The task of building your own website can be daunting. Most people will turn to services like Squarespace and Wix however, often are disappointed at their lack of flexibility. Not only does WordPress.com make it just as fast to create a website, but offers the endless possibilities of extending the functionality of your website through WordPress plugins.
But what exactly is a plugin? Think of them as apps for websites. They can be free or paid. They are separate software products you download onto your website to extend or enable new functionality. Think of it like this. When you buy your smartphone, it has certain apps built-in but, you will always download additional apps to cater to your unique preferences. Some downloads replace default apps, while others will enhance your personal habits. WordPress plugins are much the same. Want your website to accept payment? Install the WooCommerce plugin. Want to enjoy really customisable contact forms? Look no further than Gravity Forms.
Plugins are one of the top reasons why WordPress powers some 34% of the Internet. Some website functionality that can be improved by plugins includes:
- Faster page loading
- Stricter anti-spamming
- Automated back-up
- Easier social networking
For example, you can install a plugin to embed gifs, YouTube videos, or social media updates. These features are sometimes integrated into your web design, but if they’re not, WordPress plugins like Smush (image optimisation) or Contact Form 7 + Flamingo (easy contact form creation + storage) can resolve the issue.
Here are some must-have plugins for WordPress:
We spend a lot of time trying to figure out algorithms and raise our search rankings. Statistics confirm 51.8% of that traffic is from bots, including automated spam comments. Akismet is among popular WordPress plugins that block spammers before you even see them.
That way, you won’t waste resources responding to trolls, and they won’t clog your pricey bandwidth. Distinguishing spam from genuine site visitors is crucial; traffic volumes will influence your monetisation strategy. Also, some spammers use backlinks to hack you, which is a website owner’s worst nightmare.
As we all now know, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the key to raising your page rank in search engines. You need to make sure you’re engaging in ethical, white-hat SEO practices. Some so-called experts use black-hat tactics that could get your website penalised by Google. Instead, Yoast offers a WordPress plugin that can effectively be deployed as part of your content strategy.
Yoast helps you to optimise your content, test for readability, relevance, duplication, and keyword density and will even suggest tweaks you should make to content body and sub-headings. You still have to do your own keyword research, but without this plugin, you would need advanced knowledge of SEO to optimise your WordPress website.
With the paid version, you get extra features like internal link suggestions, and automated redirection to repair broken internal links. A big bonus is that all versions of Yoast (including the free version) are regularly updated to stay on track with Google’s latest algorithm.
As the world’s most popular website template, WordPress is also the most attacked, with 90 000 websites being targeted every day. Wordfence is among the top WordPress plugins for security. By using end-point security, the malware scanner and firewall will sit on your server as opposed to the cloud.
Wordfence is constantly updated using data from WordPress Threat Defence Feed. This means that it remains relevant, offering protection against the latest techniques and observing the most recent protocols.
If your page takes more than 3 seconds to open, 53% of users will move on to another site. WP Rocket speeds up page loading by compressing static images, pre-loading your cache, and loading as you scroll. It’s easy to use, even for non-developers, because it doesn’t need your manual input.
If you’re looking to extend the functionality of your website or discuss possible plugin options that might suit your needs, make sure to contact us. More than likely, a WordPress plugin will save you time and money.