5 Must Have WordPress Plugins

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WordPress plugins are fantastic tools for increasing and broadening your website’s performance.  These 5 Must Have WordPress Plugins will bring incredible functionality to the overall awesomeness of your website.

5 must have wordpress pluginsOf course, your niche typically dictates what plugins are suitable for your website, but there are a few plugins that are universal to every WordPress blog you can’t afford to disregard.

There are thousands of helpful plugins within the WordPress framework that decrease your workload and save you a lot of time.  The official WordPress plugin storehouse includes well over 47,000 plugins and continues to grow resulting in a plugin for nearly every feature and function you’ll ever need for your website.  Also, you’ll find a plethora of plugins for the same feature.  You simply just need to choose what’s best for your website.  Hallelujah!

Anyway, let’s get started.

1. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (FREE)

5 must have wordpress plugins

You may have come across little tidbits of information such as number of reviews, images, star ratings etc beneath some of the pages of your search results. They give additional information about your page or post that a user may want to have.  These short bits of information such as ratings are referred to as Rich Snippets.

5 must have wordpress plugins

Rich Snippets are the ideal way to beautify the look of your post or page within the results pages of the search engines.  The snippets give the essence of what the page or product is about and highlight its features thus providing higher click through rates via Bing, Yahoo and Google.

Exactly how does a Rich Snippet help?

  • It provides search engines with only the essential and exact information to be displayed in the results pages.
  • Rich Snippets are highly interactive (author, price, star ratings, photos etc.) to let you stick out among the competition.
  • Helps rank you higher in search engine results
  • Helps Facebook highlight essential information when users share your links on Facebook

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2. WP Smush

5 must have wordpress plugins

Images are a tremendous asset to your page or post which instantly grabs the reader’s attention.  Adding images aids in getting your message across a lot more effectively than just blocks of text and adds to the general attractiveness of the page or post.

However, without you even realizing it, massive image files may be slowing down your website.  WP Smush utilizes super servers to rapidly smush every one of your images and cuts out all the useless data while not slowing down your website.

This award-winning image optimization plugin has tested number one for quality and speed and now includes a new image resizing feature.  Simply set a maximum height and width and large images will resize smaller as they are compressed reducing the file size without sacrificing quality.


  • Uses advanced lossless compression techniques to optimize your images.
  • Set maximum height and width and large images will instantly scale prior to being added to your media library
  • Process PNG, GIF and JPEG, GIF image files.
  • Optimize any image in any directory.
  • Asynchronously automatically smush your attachments for incredibly fast compression when uploading.
  • Smush your individual attachments manually in the media library, or in bulk smush 50 attachments at a time.
  • Smush all common web-sized images 1MB or smaller
  • Smush images without slowdown using WPMU DEV’s quick, trustworthy Smush API.
  • Individual and Global settings for Multisite
  • View library totals and advanced compression stats per-attachment.

5 must have wordpress plugins


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3. Redirection

5 must have wordpress plugins

Sometimes you may need to change the permalinks of your pages or posts, but you fail to remember to redirect them. What happens? Readers will land on a page that is no longer available by following the out of date URL that doesn’t exist anymore and really ticking them off.  You definitely don’t want that to happen.

Redirection is a WordPress plugin that manages 301 redirections, keeps track of 404 errors, and basically tidies up any loose ends your website may have. This is distinctly useful if you are moving pages from an old site, or are adjusting the directory of your WordPress installation.

Here’s the good part – it’s 100% free!

New features include:

  • 404 error monitoring – catches a log of 404 errors and lets you simply map these to 301 redirects
  • Custom ‘pass-through’ redirections lets you pass a URL through to an additional file, page or website.
  • Complete logs for all redirected URLs
  • All URLs may be redirected, not simply the ones that don’t exist
  • Redirection methods – redirect by random pages, login status or by the referrer!

Existing features include:

  • Immediately add a 301 redirect when a post’s URL is changed
  • Manually add 301, 302, and 307 redirects for a for any file or WordPress post
  • Complete constant expression support
  • Apache .htaccess isn’t needed – works exclusively inside WordPress
  • Redirect index.html, index.php, and index.htm access
  • Redirect statistics stating how many times a redirect occurred, when it happened last, who tried to do the redirect, and where and who found your URL
  • Fully localized


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4. Broken Link Checker

5 must have wordpress plugins

Although you may have an awesome website with an incredible amount of daily visitors and doing a lot of business to boot, have you ever considered how your readers will respond if they landed on a page that is broken? You can bet they will be mighty miffed.  You’ll not only lose a potential customer, but also your site will make a bad impression. That’s utterly disastrous!

There is hope!  This nifty plugin will monitor your site for all those nasty broken links.  The plugin will check all your content and even comments for broken links and will automatically alert you if any are found.  Also, it informs you of any missing images so you can correct them quickly.

Moreover, the plugin can block search engines from following these broken links or showcase them differently.  Notifications are received on your WordPress dashboard or via email.


  • Monitors links in your pages, posts, comments, blog roll, and custom fields (optional).
  • Exposes links that no longer work, redirects and missing images.
  • Alerts you either by email or the WordPress dashboard.
  • Makes broken links show differently in posts (optional).
  • Blocks search engines from following broken links (optional).
  • You can filter and search links by anchor text, URL and so on.
  • Links can be refined directly from the plugin’s page, without manually amending each post.
  • Highly configurable.


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5. WP-Optimize

5 must have wordpress plugins

WP-Optimize is a productive tool for instantly cleaning your WordPress database so that it runs at maximum effectiveness.


        • Removes all needless data (e.g. unapproved/trashed/spam comments, stale data) plus trackbacks, pingbacks, and expired transient options
        • Compact/de-fragment MySQL tables with a button-press
        • Particularized control of which optimizations you want to carry out
        • Carries out automated weekly (or otherwise) clean-ups
        • Maintains a set number of weeks’ or data during clean-ups
        • Executes optimizations without the requirement for running manual queries
        • Automatically triggers a pre-optimize backup via UpdraftPlus (https://updraftplus.com)
        • Shows database statistics and possible savings
        • Easy to use and Mobile friendly
        • Translated into several languages


  • Make Space: When you edit a page or post on your website, WordPress instantly saves the new version to the database. If you revise things a few times (and especially if the post is long), your database soon gets congested with old versions that just remain there, taking up precious space. WP-Optimize removes these needless post revisions, freeing up precious megabytes of data and increasing efficiency and speed. It also clears up your comments table, discarding all the spam and un-approved comments that have accumulated with a single click.
  • Take control: WP-Optimize informs you on exactly which of your database tables have wasted and overhead space, giving you the awareness, power and control to keep your website fast, efficient and neat.
  • Keep it clean: Once implemented, WP-Optimize can run an automated clean-up on a schedule, keeping a chosen number of weeks’ data, according to your requirements.


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The Bottom Line

So, these are my 5 Must Have WordPress Plugins for increasing and broadening your website’s performance.  As previously mentioned, there are thousands of helpful plugins within the WordPress framework that decrease your workload and save you a lot of time, but keep in mind you don’t want too many plugins otherwise it will have the opposite effect.  What are your top 5 must have WordPress plugins?  Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. shrey

    Having too many plugins can lower the speed of your site, but I guess having a few won’t hurt. What are the maximum number of plugins you can have on your website?

    The broken link checker can be installed once a while for checking if all the links are doing well and then be deleted maybe, what do you think?

    • Barb

      Hi, Shrey, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I really love hearing from my readers.

      Me, personally, I would keep as few plugins as possible and not go above 5. People get caught up with bells and whistles and the next thing you know you’ve got 50 plugins! It definitely affects your site speed and will lower reader interaction as nobody wants to hang around and wait for a page to load.

      As far as the Broken Link Checker goes, that is one of my essential plugins as it contributes to the efficiency of my website. You may not need it so much if you’re just starting out writing your blog and you only have a few articles but as time passes and you accumulate more articles you may want to have it as one of your core plugins. Your links may be up to date now, but maybe not so much a year from now.

  2. Ilias

    Interesting plugins. I use in my websites the WP Smush and the WP-Optimize the last months. I can confirm that with these two my site loads much faster. I will check out the rest of them soon. Do you keep them active all the time or only when you are going to use them?

    • Barb

      Hi, Ilias! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I love to hear from my readers.

      Yes, I do keep them active all the time. I find they add to the overall efficiency of my site. I don’t use a lot of plugins but keep these core one running regularly.

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