This is a question that pops up in EVERY conversation about WordPress:
What are the plugins you recommend? The list changes, of course, but here are the top 11 WordPress plugins I use in 2019 (and have been for a few years), in my order of importance:
#1 Updraft Plus WordPress Plugin
Updraft Plus. This is the ultimate WordPress plugin for backups. It backs up your entire WP install, or your database, files, etc. individually. You can save your backups to your hard drive or to cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive (to name just two – there are many more).
It does full backups as well as incrementals.
This is a MUST-HAVE plugin!
#2 Thrive Leads WordPress Plugin
Thrive Leads. Don’t be like me. I spent years running websites that generated tons of traffic and didn’t have a way to capture email subscribers.
Thrive Leads lets you integrate with all of the major email service providers like Aweber, Active Campaign, Get Response, and Mail Chimp.
And their forms are numerous, easy to use and modify, and super effective.
#3 Thrive Architect WordPress Plugin
Thrive Architect. I don’t know about you, but building landing and squeeze pages in WordPress kinda sucks.
Strike that. Totally sucks. There are alternatives, like Beaver Builder, that do similar, but Architect is drag-and-drop WYSIWYG easy. And it integrates seamlessly with Thrive Leads.
#4 Wordfence WordPress Plugin
Wordfence. You need a firewall. Period. This is the best. There are free and premium versions. I’m cheap, so I use the free one.
#5 Caching WordPress Plugin
Caching plugin. I recommend ANY of the top-rated caching plugins in the official WordPress directory. There are many to choose from and there is no clear choice, IMHO.
#6 WP Compress WordPress Plugin
WP Compress. There are a few of these “smushing” plugins, too. This is the one I use. It typically compresses image files down to about 20 to 30 percent of their uncompressed sizes, with no apparent quality loss.
#7 Google Analytics WordPress Plugin
Google Analytics. You need a quick view of how your website traffic is coming along. This plugin allows you to see, at a glance, how much traffic is coming your way.
#8 No Follow WordPress Plugin
No Follow. Why the hell WordPress makes your links (inbound and outbound) “do follow” as the default, I will never understand. This plugin makes links external to your site not only “no follow” but also open in a new link (“target=_blank”).
Now, you can do that right in WordPress, but I often forget. So this helps with that.
#9 Pretty Link Pro WordPress Plugin
Pretty Link Pro. This is a must-have for affiliate marketers. It cloaks affiliate links and makes ’em “pretty.” It also tracks the traffic you get from your links. There are some neat auto-text replacement capabilities, too.
For example, any time I type “Aweber” (without the quotes) in a blog post, Pretty Link inserts a hyperlink (up to a limit I set – so if I type Aweber 17 times it will only insert the hyperlink 2 times, for example).
#10 Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
Yoast SEO. Many themes now have some cool onsite SEO features. But most don’t. This plugin helps me remember to use good titles and keywords, and reminds me to write a good meta description tag.
Plus, it generates good XML sitemaps that I can send to Google for indexing & ranking purposes.
I shared my top plugins back in 2009. Note that the list today is completely different from it.
Things change. Get used to it. For now, though, I consider the above plugins “must-have” for WordPress.
That is, until even better ones come along!