush to make it usable for online.

For Social Media

Buffer

Any small business owner knows that social media can quickly become a full-time job. Buffer strives to expedite the process with scheduling, cool buttons and multimedia engagement.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • Webmasters can schedule posts instead of having to jump from social media site to social media site, scheduling a post on each one individually.
  • You can view analytics about your social posting and talk to customers without going to each social network.

Sumo Share (A Full Suite of Other Plugins) SumoMe

Sumo-Share 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

SumoMe has all sorts of tools, making it a full suite of options. I recommend it as a free plugin for email marketing, site performance, social media and more.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • You get a sleek social sharing button to place on all of your webpages.
  • SumoMe has various other products, so you might even be able to make this one of the only plugins you use on your site.
  • The social sharing bar is mobile friendly, which is not always the case with these types of sharing tools.

For Memberships

MemberPress

Okay, so a membership plugin isn’t going to be included on all sites, but I figure this is going to be the bedrock of any membership site, and you might end up using it if trying to find a new way to make money for your website. Memberships can be sold in a wide variety of ways, from yearly to monthly subscriptions, and for anything from online magazine content to videos.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It’s only essential if you’re trying to setup a membership site. However, this plugin gives you everything you need if that’s your plan.

For Security and Backups

Security and backup plugins are similar to performance plugins since you don’t want to have multiple ones conflicting with each other. Besides Akismet, the plugins after that should not be installed on the same WordPress sites. I’m simply providing a few options for you to choose from. Overall, one security plugin will do the trick.

Akismet

Akismet 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

Akismet is all about anti-spam. The plugin is recommended for every WordPress site unless you like seeing thousands of spam comments coming through.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It virtually eliminates spam in your comments section. This is helpful for keeping your site performance at an optimal level and showing your users that you’re moderating your comments.
  • The plugin stills shows the blocked spam messages in your dashboard, so you can go back and see if any shouldn’t have been blocked.

WordFence

WordFence offers several security solutions, but it shouldn’t be used in unison with VaultPress (seen below). Overall, the plugin works to prevent the site from getting hacked, while providing information on what attacks have been made.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • You don’t have to worry about hackers as much.
  • The chances of your site being slowed down or crashed decrease.
  • You can check out the live traffic feed to see if a hacker is trying to break into your site. They also have reports.

VaultPress

VaultPress 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

VaultPress is similar to Wordfence but it also provides backup services and other types of security support.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • The plugin schedules backups just in case the site crashes and you need to reboot.
  • The plugin blocks spam as well.
  • Site migrations are possible with the plugin.

For Design

Visual Composer

Visual-Composer 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

Drag and drop editing has been a web design trend for a while, but many of the editor plugins don’t have the power that comes with Visual Composer.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • A designer could pass the site off to a client knowing they can make edits without knowing how to code.
  • Developers are known to use it for speeding up production.
  • You can often find Visual Composer being given away for free with some ThemeForest themes.

Slider Revolution

Not all WordPress sites need sliders, but it’s definitely a trend that website designers like to use. If the site needs a sliding banner to present promotions and events, this is the most impressive solution yet.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It installs a slider at the top of your site.
  • The plugin comes with templates and a drag and drop editor.
  • However, I would only recommend it for intermediate users.

For eCommerce

WooCommerce

WooCommerce 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

If you’re looking to sell physical items on your WordPress site, WooCommerce is the industry leader.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It’s free.
  • WooCommerce integrates with any WordPress theme, turning your site into an instant online shop.
  • The WooCommerce community makes all sorts of plugins, themes and extensions for WooCommerce, so you can scale up if needed.

Easy Digital Downloads

EDD runs as smoothly as WooCommerce. The only difference is that it only focuses on digital goods.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It allows you to sell digital items such as eBooks, music and computer files.
  • It integrates with any WordPress theme.

For Workflow

Editorial Calendar

Editorial-Calendar 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

Here’s a plugin that’s not going to be used for every site. However, it’s a must-have for an online magazine or blog with multiple writers.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • It lets you plan out your editorial calendar and schedule the posts far in advance.

Customer Service

Contact Form 7

Contact-Form-7 24 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for 2017

Contact Form 7 is the simplest contact form you can find. Not only does it field customization and personal email integrations, but it’s pretty darn easy to use if you’re a beginner.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • You don’t need coding skills to make the contact form work.
  • It’s completely free.
  • Every website needs a contact form, so why not make it as easy as possible?

Disqus

The WordPress system comes with a comment module. That said, Disqus is more social, connecting your blog posts to people who might not have learned about them otherwise. Disqus has its own community where people can search for blog posts they want.

Why This WordPress Plugin is Essential for a New Site

  • The comment system is far more interactive than the default WordPress one.
  • Users can login using their social profiles, increasing comments from people who wouldn’t otherwise login.

Are You Using the Best WordPress Plugins on Your Site?

If not, it might help out if you explore some of the options we’ve discussed above. Many of the options talked about are completely free, so that’s useful for companies on budgets. I also tried to stick with premium plugins that keep their costs low. If you stumble upon a premium plugin but you don’t want to pay for it, you can typically locate one that’s similar but free.

There you have it. That’s all we have for the best WordPress plugins, so if you can think of any questions, drop them in the comments section below.

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