What WordPress plugins should you have on your site? This is something a lot of newcomers or DIY (“do it yourself”) website builders ask when getting started with their WordPress website. This is a basic list to get you started, but I am sure you will come across many more that you will setup for your site. Each website is different and has different needs and different target audiences. Some sites need an image gallery, other sites need an e-commerce component (we suggest using WooCommerce), and the different options goes on and on. WordPress lists more than 40,000 plugins in their repository, so the possibilities are endless! Whatever the case, I am confident you will need the following plugins, so this is our list of 5 essential free plugins you need on your site. Each of these plugins have alternative options, so it is up to you which one to use, but we find these the easiest and most comprehensive plugins to use that are free.
- Yoast SEO This is the plugin for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). When you add or edit a page, it offers free insight on how your page content is setup based on the “focus keyword” for that page. Each page on your site and SEO strategy should have a focus keyword or term that it is focused on (it should be relevant content to bring in more visitors). This tool will show you suggestions/feedback on what needs to be changed or optimized for better page ranking in search engines. I can write a whole article on how to use it, but there are many out there including on the Yoast plugin site Yoast.com.
- iThemes Security Something that some people forgets about: how to protect your site against hackers. No solution is perfect, and hacks can happen other ways such as via FTP or via your web hosting provider. This plugin prevents against brute attacks (repeated attempts to log in), scans your site and reports on issues, enforces stronger passwords and more. It also “obscures” by hiding information about your website. You can see a tutorial on how to get started here.
- W3 Total Cache WordPress sites can get very slow and that is bad news. W3 Total Cache will help solve these issues by reducing page download times. It caches your website content for faster page load times and has other tricks to solve speed issues. This is a must when page load times is an SEO and visitor experience factor.
- Akismet When you have a blog, it is an open invitation for spam comments and bots posting junk to your site. This plug-in automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam and has other helpful features.
- Contact Form 7 WordPress is great for writing content and blogs but setting up a form can be tricky. Contact Form 7 is a nifty form builder that makes it so much easier to manage multiple contact forms and customize each one as needed.
The list of valuable plug-ins is endless, and I probably write a new post talking about specific plug-ins in the future, but for now, I just want to help WordPress newcomers to get started.
As a reminder: here at NearSource we are eager to help, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.