There are over 50,000 plugins out there for WordPress, which seems overwhelming, but most of these you’ll never need to use.
I’ve created a lot of WordPress websites, and have used Divi for almost all of them.
These are the plugins I install on every website.
You may have heard “Images speak a thousand words”. Images make your websites visually appealing, but it can also slow it down.
Site speed is critical for any website.
People expect fast and high performance websites. If it’s slow, they’re going to leave.
According to Google, if your page loads in 3 seconds, visitors are 32% more likely to bounce. And if it loads in 5 seconds, they’re 90% more likely to bounce.
Speed is also important for ranking on Google because a fast website gives a better user experience.
That’s where Smush comes in.
Smush is a free plugin that compresses and optimizes images, without losing quality.
It’s very easy to use. It automatically optimizes your images as you upload them. You’ll still need to optimise images before you upload them for the best results, but this is a good additional step to make sure they’re as small as they can be.
If you have an existing website, there’s also an option to optimize the existing images.
2. WP Fastest Cache
Caching is another popular method to improve speed.
Due to the nature of how WordPress works, sites can be slow. There are a lot of dynamic codes and databases that are working to load a page.
With caching, a static version of your page is stored. Visitors would see that static page, which is faster to load.
The plugin I choose for caching is WP Fastest Cache.
It’s free, simple to use and has more than 1 million active installations. It’s also the recommended cache plugin by GTmetrix, arguably the best speed testing website.
Once you’ve installed it, head to the settings and activate the settings below (these are the ones recommended by GTmetrix):
3. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security is a great free firewall and malware scanner to secure your website. It’s very popular with over 3 million active installations.
Think of it like airport security.
When you go through airport security, there are X-ray scanners, body scanners and metal detectors.
Wordfence Security protects your website from unwanted intruders without needing to be a cyber-security wizard.
Your WordPress site can be vulnerable. Servers can crash. Websites can get hacked. Or installing a bad plugin can make your website unusable.
UpdraftPlus is your insurance policy.
All you need is a few clicks. And it will automatically back up your site regularly.
You also have the options to save the back up to the cloud, like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, etc.
These features are unusual for a free backup plugin.
So if anything were to happen to your website, you can simply restore from your back. And your site will be back up and running quickly.
If the free version of UpdraftPlus is not enough for you, I recommend the paid version of ManageWP for backups.
ManageWP is not just a security plugin.
It’s a complete WordPress manager.
It can monitor your website in case it goes down. It can maintain your website with regular updates. It can keep you up to date with keyword ranking changes and many more.
6. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is a must-have plugin if you want to rank your site on Google.
Do note that Yoast doesn’t make your website rank by itself.
You still need to put in some work to optimize your on-page SEO. And Yoast makes it easy for you.
Yoast allows you to customize title and meta descriptions for each page.
It also has an on-page SEO grader. When you put in the keyword you want to rank the page for, it will give you a score and tells you how to improve it.
Yoast also generates a Google XML sitemap for you. You can just take that to your Google Search Console to let Google robots know all the pages of your website.
An interesting feature is the readability scoring.
You don’t just want to write content for search engines, you also want to make your articles readable for your visitors. It gives plenty of useful suggestions on how to make your article easier to read.
But with any form of AI, it’s not 100% accurate. So use your own judgement and not follow it blindly.
7. Caldera Forms
Caldera Forms is arguably the most functional drag and drop form builder plugin.
You can create basic contact forms that are responsive, or create complex forms that involve calculations, multi-page and conditional logic.
My favourite thing about it though (and it’s biggest advantage over the in-built Divi contact form), is that it saves all the entries in a database. So if for some reason your emails aren’t sending or are going to your spam, you can check on your website and see all the contact form entries there.
If you need a basic form, the free version is enough.
But if you need more advanced features, you can get the premium version or individual add-ons. For example, you can integrate to an autoresponder, accept payments via Stripe or Paypal, and do A/B testing.
These are the best WordPress plugins that every Divi websites should have. They are:
- WP Fastest Cache
- Wordfence Security
- Yoast SEO
- Caldera Forms
If you need any help with your website, I’m happy to help. Feel free to leave a comment below. Or drop me a message at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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