WordPress plugins are amazing! I have been creating WordPress websites for the past 4 years with 25 websites under my belt since 2011. I have discovered some REALLY great WordPress plugins that I use as a part of a standard set up with each WordPress website I create. If you are new to WordPress you may not know what a plugin is or what it does. Let’s start there.
What is a plugin?
A plugin is a tool to add a variety of functionality to your WordPress website that extends the capabilities of what your WordPress website can offer to your users and to WordPress administrators. In the WordPress community there are developers working on creating a plugin for almost anything you can think of that you would like your website to provide.
How Do You Find Plugins?
You will notice in your WordPress dashboard on the left navigation a link to your website plugins. Click on this link and it will give you a list of current plugins that you already have installed that came with your theme. If you want to find new plugins to add functionality to your website go up to the top of this page and click “Add New”. Here you will see different categories of plugins listed or you can go to the search box and type in the plugin you are looking for by name or by functionality!
WordPress Plugins I Recommend
Akismet is the best at protecting your website from comment spam. Even if you don’t set up your website with a blog or allow comments your website will receive bogus comments that are spam. You should install Akismet to help you manage the comments and protect your website from hackers.
Backup Buddy is a fantastic tool to backup your site before major changes like WordPress upgrades, theme or plugin upgrades, or major changes to your website. iThemes created Backup Buddy to make it easy to restore your website if something goes wrong. You can back up your website on demand or on a schedule. I use this even if the web hosting company I use provides back ups just because it is that easy to restore the site.
Contact Form 7 is an easy way to create forms on your website without having to code your form from scratch. I use this for website contact forms as well as more complicated forms that need more information. You can even set up the form to include adding attachments! It’s a handy plugin to use!
iThemes Security plugin is a definite MUST have! This plugin helps you secure your website from hackers and bots that are trying to break into your website. I personally experienced my website at Lucky Dog Consulting getting hacked in to. It was a nightmare! Within 2 weeks my website was hacked into at least twice before I installed and configured iThemes Security plugin. Since then I have added this plugin as a MUST have with all of my new websites.
ShareThis is an easy way to set up the capability of social sharing on your website for visitors to share your content. In today’s world all websites should have this functionality to help share your website and it’s content. It also can provide analytics for you if you create an account with ShareThis.
Social Media Widget will help integrate your social channels into your website if your theme does not already do so. It lets you add the links to your website to a variety of social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc… very easily.
Yoast is a plugin that helps you optimize your website for search. These plugin will help you create an XML map to submit to search engines like Google & Bing. This tool also helps you set up SEO for each of your pages! It will guide you on how well you have written your page for search optimization. It is a MUST have if you want help your website have the visibility it needs to be seen by search engines!
Here’s to the wonderful world of WordPress plugins and the developers who create them! Remember if you can think of a functionality that you would want your website to have and it doesn’t look into WordPress plugins to help you.
If you have favorite plugins you use please comment below and tell me what yours are!