New WordPress users often underestimate the importance of WordPress plugins and add-ons for their website. Plugins are extremely useful, and can take your website from mediocre and not really successful to widely successful and very engaging.
However, you need to choose the right WordPress plugins if you want to do this. Some plugins are great, others aren’t so good. Some plugins will work with your website, others probably won’t. Below are our top five tips for choosing WordPress plugins for your website:
Pay attention to user reviews:
Although this is probably pretty self-explanatory, it is one of the most important things when it comes to choosing a plugin. If you are tossing up between two or three different ones which do similar things, it is usually a good idea to choose the highest rated one.
However, make sure that you read the written reviews as well, as you can’t always get enough information from just looking at the number of stars a plugin has. Some people might give a poor review for strange reasons. This can cause a low number of stars, even if the plugin doesn’t deserve it – especially if there aren’t a whole lot of reviews.
There are many form management plugins, but Gravity Forms stands out from them all. It allows you to create forms and insert them in your posts, pages or on the side bars. In addition, it allows you to create a wide variety of forms using text boxes, drop down menus, and upload buttons among others depending on your website’s needs. The Gravity Forms WordPress plugin has a drag and drop interface, it is very easy to use and stores all your entries on WordPress as well as emailing results, and you can choose to delete or keep as you wish. Many SEO Companies are recommending Gravity as the superior form to use on WordPress. Read more here
The WP Maintenance Mode plugin allows you to add a maintenance page to your blog or website, which lets your web visitors know that the site is down for maintenance. You can also add a coming soon page when the website is under development, but with admin rights you have full access to the blog including the front end. When you activate the plugin, only registered users with enough admin rights can view the front end. In addition, you can also include a countdown timer on WordPress WP Maintenance Mode letting visitors know when it will be up and running again.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular free plugins that allows you to sell anything, effortlessly. The plugin is built to integrate with WordPress seamlessly, offers endless flexibility, access to hundreds of premium and free WooCommerce extensions essentially extending its functionality. The WordPress plugin allows you to sell both physical and digital products, in all shapes and sizes, offer multiple product configurations, instant digital downloads or even affiliate products from online marketplaces and ship wherever you like around the world. You can also use WooCommerce on non-ecommerce websites such as holiday websites for Bali villas where you wish to display items or properties and manage it through the WordPress backend.
The plugin helps generate static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress website. After the file is generated, the webserver then serves that file rather than processing the comparatively more expensive and heavier PHP scripts as is common with WordPress. The WP Super Cache plugin will serve at least 99% of your web visitors the static cached files, and in addition it will do ‘garbage collection’ which essentially is the act of cleaning up out of date, stale cached files that have no more value after their expiry date.
Google Analyticator is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy to view your google analytics within the dashboard, eliminating the need to edit the template code in order to start logging. The plugin has a number of widgets that enable data display on the admin panel as well as your WordPress blog. The other Google Analyticator features include a widget that you can use to display visitor stats on the front end, event tracking, instant installation, language localisation, out-bound link tracking among others.
The Sucuri WordPress security plugin helps enhance your WordPress website security. It comes with some key security features that include security activity audit, remote malware scanning, file integrity monitoring, post hack security actions among others. With Sucuri, any change occurring on a website can be a security threat, and for that reason it is recorded, and this helps the website administrator to keep an eye on the various activities occurring within the site’s environment; things like who logged in from what IP address, what changes they made among etc are monitored by Sucuri WordPress security plugin .
This plugins was specially designed and created to help display videos from YouTube and Vimeo in unusually splendid ways. You can choose any of the 5 good looking views that suit your website’s style and theme. One of the popular views allows you to show videos with its description or relevant information in an elegant pop up, or a slide, and the second popular view presents videos in a lightbox. In addition, you can make all kinds of updates to the videos, add more videos to your Video Gallery and include HTML enabled descriptions.
The Visual Composer WordPress plugin is an easy to use, drag and drop page builder that helps save time when designing pages and posts. It allows you to take full control of your WordPress website, enables you design and create any page layout that you can possibly imagine with nil programming skills. In addition, it also allows you to either move the page building process from the visual composer to the front end and you can instantly view changes made before you publish. You can choose from over 40 predefined elements divided into logic groups, add rows and columns with a single click or even extend its functionality with some creativity using the Visual Composer developer API elements.
A sitemap is one of the most important elements that you can install on your website to make it more search engine friendly. As a webmaster, you need a sitemap to help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask index your websites pages for better results. The plugin is easy to install and activate, and you don’t even have to change anything, but if you like you can change the settings. Actually, it is very hard to manually index any page or post, which makes this plugin beneficial for SEO. You can also set the time that you would like search engines to crawl your websites posts, author pages, static page, archives and tags, and you can even exclude the pages or posts you don’t want indexed using the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
WordPress is technically ready for SEO, but this does not mean that you can’t improve it a little more. The Yoast SEO plugin, formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast is a plugin created from the ground up and carefully designed to improve your websites’ SEO prospects. Some of its key benefits include forcing you to choose a post or page keyword, which consequently enhances your SEO prospects. In addition, it uses a snippet preview mode allowing you to preview the rendering of a page or post and you get to see what it will look like on the search engine results pages, and it also helps you check the simple things that you are likely to forget such as meta description, focus keyword, subheadings among others. When used correctly, the Yoast Seo plugin will ensure you post the kind of content search engines love.