If you’ve used WordPress before, you’ll know about the huge library of plugins that you can use to add functionality to your site and make x WordPress website design easier. There are plugins that add security, ones that help you write and design better, and even plugins that make unicorns pop up to grab your user’s attention! Either way, with so many plugins it’s hard to decide which ones you should be using. So why not let us help you? Here our favourite essential WordPress plugins.

Yoast SEO
The first is your fundamental WordPress SEO tool - Yoast SEO. Tried and tested by thousands of users over the years, Yoast will help you work out what you need to do to optimise your on-page SEO. Metas, readability, backend optimisation and more, Yoast does just about everything you’ll need to at least get your page ranking somewhere.
If you don’t already have Yoast installed, you need to get on it right now.

Let’s face it; in this day and age, many users have developed a shorter and shorter attention span and cannot be bothered reading written content. Images are the most efficient and effective way to communicate with your audience, and it’s no surprise they’re the most dominant form of content on the internet, right up there with YouTube videos. Memes, infographics, Instagram, Pinterest and more, the use of images on websites has been growing rapidly. And your website should be no exception.

The problem is that if you don’t properly compress your images your site could become as slow as a lazy Sunday afternoon driver, which is not something your users want when they’re trying to get somewhere. The more images your site has, the larger your page becomes, and the longer it will take to load. And the longer your page takes to load the more chance there is that users will simply leave.

Thankfully there are a number of WordPress plugins you can use to automatically compress the images on your website without losing quality. Our favourite, reSmush.it, can reduce the size of your images easily, automatically optimising new images you upload and optimising all the existing images on your website when you install the plugin. If your website has a lot of images this plugin is a must, and can make a huge difference to your page load times.

W3 Total Cache
Another plugin that helps with page optimisation and speed, W3 Total Cache is designed to optimise your wordpress website’s performance and reducing loading times. It’s great for improving your SEO just that little bit more, and making your site’s user experience better.
Using W3 Total Cache we’ve seen up to 10x improvements in site performance. Of course, it can take a lot of tweaking to get there, but the results are obvious. W3 Total Cache optimises a lot of the technical aspects of your website to reduce page loading times, like scripts and code. It does a lot of work behind the scenes, and is great for cleaning if nothing else.

String Locator
String Locator is a very handy plugin for those of you with coding knowledge that want to edit and customise your site’s theme directly, and other technical code sections.

If you have been fiddling with your site’s code to get it looking and working just the way you want it, you need to apply it to the code itself. Instead of trying to trace back all of the sources in your browser’s inspector, you can easily search through your themes, plugins or even WordPress core and be presented with a list of files, the matched text and what line of the file matched your search. It’s the best way to find which file in your theme or website is changing what code, and makes it super easy to edit code directly.

Blogs are a great way to grow your customer base and keeping your existing customers up to date about all the latest news, updates and info your business has to offer. While allowing your visitors to leave comments in your blog posts is a great way to increase engagement, WordPress websites are prone to spam comments which can be quite detrimental to your SEO.

JetPack, a plug-in developed by the creators of WordPress, is a fantastic and easy to use plugin to combat Blackhat and unethical SEO tactics. It has one job, and it’s good at it. It gets rid of any spam in the comments section on your site, while leaving all the good ones there! It is important to emphasise that this plugin only detects spam within the comments section; so if you are using a contact form plugin which doesn’t have included spam protection, you may want to use this next plugin

WP Form
WP Form is a simple drag-and-drop contact form plugin, with included spam protection!
With a library of template forms, it takes minutes to get the perfect contact form tailored for your business to optimise your site for lead generation.

Even better, once someone fills in your form, you instantly receive a notification with their details so you can convert each and every lead into a sale. WP Forms is built with performance in mind, so it won’t slow down your website, and with Mobile-First paramount to modern SEO, every form created is fully responsive and ready for Desktops, tablets and mobiles! Ensuring that every user can easily contact you on any device with any questions, queries or enquiries is fundamental for conversions.
All of these plugins are super easy to install, and can be done right from your WordPress dashboard. Each has documentation online about how to use them, and you can often contact the creators if you need any technical support. While these are all great plugins, there are a lot of plugins out there and these only just scratch the surface. If you need to accomplish something on your website, it might be worth checking if there’s a plugin for that. So, get out there and try these on your website yourself!
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Author's Bio: 

writer and seo expert