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Essential plugins to use in WordPress

wordpress essential plugins

For this guide I included the most essential and popular recommended plugins that will provide faster loading site, website security, comments spam control, better search results ranking and most importantly a plugin for complete website backup. There are of course plenty of other very good plugins in WordPress Plugins site.

Note: To disable a plugin, go to Dashboard, Plugins, find the plugin you want to remove, click on its ‘Deactivate’ option. You can delete a plugin ONLY if you have deactivated it first. If something goes wrong just reinstall it. Prefer to use plugins listed in WordPress Plugins.

W3 Total Cache Plugin
Cache Plugins are very important so that your website loads faster to provide a better visitor experience. Go to Dashboard, Plugins, click ‘Add New’, on the search bar type ‘W3 Total Cache’, on the plugin click ‘Install Now’, then click ‘Activate’. Deactivate it if you make changes that you can’t see on your Website and reactivate it when you are done with changes (of press ‘F5’ to refresh browser).

Antispam Bee
In the bottom of a post, the viewers get the possibility to add comments (mainly valid for posts instead of pages). Sometimes the viewers use promotional links in their comments. Antispam plugins can automatically block such comments. You can of course manually allow or disable a specific comment or mark a specific message source as spam.  To use Antispam Bee, go to Dashboard, Plugins, click ‘Add New’ and in the search bar type ‘Antispam Bee’, press enter and in the search results click its ‘Install Now’ button and then ‘Activate’. You can view, edit or disable comments in the Dashboard, Comments by hovering the mouse on top of a comment so that comment option will appear. If you click the ‘Unapprove’ option, then that comment will be removed from the comments section below your post. If you click the ‘Spam’ option, then messages from this user will never again be shown.

UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin
This plugin can make a complete or selective backup of your WordPress site. Making a backup often is absolutely important in case you have a problem with your website due of malfunction or hackers attempt. To use UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin, go to Dashboard, Plugins, click ‘Add New’, in the search bar type ‘UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin’, click its ‘Install Now’ button and then ‘Activate’. Then go to Dashboard. Plugins, find the ‘UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore’ plugin, click on its ‘Settings’ option, click the blue button ‘Backup Now’, in the popup window click the ‘Backup Now’ button and wait until the process is finished. If something goes wrong with the website, then you click the ‘Restore’ blue button and in the next windows click ‘Restore’, select/tick what you want to restore (at least select ‘Database’) and follow remaining messages carefully. Repeat restore if necessary.

Another way to make manual backups of the database is from the hosting provider control panel. Manual backup of website files can be done with an ftp program (ie FileZilla or WinScp).

Yoast SEO
This is a very important plugin for search engine optimization (SEO) that helps a website to get more free traffic from search engines. To use Yoast SEO, go to Dashboard, Plugins, click ‘Add New’ and in the search bar type ‘Yoast SEO’, in the search results click its ‘Install Now’ button, click ‘Activate’. Then go to Dashboard, Pages, click on a page you created, below the title on the right side of Permalink click on ‘Edit’ name it as the title (if needed) and click ‘OK’. Don’t change permalinks text in the future when you finished with your page content editing.

As an example of how to use Yoast SEO, in the same page below in the ‘Meta Description’, enter a maximum of 155 characters description. This description should be made in such a way to convince people to click on it (meta description appears in the results of the internet search engine): In the ‘Focus Keyword’ white field add again the title of the page and click ‘Update’. This is just a basic example of setting up page text for SEO performance to get you started.

If on Dashboard, SEO, you have a notification ‘Since you are new to Yoast SEO you can configure the plugin’, then click its ‘plugin link’, click the purple button ‘Next’ and follow remaining steps.

For information, check the Yoast Quick Tutorial.

Note: For the reason of completing this guide, disable some plugins not necessary at the moment. To do so, go to Dashboard, Plugins, and click on the ‘Deactivate’ links for ‘Constant Contact Forms’, ‘Akismet’, ‘OptinMonster’, ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘MOJO Marketplace’.

Final Notes:

  • If you get a message in your WordPress website for updates/upgrades, always do them to assure security. Prefer to make a backup first before doing an update.
  • Check emails sent by Bluehost that will include important details and settings for your account and website. Print them and keep them in a safe place.
  • You will receive from Bluehost.com and email with a request, to verify your domain within 15 days.
  • If you get difficulties with your Bluehost.com WordPress website installation, then you may use Bluehost Live Chat.

Congratulations!

You have now setup your online business presence to attract potential customers. Spend time in researching and developing the final strategy of what to include in your website so that you convince visitors that you are the right person/company for their business needs. You must research also what the best websites in your business field have done so that you improve your website further. Good luck!