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Top WordPress Plugins 2020

There is so much information out there that it can be hard to determine which plugins you should or should not have. I’m going to try to simplify everything for you by giving you my essential list of the best “must have” WordPress plugins that I am using in 2020. Plus, I have included several free alternative options for any of the premium plugins that I use.

The first thing you need to know is that there are “teams” out there with undying loyalty for their favorite plugins. For example, when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) plugins there is a “Team Yoast”, a “Team Rank Math, a “Team SEOPress”, and more.  For every category of plugin you are going to encounter these teams.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to WordPress plugins. There is (usually) no right or wrong answer. There are only pros and cons. Obviously you want to pick the plugins that provide the greatest number of pros for you, your specific situation and your particular website.

“So which WordPress plugins do I need?”

 


 

The Ultimate WordPress Security Plugin Stack

Start here. Security is crucial and should be the first thing you establish on your website. These are, in my opinion, the three best security plugins for WordPress. They all serve different purposes and are meant to be used alongside each other as a stack. Install all three of them.

#1 – WPS Hide Login

This is the very first plugin that I install every time I build a new WordPress site.

It allows you to protect your site by changing the login URL thereby preventing access to wp-login.php page and wp-admin directory while you are not logged in.

If someone or some bot wanted to hack your site (they do) they often start by going to http://www.”whatever-your-domain-name-is”.com/wp-admin. This brings them to the page where you log in to your WordPress dashboard.

Once they are on that page they begin a brute force attack which is essentially just start guessing usernames and passwords until they get in. It can be done incredibly fast with the software that they use.

By changing the URL of your login page from the generic /wp-admin to something unique like /my-awesome-wp-login you are able to avoid most brute force attacks.

Please, please, please bookmark the new URL in your browser once you set it so that you don’t forget it.

Get WPS Hide Login here.

 

#2 – Akismet

Akismet describes themselves as “quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from spam.”

It’s a pretty simple concept. They keep spammers from wrecking the comment sections on you site. Get the plugin if you don’t already have it.

Get Akismet here.

 

#3 – Wordfence

Wordfence plays two major roles: Firewall and Malware Protection.

If someone does find your login URL after you use WPS Hide Login then Wordfence will be there to stop them from getting in.

In addition to that, it has a great malware scanner.

There is both a free and a premium (paid) version. I use the free version and I am very happy with it.

Get Wordfence here.

 


 

SEO

The debate rages on about which WordPress SEO Plugin is the best. It seems like Search Engine Optimization plugins have the most hardcore fans. A lot of people have a lot of very strong opinions about this

My opinion: Just pick one and stick with it for that site.

All three of these are great options. However, I am currently using SEOPress on this website and I really like it.

You can NOT use multiple SEO plugins on the same site. This is NOT a stack.

 

SEOPress

I am new to SEOPress. So far it is working great. It is very user-friendly and seems to be gaining popularity very quickly.

Another reason I like it is because here is a large community of people using it that can help you out on whatever message board you decide to join.

I highly recommend this one.

Get SEOPress

 

Yoast

With the highest number of active users, Yoast is probably the most popular SEO plugin available. I’ve been happy with it on every site that I used it on.

I used to be on “Team Yoast” but I heard there were other more robust options. Eventually I branched out to try some different plugins on a few of my sites. I decided to make the switch and try out SEOPress when I found out that they had a great affiliate program. In my opinion they are both just as a good.

Get Yoast here.

 

Honorable Mention

Rankmath: I really enjoyed working with RankMath. It has a lot in common with Yoast except it has fewer active users. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it. I just enjoy working with SEOPress a little bit more.

Get Rank Math here.

 


 

Analytics Plugins For WordPress

Analytics provide you with data on how users are interacting with your website. It allows you to see how many visits your site is getting per day, per month, etc. All of the information is broken down in to smaller categories like which types of devices are being used to visit your site, which browsers they are using, the country they are from, and much more.

By analyzing this information you able to make decisions regarding the future of your site.

“Which search engine or social media platform should I be advertising on?”

“Should I add a language/translation plugin to accommodate the growing number of visitors coming from other countries?”

These are all questions that analytics data can help you answer.

 

MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the gold standard for WordPress Analytics. Connect the plugin to your Google Analytics account in order to view data directly in your WordPress dashboard.

Get MonsterInsights here.

 


 

Backup

I can’t begin to stress the importance of having a solid backup plugin. Imagine spending a couple months working on a website just to log in one day and find that it is gone, broken or hacked. OUCH!

Make weekly off-site copies of your website in case SHTF. You can store these files on your Google Drive, Dropbox or the server you’re using to host your site.

 

UpdraftPlus

There are several worthy competitors but, UpdraftPlus is the King (or Queen). UpdraftPlus is what I am currently using not just for this site but for ALL of my websites.

While several other back up plugins charge extra if you want to upload your files to Google Drive, UpdraftPlus does not.

The basic plugin is free and will cover all of needs for a small site. A premium version is also available and it has some amazing extras that I recommend you have a look at.

Get UpdraftPlus here.

 


 

Page Speed

If your page is slow you will lose visitors and your bounce rate will sky rocket. If your bounce rate is high Google will penalize you and you will fall in rankings.

Here is a terrible joke for you: Where is the best place to hide a dead body?

Answer: On the second page of Google.

Not that funny but it proves a very real point: You want to be on the first page. These plug-ins won’t guarantee that for you. However, it is going to be very difficult without some sort of caching method in place.

Keep your website healthy and accessible by managing your page speed with cache plugins

W3 Total Cache

This is the most popular, highest rated page speed plugin that’s available for FREE. This is the plugin currently being used on this site. If you like FREE this is the option you want to go with.

Get W3 Total Cache here.

 

WPRocket

WPRocket on the other hand, is the most popular, highest rated page speed plugin that money can buy. It is not free.

Taking in to consideration all the hype around this plugin I have every intention to eventually make the switch to WPRocket.

Get WP Rocket here.

 


 

Social

Make it easy for your readers to get your content to go viral, and build your social following! 

Monarch

What this plugin will do is put a collection of buttons on your page that allow your reader to share your blog post or web page on their own social media pages.

Codejira.co was built with Elegant Theme’s “Divi” Theme. Monarch was also built by the amazing team at Elegant Themes. This plugin was a natural choice for me because it integrates seamlessly with my theme.

It is not free. It is a premium plugin. It is well worth the cost in my opinion.

Get Monarch here.

 

Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons

“Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons” is the actual name of the plugin.

At 200,000+ active installations its appears to be the most popular FREE social media sharing plugin. I personally have never used this plugin but the reviews are phenomenal. It is currently boasting five stars with over 4,800 reviews.

If you aren’t using Divi Theme and you’re looking for a free plugin I would certainly recommend giving this one a try.

If you hate it leave some feedback in the comment section. I also want to hear from you if you love it!

Get Social Media Share here.

 

Smash Balloon

I use Smash Balloon on this site to display my Instagram Feed in the footer below. Scroll down and check it out.

The basic version is free. That is what I’m currently using. There is also a premium version with tons of sick features.

If you aren’t on Instagram: You won’t need this. However, Instagram is a fantastic way to promote most businesses and you should look in to it.

Get Smash Balloon here.

 


 

Forms and Email Opt-ins

Are you looking for a way to generate leads, and engage people for their return business? You are going to need forms to capture the user’s contact info.

 

Bloom

This is another product I use that was developed by Elegant Themes. Like Monarch, Bloom integrates seamlessly with my website because my website was built with Divi.

With this plugin you can insert, dare I say, “elegant” forms on to your site; even ones that display as pop ups. The forms can be customized to collect whatever input you are looking for.

Once your form is looking pretty you’ll need to connect it to your offsite CRM or email marketing service (MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, etc.).

This is a premium plugin.

Get Bloom here.

 

WPForms

With over 2 MILLION active users I can confidently say that WPForms is arguably the best “forms plugin”.

The lite version is free and there is a paid version available, as well.

Get WPForms here.

 

Honorable Mention

Contact Form 7 (FREE) is the most widely used form plugin on WordPress. It is lightweight, fast, and effective.

The drawback is that it is one of the least user-friendly options. It’s not a bad choice for more advanced user though.

You’ll have to download an additional extension if you want it to integrate it with your email marketing service.

Get Contact Form 7 here.

 


 

Best “Must Have” WordPress Plugins – 2020

 

I hope this helps you on your journey to becoming an absolute WordPress ninja!

What are your favorite plugins? Which plugins from my list do you despise and why? I’m always looking to learn from other developers.

Comment, share, like, or subscribe if you felt you benefited from my post here. Cheers!

Don’t feel like reading the entire article?

Here is the Short List

**This list contains several premium plugins. Navigate through the post for alternate free versions.

Top WordPress Plugins 2020

There is so much information out there that it can be hard to determine which plugins you should or should not have. I’m going to try to simplify everything for you by giving you my essential list of the best “must have” WordPress plugins that I am using in 2020. Plus, I have included several free alternative options for any of the premium plugins that I use.

The first thing you need to know is that there are “teams” out there with undying loyalty for their favorite plugins. For example, when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) plugins there is a “Team Yoast”, a “Team Rank Math, a “Team SEOPress”, and more.  For every category of plugin you are going to encounter these teams.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to WordPress plugins. There is (usually) no right or wrong answer. There are only pros and cons. Obviously you want to pick the plugins that provide the greatest number of pros for you, your specific situation and your particular website.

“So which WordPress plugins do I need?”

 


 

Don’t feel like reading the entire article?

Here is the Short List

**This list contains several premium plugins. Navigate through the post for alternate free versions.

The Ultimate WordPress Security Plugin Stack

Start here. Security is crucial and should be the first thing you establish on your website. These are, in my opinion, the three best security plugins for WordPress. They all serve different purposes and are meant to be used alongside each other as a stack. Install all three of them.

#1 – WPS Hide Login

This is the very first plugin that I install every time I build a new WordPress site.

It allows you to protect your site by changing the login URL thereby preventing access to wp-login.php page and wp-admin directory while you are not logged in.

If someone or some bot wanted to hack your site (they do) they often start by going to http://www.”whatever-your-domain-name-is”.com/wp-admin. This brings them to the page where you log in to your WordPress dashboard.

Once they are on that page they begin a brute force attack which is essentially just start guessing usernames and passwords until they get in. It can be done incredibly fast with the software that they use.

By changing the URL of your login page from the generic /wp-admin to something unique like /my-awesome-wp-login you are able to avoid most brute force attacks.

Please, please, please bookmark the new URL in your browser once you set it so that you don’t forget it.

Get WPS Hide Login here.

 

#2 – Akismet

Akismet describes themselves as “quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from spam.”

It’s a pretty simple concept. They keep spammers from wrecking the comment sections on you site. Get the plugin if you don’t already have it.

Get Akismet here.

 

#3 – Wordfence

Wordfence plays two major roles: Firewall and Malware Protection.

If someone does find your login URL after you use WPS Hide Login then Wordfence will be there to stop them from getting in.

In addition to that, it has a great malware scanner.

There is both a free and a premium (paid) version. I use the free version and I am very happy with it.

Get Wordfence here.

 


 

SEO

The debate rages on about which WordPress SEO Plugin is the best. It seems like Search Engine Optimization plugins have the most hardcore fans. A lot of people have a lot of very strong opinions about this

My opinion: Just pick one and stick with it for that site.

All three of these are great options. However, I am currently using SEOPress on this website and I really like it.

You can NOT use multiple SEO plugins on the same site. This is NOT a stack.

 

SEOPress

I am new to SEOPress. So far it is working great. It is very user-friendly and seems to be gaining popularity very quickly.

Another reason I like it is because here is a large community of people using it that can help you out on whatever message board you decide to join.

I highly recommend this one.

Get SEOPress

 

Yoast

With the highest number of active users, Yoast is probably the most popular SEO plugin available. I’ve been happy with it on every site that I used it on.

I used to be on “Team Yoast” but I heard there were other more robust options. Eventually I branched out to try some different plugins on a few of my sites. I decided to make the switch and try out SEOPress when I found out that they had a great affiliate program. In my opinion they are both just as a good.

Get Yoast here.

 

Honorable Mention

Rankmath: I really enjoyed working with RankMath. It has a lot in common with Yoast except it has fewer active users. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it. I just enjoy working with SEOPress a little bit more.

Get Rank Math here.

 


 

Analytics Plugins For WordPress

Analytics provide you with data on how users are interacting with your website. It allows you to see how many visits your site is getting per day, per month, etc. All of the information is broken down in to smaller categories like which types of devices are being used to visit your site, which browsers they are using, the country they are from, and much more.

By analyzing this information you able to make decisions regarding the future of your site.

“Which search engine or social media platform should I be advertising on?”

“Should I add a language/translation plugin to accommodate the growing number of visitors coming from other countries?”

These are all questions that analytics data can help you answer.

 

MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights is the gold standard for WordPress Analytics. Connect the plugin to your Google Analytics account in order to view data directly in your WordPress dashboard.

Get MonsterInsights here.

 


 

Backup

I can’t begin to stress the importance of having a solid backup plugin. Imagine spending a couple months working on a website just to log in one day and find that it is gone, broken or hacked. OUCH!

Make weekly off-site copies of your website in case SHTF. You can store these files on your Google Drive, Dropbox or the server you’re using to host your site.

 

UpdraftPlus

There are several worthy competitors but, UpdraftPlus is the King (or Queen). UpdraftPlus is what I am currently using not just for this site but for ALL of my websites.

While several other back up plugins charge extra if you want to upload your files to Google Drive, UpdraftPlus does not.

The basic plugin is free and will cover all of needs for a small site. A premium version is also available and it has some amazing extras that I recommend you have a look at.

Get UpdraftPlus here.

 


 

Page Speed

If your page is slow you will lose visitors and your bounce rate will sky rocket. If your bounce rate is high Google will penalize you and you will fall in rankings.

Here is a terrible joke for you: Where is the best place to hide a dead body?

Answer: On the second page of Google.

Not that funny but it proves a very real point: You want to be on the first page. These plug-ins won’t guarantee that for you. However, it is going to be very difficult without some sort of caching method in place.

Keep your website healthy and accessible by managing your page speed with cache plugins

W3 Total Cache

This is the most popular, highest rated page speed plugin that’s available for FREE. This is the plugin currently being used on this site. If you like FREE this is the option you want to go with.

Get W3 Total Cache here.

 

WPRocket

WPRocket on the other hand, is the most popular, highest rated page speed plugin that money can buy. It is not free.

Taking in to consideration all the hype around this plugin I have every intention to eventually make the switch to WPRocket.

Get WP Rocket here.

 


 

Social

Make it easy for your readers to get your content to go viral, and build your social following! 

Monarch

What this plugin will do is put a collection of buttons on your page that allow your reader to share your blog post or web page on their own social media pages.

Codejira.co was built with Elegant Theme’s “Divi” Theme. Monarch was also built by the amazing team at Elegant Themes. This plugin was a natural choice for me because it integrates seamlessly with my theme.

It is not free. It is a premium plugin. It is well worth the cost in my opinion.

Get Monarch here.

 

Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons

“Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons” is the actual name of the plugin.

At 200,000+ active installations its appears to be the most popular FREE social media sharing plugin. I personally have never used this plugin but the reviews are phenomenal. It is currently boasting five stars with over 4,800 reviews.

If you aren’t using Divi Theme and you’re looking for a free plugin I would certainly recommend giving this one a try.

If you hate it leave some feedback in the comment section. I also want to hear from you if you love it!

Get Social Media Share here.

 

Smash Balloon

I use Smash Balloon on this site to display my Instagram Feed in the footer below. Scroll down and check it out.

The basic version is free. That is what I’m currently using. There is also a premium version with tons of sick features.

If you aren’t on Instagram: You won’t need this. However, Instagram is a fantastic way to promote most businesses and you should look in to it.

Get Smash Balloon here.

 


 

Forms and Email Opt-ins

Are you looking for a way to generate leads, and engage people for their return business? You are going to need forms to capture the user’s contact info.

 

Bloom

This is another product I use that was developed by Elegant Themes. Like Monarch, Bloom integrates seamlessly with my website because my website was built with Divi.

With this plugin you can insert, dare I say, “elegant” forms on to your site; even ones that display as pop ups. The forms can be customized to collect whatever input you are looking for.

Once your form is looking pretty you’ll need to connect it to your offsite CRM or email marketing service (MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, etc.).

This is a premium plugin.

Get Bloom here.

 

WPForms

With over 2 MILLION active users I can confidently say that WPForms is arguably the best “forms plugin”.

The lite version is free and there is a paid version available, as well.

Get WPForms here.

 

Honorable Mention

Contact Form 7 (FREE) is the most widely used form plugin on WordPress. It is lightweight, fast, and effective.

The drawback is that it is one of the least user-friendly options. It’s not a bad choice for more advanced user though.

You’ll have to download an additional extension if you want it to integrate it with your email marketing service.

Get Contact Form 7 here.

 


 

Best “Must Have” WordPress Plugins – 2020

 

I hope this helps you on your journey to becoming an absolute WordPress ninja!

What are your favorite plugins? Which plugins from my list do you despise and why? I’m always looking to learn from other developers.

Comment, share, like, or subscribe if you felt you benefited from my post here. Cheers!

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