8 Must-Have WordPress Plugins and Features in 2021

Building your first website may be a hard task. A lot of new things and new terms. From finding the right domain name and buy it, to finding the best hosting for your website. From thinking the design of your future business website to implementation of it. Of course, hiring a WordPress Developer will ease the pain, but in this article I will not talking about “Hiring a WordPress Developer”. Instead of this, I will suggest you a list with the 8 MUST-HAVE free WordPress plugins and features for 2021.

Assuming you already solved the domain name and hosting parts, and you already installed the WordPress CMS, let’s find out who’s the must-have WordPress plugins & features:

Free WordPress Plugins and Features

1. Free SSL Certificate:

On the top of the list, you must install a SSL certificate for your WordPress site. There are a ton of offers, free or paid, but the best option for a small website is to install the Let’s Encrypt. Your hosting company should provide it for free, through the cPanel. If you don’t see this feature there, ask your hosting provider about it. After you (or your site administrator) installed it, you have to redirect your website visitors from the non-secured version of your website (HTTP) to the secured version (HTTPS). To do this, use the following (free) plugin: Really Simple SSL.


2. Privacy Policy, ToS and FAQ:

Another very important three features for your new website are the Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions) pages. These pages are very important, and Google may penalize your website if you don’t have them. Regarding where to place them, they are generally placed in the Footer Menu. While creating the FAQ page, don’t forget to use the accordion style (very important). Through your page builder, you can find this feature.

If you don’t find the accordion feature, learn here how to “code” a FAQ page: Making a FAQ page accordion style

Don’t know how or where to insert that code? You can insert it in the HTML editor. You also have the option to use this free plugin:  Accordion FAQ

For the Privacy Policy page, I recommend this free plugin: WP AutoTerms.

It is very important to have a Privacy Policy if you receive visitors from the European Union.


3. How to track your site visitors in 2021

Tracking your visitors may help you to understand how to improve your website: Where they come from (location: country/state/city; search engine: Google, Bing, Yahoo!; , what pages are popular & what pages aren’t so popular, how much time they spend on your website, and so on ). There are a lot of free Google Analytics WordPress plugins, but personally I use this one: Google Site Kit . It is free and it is directly developed by Google.

IMPORTANT: By the way: Pay attention to what free plugins you are installing on your website. Some of them may track your visitors without your & your visitors permissions. Also: DON’T USE NULLED PLUGINS! 99,99% of them contain malwares and may destroy your website.

From October, 14th, 2020, a new version of Google Analytics have been implemented. Read more here: The new Google Analytics will give you the essential insights.

4. Best WordPress Security plugins in 2021

When we talk about Security plugins, I prefer this plugin: Sucuri. They also have a premium plugin, but the free version seems to be enough. Through their built-in firewall, Sucuri keeps away the spammers, hackers and (the most annoying part), the bots. I receive daily mails about how those bots are trying to break into my website, without any success.

There are others Security configurations you have to implement on your website, but for a simple site, I think this plugin is doing it’s job.


5. Free Backup WordPress plugin in 2021

I prefer to do manually backups for my clients’s websites, but if you don’t have time, you can use this free backup plugin: Updraft Plugin. The Developer of this plugin offer the paid alternative, in case you want to easily migrate your website(s) to another host or domain name. Plus, if you choose the Premium version, you support the effort of the developers and encourage the passion of them.


6. Best Free WordPress Speed Up plugins 2021

For the speed optimization of your WordPress website, you may consider these free plugins:

a.WP Super Cache

b.W3 Total Cache

Both W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are equivalent on small websites.

Other combination for WordPress Speed Up, with free plugins:

Hyper Cache  + Autoptimize
If you want to use Hyper Cache plugin, read this article: How to setup hyper cache
For Autoptimize plugin, read this tutorial: Autoptimize Settings

Regarding WordPress Speed Up, and not only (they also provide SEO, Security and Backup solution), you can use Jetpack . Read here their tutorial about WordPress Site Speed (by Jetpack)

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget: Beside the image optimization, the hosting provider is crucial in the speed of your website. Pay attention to what you choose. If there is something good, but costs with $5 more/mo, I suggest you to choose the expensive one.

c. Cloudflare: Free service, great service, use it with trust! It isn’t good just for the site speed, but it also provide SSL and Security. I recommend you to read this in-depth tutorial: Cloudflare with WordPress


7. Best WordPress Page Builder in 2021

If you want to invest more time in your website design, you can try to DIY it. Those are Free plugins, with the possibility of Upgrade:

  1. Gutenberg – Released on December, 6th, 2018, with the WordPress “Bebo” update, Gutenberg is the new WordPress’s Official page builder. See this tutorial about how to use WordPress 5 properly: WordPress 5 – Crash Course for Absolute Beginners
  2. Elementor  – The most used page builder in the last 4 years, you probably heard about it. They also have a PRO version, which compete with the best WordPress themes on the market.
  3. Beaver Builder  – The Lite version is good enough for any WordPress beginner. See here: How to build a WordPress site in minutes using Beaver Builder.

8. Best SEO plugin for WordPress in 2021

a. The still most preferred WordPress SEO plugin in 2021 is: Yoast SEO. For configuration, read their tutorial: WordPress SEO: the definitive guide

b. The SEO Framework: The second best choice, after Yoast, is this one. For tutorial, go here: Set up our plugin in 5 minutes.

c. Rank Math – SEO plugin for WordPress – So much preferred in 2020, Rank Math may be one of the best choices in matter of WordPress SEO. For tutorial, go here: Rank Math Plugin – Detailed Tutorial For Optimal Settings.

These are the 8 most important WordPress plugins and features you should install on your site. If you have other proposals, feel free to comment below.

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