This is a must have. Yoast SEO gives you a variety of options for search engine optimization. But, the main item in this plugin is the ability to analyze your posts and pages as you write them. It scans your text for how it will be viewed by search engines and gives your suggestions based on that analysis to get better search results. Yoast SEO also has a built in tool to show you how easy your text is to read. Plus, it manages things like sitemaps and meta descriptions.
If your website takes too long to load, users will tend to dismiss it and go to the next result in their search. Anything over about 2 seconds for a page load may drastically change their perception of your website. Google also uses your site speed to determine the best websites to show in their search results. W3 Total Cache will help alleviate slow performance and is full of optimizations. You may feel a bit overwhelmed by all of the options in the plugin but it is easy to set up and there is a ton on information about it on the web.
This is another plugin that focuses on website performance, specifically image performance. reSmush.it takes your image uploads and shrinks their file size. It does a backup of the original image, so there is never any worry about losing them. It shrinks thumbnails also at the same time, so no need to regenerate them.
One of the worst things is a poorly designed social media button plugins. I have tried so many over the years that I nearly gave up trying to find one. This is where Simple Social Buttons comes into play. It is a very nice looking and very functional plugin for social media sharing. There are a wide variety of options to make the buttons fit into your website as well. So, if you need social media buttons displayed on your posts that won’t break your website, this is the one.
Brought to you by the same folks as the previous plugin, this plugin creates links to your other content on the post page. You can show posts by category, tag or random selection. This plugin will also help with search engine optimization by creating internal back-links to your other content.
No blog should ever be started without this plugin. WordPress keeps a copy of all of your post revisions and auto-drafts which can grow and get quite large. Ultimately, this will affect the performance of your website. WP-Optimize simply removes all of that with a click of a button.