10 Must-have WordPress Plugins for Every Blog Owner

Today, I will present you a hand-picked selection of WordPress plugins that will make your work easier. I use each of these plugins as well and have tested them for a while now. You’ll already know some of these plugins, while others will be entirely new to you. Prepare to be surprised.

People that run a website on WordPress need plugins that make their life easier. The less time you have to spend on minor tasks, the more time remains for the essentials; the writing. And that’s exactly what a blog is about.

1 – The Most Important Plugin: Guarantee the Safety of Your Work

Safety and security are neglected quite often. Only because people want to save a ridiculously low amount of money. I’m talking about a really good backup solution. A backup is the beginning of a security strategy. Without a daily backup, you don’t even have to get started with security.

It’s just way too easy to lose your work just because you were too stingy. By the way, the most important part of a good backup solution is the easy recovery. What’s the point of a free solution that doesn’t let your recover the backup fast and easily? Right. There’s none.

VaultPress

VaultPress Backups

VaultPress offers daily backups that can be recovered with just one click. You are also able to restore single files. Additionally, you can also use the service to simply transfer your website to a different server.

Another cool thing is that you also receive a free key for the antispam service Akismet. VaultPress is available for 3,50 USD a month or 39 USD a year. To use it, you need the VaultPress plugin. You can cancel it monthly or annually at any time, depending on the type of payment.

You can only pay via credit card. If you don’t have one, get a free prepaid credit card, e.g. from N26.

2 – The Display of Code on Your Website

You want to use neatly formatted code snippets on your blog, but don’t want to use a plugin that slows your page down unnecessarily? Then go ahead and use a version that large websites, such as the Smashing Magazine, CSS Tricks, and A List Apart, use as well.

The plugin that I will introduce you to now only weighs a laughable 28KB.

AH Prism Syntax Highlighter

AH Prism Syntax Highlighter Plugin

For the display of code snippets, I use the syntax highlighter “Prism.js” by Lea Verou. The theme I use is called “Okaidia.” As there is no proper WordPress plugin for Prism, I wrote one myself.

An Example:

prism-js-beispiel

This is how PHP code is displayed using Prism and the Okaidia Theme.

It supports code highlighting for HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. The application is as easy as it gets, and there’s a good guide to it as well. When writing a new article, you’ll find a small guide under the “Help”-button in the top right.

prism-anleitung

The Guide to Working With the Syntax Highlighter Prism.

Download on WordPress

3 – Article Formattings and Own Shortcodes

To me, this is the most important plugin. Working without this cool tool is hard to imagine, as it saves an incredible amount of time. Before, you had to go to the editor’s text area and enter everything yourself when it came to own formattings.

No matter if it’s about your buttons or shortcodes that you created yourself. All of this ends with this plugin. You can enter your most-used formattings, and implement them in your articles as a shortcode.

All of your self-defined formattings and shortcodes can be accessed via a comfortable generator in the text editor.

Post Snippets

post-snippets-plugin

The Settings:

My Own Article Formattings in the Post Snippets Settings.

My Article Formattings in the Post Snippets Settings.

The Generator in the Visual Editor:

post-snippets-generator

The Generator in the Visual Text Editor. User-Friendly and Good.

Download on WordPress

Further Information:

Dr. Web: Post Snippets for WordPress – You Need This Plugin

4 – SEO

These days, you’re not getting anywhere without search engine optimization. For me, Yoast SEO takes care of a general SEO optimization of my website. It provides functions I need, like Breadcrumbs, and the Sitemap.xml.

Yoast SEO – The Website Standard For Every WP Site

Yoast SEO

Download on WordPress

5 – Content SEO

Squirrly is what I use to optimize my articles to have a good ranking in the Google search results. Squirrly intuitively makes for better content and higher rankings. It also comes with a good and free analysis function on top of that.

This plugin is available in both a free “Light Version,” and a complete pro version for only 19,99 USD a month.

If you want to rank high, I recommend spending the money.

SEO by Squirrly

I've Only Had Positive Experiences With Squirrly. This Plugins Increased My Rankings Significantly.

I’ve Only Had Positive Experiences With Squirrly. This Plugins Increased My Rankings Significantly.

A Video on the Plugin:

You can use the free plugin for some in-depth testing of the premium functions before the purchase.

Download on WordPress

Further Information:

Dr. Web: SEO by Squirrly: The Smart SEO Plugin for Better Rankings

6 – Contact Form

My clear favorite is the Contact Form 7 Plugin. It is very easy to use and can create and manage as many forms as required. It cooperates with Akismet regarding spam defense, but it is also able to use the Google reCaptcha system.

On top of that, you can also create a simple spam defense quit, allowing you to ask one question. The correct answer will send the form. Look at the Noupe contact form.

contact-form-7

Download on WordPress

7 – Preventing Accidental Releases

There are only a few things more embarrassing than publishing an article that is only halfway done. Sometimes, you forget a lot in the heat of the battle. To prevent that from happening to you, use the Pre-Publish Post Checklist plugin.

This plugin lets you create a list of all the things that have to be done on each article before publishing it. All items have to be checked before you can publish.

The plugin attaches itself to the sidebar on the create post screen.

Pre-Publish Post Checklist

Pre-Publish-Post-Checklist

The last update was two years ago, but the plugin has been coded well, so it’s compatible with the newest WordPress version without any issues. Here’s an example of a list:

My Checklist. I Can Only Publish Once All the Items Are Checked.

My Checklist. I Can Only Publish Once All the Items Are Checked.

Download on WordPress

8 – Shortcodes – Light-Weight and Fast

Some projects simply need shortcodes for columns, buttons, toggles, alerts, and tabs. However, the problem with most of these plugins is that they simply need too many functions, slowing down the website unnecessarily. It doesn’t have to be like that. It can also be nice and fast, so here’s my secret tip:

Zilla Shortcodes

zilla-shortcodes

The Zilla Shortcodes. Free, But Not From WordPress. I Have Been Using Them in Many Projects For Years.

You can get the plugin for free at ThemeZilla.com. A demo of the shortcodes can be found here.

9 – The Development Page

For the development of new themes, or to test new plugins, it can be advantageous to have a development page. Even if you only want to design small areas, like a form, a dev-page is very valuable.

The plugin “WP Staging” lets you clone your entire website, giving you an exact copy. This process only takes a few minutes.

WP Staging – DB & File Duplicator & Migration

WP Staging - DB & File Duplicator & Migration

How it Works:

Further Information:

Dr. Web: WP Staging: Cloning WordPress Websites With a Few Clicks

10 – The Email Newsletter

Many page operators use MailChimp, as it’s free and offers many features. However, I use a WordPress plugin, because I like to have everything in one spot. Additionally, I know that the email addresses are not being messed with.

MailPoet is very easy to handle and provides complete freedom when it comes to filling it with content. You can either create new content for the newsletter or include your most recent articles.

MailPoet Newsletters

mailpoet-newsletters

Video on MailPoet:

Download on WordPress

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my selection. I love these WordPress plugins, and wouldn’t set up one of my installations without any of these.

 

Andreas Hecht

Andreas Hecht is a journalist and specialist for WordPress and WordPress Security. He roams the web since its inception. He has published an ebook on WordPress Security, which you might want to take a look at.

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3 Comments on "10 Must-have WordPress Plugins for Every Blog Owner"

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Yannick
Guest

Hi Andreas,

Nice job listing all theses plugins. They are all very usefull for WordPress.

I know everyone looks after their own interests, so if you’re ok, i’d like you to try our plugin called Jackmail. We’re on the same area of action : newsletters for wordpress.

However, we do have a lot of difference, and i’d like you to have a test on it since it’s totally free !
Have a look, and tell me what you think about it : https://www.jackmail.com

Thank you for helping !

Ines Pljakic
Guest

Andreas, I think Yoast SEO is a plugin of the century! It really helps with the search rankings and the website is always SEO optimized.

I’ll definitely try the rest of the plugins, that I haven’t had the chance so far.

Ana Maria
Guest

Hi Andreas,
Thanks so much for including Squirrly in this article. Really appreciate it.

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