Doesn’t matter if your WordPress project is a robust informative site or a simple personal blog, the platform has thousands of plug-ins that are not only useful to implement a more attractive site but fundamental to manage your project with essential features. Many plug-ins are a key to make sites in WordPress as functional and responsive as possible.
However, selecting the must-have plug-ins for a site is not a task that much simple if you are starting a new site, specially if you have no clue about a lot of things in the platform. Don’t worry, we are here for you! This post will guide you through these important lessons about the platform, things you must keep an eye on and how plug-ins will help you to manage these aspects of your site.
Accessibility for Your WebSite
One of the reasons why WordPress is quite renowned is the possibility to host and design truly lite and responsive sites, and these are essential features every site that wants to be popular and successful must incorporate to its design. On the other hand, while you are designing your site, WordPress will not pop up tips for you to follow this or that guideline but you can later access their directory of plug-ins to check out what the community has developed to boost the quality of the sites designed in the platform.
But what can work to help you out might actually be a burden if you don’t know how to get started. WordPress has thousands and thousands of free plug-ins available – not to mention the paid ones – so it can be overwhelming to find out what you really need to get started. Though these plug-ins are categorized, for sure some categories include quite accessory/complementary products, while others have plug-ins developed for core aspects of a site that are really important to do not be missed. As we guide you through our list, we will emphasize and talk about these core features while we will explain you why the recommended plug-in is the best choice.
Keeping your Site Safe: iThemes Security
Naturally, one of the first things we think about when developing a public medium like a web site is a way to ensure its security and integrity. With free platform like WordPress, you surely have to consider it and focus on providing a solid protection for your web site. Here comes the iThemes Security plug-in to help you with that matter and when we talk about help, this plug-in can do really a lot of very smart changes to keep your site bullet proof.
Is important however to note that, what makes WordPress sites vulnerable to be attacked is the inclusion of plug-ins that are as well faulty and vulnerable. iThemes Security will also work as an inspector checking anything you add to your site and warning you about weak spots. But the plug-in does much more than that for sure: the plug-in can changes the URLs paths to access the Admin areas, like the Dashboard and Log in sections, you can set a away period of time when no one will be able to log in, block intrusive users and attacks to your database, among many other features.
This plug-in has a paid Pro version where you will be able to enable some extra features like a 2 step log in – a code is sent to your phone so the log in is only possible when that code is entered – performs a malware scanning and, above all, grants you technical support. This last feature is really important because whenever something happens to your site, you have a customer support to rely on. The iThemes has over 600.000 downloads and is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars by over 3 thousand users.
Keeping it Clean: Akismet
There is no worst thing than developing your site for several months to be flooded by spammers after the release. Spammers are everywhere and they can target any site. While your site grows popular, the presence of spammers is something that will make a smile on your face shrink. The Akismet is the most renowned plug-in for that task, filtering every comment that is posted, able to identify what is spam content or not.
This plug-in is free for personal blogs but requires the purchase of an API key if you are running a commercial / business site. Note that most plug-ins that perform this task for this kind of sites require some investment as you will not find easily free plug-ins that are really effective blocking spam. Akismet is often updated so you can be sure it will be doing its job appropriately.
Keeping it Fast: W3 Total Cache
Users will not wait for too long to browse your new site if you are providing slow content to load. The W3 is a sensation among the plug-ins in WordPress and no wonder it is used by almost 1 million users. This plug-in makes your site think smart when it comes to caching and loading content. While users are browsing one page, the cache is already loading the subsequent page.
Many settings can be applied to speed up this kind of loading experience. When the plug-in is working in full, the performance of the site is increased up to 10%.
Keeping it Profitable: WordPress SEO by Yoast
Yoast does a lot of nice plug-ins and we already talked about their Google Analytics convenient plug-in previously [link for the related article]– and you should check that post to install it because it is likewise an essential plug-in to work in a combo with this SEO plug-in.
Yoast enables a preview of your page on search results, tips to improve the quality of therms, titles, keywords among many other improvements. What is really cool about this plug-in is, this is a robust instructor, it won’t let you miss any element and will school you about others. There is also a paid version where you can get technical support whenever you need.
Keeping it Popular: ShareButtons by Add-to-Any
No successful site is unpopular, and that’s why you can’t forget at all about the sharing aspect of your site. Is important to bring people to your site, but is also important its content is shared by the people that visit your web site. There are several plug-ins out there that enable buttons and links to embed and share WordPress posts into social webs, but none does it as good as the Sharing Buttons of Add-to-Any.
The plug-in supports several social webs, from Facebook to Reddit, LinkedIn and 100 others more. You can decide which social webs you want to enable the sharing applying buttons customized to these services, as well as you can decide the display of the buttons and custom placement. And there is much more options. This plug-in is free and used by over 200.000 people.
Tips to Increase your Plug-ins’ Web
While you grow more confident and experienced with the WordPress platform, you will want to try new plug-ins and try to improve even more your site. Just bear in mind that, each plug-in is like an app, and while you can add many plug-ins to help you manage your site, you have to go easy when it comes to implement features for users.
Excessive plug-ins will make it slower, as well as soon or later there will be conflicts between one and other. When you are selecting a plug-in also pay attention to how popular it is, how many versions have been already released and likewise, many plug-ins are positively reviewed, but there is a huge difference between some 100 votes and some 10 thousands. Just try to stick to the most reliable products, allow yourself to test a lot new plug-ins before you finally let them work permanently in your site.