One of the major features of self-hosted WordPress is the ability to extend its functionality with plugins. With over more than 50,000 plugins in its official plugin repository, there is a plugin for everything. From SEO to analytics and custom page builders, plugins offer the best of functionality to your blog. In this post, we will take a look at some of the best wordpress plugins for blogs in 2017 and beyond.

These are the must-have plugins for their own various own reasons. This post contains only the plugins from the Wordpress official plugin directory and so most of them are free unless you require their pro features.

WP Super Cache

Loading speed is one of the primary reasons most of the wordpress websites are not getting traffic. If your page doesn’t load fast, visitors would switch/close tabs and carry on with their work. After all, there are numerous websites optimized for speed. And there is teh AMP project that aims to reduce the loading speed of pages.

In order to tackle this issue, an efficient caching mechanism needs to be in place. WP Super Cache does just that. It converts the PHP pages of wordpress in to plain HTML files. Once this is generated, when a user visits the page, there is no need to query dtabase and get data. The page can be loaded directly from cache without any processing.

WP Super Cache

The plugin also supports for page compression (GZip). Enabling this feature, the content(HTML and supported files) are compressed and then sent to the client machine. As most of the modern browsers support compressed file rendering, this would further improve loading speed.

A hidden advantage is that, by loading cached files, your derver load and the amount of bacdwidth used will also be reduced.

The plugin also supports for the integration of Content Delivery Networks(CDNs).

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Google XML Sitemaps

Next up is the sitemap generator. It is necessary for to have a sitemap generator so as to tell search engines about the pages in our blog. Google XML Sitemaps is the best rated sitemap plugin in the wordpress plugin directory. It has over a 2 million downloads and is been active for the past 9 years.

Website Sitemap

Once the plugin is installed and activated, it will generate an XML sitemap page. You can access it at www.yourblog.com/sitemap.xml.

You can use this sitemap url and submit it for search engines. Using the web master tools available for various search engines, it can be submitted for indexing. Sitemap helps the search engines to find the exact location(URL) of pages in the blog.

Yoast SEO

If you have been using WordPress for some time, you would have probably heard about this one. If not, let me make things clear that this is the best SEO plugin available.

With over 3 million active installations, the plugin has the best of features required for SEO.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.

Yoast is a frequent updated plugin to keep up with the trends in the search industry. The plugin has a simple set up flow that anyone can use to make your blog seo-friendly. It also shows notifications if some aspect of the page is not optimized.

Wordfence Security

WordFence is one of th ebest security plugins out there for your wordpress installation. It includes numerous features that can protect your wordpress site from attackers.

Some of the major features include - Securing the login - Scanning - IP blacklisting - Firewall and monitoring

The premium version of the wordfence plugin also provides features like two-step authentication to enhance the security of your blog.

The plugin also has features to block crawlers/bots, monitor disk spaces and even spam filter for comments. This is a great plugin for beginners as well as advanced users.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is an excellent plugin with which you can manage multiple contact forms for your entire website. You can use various forms in different pages based on the need. You can also enable Ajax submission for better experience.

If you are afraid of spamming, the form can be integrated with Akismet spam filtering plugin and also enable CAPTCHA for the same. It is easy to setup mailchimp and other email services with Contact Form 7.

With shortcodes support, you can place forms in any post or pages easily with code change.

All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets

A rich snippet is HTML code that provides addition information about a page. This information is used by search engines for categorizing and ranking the pages.

Rich Movie Snippet

Google, Bing and Yahoo launched Schema.org to create and support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages. So if you are writing a about an event, you can tag it as an event so that search engines can identify it. There are schemas for products, offers, reviews, local businesses etc. You can read abut this at Schema.org.

Coming to our case, we can add such rich snippets to our posts and pages using the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin. The plugin supports the following types of Schemas: Review, Event, People, Product, Recipe, Software Application, Video and Articles.

Revive Old Post

Revive Old Post is by far the best social media sharing plugin available in the wordpress repository. Many a times, it would be hard to share posts to social media followers. This plugin can help you to do just that.

Using the configurations available, you can set up the plugin to automatically share older posts again on a particular schedule. You can select the category of posts to share as well as the age of the posts.

The plugin can connect to various social accounts and even add hashtags based on tags or categories. Additionally the urls can be shortened before sharign also.

There is also a pro version of the plugin with more options but the free version itself does a great job.

Title Experiments

Ever heard of A/B testing? A/B testing is a type of testing where certain amount of users are served with one type of content and others with a different type.

Title Experiments for WordPress

Title experiments plugin does just that with the post titles. It enables you to provide multiple titles and experiment with users to understand which one performs better than the other.

Each time the article is listed it is counted as an impression. Each time the article is visited it is counted as a view. This will easily let you see what percentage of impressions get clicked on for each title.

The pro version of the plugin supports for detailed analytics and featured image testing.

AMP

AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open source initiative that aims to provide mobile optimized content that can load instantly everywhere. If you had used google search on mobile devices, it is possible that you have already been a user of AMP pages.

AMP Project

The AMP plugin creates the AMP version of your pages. So when these pages get indexed by serach engines, users are automatically redirected to the AMP pages. This is the official plugin developed by the AMP Project team taht includes Wordpress owned Automattic.

Know more about teh AMP project at ampproject.org.

SumoMe

SumoMe offers a colelction of separate apps that can be installed on to the blog/website. Once the plugin is installed, a base code is inserted to the page.

The configurations made after that is automatically reflected to the website using that code.

It provides various apps such as email list builder, heatmap, dashboard, sharing buttons, welcome mat, contact form and even smart bars. Yes, it does have a lot of applications in a single package but they are completely optional to install.

Conclusion

With wordpress being a powerhouse, along with numerous plugins, you can customize your website to get more readers and so build an authority.

Tip: Make sure that your website loading speed is not affected after any plugin install. It can happen especially if you are running wordpress on a shared server.

Don’t worry if your page has slowed down. You can improve your page load speed with various techniques too.

I would appreciate if you take time to share your must-have list of plugins in the comments below.

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