No fluff. No frills. Just the top ten WordPress plugins you need. Right now.
YOAST – FREE
Been there, wrote a blog post about it. But needs to be mentioned again. YOAST is an SEO optimisation plugin, making your job as easy as just carving some killer content. Once you have entered your post into WordPress this nifty little number will analyse the text, and using a traffic light system, will flag your content for readability and SEO. It takes the guesswork out of optimising content, and fills in those gaps that you can sometimes forget. For example, it will highlight if you do not have the keyword anywhere in the meta description.
COMMENTLUV – FREE AND PAID PREMIUM OPTION
This wordpress plugin works by automatically placing a link to your readers last blog post – if they comment on your post. This is excellent as it encourages community spirit, and rewards your reader, whilst also giving you some more visibility around who your audience is. The only downfall I can see is that there may be less substance in comments, if the sole objective of the reader is to get link backs. A way around this is to moderate all comments before they are published to your site.
BJ LAZY LOAD – FREE
If your WordPress site has a lot of imagery, Lazy Load is an excellent plug in to install. It works by replacing your images with a placeholder, and only loads them when the visitor scrolls the page to show them in full view. So, for instance, if you have ten consecutive images, one on top of the other, each will only load when the user scrolls to them. This makes your site heaps faster, which is awesome for the impatient reader.
MAILCHIMP FOR WORDPRESS – FREE AND PAID PREMIUM OPTION
I am a big Mailchimp fan; it is a pain free marketing solution for even the most creatively devoid. Mailchimp for WordPress essentially allows you to increase your subscribers through your blog. It is a very beautiful add on that allows for user friendly sign up forms. Its simplicity is a big draw card, but the volume of subscriptions will be highly contingent on the quality of your blog. It always goes back to content people.
SOCIAL WARFARE – FREE AND PAID PREMIUM OPTION
Social Warfare is THE social sharing plugin. “What makes this better than any other sharing wordpress plugin?”,I hear you say. Pretty much everything about it. It is highly customisable, sexy, and super-fast. You customise where your share buttons appear; in fact, why not chose the floating option that is visible no matter where your reader is on the page? How about the ability to hover over an image and instantly share it to Pinterest? Or an analytics tools to track all inbound links that come in as a direct result of Social Warfare? Sounds like an awesome wordpress plugin to me.
AKISMET – PAID
Not super new in terms of WordPress plugin but an absolute legend nonetheless. Akismet is your software security dude that shields you from spammy comments. It provides you with virtual protection and keeps the bad guys out. You know the type. “You have been selected to win one million dollars, just click here.” Yep, those guys.
I am a big advocate for Slack, a team based tool that is more efficient than emailing. Slack is handy for a group of people working within WordPress on a project for instance. Take me as an example; I am part of a team of writers for a new website, and the editor and project manager communicate everything to us through Slack. They are based in San Francisco, and team members like myself are from across the globe. It’s like an instant messenger of sorts, and has the functionality to add sub groups within teams, or even just have one on one conversations. You can also use GIFs which makes the experience even more enjoyable.
WP FORMS – PAID
WP Forms is an online form builder, so that you can easily provide your audience with a way to get in touch. It has a drag and drop functionality so it’s very easy to use, and allows you to include the type of information that you want to know about your client. It has a very responsive design, so the user can access it on their mobile device tablet of laptop. There is even a payment collection functionality if you are in the e-commerce realm, incorporating PayPal and Stripe.
UPFRONT – PAID
Upfront is a great plugin for WordPress sites in need of a visual refresh. Upfront enables you to create beautiful gallery layouts, re-arrange social buttons; in fact, it really gives you the ability to shake up your whole site. This is a great tool that gives you a unique creative edge, and allows you to separate your WordPress site from the rest of the herd.
BROKEN LINK CHECKER – FREE
A bit of a dull one to finish on, but it has its place in the wordpress plugin top ten. Broken Link Checker does what is says, by keeping tabs on 404 pages. You will then receive an email from the plugin, advising you to fix the link. It is really the housekeeping plugin of this list, but good housekeeping is the foundation of a great website.
What do you think of this handy little wordpress plugin list? Are there any that we missed, and that you can’t live without? Drop us a comment.