On many occasions we are asked by both customers and keen WordPress users… What are the top plugins to use to make sure you get the most out of WordPress? Not just from a technical stand point but to help grow your business in terms of internet marketing. So we’ve done the hard work for you and these are the top 21 plugins we recommend and use day in day out.
Wordfence is the Leading Cyber Security solution for WordPress. It provides a Complete Anti-Virus and Firewall Package for your WordPress Website including Two Factor Authentication, a Firewall incorporating Machine Learning and Tools to help recover from a Hack. Wordfence is available for FREEhowever there is a pro version for $39/£23.80 if you want more features. Below are some features that Wordfence offers.
- Prevents your website from being hacked
- Blocks potential threats.
- Helps your website to recover if it has been hacked already.
- Filters live traffic.
- Collects data in real time, it then uses this data to block attacks from the thousands of websites it protects, with this data Wordfence is able to become smarter and more aware of future attacks.
Without Wordfence your website has more of a chance to get hacked. A hacked site can result in your websites search engine ranking decreasing for weeks or more without you knowing. A hacked website can also result in a loss in sales if a visitor sees your website is hacked.
BPS pro is a commercial security plugin that’s packed with a raft of features to harden and secure up your WordPress website. There is however a free version of this plugin but we recommend the commercial plugin. Like many other business owners out there you value the security of your website so you wouldn’t want it to get taken down by a hacker. There is a free version but the pro version has much more features.
WP Author slug allows you to edit the URL if it contains the username for your website. This makes it harder for a hacker to get into your website. Hackers hack your website by finding out the username and password for the admin section of the website so they can access all of the website files. If your author name is in the URL this makes their attempts to hack you easier as you have already showcased the username. This plugin is free to download.
G.A.S.P is an anti spambot plug in that replaces a security image at the bottom of a comments field to a tick box which helps you to reduce the amount spam comments onto your site. The plug in is able to determine whether the checkbox has been checked before the comment is submitted so there’s no chance that a comment will be lost if it’s being submitted by legitimate human user. However, this is not 100% guaranteed as you will still get manual spammers on your site who are able to tick these checkboxes. This plugin is free to download.
Yoast WordPress SEO
SEO by Yoast is a free WordPress plugin that’s helps you to write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. It does this by making you choose a keyword to focus on, you then try and use this focus word everywhere. SEO by Yoast helps you by giving you a preview of how your link would appear on a google search page, this gives you the chance to then edit your SEO to make sure the visible text is enough to attract the visitor to your site. This plugin is free to download.
Ninja popup is a WordPress plugin that pops open a window onto the webpage that could be inviting the visitor to sign up to your newsletter or offering a discount or coupon code. These pop ups are designed to help visitors of your website to take action, this therefore can lead to higher conversion rates on your website. This plugin is not free but worth the small investment.
Digg Digg is a free plug in that allows visitors to share your blog on social media sites such as twitter, facebook, linked in and google +. Digg Digg has nearly every social media button out there that you can think of, here is the list of all the social media sites Digg Digg supports. Twitter, Buffer, Facebook Share, Facebook Like, Digg, LinkedIn, Google +1, Reddit, dZone, TweetMeme, Topsy, Yahoo Buzz, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, Sphinn, Designbump, WebBlend, BlogEngage, Serpd, Pinterest, Pocket and Tumblr. This plugin is free to download.
Commentluv is a plugin for your blog that helps to increase comments and decrease spam. Commentluv lets someone who comments on your blog to leave a link to their last blog title or a website link, this helps to reward people who read your blog and then comment on it. This doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get spam as a lot of manual spammers will do this to try and post their link, commentluv then allows you to decide whether you want to publish that comment or not. A benefit of using commentluv is that it will help you to discover new and interesting sites to read as it will link to your commenter’s blog, this helps the blogging community as you will be helping to share each other’s blogs.
Tweet Old Post
Tweet old post is a plugin that is designed to tweet your older posts to generate more traffic. The plug in helps you to do this by tweeting about your old posts to drive more traffic from twitter. It also uses hashtags to focus on the topics of your posts. By tweeting your old post it helps to promote your content and includes links that link back to your website, helping you to leverage your valuable content. This plugin is free to download.
Testing / Measuring & Performance
Your customers go everywhere; shouldn’t your analytics? Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales. For example, if your site had an enquiry form Google analytics would be able to give you statistics that show how many of the visitors on your site then took action to fill in the form. Google Analytics lets you make a visual assessment of how visitors interact with your pages, this helps you to find what they’re looking for and what they like, this then allows you to tailor all your marketing activities.
W3 Total Cache
W3 total cache is a plugin that helps to improve user experience and page speed. W3 total cache improves user experience of your site my increasing the performance of the server, it also reduces the time it takes for the website to download onto the visitor’s computer. When the site is downloaded it is saved in the cache folder of your web browser. This then takes a snapshot of the website you are visiting so that the next time you visit it, it will load 10x faster as the website is already saved into your cache. This plugin is free to download.
Woo Commerce is a plugin that allows your WordPress website to have ecommerce features without having to redirect to a store website, or to have an ecommerce website set up for an additional investment. Woo commerce is a great plugin to use whether you are selling thousands of products or the occasional few, woo commerce comes with several popular payment options such as PayPal and sage pay, which is a great platform to start selling online. This plugin is free to download.
Design & Presentation
Layer Slider is a slider for creating image galleries, content sliders, and mind-blowing slideshows. You can add any content, including images, text, custom HTML, YouTube and Vimeo videos. The layer slider allows you to use a variety of multimedia to catch the eye of the visitors to your website. The layer slider is the best place to advertise a service you may be offering.
Next Gen Gallery
Next Gen Gallery is the most popular gallery plugin on WordPress. This plugin allows you to upload and manage galleries of images. Next Gen Gallery allows you to sort images into separate albums so you have multiple galleries on different pages on your website. The plugin allows you to edit galleries, Add or exclude images, change gallery title and description, reorder of images and resize thumbnails. This plugin is free to download.
Do you want to showcase your service prices in a professional layout? Price table is a great plug in that allows you to create price tables that look visually appealing and professional. Price tables come in 20 different colour options, with unlimited rows and columns to add as many services as you want. This plug in also has a very user friendly set up which means you can have your table set up in less than 10 minutes ! If you wanted to use the same price table on more than 1 page all you will need to do is copy the short code generated from the plug in and paste it onto the pages you want.
Contact Form 7
Contact form 7 is a WordPress plugin that allows you to have a contact form implemented onto your website or blog. This form can be used to collect enquires from possible customers or to send the website a message. Contact form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, it allows you to customise the form and mail contents so you can have a form that is more specific to your website or blog.
Advantages of the contact form 7:
- Complete customizability for whatever your needs are
- Simple “behind the scenes” interface and options for quick tweaking
- Useful help documents to answer your questions
- Incoming emails that are easy to read
This plugin is free to download.
Duplicate Post is a plug in that allows you to clone a post or page, or edit it as a new draft. This plug in will save you hours of work as you won’t need to sit there and create new page after new page. Duplicate Post becomes more effective when you are creating landing pages for SEO as it copies over all the SEO content, this therefore only needs minor changes when picking the keywords. This plugin is free to download.
Ever wanted a google map on your contact page? Map Press is a free plugin on Word Press that allows you to add google maps and directions to your WordPress website. Map Press is a free download from WordPress however it does have a pro version that gives you more features than the free version. We recommend using map press lite as this has the main features that you will need to start with. This plugin is free to download.
Cookie Control EU
What are cookies? Cookies might record how long you spend on each page on a site, what links you click, even your preferences for page layouts and colour schemes. They can also be used to store data on what is in your ‘shopping cart’, adding items as you click. This plugin is free to download.
With the uber menu this extends the functionality of the basic WordPress menu manager giving you some great menu exploding options which will take your menu to another level visually. It is also packed with features that make it mobile ready.
Uber Menu Possibilities:
- Adding a google map widget
- Implementing a contact form
- Adding images into the menu bar
Tiny MCE Editor Advanced
If you need more editing options than the standard WordPress WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor this is the plugin for you so you can change font sizes and colours until your heart’s content.
Some of the features added by this plugin:
- Support for creating and editing tables.
- More options when inserting lists.
- Search and Replace in the editor.
- Ability to set Font Family and Font Size.
It’s up to you now…
Now we have given you an insight into how these plugins can help to secure and improve your website you need to think about which plugins would benefit your website in particular. If you have any questions or need any additional information on these plugins please comment below and we will be happy to help you.
Thanks for reading,
Word of warning:
Before you install any of these plugins you should always make a backup of your WordPress website and database in case of an error and you should always first test new plugins and upgrades on a development copy of your website. We never advise installation on a live production website therefore we accept no responsibility if your website encounters any errors from these recommended plugins.