As a web designer, I’ve had tons of experience over the years when it comes to testing out different plugins and their features. A question that many clients will often ask is “What are the top plugins that you recommend?”. Given the fact that there’s currently over 50,000 plugins throughout WordPress, providing a quick answer to my client’s isn’t always the easiest. This is why I decided it’d be quite helpful (for both myself and my clients/readers) to put together a list of my top favorites as well as a description of each plugin. (You can check current number of plugins on the WordPress site here: WP Plugins.)
Search Engine Optimization:
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s unpaid results— this is often referred to as “natural” or “organic” results. Fortunately, WordPress has plugins available to help you out with this and make the process of ranking your website just a bit easier and less time consuming. The following is one of my top recommendations:
1.) Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one of the top, most popular SEO (search engine optimization) plugins for WordPress users. WordPress alone is technically quite a good platform for SEO so installing this plugin in addition to that will only help you to improve your website or blog. It helps to enhance your writing, checks if your posts are long enough, and whether or not you’ve written a meta description and if that meta description contains your focus keyword. The Yoast SEO plugin also has the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality in any WordPress plugin. You can check it out for yourself by simply searching for it on WordPress or by going to the Yoast site here: yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/
There is both a free and premium/paid version of the plugin, depending on how advanced you’d like to get.
WP Super Cache helps your site to load faster which is great for SEO. This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After an html file is generated, your webserver will serve that file rather than processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WP PHP scripts.
If you’re serious about your website or blog, then you need to pay close attention to the WordPress security best practices. Ensuring that your website is secured will help prevent it from being hacked. On average, approximately 30,000 new websites are hacked each day. WordPress sites can be an easy target for attacks due to certain plugin vulnerabilities, weak passwords, and obsolete software. Each week, Google blacklists around 20,000 websites for malware and around 50,000 for phishing. Here’s a few of my favorite plugins to help keep your website secured from malware and hackers:
Wordfence Security is a plugin that I’ve used for a while now and love it! It’s been SO helpful in helping to keep my website secured. Some of theWF Security features: Real-time blocking of known attackers. If another site using Wordfence is attacked and blocks the attacker, your site is automatically protected! Scans core files, themes, and plugins against WordPress.org repository versions to check their integrity. View all of your traffic in real-time, including humans, robots, 404 errors, and logins/logouts.
iThemes Security is another wonderful plugin that I’ve used for quite some time. This plugin works to protect your site by blocking bad users and increasing the security of passwords and other vital information. It also prevents brute force attacks by banning hosts and users with too many invalid login attempts and scans your site to instantly report where vulnerabilities exist and fixes them within seconds.
Increasing your number of shares throughout your blog will help to grow your traffic, so you want to make sure your readers have an easy to find option of sharing your content. When you have social sharing buttons on your site, people are more likely to share via these buttons. Here are some of my favorite plugins to use when it comes to social media:
Click to tweet is a plugin that allows you to easily create tweetable content for your readers. You can put your own custom text in the “box” and if a reader decides to share the tweet, all they have to do is click on it and it’ll be shared to twitter. Below is an example:Coffeewithkaylie.com is a blog that provides tips for Entrepreneurs+Bloggers Click To Tweet
I LOVE SumoMe! This is a plugin that adds social media sharing buttons to either the side of your website’s page, at the header, or the footer. It’s very easy to use and makes gaining shares on your content so much easier! This is what it looks like:
(the squares on the left of the picture)
WP Maintenance Mode is a plugin that allows you to add a temporary “Under Maintenance” page to your website so while you make changes and alter your website, viewers will be shown a page that displays “Under Maintenance” when they visit your site.
Contact Form 7 is a very popular plugin installed by users all throughout WordPress. With this plugin, you can add simple, yet unique contact forms to your website. People can fill out their information and submit it back to you, hassle free.
Hope this helps you find new and useful plugins for your site! Be sure to share. 🙂