Podcast Episode 31 – 5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins

Unlock the full potential of your WordPress website with Chrissy Rey’s top 5 must-have plugins! From boosting your SEO to enhancing security, this episode covers essential plugins that every WordPress website needs. Tune in to find out which plugins make the cut and why they’re crucial for your website’s success!

Listen to the Episode

Show Notes

In this episode, Chrissy covers 5 types of plugins every WordPress website needs.


  • 0:00 – 0:39 – Introduction and Overview
  • 0:39 – 2:16 – SEO Plugins: Yoast SEO, SEOPress, RankMath
  • 2:16 – 4:37 – Analytics Plugins: Google Analytics and Site Kit
  • 4:37 – 6:58 – Optimization Plugins: Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer, ShortPixel, TinyPNG, Imagify, WP Rocket, perfmatters, WP-Optimize, Autoptimize
  • 6:58 – 8:40 – Form Builders: WPForms, Ninja Forms, Forminator, Gravity Forms
  • 8:40 – 10:06 – Security Plugins: Wordfence, MalCare, All-In-One Security, iThemes Security, Sucuri
  • 10:06 – 10:45 – Conclusion and Upcoming Content

Key Takeaways

  • SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, SEOPress, and RankMath are essential for optimizing your website for search engines.
  • Google Analytics and Site Kit are crucial for understanding your website’s performance and user behavior.
  • Image and script optimization plugins like Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer, ShortPixel, TinyPNG, Imagify, WP Rocket, perfmatters, WP-Optimize, and Autoptimize can significantly improve your site’s loading speed.
  • Form builders like WPForms and Gravity Forms are necessary for creating various types of forms on your website.
  • Security plugins offer additional layers of protection to keep your WordPress website secure.

Additional Resources


Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of Website Success. I’m your host, Chrissy Rey, and today we’re diving into the world of WordPress plugins. Specifically, I’m going to talk about the 5 must-have types of plugins every WordPress website should have, and I’ll include examples of specific plugins to consider, along with my own personal favorites. Let’s get started!

SEO Plugins

The first plugin type I want to talk about is SEO plugins. You might have heard that WordPress is great for SEO, and some of that functionality is built in. For example, WordPress automatically creates a sitemap you can submit to search engines. But if you want to really up your SEO game, you’ll need a plugin to customize that sitemap, add meta descriptions, create optimized page titles, and more. There are several SEO plugins out there, including Yoast SEO, SEOPress, and RankMath. All three of those plugins do more or less the same things. They allow you to optimize across your whole website as well as within individual pages and posts. They also offer specific on-page suggestions for your content based on your focus keywords. I have personally used all three plugins on different sites, and while I’ve used Yoast SEO the most, I haven’t yet settled on my favorite for this. I plan to do some more testing to see how each plugin affects the performance of a website, so make sure you follow my YouTube channel to catch that when I share my results.

Analytics Plugins

The next plugin type is analytics, and for this discussion I’m going to talk about Google Analytics, since that’s what I use. In order to know if you’re meeting your goals for your website, you need to know where your users are coming from, what they’re doing on your website, what devices and browsers they’re using and stuff like that. And that’s where Google Analytics comes into play. Some of the SEO plugins I already mentioned allow you to add your Google Analytics tracking code to their settings, and that is totally fine. However, I usually use Google’s Site Kit plugin for this purpose because it goes way beyond that, and has some other features that I use on my websites. The Site Kit plugin will create Google Analytics and Google Search Console properties for you if you don’t already have them, or allow you to connect to existing properties if you already have them. The only thing it doesn’t do with those is automatically submit your sitemap for indexing. Site Kit also lets you connect Google’s PageSpeed Insights so you can check your website’s performance, AdSense so you can easily place ads on your website, and Tag Manager so you can add tags to your website to track conversions and other ads. If you’re running ads on Google, you can add the Ads Conversion ID to the Analytics settings and then track your conversion events with the Tag Manager. There are some other analytics plugins out there, like Monster Insights, and you can also find plugins for non-Google analytics. Just make sure you’re using something to track usage so you can make educated decisions about your website.

Optimization Plugins

Now let’s talk about optimization plugins. There are actually two sub-types here, and those are image optimization plugins and plugins that optimize the scripts and other aspects of your website. You have a lot of options for image optimization plugins, including Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer, ShortPixel, TinyPNG, and Imagify. I personally use Imagify and have an unlimited plan with them. I upload a lot of images, and it’s only about $10 per month to optimize all of them. As for the “other” optimization plugins, there are, again, many options such as WP Rocket, perfmatters, WP-Optimize, and Autoptimize. I usually use WP Rocket or perfmatters. Both of them are premium plugins, which means you have to pay for them. They both let you minify your CSS and JavaScript code, optimize your database, add lazy loading for media, and more. Perfmatters also has a Script Manager that allows you to disable scripts sitewide on a per post or page basis. That way if a script is loading on every page, and really doesn’t need to be there, you can disable it site-wide and only enable it on the posts or pages where it needs to load. Now, I should mention, that there are also several caching plugins out there, but if you’re using great WordPress optimized hosting, they probably already have that built in to your hosting, and many hosting providers actually don’t allow caching plugins.

Form Builder Plugins

The next plugin type I want to talk about is form builders. WordPress just doesn’t have form capabilities built in, so you can’t create a contact form, or really any other type of form, without a form builder. You have lots of options for this, including WPForms, Ninja Forms, Forminator, and Gravity Forms. All of those options have a drag-and-drop builder, and all except Gravity Forms have a free version available so you can try them out and create some simple forms on your website. I personally use Gravity Forms because it’s very well-supported and has a ton of integrations. Plus, I’ve been using it since 2011, so it’s been in my toolkit for a while.

Security Plugins

Last but not least is security plugins. There are many things you can do to keep your WordPress website secure, including keeping the software updated, limiting access to the dashboard, requiring secure passwords, using two-factor authentication, using SSL, adding a firewall, and much more. Security plugins can give you some additional protection by implementing many of those features and also doing things like limiting login attempts, monitoring changes to files, and logging user activity. You can find lots of security plugins like Wordfence, MalCare, All-In-One Security, iThemes Security, and Sucuri. My team uses iThemes Security Pro because it covers all of the core security features we need for our websites.


Alright, folks, that wraps up today’s episode on the 5 must-have types of plugins for your WordPress website. We’ve covered the essentials: SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, SEOPress, and RankMath; analytics tools with a focus on Google’s Site Kit; optimization plugins for images and site performance, including Imagify and WP Rocket; form builders such as Gravity Forms; and, of course, security plugins like iThemes Security Pro. The key takeaway here is that these plugins are not just optional add-ons; they’re essential tools that can make or break your website’s success. So, if you haven’t already, make sure to install and configure plugins in these categories to ensure your WordPress site is optimized, secure, and ready for success.

Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel, where I’ll be sharing more in-depth tests and insights on these plugins. If you found this episode helpful, please subscribe and leave a review. Until next time, this is Chrissy Rey, signing off on Website Success!