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Site after site, blog, bog, blog tells us what we need to take our WordPress site (or blog) to another level. But how much is self-promotion, gadgetry or kudos for a particular plugin that a fellow blogger cannot live without due to a specific need?   What are the true essentials that every site should have? Well, here are my top five essential WordPress Plugins you should get, install and use-and strong justification why they should be yours as well!

Essential #1: WordPress Database Backup by Austin Matzko

Murphy’s Law applies to hosting servers as well as real life. Couple that with the fact that WordPress only works when the database functions (and we always make backups of  databases, don’t we??) makes this plugin my favorite because of what it saves me from facing-total devastation when something goes wrong or if the database gets completely nuked.  The plugin installs very easily and emails you a copy of your database as well as provides for an online (server) backup as well. This is the first plugin installed & activated on every site I build, support and/or host.

Essential #2: Blog Protector by Anurag Choudhari

Obviously once you have invested your time and effort into your WordPress blog you want to share.  But to avoid those who would dare to plagiarize your articles, copy your photos or just scrape your site, this plugin does just what it’s name suggests. With Right Clicking & photo dragging disabled, most thieves will just go find a residence with the door unlocked. Blog Protector is not foolproof, but it is a great start for the hardcore blogger (notice I didn’t say programmer). Coding can still be viewed and java slideshow images that popup are not protected.

Essential #3: Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachold

I love this Plugin!  It’s automated, customizable and takes care of what I have to do manually on constructed with non-WordPress platforms. With automatic, scheduled submission to search engines, why wouldn’t you use this to list your site??

Essential #4: Google Analytics for WordPress by Joost de Valk

Quickly connect your Analytics and your blog as well as customize the tracing to suit your needs. I continue to use this plugin over GA options that come with themes so there is freedom to modify or change themes without losing all that critical information!

Essential #5: All In One SEO by Michael Torbert

For a very robust SEO manager that gives all the options most need in a free version. Upgrade to pro if you want at any time.  I continue to use this plugin over SEO options that come with themes so there is freedom to modify or change themes without losing all that critical information!  And if you are using a free theme, the options may not be available.

Lastly, I consider this plugin very essential (but not ranked because it comes with WordPress): Akismet  It’s easy, free, reduces spam and will save you from headaches! There’s a reason it comes installed by default with all WordPress versions. Go to and get started doing your part to fight the spam war!

So, which plugins do you think are mission critical?  You may have a better plugin than the one listed & I would like to know about it.

Contact Jay for help with this or any of his other articles regarding website creation, maintenance and hosting.

photo by: Sean MacEntee