Which WordPress plugins I use and why (2019 overview)

WordPress logo

There are many lists of the best plugins for WordPress on the internet. But if you should look for plugins which are used on some particular websites nobody really tells.

That’s why I would like to give you an honest review and list of plugins I usually use on my WordPress websites. I am not saying these are the best, I just got to them somehow during the years I have worked with WordPress and still get stuck with them.

If you are lazy to read and would like to skip this article to see the list of plugins I am using on Worktravelenjoy.com. You can go directly to the technical site here where you can find a neat list with all the plugins.

In the beginning, it should be said that the best plugins are no plugins. Yeah, the goal of the WordPress site should be to use as fewer plugins as possible. Cuz more plugins more troubles with updates and a better chance to get your site hacked. So my advice would be if you don’t need to use that particular plugin don’t use it.

One more thing before the start. 99% of my WordPress life I use just the free versions of the plugins. One reason is that I do not have money to pay for every cool feature and another reason that is actually when I bought the pro version of the particular plugin I have never been satisfied and always felt I just threw away my money. It happened to me many times with different kinds of plugins so I lost trust in paid plugins. Maybe you have a better experience but I was always disappointed. (Feel free to share with me in the comments section which plugins are worth to buy)

WordPress plugins I use

I will try to mention all the WordPress plugins I actually use and with a little review and honest opinion.

BackWPup

BackWPup icon - WordPress plugin

In the beginning, I didn’t care much about backups. Which isn’t the best practice. But recently as I needed to renew my affiliate site I was got deep into it. This plugin helped me a lot. It simple and working well. I use it just for the classic way of backuping and restoring website. So I just time to time do a backup of all the files and the database. Later I am able to use the backup manually if it’s needed. (upload the files on the server, upload the database).

Broken Link Checker

Broken link checker wordpress plugin icon

If you have a website with a lot of content. You gonna easily lose track of your links. This plugin helps you to find broken links on your website. In my posts, I use links a lot and if I care about my readers (of course I do πŸ™‚ I should be linking just to working websites. This plugin is also perfect for affiliate sites cuz if would be your links broken you losing money.

Contact Form 7

Contact form 7 wordpress plugin icon

The name says it all. I am using this plugin just on my contact page. I guess it’s working I am receiving a lot of SPAMs haha. :). Still, I think there should be a contact page on every website. The visitors should have an option to reach you out. So feel free to contact me otherwise I’m gonna get crazy of all that marketing offers.

Responsive Lightbox & Gallery

Responsive lightbox gallery wordpress plugin icon

For all the photo galleries on this site work this plugin well. Just choose in the link settings “link to” media file option and all the photos are automatically added to pop up lightbox gallery. The listing through the galleries is much more comfortable for the visitors.

GA Google Analytics

GA google analytics wordpress plugin - icon

Sure you can live in the void without the proper statistics (it would heal a lot of insecurities) but I simply wanna know if someone visiting my website. Probably I could add the metric code directly but for better comfort, I am using this plugin. It’s working so all good on my side.

iThemes Security

iThemese security wordpress plugin icon

To be honest I do not digging much into the security aspects of the WordPress site. I just know it’s a big problem for a lot of websites to keep the website safe. Especially cuz of the worldwide use of WordPress it’s easier to get hacked. This plugin helps to be a little bit safer. Checking the unusual login activity. You cannot change the login details form Php my admin and so. As I said I am not an expert about security. I just hope this plugin helps me to avoid possible struggles.

PS Auto Sitemap

PS auto-sitemap-wordpress-plugin-icon

Pretty simple plugin. Easy sitemap generator. As I am looking on it now. I could probably just do it by myself cuz my site have just a few pages (my sitemap here) but for bigger projects, it would be a pain in the ass doing it just by yourself. So my advice is -> use this plugin but just for larger websites.

Really Simple SSL

Really simple SSL wordpress plugin icon

The biggest struggle in the universe -> How to move your site from HTTP to HTTPS. I was postponing that as long as possible. Worried that my website would break. Fortunately, this plugin exists and with just a few clicks everything was set. This plugin is a life saver and time saver for sure. Recently I found out that some hostings providers can do this switch directly in their settings so you don’t even need any plugin.

Select Simple Yearly Archive

Sipmly yearly archive wordpress plugin icon

Even though I wouldn’t say is the best archive page in the world I like its simplicity. I can thank Simple Yearly archive plugin. Simple chronological archive which helps your visitors find all the content on your blog. I like the posts count by every year as well. You can choose between a few options but I try to keep it as simple as possible.

Widget Context

During the redesigning of Worktravelenjoy.com, I tried to improve the reading experience. One of the things I changed was to keep the banner image just on the front page. Because it is a widget are I could simply disable the view of the banner for other sections of the website. With the hiding helped me plugin Widget Context. It’s easy, it works. So If you would need to do a similar thing on your website, don’t hesitate to grab this plugin.

WP-Optimize

WP Optimize wordpress plugin icon

The speed of the websites began recently a big topic across the SEO experts. It should help you to rank higher in the search engines and no one is patient and no one wants to wait. As the name says, WP optimize plugin helping you optimize your website. Deleting spam comments, posts reviews, checking the database and more. I use this plugin many years across all my projects .. even though I haven’t measured the impact. Maybe it’s all lie but I kinda have a good feeling about this plugin :).

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO wordpress plugin icon

This is gonna be a little controversial but I think the SEO plugins are overrated. I use YOAST SEO plugin but just because I am afraid to deactivate it on the go cuz I would screw something up. If I would start a new website I wouldn’t use it anymore. Why. My reasons are here:

  • It’s too robust, so many options to set it up and hard to make it right
  • WordPress itself can manage the basic and most important SEO setup by itself 
  • The clients just looking for the green dots and take it too seriously instead of focus on more important aspects of SEO (I would say some SEO agencies hiding behind that as well)

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Smush wordpress plugin logo

You can find a little more words about use in Honorable mention down below. The goal for your site should be to keep it as fast as possible. Images are a big part of the whole process and if they are too big, your site is gonna be slow. Smush image plugin helps to compress your images and make your site faster. I started to use this plugin recently it’s a good choice even though I needed to use one additional plugin to overpass the bulk compress limit.

WP Word Count

WP word count wordpress plugin icon

The newest member of my plugins family. As the writing began to be part of my life and my daily habit. I tried to dig deeper into the statistics. How many words I write, how many posts and so on. Even though you can find the words count under the i icon directly while you creating a new post. WP word count plugin gives you a neat dashboard with all the stats at one place. So handy, I love it. See the stats of Worktravelenjoy.com on the screenshot below.

Worktravelenjoy.com words statistics

Honorable mention

I would like to mention one particular WordPress plugin which makes me so happy recently.

Disable Bulk Smush Limit of WP Smushit

Disable Bulk Smush limit of WP smushit

In simplicity is the power. Recently I needed to compress all the images on this website to fasten the website. Usually, I uploaded all the images directly from my phone (yes I know I am stupid). For this action, I used WP smush it plugin mentioned earlier. Unfortunately for my amount of pictures, I would need the PRO version of this plugin (to use bulk smush for more than 50 pictures), of course, I didn’t want to pay just for this feature which I would use just once. Instead of that, I use the mentioned plugin which presses the button after 50 pics instead of you and actually working perfectly. Definitely, recommend.

That’s it for the WordPress plugins. Of course, everyone has different needs according to a particular project but I just wanted to summarize what I am using. Hopefully, it can help you a little. This post is more practical. I hope you like it.

If you would have tips for another plugins I should use. Leave me comment I would be happy hear about it. πŸ™‚

Other stuff

My challenge is still going. I haven’t earned the dollar yet (OMG Emil). Hopefully, some days still left haha. Keep you informed.

I made a new video to my Organized life channel. See below. This time I am talking about how to use my IdeasKeeper Coda doc. What works for me. Best practice to use the document. Hope you like it. Also starting the next week I am gonna be posting new videos every Monday (instead of Sunday).

Don’t hesitate to follow my journey and subscribe to my mailing list. πŸ™‚ HERE πŸ™‚

Stay with me. Emil.

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