Last week, we showed you how to install and manage your WordPress plugins. But what use would a guide like that be without a few fancy new plugins to install? Sure, you could head on over to WordPress.org’s plugin section and check out the featured plugins, or even the most popular plugins, but we want to make your life a little easier.

Below, you’ll find our list of essential WordPress plugins. Whenever we start work on a new build of WordPress, these plugins are our first, and best, resources. And, as always, if you have any questions about your WordPress build, be sure to hit up our WordPress team at wpexpert.ca.

 Akismet

This little guy is such a popular one that it comes pre-installed on most WordPress themes. Akismet is an anti-spam plugin that checks every comment you receive on your WordPress site. If it’s spam, it throws it in the spam folder, where it languishes with the rest of the trash.

Without Akismet, all that spam will likely end up in your inbox, ruining your day with its annoying and sneaky advertising.

While most WordPress builds already have this plugin installed, it is often not properly activated. To activate it, you’ll need to get a key from their signup page. Keep in mind that, for personal blogs, the key is free.

 WordPress SEO

Yoast’s famous plugin should always been one of the first installed on any new WordPress build. Having it in there early saves you the trouble of having to return to each page to touch up the SEO later. Better to do it as you create content!

The reason we prefer Yoast’s plugin over others is its simple visual interface. You can always tell if there’s more SEO work to be done with a glance at the taskbar over a page: if the SEO light is red, you’ve got more work to do; if it’s green, you’re doing well!

As well as ensure you’re doing the best SEO you can be doing, Yoast’s plugin gives you quick access to AdWords research, XML Sitemaps, and allows you to enhance your linking structures. Not bad for a single plugin!

Pretty Link Lite

Have you been using link shortening websites like tiniurl and bitly? These services create shortened, prettier links for use in social media or other venues.

But these services don’t give you insight into how these links are used. With Pretty Link Lite, you’re given access to statistics about the use of every link you put out there. You’ll get to see what browsers clicked on it, when, and how many of those clicks were from unique computers.

Better yet, Pretty Link generates a link based on your own domain name! You have to admit, “yourdomainname.com/wri” looks a lot better than http://tinyurl.com/qdh82ty . Plus, having your domain name on your links increases the visibility of your own brand. It’s marketing!

You can go with the Pro Version and using our affiliate link here: Pretty Link Pro

WP Super Cache

Think of this plugin as insurance. The basic idea behind it is that it takes your dynamically processed WordPress site and creates stable, static HTML pages out of it. In other words, it slightly reduces the time it takes for the server to process a user’s request.

Under normal functioning, the difference is so minimal it’s hardly even noticeable. However, if you suddenly get a ton of traffic, your users will experience significantly more slowdown on a non-super cached site. So if you ever get to the front page of Reddit, this might be a really good plugin to have installed.

WP-Optimize

This helpful little plugin is essentially a cleaning tool for your WordPress database. Depending on how old your build is, it’s likely your database needs a bit of scrubbing.

It allows you to easily remove countless post revision files, which WordPress creates every time you update your posts. It makes it easy to remove your spam comments with the click of a button.

All this helps to save space on your database, thereby decreasing the time it takes the server to parse through it. And that makes your website run faster, smoother, and more consistently.

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