Recommended Plugins for New WordPress Websites

If you’re new to WordPress, it can be really hard to know which plugins you might want to consider. After all, there are thousands of plugins available in the WordPress repository.

While having such a wide selection of plugins is great for flexibility, having such a massive selection available can be overwhelming to many users.

In this article, we’re listing our recommend plugins for new WordPress websites. The best part is, all of these recommendations are 100% free!

Contents
> Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd
> Elementor Page Builder
> UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin
> Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan
> Compress JPEG & PNG images
> Resize Image After Upload
> Heartbeat Control
> Lazy Load – Optimize Images
> WP Fastest Cache
> WP Mail SMTP by WPForms
> WooCommerce
> Yoast SEO
> Contact Form 7

Recommended Plugins for New WordPress Websites

All of the plugins listed below are vetted by our team. We can vouch for these plugins and we use them frequently across many different projects.

While these plugins are a great starting point for your new website, keep in mind that there’s a massive plugin ecosystem available for you to explore:

Please note that before installing a new plugin (outside of plugins on this list), it’s very important to ensure that the plugin is well supported by its developer, and it’s well-received by the community. See What to Know Before Installing a WordPress Plugin for more details.

Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd

This plugin allows you to set up a simple “coming soon” page to act as a place holder while you’re building your website. You can easily set a full-page image and put some simple text on top. View the plugin details here.

Elementor Page Builder

This plugin installs a simple drag-and-drop page builder on top of WordPress. You can use this to give you a visual page building tool, making it easy to create beautiful pages. You can choose to use this in place of the standard WordPress block editor on a page-by-page basis. Plus, it’s compatible with any WordPress theme. View the plugin details here.

UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin

This plugin allows you to take regular automatic backups of your website and offers several backup storage location options. This is very important. as a business owner, you’re responsible for having access to working backups of your website in the event of a disaster. See How to Automatically Backup Your WordPress Site to Cloud Storage for a detailed guide on how to set this up. View the plugin details here.

Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan

This plugin helps to secure your website by installing a software firewall (which checks incoming requests for malicious intent) and a tool for automatic malware scanning. WordPress is heavily targeted by hackers due to its widespread popularity, so it always pays to have a strong security plugin installed that specifically caters to WordPress security. View the plugin details here.

Compress JPEG & PNG images

This plugin will optimise all of your website images. It will reduce the file size of all images without compromising image quality. This will result in faster page load times because there is less data for your visitor to download. It can bulk-optimise your current media library, and will also automatically optimise images on upload. View the plugin details here.

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Resize Image After Upload

This plugin will automatically resize (reduce) images as you upload them if they are above a set dimension. This helps to prevent you from using massive images throughout your website. Note that this plugin reduces the width and height dimensions of large images, whereas Compress JPEG & PNG images (above) is only concerned with file size & ignores dimension size. View the plugin details here.

Heartbeat Control

This plugin reduces the number of requests that the WordPress heartbeat API makes on your website. The heartbeat API is a default function of WordPress that helps your web server communicate with your visitor’s browser. The API makes frequent calls to your server – and if you have several concurrent visitors then the API calls come thick and fast, putting stress on your server. We recommend setting the WP Dashboard and Post Editor to 30 seconds, and Frontend to 120 seconds. View the plugin details here.

Lazy Load – Optimize Images

This plugin enables lazy load on all of your website images. Without lazy load, when your user lands on a page their browser must download all of the images present before the page will display. This increases page load time, especially if your page is very image-heavy. With lazy loading, images the browser will only load images as appropriate as the user scrolls down the page. This results in faster page load times. View the plugin details here.

WP Fastest Cache

This is a simple caching plugin that will help improve the page load time of your visitors. It achieves this by saving copies of each page so that they can be served quickly to visitors, instead of having to rebuild the same page every time a new user arrives. See the caching section in How to Speed up Your WordPress Website for more information. View the plugin details here.

WP Mail SMTP by WPForms

By default, WordPress uses a PHP process to send email from your website (ie, emails for things such as password resets, order confirmation emails, and any other website-related notifications). Email deliverability can sometimes be an issue with this process, so it’s usually recommended to use an actual email account (such as G Suite, or your email account that’s included with web hosting) to send WordPress emails. This plugin allows you to move away from PHP email and instead instructs WordPress to use your actual email account to power these emails, which will greatly improve your email deliverability. View the plugin details here.

WooCommerce

This plugin hardly needs an introduction. Quite simply, this is the most popular eCommerce software in the world, and for good reasons. It gives you everything you need to set up your online store. It includes default integrations with several payment gateways (including PayPal and Stripe), with the ability to add others as required. There’s a huge ecosystem of WooCommerce plugins to add functionality as required, but the basic (free) software is very capable of getting you started. View the plugin details here.

Yoast SEO

This is the most widely used SEO plugin for WordPress. It will help you to optimise your on-page SEO, making sure that every page is following SEO best practices and increasing your chances of ranking well in Google. View the plugin details here.

Contact Form 7

This popular plugin makes it easy to create contact forms throughout your website. Visitors can use these forms to send a quick email through to you. It’s possible to create different forms for different purposes and areas of your website, making it a very flexible option for gaining new leads. View the plugin details here.

Final thoughts: our list of recommended plugins for new WordPress websites is vetted by our team. We’re confident that these plugins are suitable for WordPress beginners and are all good choices for your website. If you need to install more plugins, make sure you’re keeping these things in mind.

Shameless promotion: while we certainly encourage WordPress as a great DIY option, there will be instances where you might want a professional to help. Have a look at our website design services and let us know if you need help with your project.
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