Regardless of how big a given brand is, chances are A) the company has a blog and B) they use WordPress, what with one-fourth of all websites now using the WordPress platform.
WordPress software allows users to create a free website on a platform that can be created without the use of any programming. What makes this possible is the 40,000 available plugins that can be downloaded from the WordPress Plugin Directory, allowing users to enhance their WordPress sites with added features and functions.
These plugins are designed to eliminate the need for a professional programmer, as well as reduce the costs of building your own website from scratch.
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It’s an excellent solution, however the trade off is the more plugins that get added to a site, the slower the website becomes. And since there is nothing more unprofessional than a website that won’t load half its content, you’ve got to be careful and choose wisely when selecting plugins for your site.
Now that all of your heads are probably spinning thinking about 40,000 plugin options, here are the top 10 essential plugins needed for WordPress success.
1. Yoast SEO
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First and foremost, your site is not going to get adequate attention without search engine optimization tools, and Yoast SEO is the easiest, most complete plugin for this feature. This plugin streamlines your tags across all data analytic platforms (i.e Google Analytics, Facebook and Twitter Analytics, etc.), as well as make sure keywords are aligned and in the correct places.
If you’re new to all of this and don’t understand what I just said, basically Yoast SEO increases the likelihood that your site gets traffic from the people you want associated with your brand.
2. WP – Backup
You want to be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that all of your website content is backed up and safely protected from getting lost in the black hole that is the Internet. The best part about this plugin is it allows you to set your site up to get routine backups, so you don’t always have to remember to do it on your own. WP-Backup plugin has an advantage over other ones that have almost identical features because it’s free, and one of the easiest to set up.
3. Editorial Calendar
The Editorial Calendar plugin allows users to better organize and schedule all published content for their site. The enhanced functionality of this plugin, not to mention the aesthetically pleasing layout, makes for a more efficient content management system.
WordPress databases can get bogged down from everything from plugin data to spam comments and more. WP-Optimize is a plugin that acts as a cleanup tool for your site, working to keep your site’s performance up to standards.
5. WP-Google Analytics Dashboard
Assuming that every website has a Google Analytics account, because what’s the point of having a site if you can’t track it’s progress and readership? This plugin integrates smoothly with your Google Analytics account, displaying your most relevant analytics, including site visitors and click rates. This plugin also displays a panel that allows you to monitor and compare stats over a period of time.
For blogs that allow comments on posts, there is a need for a plugin that prevents and filters out spam, keeping conversations and comment logs clean. This plugin is easy to configure and has monthly plan pricing options that are flexible and affordable, however does require an API key and automatic account registration.
This plugin is necessary for increasing your site traffic through social media channel integration. ShareThis allows you to add share buttons for all relevant social media accounts on to posts, and other locations on your site. This allows visitors to easily share your content on to their own social media accounts, increasing visibility for your site by reaching an even larger audience.
Captain Form is one of the best plugins for creating forms for WordPress sites. This plugin is necessary for publishing web forms such as contact, event registration, donation forms, purchase/order forms, and more. It’s one of the most up to date, user-friendly form plugin options.
9. WP Super Cache
This plugin is your best caching option for WordPress sites. It’s a complete content management system that’s designed to handle heavy traffic to your site without slowing down the site’s production.
WP-Touch is the plugin that gives you the option to choose from a selection of mobile-friendly themes to improve the user experience for visitors accessing your site via mobile devices. Responsive design is crucial for a positive user experience.
Remember to be conscious of the fact that although these plugins are necessary and complement one another, they require minor maintenance and updating on a semi-regular basis. Be careful not to overload your site with too many plugins and always check in to WordPress forum discussions, you more than likely will encounter fellow bloggers with the same concerns, ideas, and inquiries.
@steveolenski is a writer who drinks too much coffee and knows a thing or two about marketing.
By Steve Olenski