The Top WordPress Plugins Your Blog Needs
A WordPress website has four main pillars – WordPress itself, a theme, WordPress plugins, and your content. Without one of these pillars, your site will not be effective.
The core WordPress code allows you to build a website in the first place while your theme determines how it will look. The WordPress plugins that you install make your website work the way you want it to.
There are thousands to choose from and there are several that almost every website can benefit from. There are premium options, but many are free.
But Wait, What Is A Plugin?
Before highlighting some WordPress plugins, let’s explore what a plugin is and how it works. The concept is similar to a restaurant that runs a buffet.
When you’re at a buffet you only put food on your plate that you like and that you are going to eat. It would not work if you had to put a little bit of everything on your plate. Doing so would require a pretty big plate and most of it would remain uneaten.
The same goes for WordPress. The developers of the core product could start adding every type of functionality that you can imagine, but the result would be a massive program that would run slowly. And you would barely use it.
Instead choose the features that you want to have on your website. And install them in the form of a plugin.
Here are a few that just about every website could benefit from:
The Spam Buster
Askismet catches spam so that you don’t have to. Once it’s set up, any comments that are posted by users on your website run through the Askismet system to check them for spam. It is incredibly accurate and it’s a must for every website.
WordPress does SEO better than most website building tools. But it does it even better with an SEO plugin. The most popular is WordPress SEO by Yoast. It adds a tab to your Dashboard with useful tools and it gives you SEO help and options when you are creating posts and pages. All In One SEO Pack does something similar. Best of all, these plugins are free.
Nobody likes slow loading websites, and that includes your customers and the search engines. As a result you should do everything you can to make your website load as fast as possible. A tool that can help is W3 Total Cache. It improves the performance of your server and reduces download times. Another option is WP Super Cache. It speeds up your website by displaying static HTML pages to most of your users.
Social media should be a part of every website’s marketing strategy. This means social media should be integrated into your design. The most important part of that integration is giving your users the opportunity to quickly and easily share your content. Jetpack is one of the most popular tools for this although it is not just a social sharing plugin. It also includes email subscriptions, contact forms, and much more. An alternative and simpler option is Share Buttons by AddToAny.
Most websites have a contact form so that users can get in touch. One of the most popular contact form plugins is Contact Form 7. It is brilliant because of its simplicity. It does exactly what it should and not much more, but it does it exceptionally well. As a result it is one of the most downloaded plugins for WordPress that has ever been made – it has been downloaded about 16 million times.
The plugins mentioned above are suitable to every website. But the world of plugins does not end there. Many other WordPress plugins are available for common website tasks including:
- Post ratings and reviews
- Notification bars
- Advanced menus
- Related posts
- And much more
Similar to what you decide to select from the buffet, carefully choose the plugins that you want on your website. The analogy goes further than this in that any good buffet not only offers you choice, but also offers you the type of food that you want to eat.
The same applies to WordPress plugins. For the vast majority of tasks or features, look for a plugin to satiate your website hunger.