When you create a WordPress site , choosing the best WordPress plugins can be tricky. With over 54,000 plugins to choose from, picking out the most trusted ones requires time, research and testing.

To save you some time on research, below is a list of the best and free plugins to download for WordPress.

1. YOAST SEO

Yoast SEO is one of the most popular SEO plugins on the marketing right now. It doesn’t mean it will start ranking your site immediately just because you download it. You need to the work.

The plugin helps you understand how you should change the content for optimization by showing a green light.

It also let you see the preview on the content’s search snippet, create an XML sitemap, add meta tags set canonical URLs, etc.

2. UPDRAFT PLUS

Backups, backups, backups! It’s not enough to keep repeating this over and over again, most website owners STILL ignore this absolute must. Think about how it makes you feel to lose your site’s content to a hacker, server crash or other website malfunction. All that hard work you put in creating the content – just gone one day.

UpdraftPlus let you schedule automatic backups of your website’s files and database and store it in a cloud based service such as Dropbox or Google drive. There is a restore button to instantly restore your website with one click.

3. SIMPLE AUTHOR BOX

This plugin will display an author profile at the end of your website’s posts. It shows the author name, picture and a description. It also let you add multiple social media icons. You can customize the author box to match your own website with different colors, fonts and sizes.

I used Starbox prior to finding this great plugin. It was doing the job, but very limited if for the free version. Starbox let you pick a theme rather than customizing colors and fonts. You also upgrade to use other social media icons than just Facebook and Twitter. The good thing was that it did have a tab with all the author’s latest posts which Simple Author Box do not offer.

4. DUPLICATOR

I could not manage websites without this awesome plugin! Duplicator migrates and clones a site from one location to another. Super simple to change hosting or working locally when you use this plugin.

5. SMUSH

Don’t we all hate when a page is loading slow because of images? Images usually take up the majority of your website’s page weight and without optimizing them for speed and performance, your loading time will suffer. Smush optimizes your images automatically anytime you upload them to the Media Library. The image quality stays the same, which is amazing since it’s smushes the photo to become petite.

6. EDITORIAL CALENDAR

It’s important to constantly publishing valuable content to your site. Editorial Calendar is helping you to organize the content.

Get an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar and manage posts for multiple authors.

7. MY CUSTOM FUNCTIONS

If you want to add code snippets to your functions.php, My Custom Functions is a worry-free solution. Functions.php is a sensitive file and can easily break your entire site if you make one little mistake.

This plugin works as a child theme and you won’t lose your code snippets if you change or update WordPress themes.

8. AKISMET

Akismet is a plugin developed by the people behind WordPress. It’s one of the default plugins that comes with every new WordPress installation.

There is no reason not to use this great plugin. Akismet is an anti-spam plugin which checks and filter out spam comments. It’s absolutely necessary if you don’t want to get a bunch of spam links in your comment section.

9. WOOCOMMERCE

I’ve used this plugin since 2008 for several eCommerce sites and I would recommend it over and over again.

WooCommerce has a bunch of amazing features that make your online selling super smooth. You can customize the functionality of your eCommerce store with a ton of add-on extensions they offer.

WooCommerce works both for physical products and digital downloads, so I’m sure you will need it for your website at some point.

10. W3 TOTAL CACHE

WordPress caching is one of the best ways to improve your website’s performance. By caching your site, the website data is stored temporarily as static HTML files so that it loads faster next time a user opens the same page. This reduces the page loading time and helps to optimize the overall site performance.

11. OPTIMIZE DATABASE AFTER DELETING REVISIONS

This plugin deletes revisions of your posts and pages and optimizing the database to make your site lighter. It also deletes trashed items, such as spam comments, pingbacks, and posts and pages in the trash can.

You can either automatically schedule a cleanup or do it manually. I personally prefer to do it manually every other week since I’m able to see what I’m removing before I start optimizing. It’s also nice to see how much space you saved on each optimization.

12. WORDFENCE SECURITY

One of the most crucial things to do as a website owner is to keep it secure from hackers. There’s thousands of malicious bots that can attack your sire anytime.

Wordfence Security will protect you by using a firewall and a malware scanner. It checks your site for vulnerabilities and and notify changes in files, posts and comments.

Which WordPress plugins are your favorites? Share them with us in the comments!

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