Do you want to start a WordPress blog? When this ultimate guide will help you decide which are the best and most useful WordPress Plugins for all your needs.
While it is generally accepted that WordPress is mostly used for self-expression blogging tool, its considerable business-doing power seems to have remained in the shadows. Most people out there have no idea how WordPress can help them drive traffic to their websites, and most of all convert random visitors into regular buyers.
WordPress, as a matter of fact, helps achieve all sorts of all goals, be it sharing exciting holiday pictures, discussing scientific discoveries in your industry, or promoting products and services. WordPress does that, and much more.
Why exactly WordPress? To start with, this is the most popular and successful CMS on the net, where people share and distribute valuable information. In its core, WordPress offers a variety of impressive features and possibilities, but the genuine secret of its performance is the option of expanding functionality with plugins.
The number of plugins and plugin types is astonishing, to say at least, as you can use such to optimize, backup, distribute, secure, or edit content, but also to interact with your audience in the desired way.
On top of it, WordPress is pretty intuitive and easy to use even for non-savvy beginners, and so is the installation of important plugins to make sure the platform will function impeccably, and give users the experience they deserve. The truth is not all WordPress plugins are great, which is why we selected only the best among them to help you run your WordPress site quickly and easily.
Regardless of the type of content you’ve decided to share on your WordPress blog, you will need images to beautify it and attract more visitors.
What can be tricky about this process is optimizing imagery to suit the required WP dimensions, as adding large size files usually ends up slowing the entire website, and making it look less valuable in the eyes of visitors and search engines. In order to avoid such effect, we recommend you to consider WP Smush.it, as it optimizes images right the way it should, and it is absolutely free to use.
How does it work? Once you’ve installed it, Yahoo’s Smush.it service will automatically check all screenshots, images, and other graphic you’ve uploaded, and reduce their size to recommended levels without affecting the quality of their appearance. As a result of this easy single-click process, your images will look just the way you want them, and loading times will remain intact.
Images are not always the reason why websites load slowly, which is why they all require a good caching plugin to prevent the owner from leaving a wrong first impression. W3 TotalCache is the most popular plugin of this kind that helps configure features in an optimized way and reduce loading times with minimal effort. What is more, it helps normalize mobile loading times, which as you know are also an important factor considered by Google’s ranking algorithm.
One of the essential tasks of all WordPress site owners is to optimize the content and make it friendlier for search engines, which is relatively easy to achieve with the right SEO plugin. The most popular plugin for the purpose is All in One SEO Pack, followed by Yoast for SEO.
Once your content is optimized and ready to use, the most important task becomes to distribute it and make sure users can access it easily. Floating Social is the plugin that makes this possible, allowing you to share content on social networks at once, and embed an easy sharing button on all posts.
Unlike some disastrous examples that can be found on the web, Floating Social’s sharing buttons are displayed on an unimposing vertical panel readers would have by hand once they decide to share the post with their followers and friends. You will also be allowed to customize the bar in the desired way, and include only the social networks that are relevant to you (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and so on).
As mentioned in the case of Contact Forms 7, websites need to provide visitors with easily accessible contact forms, be it to receive feedback or to provide an essential information on their products and services. Installing a plugin for the purpose is a critical step towards ensuring better users’ experience, and engaging audiences in a personal and professional manner.
The plugin you should consider here is Visual Form Builder, a highly customizable tool that helps you add all required fields. Users love it because of the human-friendly anti-spam verification process, which ensures spammers won’t be able to hijack your site.
As every WordPress blogger would agree, one of the most common problems that make life difficult is unwanted spam commenting, which unfortunately begins the first day you go live, and continues growing for as long as you’re doing nothing to prevent it. Luckily enough, WP developers had this in mind and provided users with an array of tidying tools to prevent your website from looking like a link farm. The most popular among them is Akismet.
Spam, as bad as it is, is still not the worst experience a website owner can have. The real threats are the intrusion and hacking issues, which luckily can also be solved using WordPress plugins. Our suggestion here is Wordfence, being the most powerful security plugin that comes for free.
The first thing Wordfence does after you’ve installed it is to examine the website for problems and vulnerabilities. Once done, it ensures all breach gaps are closed, and it monitors all activities to detect known and unknown hacking attempts on your website. Users like to call it ‘the stone that kills two birds’, as it also offers caching tools to accelerate the site’s loading times.
The truth is, there is no 100% attack-proof tool to protect your web content, but the least you can do in case of an intrusion is to backup content on a location where it can be easily restored. The market is packed with solid backup plugins, but we recommend BackWPup as the best free one that ensures content is restored without delay in any malicious situation.
What makes it even greater are the numerous options for automated backup delivery to a selected destination, including S3, FTP servers, SugarSync, and Dropbox. The admin has the possibility to select his backup channels, schedule backup sessions, and restore content with a single click.
Contact Forms 7 is a plugin designed to manage contact and engagement with your audience and can be easily customized by adding/removing relevant fields. It also supports Akismet spam filtering and Ajax-powered submission.
WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart is the best example of a handy online retail plugin, which allows businesses to close deals with a single click, right from the platform where their products/services are displayed. Depending on the type of e-store you’re running, WP Simple PayPal Shopping Cart will offer a variety of pre-made templates to support your business.