Whether you’re running an e-commerce shop, a drop-shipping website or a corporate blog to bolster your company’s brand image, there’s a good chance you’re using a WordPress installation to create that site. This is the most popular content management system (CMS) in use, and it’s used to create upwards of 75 million websites around the world.
That’s roughly one out of every four websites on the World Wide Web. Or as WordPress frames it:
“More than 409 million people view more than 23.6 billion pages each month and users produce 69.5 million new posts and 46.8 million new comments every month.”
You might want to read through those statistics again. There’s a lot to unpack there. Suffice it to say, WordPress is huge, and if you have a website, there’s a one-in-four chance that it’s powered by WordPress.
I work for a leading SEO company in Sydney, Australia, and many of our clients prefer to work with WordPress. Given the affordability and functionality of this CMS, I understand why this is their go-to online content creator. But I’ve also seen first-hand just how many people end up missing out on some of the key features available through WordPress.
One of the strongest features of this CMS is the vast ecosystem of plugins available for modifying your installation of WordPress so that it can achieve more for you. With that in mind, I’ve drawn up a list of ten must-have plug-ins if you’re hoping to crush it with WordPress in 2017:
1.SEO Yoast
While it’s no replacement for actual SEO services in Sydney, Australia, Yoast is a great value-adder for SEO-conscious website operators. The free version helps you optimise each page of your site for a particular keyword, offering insight into your keyword density and making it incredibly easy to set your meta tags (see here for more on what that means).

The better your SEO efforts, the more traffic your site is going to receive. This makes it all the more important that site visitors are able to contact you with questions, orders and follow-ups. WPForms makes it easy to set up high-functioning contact forms on your site.

WordPress is an open-source CMS, which means that hackers can scrutinise the code to find new and more inventive ways to breach your security. If malware penetrates your site and starts infecting visitors, your search rankings will plummet. Securi counters this with free and premium security products that will help shore up your defences.

4.ShortPixel Image Optimiser
Images make your site more attractive, but they also saddle it with a download burden (read: slower load time). ShortPixel makes it easy to compress your images so that they’re the perfect size for a mobile device or desktop computer – rather than for a full-colour 55-inch display. That would be overkill.

5.Envira Gallery
If you’re working on images, why not work on galleries, too? Envira helps you optimise your galleries so that they render well and load quickly for a variety of screen resolutions. In other words, this plug-in lets you capitalise on image-heavy design without risking a higher bounce rate.

6.W3 Total Cache
Following on from the previous two plugins, W3 Total Cache also helps your pages load faster. It does so by serving your site visitors with compressed files that load faster and obliterate bounce rates. Fast load times are an incredibly important factor for SEO. You need this plugin in your life.

7.All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Rich snippets (aka ‘meta descriptions’) are an important bit of behind-the-scenes text that you can add to your website. They tell search engines what a specific page of content is about, so that this information can be presented to users when they are searching for sites like yours. This is the text that appears under the links on the search engine results pages (SERPs). If you’ve spent much time cruising the SERPs, you’ll notice that many of the rich snippets are incomplete or – even worse – feature the dreaded ‘robot.txt’ disclaimer. Improving your own snippets helps you boost your site’s SEO ranking and improve user experience at the same time. It’s a win-win!

Better SEO means higher traffic, but what are you doing to capture and retain these new site visitors? The Bloom email opt-in plugin helps you prompt your site visitors to give you their email addresses, which you can use for future EDM campaigns. This is big-picture stuff, and it makes a huge difference for SEO campaigns.

9.Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Any SEO company worth its salt will provide you with comprehensive analytics reports for how your site is performing. But second opinions are always recommended. This WordPress plugin lets you compile your Google Analytics information. This is good for your own information, as well as for confirming that your SEO company is really delivering.

10.Disqus Comment System
All of those new site visitors that your SEO campaign has generated need an easy way to engage with you and others like themselves. The Disqus comment system is one of the most reputable out there, and it enables visitors to sign up, leave comments and otherwise engage with your brand on your site.
This is just a sampling of the must-have WordPress plugins in 2017. Each of these will help amplify your SEO efforts, but none are a replacement for a well-thought-out strategy. But if you already have an SEO company in your corner, any of the above plug-ins will help you achieve even better results over the long term.

Author Bio
Will Dolphin is an SEO specialist who works for www.smart-traffic.com.au. He’s a WordPress wizard and a self-described ‘tech geek’. When he’s not designing responsive WordPress sites or optimising them for search, you’re likely to find him blogging about the latest Rick and Morty episode under a pseudonym he’d rather not disclose here.