Take Your Site to the Next Level with These WordPress Plugins

By Karina Nikitkin

If you’ve recently created a new WordPress site or blog or are new to WordPress altogether, you are probably wondering which WordPress plugins are best for your site. WordPress and many third-party plugin developers worldwide have created thousands of plugins in the WordPress Gallery that make it much more manageable to build a website. No matter what type of element you need, you can probably find a plugin for it! But, there are a few plugins that I use for almost every new site I create. After working in WordPress for years, I’ve been able to narrow down my go-to WordPress plugins for any new sites I make:

Wordfence 

Wordfence is a great security plugin that helps secure your site. It scans your site for malware or potential vulnerabilities, like damaged or changed files, out-of-date plugins, and known contaminated files. You can even view where your live traffic is coming from, possible hack attempts, and blocked IPs. Wordfence is easy to set up. I always start by updating the firewall settings. Next, you choose your desired scan type, and Wordfence will periodically scan your site and email notifications about any risks it found.

Redirection

Redirection is a great core WordPress plugin that I use to redirect 404 or 301 links quickly. What’s great about this plugin is that you can automatically create 301 redirects when you edit the page links in WordPress. You can also use regex to help catch multiple links based on your redirect rule. If you’re new to regex, you can find a vast amount of information and tutorials online.

Smush

Smush is an image compressing plugin that also offers lazy load images and delivers them over a CDN. This plugin optimizes your photos as you add them to WordPress. This process helps shrink the size of data your pictures contain. The smaller the amount of data your site needs to load, the quicker it is. Lazy loading your images also help with the amount of data required to load your site. When you set this on, your pictures won’t load until they are in view. For example, an image in the footer doesn’t need to load until the user scrolls down to the footer.

Autoptimize

This core plugin is used to help clear your site cache. Sometimes, the cache on your site lingers for a while. If you need to clear your site’s cache to see your recent changes, Autoptimize is a great plugin. Another helpful feature of this WordPress plugin is the ability to optimize JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, which can also help with site speed. When going through the settings, it’s best to start selecting JS optimization first and then double-checking your site to make sure it still functions properly. You will follow that same rule when determining the CSS optimization. On occasion, the optimization has interfered with CSS settings on the site; not to worry, go back and turn off the CSS optimization, and your site should be back to normal! As with most caching plugins, this one might not work for every site. I usually choose between Autoptimize and WP Fastest Cache.

Backup Buddy

Backup Buddy is a great site backup plugin. It’s essential to make sure you have periodic backups of your site. You never know when one of your WordPress plugin updates may take your site down or experience a type of attack or malware threat that gets deep into your site files. Having backups handy makes getting your site back to normal a breeze. If your hosting company doesn’t offer daily or even monthly backups, then Backup Buddy is an advanced feature to get!

These are the top WordPress plugins that I use for almost any site I build. There are many others, but these five will help take your WordPress site to the next level.

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