When WordPress first came on the scene, website development the world over underwent a seismic shift. Suddenly, it was no longer necessary to be a coding genius to build a website. Users could use a simple, easy-to-learn interface to build a professional-looking website in a fraction of the time with little to no coding knowledge.
With WordPress came a ton of ways to maximize functionality, and many of those took the form of WordPress plugins. WordPress plugins offer a way to perform any number of tasks, from SEO to social media linking, in a massively simplified and powerful way.
We’ve put together our 5 favorite WordPress plugins to get you started – ones that will both maximize your digital efficiency and make managing your website a breeze.
This is an essential WordPress plugin for any account. Developed by the folks at WordPress, this plugin comes standard with every WordPress account, although it has to be activated by the user to begin running. Akismet is used to filter spam comments on your website, and uses aggregate data from all of its accounts to detect when a certain user is leaving regular spam comments. To date it has caught more than 83 billion spam comments.
We all know by now the importance of SEO to an online business, so why not use sophisticated software to ensure you are getting the most bang for your SEO buck? Yoast SEO is another tool developed by WordPress, and it analyzes each of your individual web pages for SEO success. It will let you know the health of a page using easy-to-read stoplight indicator colors of red, yellow, and green. It considers length of content, keyword density, meta tags, links, and many other factors to determine how well each page will fare when it comes to the search engine results.
W3 Total Cache
A very important part of a website’s SEO is the page load speed, and this can be significantly improved by caching your web pages. Caching occurs when a page is visited more than once: if instructed, your browser will store parts of the web page so that the next time you load that page it doesn’t have to reload it all over again. That’s what W3 accomplishes: it allows you to set the caching parameters for your site, meaning that when repeat visitors come knocking it will take a lot less time for the page to load, and the likelihood of those visitors spending more time on your site is greatly increased.
Google XML Sitemaps
Although this plugin may not seem like the most fun or exciting one, it is a necessity for search engines to be able to correctly index your website. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin will automatically create an XML sitemap for your website, making it much easier for search engines to index. Having a sitemap is a bit like providing a roadmap for all of your web pages, making it easy for the search engines to know where everything is located and how to get there most efficiently.
Contact Form 7
If you want to collect any kind of data from your users – and you should! Contact Form 7 provides a slick, seamless way to do so. Use it to create forms that can ask for a user’s name and email address to sign up to your company newsletter, or set up a customer service interface when your customers want to get in touch. There is a multitude of potential uses for this plugin, and it’s never been more important to have user data. The more data, the better!
With this armament of basic WordPress plugins, you’ll create a secure foundation for your online website. Happy WordPressing!