WordPress is easily the most popular and free blogging software out there. One of its main strengths is the ability to add features to it by adding mini-programs called plugins. Having a worldwide following of users and developers, WordPress is able to stay current thanks to the developers of these plugins who develop features for free (while some do cost money) that you can take advantage of. We’ve rounded the 7 most useful WordPress plugins that can be used on any type of WordPress blog/website.

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

This plugin is written by Joost de Valk, a top WordPress SEO consultant. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s what you do for your site to rank higher on search engines. One great thing about this plugin is that it offers you suggestions on how to write better content by focusing on the use of targeted key words on your text.

2. ShareThis Social Plugin

The ShareThis plugin allows visitors to share your web page/content with their friends on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. It does that by adding social media icons to each page or post. Best thing of all is that when you have the plugin set up, it’ll automatically add social icons to pages on your website so you don’t have to manually set them up. This plugin goes a step further by allowing you to see how many times your content has been shared from your website. This can have a huge impact in what and how you provide this content.

3. NextGEN Gallery

We’re all accustomed to share photos. Be it product photos, or photos from a conference it’s always a great idea to include on our web pages. The NextGen Gallery plugin allows you to create photo albums with a variety of display options. You want thumbnails? It’s included. Slideshows? You got it. When used properly, photo galleries can add life to a boring page. NextGen Gallery plugin makes it a breeze.

4. Contact Form 7 Plugin

With this plugin, you’ll be able to quickly create forms to capture visitor information and have it emailed to you. I’ve used this plugin to create the standard Contact Us forms and it works great. If you’re tired of receiving junk from online forms, then you’ll be happy to know that this plugin has a CAPTCHA field that can help block spammers.

5. BackUpWordPress Plugin

This plugin should probably be the first on this list. BackUpWordPress plugin simply allows you to back up your WordPress installation on a schedule. It also backs up your database and makes it easier to restore in the event that your website host crashes. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. In most servers, when the files are gone, they’re gone. Please take the time to back up your WordPress site.

6. Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics tool allows you to track a number of parameters regarding who’s coming to your website. These parameters may include the number of visitors, the geographic areas that they come from, and who referred them to you (in the form on links). While you can use Google Analytics on its own, the WordPress plugin makes it easier to add to every new page or posts and shows you these results on your WordPress admin section.

7. WPtouch Plugin

Mobile sites are increasingly becoming important because more and more people are accessing the internet via their smart phones. WPtouch plugin transforms the current look of your website into a mobile capable site with the smoothness of a native app. People viewing your website from an iPhone or other smart phone will have a pleasant experience and is more likely to pick you over the other guy whose website is not readable from a smart phone.