Website Setup & Design
Essential WordPress Plugins
If you have a website on WordPress, then chances are you’ve looked into good WordPress plugins to use. With the sheer number of plugins available, and especially with so many of them doing the same thing, it might be hard to figure out which ones are really worth it. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite plugins to use below. All of them are FREE, or have a free version that can certainly get the job done for you!
Spam & SEcurity
One of the first things I always looking at when building a site is making sure it’s secure and safe for both the readers, and the owner of the website.
My favorite security plugin is by far WordFence.
Their features include firweall, blocking, security scanning, monitoring features, login security, and more. They even have a free learning center chock full of information if you need help navigating the plugin, configuring settings, or understanding the different options. And if that isn’t enough to convince you then how about this- they’re the most downloaded security plugin on WordPress and have a 5 star rating from over 3,000 reviews.
To guard against spam I like to use Akismet. It helps to keep spam out of both your comments and your contact forms.
Photograph from Yoast
SEO (Search engine optimization)
SEO is basically ensuring that your post can get good results in different search engines. This post is about essential wordpress plugins and I made sure to do research for a good keyword so that when people search for wordpress plugins, my post has a good shot at showing up in their search results.
For SEO Yoast is alway’s my go to. It looks at keyword desnity, images, links, and length, among other things. They also help you gauge your readability and how easy, or difficult, your post may be for readers. It’s also helped me improve my use of active vs passive voice dramatically. Yay, Yoast! They have an indicator that goes from red to green as you write, letting you know how effective your post is. Of course you won’t always have everything green but it helps you focus on the things you’d like.
Social & Sharing
Social Share Icons & Social Share Buttons is what I use for enabling sharing of my blog posts and content. I know, super long name but trust me, the awesomeness of this plugin is like ten times longer than its name. You can customize the icons and buttons to your heart’s desire. Shape, color, size, and location. You can have floating icons, after or before each blog post, and even in widgets.
The buttons can let them share on their social media, like your page, or just visit it. The free version allows you to utilize all the major social media platforms and the Premium version only adds versatility, with over 30 more social media platforms to choose from. Options on options on options! If you get this plugin, you will not regret it. I promise!
Photograph from WP-Optimize
Optimizing your site is very important. Making tons of revisions, uploading lots of images, and installing and uninstalling content can often times lead to a bloated website. This can weigh down your site and make it load more slowly which can be a big turnoff for potential visitors. There are two plugins I use to combat this.
For images I like to use Smush. This compresses images and makes them smaller, taking up less space on your site and enabling them to load more quickly.
For general website optimization I like WP-Optimize. Essentially it removes all unneccesary data from your website leavng it cleaner and quicker. It can take out old post revisions, unapproved comments, and more, and allows you to choose what you’d like to clean and what you’d like to leave. They even have an option to backup before optimizing which is great for ensuring all your important stuff is saved before deleting anything that might be pertinent. And if you’re looking for a good plugin for backing up your website then you’re in luck. The creators of this plugin have the BEST plugin for backing up your website!
UpdraftPlus is without a doubt the best plugin I’ve come across for backing up your website easily and conveniently. They have options for automatic backup so you can enable this feature and sit back while your site is safely stored no matter what happens. You can set how far back you want the backups to be saved- 2 weeks of backups, 1 month of more. You can eve have it set to save to numerous places, including cloud storage locations like Google Drive and Dropbox!
We certainly can’t forget about subscriptions. Building up a good email list and having subscribers to your blog can be vital to your success. Having a plugin with good options and versatility for creating an effective email opt-in is so crucial. There are tons of good options out there but when you’re on a budget my top recommendation is Hustle.
Hustle is my favorite free plugin for subscriptions. With their free version you can create 1 free email opt-in, and 1 custom content ad and 1 social share bar. Out of all of the free plugins I’ve tried for subsctiptions, their’s has the greatest variety and customization options. You can create a truly beutiful opt-in that can totally bring in subscribers.