We love WordPress.
This is why I’ve picked my 18 favorite WordPress plugins and segmented them into three groups. In my opinion, they are incredibly valuable to every person out there who wants to build their own website.
Website Functionality Plugins
Without proper SEO you just won’t cut it. Yoast SEO takes care of all your search engine worries and is an indispensable SEO assistant. You can customize your permalinks, meta descriptions, target specific keywords, write alt tags for your images…Yoast SEO will give you a thorough report on any little detail of your SEO experience and advise you on the best SEO practices so you can rank better.
Broken links are simply awful – they impact both your readers and your backlinks (and from there – your SEO). Broken Link Checker is a simple plugin that monitors your blog, searches for broken links or missing images, and reports them to you. The parsing of your posts, bookmarks and other content will take only a few minutes. Afterwards you’re ready to repair what was lost.
“Rich snippets – what’s that?”, you might ask. Basically, a “rich snippet” is the short summary of your page in all search engines’ results or on social media networks. This plugin is absolutely fantastic, as it sums up your website in a chunk of catchy and concise information. Your benefit here? Higher ranking in search results and a more “tasty” appearance to prospective visitors.
Every expert will tell you that website speed matters, and it matters a lot. When was the last time you waited more than a minute for a website to load? P3 is a nifty plugin that optimizes your plugins’ performance so that they don’t slow your website. In other words, P3 makes your website faster, so it would attract visitors easier – instead of irritating them through clumsy loading times.
XML sitemaps are invaluable if you want to get properly indexed by the various search engines. Google XML Sitemaps is a WordPress plugin that gives search engine crawlers a better understanding of your website’s structure. Thus, they are able to index it properly, which in turn leads to you ranking way better on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. As a bonus, the plugin notifies search engines every time you’ve created some fresh content.
Ads are a great way to bring some revenue, but sometimes setting them up on your WordPress website can be absolute insanity. AdSanity aims to relieve all that stress, featuring a light ad rotator plugin. You can easily create (and later on manage) your ads and keep statistics on the number of views and clicks visitors have performed on them. The plugin is split in two – one widget for single ads, and another for showing whole ad groups.
Surely you have had your own failed login attempt moments. Login Lockdown is a WordPress plugin that records the IP address and timestamp of every single failed login attempt. If too many attempts have been identified coming from the same IP, the option to login gets disabled for all requests of this IP’s range. You can customize the lockout timeframe and other settings.
If you have struggled with customizing headers and footers before, you know how irritating (and time-consuming) that can be. The Header and Footer plugin takes a lot of weight off your shoulders, as it allows you to manage the code of your sections. Adding pieces of code on the top and bottom of your pages or posts is now easy to execute and adds a light customization process to your daily WordPress chores. Additionally, the plugin has some SEO built-in and differentiates between mobile and desktop.
Spam has been a plague since the earlier stages of the web – but the situation has gotten pretty vicious in recent years. Most of the spam comes in the form of “user” comments, and here’s where Akismet comes into play. This WordPress plugin checks any comments left on your website and analyzes whether they’re spam or not. You have control over unwanted messages, filtering them with ease so your website is kept clean.
I’m sure you’ve heard of WooCommerce, but this plugin is so important that I can’t skip it. Not only is it free, but maintaining a WordPress-based online shop becomes a delightful task with it. Payment gateway setup, shipping options, a tracking system, easy third-party extensions and many, many others – WooCommerce is a tremendous eCommerce plugin that will shoot your online shop to the skies. It also spares you a lot of time with its lean functionality.
Social Media & Visitor Interaction Plugins
You won’t see serious websites forget about social media sharing. There’s a high chance you need some social buttons too, and Floating Social Bar is a very clever take on that. The plugin focuses on light-weight functionality (so it doesn’t impact your website’s speed) and a “floating” appeal to catch your visitors’ eyes for sharing. Ready to link you up to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+.
How would your visitors and customers reach out to you if you have no contact forms on your website? Contact Form 7 not only provides you with a way to create some – it also gives you full reins when it comes to customizing and managing your contact forms. CAPTCHA forms, Akismet spam filters, playing around with form templates and many other features…it’s the best contact form plugin for WordPress users.
This is a monster of a plugin indeed. OptinMonster features a simple, easy to use form builder so you can create your own opt-in forms. Through popups, floating header or footers bars, sidebar forms or whatever your preference is, this plugin helps you increase your conversion rate. A very light and customizable take on building your customer base!
The purpose of this plugin is pretty clear – it’s a social plugin that displays a Facebook like box. Paired up with a social buttons plugin, this will boost your social media exposure. The plugin is of great help if you already have a Facebook page setup – as visitors will become your fans with just a click, instead of having to open up a new tab and search for your Facebook page. Simple, yet efficient, just the way WordPress plugins should be.
Content Creation & Management Plugins
Media representatives and bloggers rejoice! Edit Flow is the plugin you’ve searched so long for – a modular plugin that makes managing an editorial team seem like a total breeze. You can use it to improve your overall workflow through content calendars, editorial comment sections, notifications, an option to monitor your content budget…Highly customizable and ready to boost your overall team efficiency.
Content Views is a quirky plugin that provides you with an intuitive form to query your posts. It also allows you to display these posts in an aesthetically responsive way through various layouts (sliders, scrollable lists, grids and more). You can setup your posts’ display by categories, tags, authors, keywords, customize your thumbnails’ size…Truly a genius helping hand for websites producing a lot of content, and striving to catch their audience’s attention.
It’s time for some editorial plugins once again – this time, in the domain of social media. CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that lets you schedule your blogs and social media on a smooth drag & drop calendar. Once your blog post is live, you can fire a string of social media messages that will engage your audience. If you decide to drag a blog post from one date to another on the calendar, these social media messages will move with it too. Talk about smart scheduling (and rescheduling)!
Not much to say about this plugin, but this doesn’t mean its impact on your website is small. Author Bio Box does its job well enough and is especially targeted at blogs and online media. Your authors can now be displayed with a clever box containing the writer’s biography and relevant social media profiles. This allows readers to connect with your authors better and adds functionality below your published content.
I’d like to think that the plugins listed here can empower any website out there – no matter if it’s a blog, an online shop, or a media starting out with a small editorial team. These 18 WordPress plugins are representative of what true variety means – and why we like this platform so much.
Do you use any of these plugins? What are your thoughts on them – did they manage to help you out? Or better yet: do you have another plugin of their caliber that has proven helpful to you? You’re very much welcome to share it with me and the other readers!