The ability to extend the features using WordPress plugins is one of the major reasons why most bloggers and web developers use it. WordPress has been in the market for more than 15 years now and still, it’s most preferred.
The ability to add, delete and updating plugins is seamless. And there are tonnes and tonnes of Plugins in the WP repository for every need.
In this post, I will be covering basic as well as advanced WordPress plugins for every user to skyrocket there blog.
If you are following us, then this is the fifth article and video demo in the #WordPressBlog series. We recently posted about WordPress Appearance settings covering themes, site branding, and a built-in editor.
Let’s dive into WordPress Plugins installation and configuration right away —
What are WordPress Plugins?
WordPress is developed based on themes and plugin architecture. This makes the WordPress #1 choice for any web developer and even a noob. The plugins unlock all the barriers to use WordPress to the full extent and also mold per needs.
Say suppose, if you want to add any extra feature that is not readily available in WordPress, then you can search and install any community-developed plugin from the WordPress Plugins repository. You even can develop your own plugin and install it.
Most of the plugins available in the repository are Freemium. This means you can use certain features for free. However, if you need any advanced options, you may need to upgrade and buy a premium version.
While WordPress Plugins are great, but also have some caveat. If you install too many of the plugins, then it might severely affect the performance, speed, and may also result in server issues.
It’s is strongly recommended to keep the Plugins at the limit, and install only those that are absolutely required. If there are any plugins that you no longer need, just deactivate and delete it from the WordPress blog.
WordPress Basic Plugins
These are some of my personal basic WordPress Plugins that I think will be useful for everyone.
However, this doesn’t mean you should restrict to these only. If you find any alternative best option, then please feel free to drop below comment — I will be happy to test and update the list if required.
This plugin comes pre-installed in WordPress and one of the best for spam comment protection. The WordPress blog attracts lots of spammers and these spambots are smart enough to bypass comment’s security setup.
With the Akismet plugin, these spam comments are recognized within WordPress and automatically marked as Spam. Thus reducing your workload to manage the comments and mark each spammy comment as a SPAM.
All you need is to configure the Akismet plugin with an API key, and the plugin will do the work. You need to register the WordPress.com website to get the API key.
Follow the steps below to configure Akismet Anti-Spam plugin:
- Install and Active the Plugin in your WordPress CMS
- Access Akismet site to get started with Personal for free
- Register on WordPress.com website or login if you already have an account
- Generate an API key
- Copy and paste the API key in your WordPress Akismet setup page
- Save the settings
That’s it. Your Anti-spam plugin has now been set up and your blog is now spam-free.
The plugin will make all the irrelevant comments which you can see under the “Spam” bucket in comments tabs. You can visit the Spam section and wipe out all on a single button click.
WordPress was super excited about this upgrade, however, most the bloggers and business owners we not comfortable switching to this. They still wanted to have the old traditional editor.
Hence, along with the collaboration, with few community developers, they introduce this sweet plugin called Classic Editor.
If you’re relatively new to WordPress, I suggest getting used to this new block editor. However, if you like an editor that looks similar to Microsoft Word and Google Docs, then Classic Editor plugin is your buddy.
Follow the steps to install and configure the Classic Editor plugin.
- Search and Install the Classic Editor from WordPress plugin repository
- Active the plugin from Installed Plugins menu
- Navigate to Settings > Writing tab in WordPress Dashboard
- Select the Default editor for all user to Classic Editor
- Next, based on your personal preference — Allow users to switch editors to either Yes or No
- Hit on Save Changes button
If you select Yes in step #5, then you or any of the registered users can switch between Classic or Block editor option from User Profile page under Users tab.
If you’re running a blog or a business website using WordPress, you need to have a contact page where the user will be able to send the contact request form.
WordPress readily does not have the feature to create a contact us from, that’s where the Contact Form 7 plugin becomes a savior. All you need is to configure the contact form and copy the shortcode into a Page.
Follow the below steps to configure the Contact Form 7 plugin and publish in a page:
- Search and install Contact Form 7 from the plugin repository
- Activate the Plugin in WordPress — a new Contact menu will be added into dashboard
- Under the Contact menu, hit on Add New tab
- Give the contact form a name; say Contact Us
- Under the Form tab, you can customize the form template following this guide. However, I think the default form template is good and you don’t need to modify it
- Switch to Mail tab, check if From, To, and other options available look good in here
- Check the other two tabs -- Messages and Additional settings; customize per your needs
- Hit on the Save button to generate a shortcode something like this: [contact-form-7 id="3" title="Contact Us"]
- Copy the shortcode and create a new page (not a post)
- Name the page as Contact Us, paste the copied shortcode and publish the page
Check out the page to see it looks good. In order to modify the look, you can adjust the Form Template as mentioned in step #5.
You can also hyperlink the form into Primary Menu to make it visible on top of the page.
This is the quick link page that has all the links of your blogs and also defines the structured hierarchy of the website or blog for ease of navigation. But, please do not get confused with XML Sitemap which is totally different, and will be covering this later.
It’s quite difficult to manually add the new blog post or pages that you create on a regular basis. Hence, the WP Sitemap plugin helps in automatically updating the links on the Sitemap page.
The installation is quite simple just with a shortcode. Follow the steps to install WP Sitemap plugin:
- Search and install WP Sitemap plugin from WordPress repository
- Activate the Plugin from Installed Plugin pages
- Create a new Page in WordPress with a name Sitemap
- Paste this shortcode in the content section -- [wp_sitemap_page]
- Publish the post and see the changes live
If your theme supports the footer widget area OR footer navbar, you can consider adding this sitemap to the menu link list.
One of the primary requirements after the GDPR compliance policy is to display the cookie notice to all the users.
If you’re using AdSense or Google Analytics then you have to mandatorily display this notice. This plugin Cookie Notice makes the job easier.
Follow the steps to add Cookie Notice into WordPress:
- Search and install Cookie Notice by dFactory
- Activate Cookie Notice from Install Plugin list
- Navigate to Settings > Cookie Notice from WordPress Dashboard
- Configure plugin settings per need and instructions on the page
- Once done, hit on [Save Changes] button, and visit the blog to visualize the notice bar
Your cookie notice bar is set up. You can also adjust the look and feel of this bar in the same configuration page.
This is a fantastic plugin to add the Table of Contents section in WordPress. It was inspired by Wikipedia sections and recommended by the SEO community to improve the SEO ranking.
However, I personally feel this is a great plugin to create intra-page-navigation links within the post. You can adjust the settings to display only particular tags H2, H3, H4 or whatever you need.
You can also adjust its position to add the table of content either at the top or after a few paragraphs, etc. The skin is highly customizable.
Follow the steps to add the Easy Table of Contents plugin in the blog post:
- Search and install Easy Table of Contents plugin
- Activate the Plugin after installation from Installed Plugin page
- Navigate to Settings > Table of Contents menu
- Setting the configuration per your need, it’s quite easy and simple
- Once the setting is done, just hit on the [Save Changes] command button at the bottom
- Visit your blog post to see the automated table of content added per your settings
You can highly customize the table of content display in your blog post.
WordPress Advanced Plugins
You’ve already learned about the basic WP Plugins and its uses. Now, these are the list of advanced WordPress plugins I use on the restoreBin blog. I’m going to cover these as a part of the series in upcoming articles and videos.
These all plugins are very important to keep you WordPress smooth, optimized, and secured. Most of these plugins need you to have access to SSH and SFTP to configure, hence I always recommend to use Cloud Server rather than a cheap Shared hosting.
- Rank Math SEO — This is the new SEO plugin that I’ve been using for several months now. I really feel this is more powerful with great features that were missing in the Yoast SEO (free) plugin.
- CDN Enabler — These plugins help to enable the CDN URL for media and images.
- NGT jsDelivr CDN — This is another super helpful plugin that I use to off-load the static JS and CSS files to save the server bandwidth. All you need is to install and activate this plugin, and it will take care of rest.
- Nginx Cache — I use Nginx server-side caching and this plugin helps in clear the obsolete cached files after updating the post and pages on WordPress blog.
- Redis Object Cache — This is another server-side caching plugin that helps to cache the complex database queries.
- WP fail2ban — This plugin use for setting up a fail2ban server-side program that helps to secure the WordPress login attempts. You can define the number of times a bot or user can attempt invalid authentication before banning the IP address
- WP-Optimize — This is another great plugin to optimize and clean the database. Every time you delete any plugin or settings, the traces are left in our database. This plugin not only helps to identify but also remove the records. Recently, the plugin as also added with a feature to compress and optimize the image size using WP Smush API.
- WPvivid Backup Plugin — This is an amazing plugin to create and restore the backups in an off-site location. You can create and retains backup in Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Cloud, etc. You can also schedule the Backup intervals like daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
Watch video on Basic WordPress Plugins
You can watch this video on how to install WordPress Plugins, and I’ve also covered setting up for a few plugins from the list.
Hope you liked this video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.
What’s Next in #WordPressBlog Series?
While we have covered only the basic WP Plugins in this article. In the next couple of articles, I will be posting about the advanced WordPress Plugins.
We will start off with security plugins -- WP fail2ban and later move into the optimization and CDN plugins setup.
If you've any thoughts on Install and Configure Basic WordPress Plugins for Advanced Features, then feel free to drop in below comment box. Also, please subscribe to our restoreBin YouTube channel for amazing videos tips. Cheers!