Besides the normal functions of a business website, its loading speed and security are the next most important things that you need to focus on.
Nowadays, Google and other search engines place a strong emphasis on loading speed. If your business website is loading slowly, then you will not get ranked as high as your competitors on search engines when your prospects are searching for keywords that are related to your business. Hence, it is important to make sure your website loads faster than your competitors.
Since WordPress is open-source, it is important to keep your website secured as many hackers are using automated scripts to try and hack WordPress websites. Fortunately, by keeping your WordPress version up-to-date and using the security plugin I recommend below, you can block out all these hacking activities.
Now, let us take a look what are the essential plugins I highly recommend you to install in your WordPress website.
1.WordFence (Security Plugin)
WordFence is a security plugin and I like it very much because it will notify you when someone tries to hack into your website!
You will also receive regular reports on which countries and what methods are they using to try to hack your website. If you constantly find that a particular hacker from a country keeps targeting your website, you can contact your hosting to block off all IP addresses from that country (provided you do not serve customers in that country).
I also like that Wordfence will email you when it detected suspicious files were uploaded to your WordPress directory. This feature has helped me stop many attacks in the past. I have tried other security plugins and many do not offer this feature in their free version. However, Wordfence free version has this feature and works very well for all my websites.
As a bonus point, you can also enable 2FA login using Wordfence if you wish to. This will further reduce the chance of hackers gaining control over your website!
I highly recommend using Wordfence over other security plugins!
2. Contact Form 7
Frankly speaking, if you have used CF7 (Contact Form 7) before, you would have known that it is not the most user-friendly contact form plugin for WordPress.
However, after using other contact form plugins, I can tell you that CF7 is the most flexible (and free) and extensible contact form plugin in the entire WordPress plugins directory!
The reason why I stated the above is because (1) CF7 has many related plugins that you can use to addon functions to your basic Cf7 forms. For example, you can use this plugin Send PDF for Contact form 7 , to convert form submissions into PDFs to be sent to you or your team members. You can also use Redirection for contact form 7 plugin to point your website visitors to a specific page after they submitted your website contact form. You can also use the conditional fields for contact form 7 plugin to show conditional fields in your contact forms. There are many more other contact form 7 related plugins in the WordPress directory and all of them are free to use.
If you use other contact form plugins, chances are you will need to pay for the PRO version someday if you need more features in your contact form.
3. Updraftplus WordPress backup Plugin
You must back up your website regularly (daily) because any website in the world will have the chance of getting hacked. Hence, it is important to have a system to back up your website daily.
I highly recommend using Updraftplus plugin to backup your website. It is the only plugin we use to backup all our websites automatically every day.
The best thing is that you only need to set it up one time then the plugin will automatically backup your website every day and store the files in your dropbox account (or other places you prefer).
You can click here for a step-by-step guide on how to set up this daily WordPress backup system.
4. Litespeed cache (Breeze for Cloudways user)
It is important to have a cache plugin for your business website because it helps to speed up your website and save resources every time it loads a web page.
If you are using Cloudways hosting, then it already comes with a good cache plugin which is Breeze.
If you are using other hosting companies, then you can install and use the Litespeed cache plugin.
You would need some web programming knowledge in order to fully utilize these cache plugins but you can always seek assistance from your hosting company and see what they advise you to do.
Do note that settings, like minify and defer scripts, can cause your website layout to break, if it is not configured properly. Hence, if you do not feel confident doing these settings, you can leave them alone or seek help from a professional.
5. Rank Math SEO (SEO Plugin)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is very important for a business website because you want to appear on search engines when your prospects are searching for the services or the products you are selling. Thus, you can install a SEO plugin to help you make your website more search engine friendly.
Perhaps you have heard of Yoast SEO if you have been using WordPress for quite some time. However, I am not recommending Yoast SEO because in recent years, I see there is increasing negative feedback about this plugin in terms of the impact it makes on the loading speed of a website.
Instead, I am recommending Rank Math SEO. This SEO plugin is getting very popular in recent years because it is simple to use and consumes lesser resources on your website.
Using the free version of Rank Math SEO, you can optimize an unlimited amount of keywords for each of your blog posts and pages, you can use their content AI to help you write articles to get ranked on Google, and you can track keyword ranking using Rank Math SEO and most importantly, it has options for local business SEO!
6. Automatic Email Testing for WP (Bonus!)
There is another plugin that I would like to recommend if you have a business website!
The plugin is called Automatic Email Testing for WP and I have to mention this upfront that I am also the creator of this plugin.
The reason why we created this plugin is that most WordPress websites use their shared hosting to send website emails (contact forms etc) but in recent years, very often that shared hosting’s email server tends to fail more frequently. Hence, we created this plugin to help you test your website email server and check if it is working properly on a daily basis. This is important because you do not want the case where someone uses your website contact form and it fails to reach you because your website email server is faulty!
This automatic email testing for WP plugin is easy to use, you just need to install it and enter your email address and it will start to test your email server on a daily basis!
Hope you find this list of recommended plugins useful for you.
If you have any questions, just feel free to contact me. May you have a profitable WordPress business website!