The advantage of WordPress powered websites over website builders is that website builders sell the CMS as a service and take a “one size fits all” approach to your website.
The ability to use plugins to add specific custom features to your website that perhaps only you and a select group of other webmasters need but not anyone else, is why WordPress is the better choice over website builders.
The following are some excellent plugins we’ve use to add additional features features for client specific requests. YOU DON’T NEED ALL OF THESE PLUGINS. This is just a curated list of some of the most helpful.
Ready for the list without they hype? Let’s do it! Make sure to share this page if you found it helpful too.
Yoast (rhyms with toast), is a software company run by Joost de Valk. Their model works by running a very popular blog that garners a loyal following and by giving away the best WordPress SEO plugin for free, Yoast SEO. Then, they up-sell on premium plugins.
Yoast SEO does everything you would need from an SEO perspective. It allows you to redirect pages, builds out your sitemap, helps you craft titles and meta data, tells search engines what to index and what to ignore and so forth.
It’s so good, we create a dedicated tutorial on how to get the most out of it. Check it out here: Yoast SEO Tutorial by WebsiteBuddha.com
Editorial Calander – This handy plugin helps you stay focused of the essential when it comes to running a blog or content based resource website, and that’s publishing content consistently.
It gives you a broad over view of the up coming weeks and months so you can help plan out and schedule what need to be published and when.
Updraft Plus – Updraft is the the best free alternative to expensive premium backup plugins. It helps automate backups for your website so you can quickly and easily restore your website if something goes wrong.
We all like to think nothing bad will happen, but just like how something goes wrong with your computer every so often and the only way to fix it is by going back in time which means you need to do a system restore on your computer, sometimes you need to do that with your website.
Most shared hosting accounts (like Host Gator – coupon code websitebuddha) provide backups, but they only backup weekly. Updraft Plus allows you to backup your website daily if you so choose to.
It’s a very advanced plugin with settings ideal for high traffic website running on a VPS or server, all the way to simplified settings for website on a shared host.
W3 utilizes minfy, browser, object, page and database caching, as well as providing support for content delivery networks (CDN’s – they help share your content with people all over the world so everyone has a good user experience).
Imagify is a free plugin that simply compress your images without losing quality. I personally use a website called compress now for all my images, but Imagify does the trick too.
Login Lock Down – A good, last line of defense for your website. If someone attempts to log into your website on your admin page and fails to enter the correct details, they are blocked from attempting to log into your website for a set period of time.
This plugin essentially prevents brute force attacks from working. This plugin is free and it’s core to any defensive measure to keeping your website fast and secure.
Social Media Warefare is the best social sharing plugin available. It’s not free though, if you’re looking for a free alternative use add this. You’ll need to copy and paste code into your site however which may be tricky for the less tech savvy. Anyways, if you’re looking for a great social sharing plugin with lot’s options social media warefare is the best
Collapsing Categories – A great sidebar plugin that uses JAVA script to add an expandable categories list of your content, it’s a great way to get people to explore more deeply into your websites content by offering them a lovely menu of your websites categories with each category displaying a drop down menu of the latest posts.
WP Gallery Custom Links – With WordPress, you can add a photo gallery in any page or post or sidebar or where ever you like. But did you know that you can not specify the link address of each image?
That by default each photo will link to the WP image folder where it is stored and this link CAN NOT be changed?
Well this handy plugin allows you to change and add custom links to any image!
Pretty Links is a plugin for setting up redirects. It’s super useful for making long links pretty. This is helpful for numerous reasons. Say I’m making a video and in it I want people to visit this page. The URL is websitecreativepro.com/wordpress/plugins – A bit of a mouthful to say in a video or podcast. Instead, I can use pretty links and make it something easy like websitecreativepro.com/tools for example.
You can also use pretty links for affiliate links which is one of the most popular reasons to use this plugin.
An essential plugin, contact form 7 is how you create those lovely looking contact forms. As your site grows you may want to get rid of contact form 7 as you’ll begin getting too many emails. I for example get upwards of 80 emails a day from my various websites. But when you’re starting out you want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you as you’ll want and need that user feedback to help you grow and improve your website.
Clean Save – Social media is great, but what if you wanted to provide a way for your visitors to email, print, or save as a PDF your content (and share it with others). This is one the best plugins for that because it provides many alternative ways for visitors to share your content.
Simple Social Icons – A plugin that allows you to add stylish social media buttons to your website widget areas. Choose the colors, choose the profiles, choose the alignment, add to your widget area in WordPress.
Simple and elegant 🙂
Mail Chimp for WordPress -This plugin gives you some nice super powers for your Mail Chimp forms. Of course, this plugin only works with Mail Chimp and not Aweber or any other service provider.
What it does is that it allows you to quickly develop attractive looking forms that can be placed anywhere on your website via some easy, copy and paste shortcodes. These forms look great and are mobile ready.
It also allows you to set up a thank you page once someone signs up and it integrates with contact form 7.
Fixed Widget – This magical plugin (alright, it’s not magic) allows a widget in your sidebar to stay in position on the page, even if the user scrolls down. This is ideal for an email sign up form.
Put the form in the fixed widget in your sidebar, but the fixed widget at the bottom of all your other widgets, and when someone scrolls down the sign up form will follow them.
Ultimate Product Catalog – This plugin is ideal for a WordPress powered store. What it does is that it allows you to set up a well designed catalogue page of different products you’re selling by categories and sub categories.
DISQUS – Back a few years ago, SPAM comments were all the rage. This led to numerous plugins to combat SPAM and eventually a few services that would take over the WordPress comment system.
DISQUS was one of these companies and over the years they have emerged as the leader for managing comments if you want to get away from the in-house comment system.
The pros are that having DISQUS on your website will reduce SPAM as well as being able to set up a related post field within DISQUS to share your related posts.
It also, tends to lead to higher quality comments as users have to register an account with DISQUS before commenting. This is also the only drawback, it prevents visitors who do not wish to sign up for DISQUS from commenting.
404 Redirect Homepage – A 404 is a “page not found”. Normally this not a big deal, but sometimes you will change a URL or delete a post or page that has been indexed already.
You have three options:
Leave a “not found page”. This is a terrible idea as it does not help the person who is on this page.
Design a 404 page to help visitors find what they are looking for. Have a search box, links to popular articles and categories or some sort of related content.
Redirect them to the home page. That’s what this plugin does.
Edit Author Slug – This one is important. Some WordPress themes have it built in to link your user name as your author name. So you log into your WP website, your username could be something complicated and cryptic with an equally cryptic password.
But when you publish a post, though you may be able to change your username to a nickname like Bob for example, the slug will still be website.com/author/YourUserName.
Anyone looking to break into your website can easily find out your user name.
This is why this plugin is important. Because it can change your username slug from website.com/author/YourUserName, to whatever you want.
This plugin does just that. It create a few simple links at the bottom of your blog posts. You can specify it to be images or just text. You can choose it to show as many or as few related posts as you want.
This plugin is preferred over competitors because it’s coded in such a way that it does not make too many server side requests. Using up your hosting resources.
Want to create a long, content heavy page? Want that page to have a clickable table of contents? Checkout this table of contents plugin.
This time stamp plugin allows the date to be updated when you update a post or page on your website. This is helpful because older content will have less of a click through rate when found in Google.
Which are you more likely to read? A post from the current year or a post from 2014?
If you have content that you will update on a periodic basis, use this time stamp plugin to get the most out of your SEO efforts.