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WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world (http://bit.ly/1ffXADl). It’s free, easy to use and a large community makes getting help easy. Many people don’t even consider trying another CMS before setting up websites – WordPress is the first and the obvious choice.

There is another reason why WordPress is so popular – its directory of plugins contains over 40000 of them. They help you manage and optimize your website and save loads of time by making running a website easier. Their number provides that everyone can find a plugin to solve their problem but it difficult to find exactly what you are looking for. Many users only browse popular WordPress plugins. It doesn’t surprise – no one has time to browse all of them.

In this article, I will present you 15 must-have WordPress plugins, both highly popular and those less-known.

1. Yoast SEO

It’s impossible to write an article about must-have WordPress plugins and not to mention Yoast. This is a powerful SEO plugin that will help you optimize articles to maximize their visibility in search engines. Sounds complicated? Maybe, but the plugin is an absolute no-brainer and even beginners can use it to drive organic traffic to their websites.

2.WooCommerce

It’s simple – if you want to run an ecommerce business on WordPress you need WooCommerce. It’s second the most popular ecommerce solution in the world (http://blog.aheadworks.com/2015/05/ecommerce-platforms-popularity-may-2015-two-platforms-take-half/). It allows you to add and manage multiple payment and delivery methods so you can decide how to accept payments and where to ship (and how much to charge). Customize your website with a tailored theme to make it look astonishing. Plus, you can build new functions on your own as it’s an open source software.

3. Really Simple CAPTCHA 

really simple captcha wordpress plugin
Do you have a contact form on your website? I suppose you do. Otherwise, it’s time to add one. Anyway, you should know that you can receive tons of spam messages sent by robots if you don’t secure a form. This is where Really Simple CAPTCHA comes is. Just a few clicks and a good-looking CAPTCHA is added to your contact form as a confirmation. No spam anymore.

4. WP Super Cache

What is caching? I won’t dig into the details here but it makes your website load faster. Doing it manually is technically possible but requires advanced skills. Using this plugin, you can instantly speed up your website with no risk.
Tip: if you don’t trust me then go to google page speed and type in your website’s address. If you don’t use caching Google will advise you to start.

5. Disqus

Traditional comments are out of date. Install Disqus and follow the trend of attaching social interactions to anything you do online, including commenting. There are more benefits for you, including SEO-friendliness and spam filters.

6. Simple Social Buttons

Sharing is caring, right? Help your visitors spread the word about your company by making sharing on social media as easy as possible. This plugin will allow you to place good-looking social sharing buttons on your website with minimal effort.

7. Rublon

rublon is a must have wordpress plugin

Security of your website is a kind of big deal. Thousands of botnets try to compromise websites each day. If one of them manages to access your website it can start infecting your visitors with malware. You’ll quickly lose traffic and your website might get blocked by a hosting provider.
Rublon is a WP plugin that will help you avoid this gloomy scenario by adding two-factor authentication to your account.

8. LiveChat

Live chat tool is definitely a must-have WordPress plugin, especially for ecommerce websites. Potential customers can easily contact you so you can help them and encourage to buy.

9. Broken Link Checker

broken link checker is a must have wordpress plugin
Placing links in articles improves SEO scores and make them more interesting for readers. There is one catch – some links might break after some time since publication. It’s impossible to manually check all your sites and articles looking for broken links. This plugin will do it for you. If you see that a link is broken just look for another article to link to.

10. Redirection

What’s more annoying that entering a non-existing website? Barely anything. When you have a lot of websites it’s difficult to keep track of all links. Some need updates or you might decide to change them for SEO purpose. This plugin will show you which links are broken and allow you to easily create redirections to the right pages.

11. Optimus

optimus wordpress plugin
High-quality images make your website look good and trustworthy but also load longer. When you have a lot of images on your website then loading time can become a serious problem. Optimizing images is the simplest solution. Doing it manually can take a lot of time so you can consider using this WordPress plugin instead.

12. BJ Lazy Load

What is lazy loading? It a clever method of optimizing the performance of your website. Instead of loading all elements like images at the same time, this plugin loads them as a visitor is getting closer to them. Example: a person visits your website and doesn’t scroll down. Normally all images, including those in the bottom, would load, which takes some time. Thanks to lazy loading, they won’t load so your website will work faster.

13. WPBackItUp

It’s one plugin that you don’t want to be using. But if something crashes or your want to migrate your website, you’ll need it badly. Easily create backups of your entire database with this simple plugin.

14. Survicate

Widget

How much do you know about people who visit your website? I bet not much. Survicate allows you to run short surveys on your website and collect feedback from visitors. It can help you spot problems with the usability or find out what products your visitors want you to offer.

15. Heat map

This plugin will show you where people click on your website. You will probably see that some of them click on elements that are not supposed to be clicked, like photos. It might confuse visitors and decrease their willingness to stay on the website.

Bonus: P3
You should know that plugins slow down your website. Some less, some more. How to check it? Well, it turns out there’s a WP plugin to do that! P3 will show you how other plugins affect the performance of your website. If you see that a certain plugin slows down your website significantly you can look for its alternatives – sometimes other plugins with similar functions don’t affect the performance so much

Summary
As you can see, WordPress plugins can help you improve your website, make it more user-friendly and improve security. Just keep in mind that installing all the plugins right away doesn’t make much sense. Think what you want to achieve, then install a plugin and use it. If you only install them and not use they just slow down your website.

What are your must have WordPress plugins? Let us know in comments!

Photo credit: by RAStudio / Shutterstock.com