To make a website work the way you want it to, you need to utilize the right tools. The great thing about WordPress is the fact that it has plugins that you can just install and set up on your site in minutes. If you want to make a website function in a unique way, all you have to do is search the huge WordPress community or database and find a plugin that performs the way you need it to. With that said, there are essential plugins that you’ll need to have at your disposal to operate a great site. Here are eight to pay attention to.
A photo gallery is perfect for highlighting your best posts or the unique products you have for sale. Gallery is a simple responsive WordPress plugin that comes with a host of features including social sharing functions, Instagram integration, comments integration and multiple lightbox effects.
2. Yoast SEO
If you want to get traffic from the search engines, then you have to make sure that your website is properly optimized. Yoast SEO is a plugin that help you with this process. It allows you to easily control title and meta tag of your posts, preview your Google search result, control the meta robots configuration, and more. Don’t worry about not understanding the technical aspects of utilizing Yoast. There are many guides available on how to maximize this plugin since it’s been around for so long.
Want your visitors to stick around for longer? The solution is to get them to consume more of your content. The challenge is in getting them to your content. YARPP (short for yet another related posts plugin) displays posts related to your entry. You can display your posts as either a thumbnail or list. You can customize what is displayed on each individual post or build an algorithm that shows related posts based on your customizations.
How quickly your site loads is important to the success of your site. For one, visitors often abandon sites that take too long to load. There are even studies that show conversion rates drop according to increased load time. Second, Google has made load time and time spent on site a ranking factor in the search engine algorithm. W3 Total Cache serves compressed and cached files to users which makes your site more server friendly while making it load faster for your visitors.
By now, everyone has heard stories about WordPress sites getting hacked. Because WordPress right out of the box has many vulnerabilities, you need to secure it with the right security program. iThemes security is one of the top rated WordPress security plugins. It protects your WordPress site in multiple ways such as preventing brute force logins, scanning for vulnerabilities, banning threatening user bots, and more. The best part is that this plugin is updated on a regular basis. This means that you’ll be protected from new vulnerabilities and updated for new releases of WordPress.
You want to receive emails from your reader and customers but posting your email on your site means that you’re waiting for spammers to crawl it and add you on their spam list. You can do away with that risk with Contact Form 7. This simple plugin allows you to add and manage multiple contact forms. When somebody submits a contact form the message is forwarded to your email.
Not backing up your site on a regular basis puts you at an immense amount of risk. You have to make sure to back up your site in case of server crashes, hacks or compatibility problems with scripts. Duplicator allows you to back up your entire WordPress site which you can then set as your back up. You can also use it to clone a site or migrate it. While there are other plugins in the marketplace that will allow you to schedule and automate your backup process, they are usually paid tools. Duplicator is free and a simple solution to a common problem.
Sometimes, managing your sidebar navigation can become a headache. You want certain widgets to show up on certain pages and not show up on certain pages. Managing which widgets are displayed can require a lot of extra coding and it can get really messy. Display Widget solves this problem by allowing you to easily change your sidebar content for different pages, categories and other customized rules that you can set. It is easy to use and manage compared to other plugins that accomplish the same thing. It’s a must have if you run any kind of advertising or promotional widgets on your site.
Those are just some of the essential plugins you’ll need to help build and manage your WordPress site. Of course, there are other plugins you’ll probably need along the way. Using multiple plugins can be overwhelming, so it’s important to focus on using what just you need at the time and slowly integrate one tool into your repertoire at a time.