WordPress is the best and easiest to use blogging or website platform out there on the market. And did I mention that it was free? What makes it so versatile is the ability to install plugins to add to its functionally. Today I am going to talk about 10 of my favorite WordPress plugins.
Plugins add so much functionally to a WordPress blog or website. There are so many things that become available to you on your website, or your blog. Using plugins we can create almost anything. The sky is truly the limit. If you can dream it up, then there is a plugin out there that will help you create it.
There are literally thousands of plugins out there. Most of them are free, but there are also some paid ones out there that are really good.
Here are my 10 favorite free plugins, but they are by no means in any particular order.
Formerly know as WordPress SEO by Yoast, Yoast SEO is not just any SEO (search engine optimization) plugin. It is a complete website optimization package.
Not only can you change the way your article titles and descriptions appear in a Google search, it also allows you to add open graph meta data, page analysis, and build and publish your xml sitemap.
Not to mention it helps you add key search words to all your articles. All of these things are important if you want to be found in a Google search.
2-WP Super Cache
Speed is very important to your site. If someone lands on your home page and it takes a long time to load, then they are going to move on to somewhere else.
WP Super Cache helps to optimize your site for speed and performance. It allows you to set up page and browser caching, compress pages for qucker downloads, and setup a content delivery network for your static files.
3-WP Google Fonts
The Google Fonts plugin in great as it allows you to pick the fonts you want to use on your site from the Google Fonts collection. And, these fonts will look the same on any device, desktop or mobile, or any browser.
This means you can pick a font, for say, the h1 through h3 tags and then pick another one for the h4 through h6, and then pick another one for the paragraph or body text font.
This is so much simpler than coding it within your CSS file and this make the fonts uniform accross your site. Which, I think, makes the overall appearance of site better.
4-Fast Secure Contact Form
Fast Secure Contact Form is a really good plugin as it allows you to setup and modifly and style almost any type of form for your website.
I used to use Contact Form 7, and I know a lot of people that do, but I just found that it was very limiting with what you could do with it. So, then I found this plugin and it can do very complex forms without any problems.
I used this plugin to build my Web Design Questionnaire that is on my Services page. I have also used it on other websites that I have developed that need more complex forms.
Comment Luv is a plugin that I just recently started using, but it has already became on of my favorites.
Once installed it awards someone that comments on your posts or pages, by allowing them to chose, from a list, of their last 10 most recent posts, to leave as a link on your site within the comments section.
You have full control over this as you decide whether they get to leave the link or not, but it is a great incentive for people to leave comments on your posts.
In turn, if you go to website that has Comment Luv installed as well, you have the ability to pick one of your 10 most recent posts to leave as a link on their site.
This is a great way to get some link juice from someone else site, but if you leave a comment, make sure it is a good one. Be sure that you have read their article so you can make a decent comment that not only reflects what you have read, but adds to the discussion. Not doing this could get your comment rejected as spam and not allowed on the site.
What is this? No worry, the first time I saw this I though it was something that flew through the air and buzzed. It stands for Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. Say what?? Yeah its better off with the initials.
Really all this plugin does is put a checkbox on your comment form that asks your users to confirm that they are not a spammer. The idea behind this is that when robots crawl you site to spam it, their not human, so they cannot check the box. And its a little bit easier on your visitors than putting a captcha box for them to fill in.
But I think this is neat that it puts this little check box there so that is why its one of my favorite plugins.
Akisment is a very good plugin to control spam on your site. And it is one of the plugins that is already included when you install WordPress, but it is not activated. I highly recommend that you activate it and use it on your site to control spam.
Spam is an issue on all WordPress blogs. Once you start using WordPress, and adding posts to blog, or adding pages, you will start to get spam. Akisment helps to control that.
There are a lot of ways to add social sharing to your site. Some better than others. I like using Floating Social Bar, as it is easy to set up and is very lite, which means it won’t slow your site down any. And it is not very intrusive on the design.
Yes you want people to notice your social sharing buttons, but you don’t want them be a distraction for people reading your post. I think this Floating Social Bar just a good just of just being there, viewable and accessible but not distracting from your post.
The plugin does what is says, it floats at the top of the page as your scroll down the post, it move down with your but stays at the top.
9-Genesis Simple Hooks
This plug in is amazing as to what it does. Now, I use a Genesis Theme on my site, which means I am using the Genesis Framework. Genesis Simple Hooks breaks apart your website into sections and enables you to add code to just about any part of site.
For example lets say I want to add a Google Adsense ad to my site, say, above the header, then I would just go to this area of my site, say, within this plugin, and add the code to display my ad.
Also, I may want to add something below the content of my blog post, like a banner, or product, then I would just go to this area in the plugin, and add the necessary code to display the banner.
Pretty Links is a plugin that allows you to change how your existing page or post hyperlinks look. It also will track the amount of times someone has clicked on your link. Which I think is great thing as it allows you to see the traffic on your links.
Suppose you had a page, like mine, that was titled,
Looks awful, right? Well you can use the pretty link plugin to create a new link called:
Doesn’t that look better? Its a whole lot shorter and easier to read and remember. People are more likely to click on this link than the previous one.
Pretty Link is also good if you do affiliate marketing. Often times the affiliate link is long and makes no sense. And also affiliate links can often change. Well by using the Pretty Links plugin not only can you turn them into something that makes more sense and shorten them as well, and then more people are apt to click on them. Heres an example below:
Changes to this:
This link is much nicer and also includes my website name, so it looks like you are going to another page on my site.
Your Favorite WordPress Plugins?
So there you have it. My 10 favorite WordPress plugins. What are your favorite WordPress plugins? I would like to hear about them in the comments.