If you have a business in 2017, you absolutely need a website. There is no excuse to ignore your online presence, as shoppers look to the web first when making most purchasing decisions. WordPress is the most popular content management system, or CSM, in the world and powers 25% of all sites on the internet. Thanks to its flexibility, WordPress offers tons of powerful features. Whether you are in eCommerce, a freelancer, or have a brick and mortar business. Here are 9 plugins that most sites should not go without.
I have setup dozens of WordPress sites over the years, and one of the first plugins I install on every site is Wordfence. This freemium security plugin blocks bad guys from hacking your site and scans for hacked files and bad links. Because of its popularity, WordPress sites are a big target for hackers. Thankfully with Wordfence, you don’t have as much to worry about.
WP Super Cache
There are a handful of caching plugins available, but the easiest to use and most consistent is WP Super Cache. Originally created by a different developer, Super Cache was recently adopted by Automattic, the company that makes WordPress. Caching reduces server load and increases page speed. This helps keep your hosting costs down while ensuring fast page delivery to your site’s visitors. Unless your hosting company specifically suggests a caching plugin that offers better compatibility with its systems, you can safely trust Super Cache to do the job.
Social marketing is an amazing marketing tool because suggestions come from trusted friends and family in the user’s social network. Most users are not willing to work hard to share your product or website for free, but if you make it really easy for them, they are more likely to share. SumoMe is a freemium plugin that offers rich social sharing and email list building features. I have more email signups from SumoMe than anything else. Getting my posts out across the web is a great bonus.
AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a new webpage delivery standard touted by Google to dramatically increase page load times for users on mobile devices. While that may sound like tech jargon to most people, it is an important concept for website owners to understand. By installing the AMP plugin from Automattic, you instantly meet Google’s standards. Faster page load times increase conversions and slightly increase your Google rankings. Be sure to include AMP support by installing this simple plugin.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an important part of getting your website to rank highly in Google. While you get 500 million results when you search for SEO, the basics are pretty straightforward. Installing Yoast SEO and configuring the options in that plugin ensures you are following many important best practices and SEO standards. If you also install AMP, make sure to add Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP to ensure your SEO efforts are not lost on AMP delivered pages.
Jetpack is one of the most feature filled plugins available today. Some web experts claim it is bloated and slows down your site. However, improvements over recent years ultimately lead to the opposite effect. I use Jetpack for basic site stats, contact forms, galleries, CDN, sharing, security, spelling and grammar checks, shortlink embeds, and more. Paid plans with more features are available, but the basic, free option is plenty for most sites.
Over the years, posts and pages come and go and people create bad links or dead links to your site. Redirection tracks 404 errors and helps you redirect those links to live posts and pages. This improves your SEO, user experience, and helps you funnel site visitors into the posts and pages that help your business rather than an error page.
WordPress Editorial Calendar
This plugin is an oldie but a goodie. WordPress Editorial Calendar offers one, amazing function. While there are other calendar and workflow plugins that work well for some specific needs of larger sites, this plugin does the trick without adding too much extra bloat. Drag and drop posts and drafts to place them on a visual calendar so you can easily plan the upcoming weeks and months content calendars.
Another freemium plugin, Social Warfare offers tools to supercharge your social sharing. Add custom social media images for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and define custom, unique titles and descriptions to use across the social networks. Social media is too big of a traffic source to ignore, and Social Warfare makes it an easier and better converting experience.
This is Just the Beginning
WordPress plugins offer the ability to turn your website into a digital commerce hub, marketing and lead generation system, and much more. Installing too many plugins can lead to security vulnerabilities and slower site performance. However, adding the right plugins for your site can lead to better performance and features. The WordPress plugin directory features over 49,000 plugins, including my own Binge Reading Archive Page Template plugin for Genesis.
Whatever you want to do with your site, it is possible with WordPress. This list of plugins is a great way to get started, but it is just the beginning. Go forth and improve your website!