One thing that I’ve noticed from helping people to update their WordPress websites is the lack of knowledge about plugins and how they can be essential to the smooth-running of your website or blog. It’s shocked me that some people don’t even have SEO or backup plugins uploaded, even if their website has been built by a web designer.

I’ve therefore listed below the WordPress plugins essential to the success of your WordPress website or blog:

SEO: It’s important to have a SEO plugin on your website so that your pages and posts appear correctly on the search engines. There are various plugins that will do the job such as WordPress SEO or All in One SEO. You use them to put in the main keywords for your website or blog as well as add titles and meta descriptions for each post and page that you create – meta titles and descriptions are the information that appears on search results for each web page.

Backup. If you don’t add any other plugin, then at least upload a backup plugin such as Complete Central Backup or Simple Backup. Because if your website gets hacked or corrupted and you can’t get into your database or theme files, then you could find that you have lost everything and have got to build your website from scratch. So upload a backup plugin and set it so that it’s backing up your website at least weekly or daily if necessary. And do a test upload of the backup regularly to ensure that it’s working properly. You can also use a tool such as Pingdom to email you whenever your website does go offline.

Web Analytics: It’s essential that you have analytics set up for your website so that you can track visitors, page views, keywords, click rates, etc. The most popular web analytics tool is Google Analytics and in order to make this work, you need to put some code on your website. Rather than having to the change the coding of the website itself, the easiest way to do this is via the Google Analytics plugin.

Broken Links. Having broken links on your website can look very unprofessional but it can be time-consuming to check every link on your pages and posts. Upload a link checking plugin such as Broken Link Checker and it will alert you whenever a link stops working.

Website Speed. As we all know, people have very short attention spans especially on the internet. If your website takes too long to load (more than 3-5 seconds) then people will bounce off and go somewhere else. So ensure that your website is performing optimally by uploading a caching plugin such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. And it’s also a good idea to check the speed of your website – I use Pingdom to do this but there are other tools such as GT Metrix and Web Page Test.

So these are the WordPress plugins that I believe are essential to the success of your website. Let me know if you have any other plugin recommendations.

And if you need help with maintaining your website, then check out our Website Management Service. We can help you to keep your content and plugins updated so that your website is performing effectively and attracting visitors to your content. So click on the link to find out more about our Website Management Service.

Valerie Eaton provides virtual PA and online marketing services to self-employed professionals who are feeling overwhelmed by their workload and want more time to focus on growing their business.