One major advantage of using WordPress as your Content Management System, is the huge number of plugins you can use to enhance your website. The WordPress Plugin Directory currently gives you access to around 30,000 different plugins that provide a multitude of advantages to web developers.
We have put together a list of the 5 most important plugins to have set up on your site, to ensure you are getting the best out of WordPress. Better yet, all of the plugins I will be discussing today are completely free to use!
Better WP Security
With a Content Management System as popular as WordPress, it is inevitable that someone has tried to come up with ways to access it without authorisation. Luckily, there are a multitude of security plugins you can get which protect your website. The best of these has to be Better WP Security. The creator, Chris Wiegman, describes it as taking the best WordPress security features and combining them into one plugin, to ensure as many security holes as possible are patched. It allows you to control IP bans, the number of login attempts a user can have, to change the URLS of your admin and login pages and hundreds of more features.
All in One SEO Pack
What good is having a website if nobody can see it? Luckily, SEO plugins appear to be the most popular type available in WordPress. All in One SEO Pack allows you to optimise both your overall site and individual posts to ensure you are getting the most visibilty to search engines. The plugin will automatically submit your site to Google and Bing, create you an optimised XML Sitemap and gives you options to choose how your page titles, descriptions and keywords are automatically generated for each new post you create. On top of these options, it also automatically updates the settings that Social Media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus can access to make sure they are pulling the most relevant information when a user shares your page.
WP Super Cache
When your website begins to get popular, you will realise you have to spend a lot of time ensuring your servers can take the strain. A great way to help with this, is allowing caching for your pages. WP Super Cache generates compressed pages for your viewers, which has two benefits; reduced load on your server and a faster page loading speed for your users. The plugin itself is extremely simple to use, and includes a feature which automatically deletes the temporary compressed page file after a certain amount of time, so it doesn’t take up any additional web space.
Simplified Social Sharing
Social Media is likely to be one of the biggest drivers of traffic your site will receive, whether it is through users sharing your content through Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, or even viewing your videos on YouTube, you are likely going to want to utilise this tool to drive viewers (and potential sales) to your site. Simplified Social Sharing allows you to insert a “share now” section above or below your posts, so users have easy access to options to share your content. Using it’s easy to understand admin interface, you can change the style and size of the icons used, and which services are displayed.
Akismet Comment Spam Protection
The downside of any site which allows comment – people will try and spam. Akismet now comes bundled already installed within WordPress when you get started, so there is no need to download this one. Akismet will automatically detect and filter out spam comments for you, so it is one less thing you have to worry about when maintaining your website. It then gives you a breakdown of which comments were caught and which were allowed through, so you can make sure it is working correctly. This is one of those un-romantic plugins that I feel it is unfortunate that everyone should have. That is the internet!
I don’t need to tell you guys there are thousands of other awesome plugins out there for you to use. Come back soon for more articles on different plugins you can use to enhance your WordPress website.