9 Essential WordPress plugins to smash your competition

There is a wide variety of WordPress plugins available to choose from. In this article, we will recommend 9 essential WordPress plugins you should use to get ahead of your competition.

To search for new plugins, you must click on the “Add New” link, under “Plugins” from the sidebar on the left. This link will take you to the WordPress plugins search page.

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

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The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin will assist you in your SEO efforts, helping you to choose which keywords you want to rank. It will also tell you if the title and content are too long or too short, as well as show a preview on how your page should look in Google’s search results & much more!

There are many other SEO plugins, but WordPress SEO by Yoast has become the standard of SEO for WordPress with 13,000,000+ downloads to date and an incredible 4.7/5 overall rating!

On top of that, WordPress SEO by Yoast is developed by Joost de Valk and his team. He has a well established and deserved reputation in SEO circles.

Bottom line, WordPress SEO by Yoast is by far the most useful SEO plugin for WordPress, as well as one of the essential WordPress plugins you should be using now.

 

2. All in One Favicon

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With All In One Favicon plugin you can create or upload your own favicon, giving your site a professional touch.

It currently supports all 3 favicon types: ico, png & gif.

Although it’s been a while since it was last updated, it still works very good on any WordPress version as per the latest plugin reviews.

Currently, some WordPress themes already provide a favicon feature. If your theme is like the vast majority, it might not have this perk, making All In One Favicon one of the essential WordPress plugins you should install right now.

 

3. Jetpack by WordPress.com

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Jetpack by WordPress.com is a very popular plugin developed by Automattic. It contains many cool modules and features that will make the WordPress experience more enjoyable for you as well as for your visitors.

Main features

  • Website Stats: Simple, concise site stats with no additional load on your server.
  • Photon: Free Content Delivery Network (CDN) from Automattic.
  • Carousel: This module turns your standard image into an immersive, full-screen experience.
  • Infinite Scroll: Add support for infinite scroll to your theme.
  • Related Posts: Display links to your related content under post and pages.
  • Site verification tools: Verify your site/domain with Google Webmaster Tools, Pinterest & others.

… And many more!

Jetpack is without doubt one of the essential WordPress plugins out there. It contains 33 features to date!

 

4. Stop Spammers

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Forget about any CAPTCHA plugin, Stop Spammers is the real deal.

Also known as Stop Spammers Registrations, this plugin aggressively monitor your website and stop any kind of spam. It is great at preventing spam registrations, spam log-ins and spam comments. All this without annoying your visitors with CAPTCHA validation!

It has been proven that CAPTCHAS negatively affect your conversion rate, as well as your website’s user experience.

The beauty of this plugin is that it works without barely being noticed by your regular visitors. The way they block and filter the spammers does not interfere in any way with a genuine visitor.

This plugin makes use of “honeypots” and other advanced techniques to detect and block spammers.

We consider that Stop Spammers one of the essential WordPress plugins you should install simply because of how well it does it job, in conjunction with all the positive benefits a CAPTCHA-free website means.

 

5. Envira Gallery

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The Envira Gallery plugin is slowly becoming the preferred solution for WordPress developers, in detriment of the popular NextGEN Gallery plugin which has been lately been criticized with negative reviews about its performance.

Envira, on the other hand, has been nothing but praised the last several months. Reviewers talk about how simple, fast and efficient it is. Even for the lite (free) version, the Envira Gallery plugin is almost guaranteed to meet your needs.

Here are some of Envira’s main features:

  • Create galleries within your post/pages, or simply created “global” galleries that can be used anywhere.
  • Extremely lightweight and efficient plugin (NextGen gallery is 4.8 MB, while Envira Gallery is 152 KB).
  • Fully responsive gallery and lightbox display without any setup required.
  • Extremely fast gallery load times with the use of Ajax.
  • Tons of “Add-ons” for you to add even more functions on demand.

If you’re going to display images and galleries on your site, and most likely you will at some point, then the Envira Gallery is one of the essential WordPress plugins you should install without any doubt.

 

6. W3 Total Cache

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When it comes to caching, W3 Total Cache is the plugin everyone is talking about.

Being featured by internet giants such as Page.ly, Synthesis, DreamHost, Go Daddy, Host Gator & more, as well as being slightly higher rated on the WordPress.org plugin repository than its main competitor, WP Super Cache, it is no surprise that it is also the most often recommended caching plugin for WordPress.

W3 Total Cache, as any other caching plugin, is used to make your website load faster using several techniques under the “caching” category. In addition to that, it also increases your server performance and reduce server stress by compressing HTML, CSS and JS files on the fly. It also provides integration for Content Delivery Network (CDN) integration such as MaxCDN.

More about MaxCDN

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Being caching such an essential feature and W3 Total Cache being the most popular cache plugin, it definitely is one of the essential WordPress plugins you should consider installing.

 

7. Pinterest “Pin it” Button

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Pinterest “Pin It” Button is a very simple plugin that will make your life (and your visitor’s) easier if you’re an active user of Pinterest.

Many user reviews praise how easy to use this plugin is, as well how useful and customizable it is, making it one of the essential WordPress plugins if you care about Pinterest.

It has also pointed out that the support for this plugin is outstanding, so if any questions or inquiries about this plugin, feel free to contact the developers.

 

8. WP-PageNavi

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WP-PageNavi provides an excellent method for user-friendly navigation.

Instead of the standard WordPress next/previous buttons, the page will get a fancy list of page numbers. This allows users to jump to one page to another with ease and it can also be fully customized in terms of design and style.

It is without a doubt of the essential WordPress plugins out there, specially for content-rich websites.

 

9. Custom Facebook Feed

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With the Custom Facebook Feed plugin you’re able to display a completely customizable, responsive and search engine friendly version of your Facebook feed on your website. The best of all, no more ugly iframes!

This plugin excels when it comes down to styling. The Custom Facebook Feed plugin is able to adopt the style of your website, or be fully customizable to look like you want.

Being the best plugin for Facebook available as of today, this plugin is definitely a perfect fit for our essential WordPress plugins top list.

 

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