Today, I wanted to talk to you about something that’s very close to my heart. WordPress plugins (and yep, total Geek and proud!)
WordPress plugins are a huge part of what helps take a really standard, boring website and makes it into something wonderful. They help with everything from design to security, and help speed up your site, protect it from hackers and of course, make it look really pretty.
The best thing about them though, is that thousands upon thousands of them are completely free. And free is one of my favourite words. With so many out there though, which ones should you be choosing, and what exactly do they do?
I’ve compiled a little list of the FREE WordPress plugins I think you should install, to supersize your site.
These are the plugin I would highly recommend installing on every site. They cover the basics and are easy to set up and use.
It’s almost unbelievable how much this plugin does, especially considering it’s invisible cost. It helps with security (basics), design, stats, social media integration and so much more. If you were to choose to only have one plugin? This would probably be it.
- WordFence Security
This is a great way to protect your site. It protects you from hacks and attacks in various ways but one of my favourites is that is emails you to let you know when there’s something to update – and as I’ve said before – updating is crucial!
- W3 Total Cache
Caching speeds up your site by presenting pre-stored pages to readers (which update when new content is added). It makes a huge difference to the performance of your site, and your users experience. There are loads of great caching plugins out there, but this is my freebie of choice.
Protects you from spam comments. And unless you’re a sadist, you want to be protected from spam comments! Sign up, get a free API key and never (or nearly never) have to worry about reading some fairly disturbing comments when you login in the morning.
- Yoast SEO
The simplest and best SEO plugin available. Helps you with the readability of your article and highlights where you can make any changes to improve your SEO (which of course means you get placed higher in search engine results). There’s great documentation available and set up is easy, so you don’t have to know much about SEO before you start. Brilliant.
You should probably be aware of the importance of backing up your website – can you even imagine how stressful it would be to lose everything you’ve worked on for months, or even years? I can – as I unfortunately learnt the hard way many years ago. Updraft can save your back ups to file, email, Dropbox or various other options. Set it up, leave it and know you’re safe should anything go terribly wrong.
Recommended Other Free Plugins
- Monster Insights
This fab plugin is the best for connecting your site to Google Analytics (in my opinion). It allows you to monitor where your visitors are coming from, what they’re doing while on your site and allows you to optimise and adjust your content accordingly to maximise you revenue, readership or other objective.
- Simple Custom CSS
If you’re not familiar with CSS, which helps WordPress present your website beautifully, this is the perfect plugin for you. You can make adjustments without ever having to know a single line of code, saving you time or money hiring someone who does.
- Pop-up Maker
Allows you to create various pop-ups around your site. These could be used for email list building, giving away freebies or general information. It’s a handy tool that’s flexible too.
- WP Members
If you need a site with a membership option, to lock out people who aren’t signed up (or give away more content to those who are), WP Members is definitely worth a look. With so many membership plugins being silly-expensive, this is the perfect starting point and super useful in lots of ways.
- Call Now Button
If one of the main objectives of your website is to increase engagement with customers, or if you simply want to show there’s a human being behind that screen, the call now button plugin is perfect. It pops a small button in the corner of your website (on mobile devices) and allows people to reach you with a single touch.
Looking to sell something on your site? WooCommerce is the perfect e-commerce solution. The fact that it’s free is pretty amazing as it’s so flexible, and you can sell digital or physical products. It works perfectly on it’s own or can be souped up with add-ons, although some of those are paid for. Only fair, considering how much they’re giving away!
So there you have it – some of my favourite free WordPress plugins available now. If you have any questions about these, or anything else WordPress related, please do ask away on Facebook, or comment below.