WordPress plugins are useful applications for extending the features of your site or blog. My experience with WordPress began seven years ago. These six plugins factor into my opinion of why WordPress is the best free content management system (CMS).
To access the full functionality of these plugins, you may need to pay a small annual subscription or once off payment. With regular updates, the small investment is worth it. Plus, you’re giving back to the techies that make it possible.
Six essential WordPress plugins
Nobody likes spam. Over the years, Akismet has stopped thousands of time-wasting messages from misusing hosting resources. Once you setup the plugin, it does its thing in the background. Features include:
- Automatic detection of comments and trackback spam.
- One API key for unlimited websites.
- Flexible subscription packages. You nominate how much you want to pay.
There’s also the option for larger websites to buy a fully supported package.
Jetpack provides self hosted WordPress sites with features previously only available to WordPress.com users. These features include:
- Simple visitor statistics monitored daily.
- A subscribe email widget.
- Contact forms.
- Social network enabled comment system.
- Integration of automatic posting to social media websites.
- Widget visibility for different pages.
- Security and backup modules.
Jetpack adds new features regularly. I haven’t tried the paid subscription components. But you can turn off the features you don’t want to use including the free one’s in Jetpack’s settings.
3. BulletProof Security Pro (BPS Pro)
BPS Pro by AIT Security detects unknown files and backs-up your site. It also scans for hacking code and stops incursions. It helped me prevent persistent security breaches.
Try the free version BPS Free first to see if its suitable for your self-hosted website.
Other features include:
- Easy setup wizard.
- .htaccess security.
- Quarantines unknown files.
- Auto restores files from backup.
- Login security and monitoring.
- Security, PHP error and HTTP error logging.
- Email alerts.
4. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO focuses the writer on providing SEO content. Use Yoast to find a balance between SEO and great content. Yoast SEO:
- Provides an analysis of your keyword.
- Produces XML sitemaps.
- Includes a readability an analysis.
If you want more SEO support, you can upgrade to Yoast Premium. They also have a fantastic blog filled with amazing SEO tips.
5. Shortcodes Ultimate
I’ve come across Shortcodes Ultimate in recent years. It offers a library of shortcodes to improve user interaction. Like the other plugins a paid version offers even more, and it’s not that expensive. Shortcode Ultimate:
- Saves you coding time.
- Generates over 40 useful shortcodes including:
- Spoiler alerts.
It also has an easy to use shortcode generator allowing useful customization and unlimited button sizes and icon styles. It improved visuals and user interaction for an online pick-your-path storytelling project.
6. Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
If you’re seeking business insights into your website, nut you’re not sure how to add Google Analytics’ code to your website then this plugin solves the problem. It also saves you from messing around with code. It features:
- Simple installation and integration.
- Outbound link and downloads tracking.
- Provides support for custom variables.
WordPress plugin installation is easy
You have to love the programmers who create these plugins. If they think code is poetry, that’s fine with me.
Installing a plugin in WordPress is easy. In the administration backend you have two options. You can:
- Search and install the latest plugin version from WordPress.org.
- Upload the local copy of your zipped plugin file.
The first option is always the easiest, but sometimes you may need to roll your plugin back to a earlier version, if you discover bugs or conflicts with other plugins.
I use these six WordPress plugins across all my blogs and websites. But there are many other plugins that encourage user interaction with articles, help with website promotion add improve performance.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, I highly recommend browsing the WordPress plugins to see which ones can benefit you.