We here at Digital Media Edge love WordPress. Sites look great, it’s customisable, cost-effective and it’s very easy to use. What’s more, it’s much nicer than manually writing code all the time to build a website! So we thought we’d list our top 10 favourite plugins.
What Are WordPress Plugins?
Plugins are used to add additional features to your website. For example, say you want to add a featured image slider to your website – you could write the code for it, pay someone to write the code for it or alternatively choose the easier option and download a plugin that adds this functionality for you!
Plugins can be downloaded from WordPress’ website:
How do you add plugins to WordPress?
To add WordPress plugins, simply head on over to https://wordpress.org/plugins/ – Find the plugin you want, click the Download button, and then go to your website, click Plugins, add new, upload plugin (or search), select the zip file for the plugin you downloaded, and then click activate – it’s as simple as that!
DME’s Top 10 Best WordPress Plugins
First up on the list is Yoast SEO. If you’re unsure what SEO is, we’ll be writing a blog on this very soon, but the short of it is optimising your blog posts for certain keywords, so that browsers such as Google pick up on the keyword and display your post when people search for that particular keyword. So what makes Yoast SEO so good? Well we love it and use it because it makes you choose a particular keyword for your blog post and then indicates how well you are using the keyword. It does this using an indicator. If the indicator is on red, you could probably do with using your keyword a couple more times. If it’s on green, your post is well optimised for that keyword.
We find the best way to use Yoast SEO is by going with a keyword, and using it in the title, meta description and within the post content, and then using variations of the keyword. We find it’s best not to over do the keyword too much in the post – whilst Yoast SEO will display the green indicator, it’s a good practice to mix it up a bit so your post reads well.
The other features we use on Yoast SEO is being able to add a custom SEO title and meta-description. Google displays a limited amount of characters in your meta description when it appears in the search results. Yoast SEO allows you to add a custom meta description – which means you can make your post meta description very targeted and appealing so anyone seeing your link on Google’s page is more likely to click on it, than the meta description Google automatically adds to your link.
Get Yoast SEO here: Yoast SEO
Jetpack has lots of features – we could probably write a separate post just for the features it contains! The main things we use Jetpack for are its analytics, custom CSS, contact form, comments and notifications, but as we said, there are a lot of features and is definitely a plugin to get your hands on!
A couple of cool features of Jetpack are:
We’ll touch on analytics a bit later, but Jetpack offers a nice quick view of your site stats, including the amount of traffic on your site, which posts have had the most views, where the views had come from (Twitter, Google, Facebook etc) and which search terms were used to get to your site.
If you’re savvy with CSS, you can add your own CSS on your site. This has it’s own editor, separate from the stylesheet.css which is great because you can instantly see what changes you made to your site. Any CSS you put in here overwrites the stylesheet css.
If you want to give Jetpack a go, download it here: Jetpack
Next up on the list is Akismet. Akismet is a great tool for stopping pesky spam comments on your blog. A great thing about having a blog post is enabling visitors to add their own comment – this is great because it builds authority and trust on your site, especially if you reply to the comments and questions. It becomes annoying though when you have to sift through and delete endless spam comments, which is where Akismet comes in.
Akismet checks all comments, if it looks like spam, it lets you review them before letting the comments go live, so if it’s a genuine comment, you can still allow it to be on your blog post.
Download Akismet here: Akismet
Tables are a great way to add interesting content to your post, but let’s face it – manually adding code can be pretty boring, so why not let a plugin do it for you?
Rather than creating a table yourself, tediously adding:
Use TablePress to add in a table to your WordPress post. It’s easy to use, looks pretty decent and it also allows you to sort columns!
Get it here: TablePress
If you’ve ever had to move a WordPress site, you know it can be a real pain! How do you move the content? Will the media be copied? What about the SQL database? Enter the world of Duplicator. Duplicator serves as both a backup utility and a tool to copy or move your site. It does require a little bit of technical know-how, but is worth learning, and is a must have for backing up or moving your site.
Download Duplicator here: Duplicator
Google XML Sitemaps
We’ve already touched on the importance of optimising your site for search engines such as Google to go through your content and display it to the right people. Another way of helping Google is by installing and using Google XML Sitemaps. A sitemap is basically the layout of your website – where links go, the list of pages on your site and the organisation of it all! Using this plugin generates a file to help search engines index your blog. It’s all it does but we think it’s worth adding to your list of must-have plugins.
Google XML Sitemaps plugin download: Google XML Sitemaps
W3 Total Cache
We don’t like waiting ages for web pages to load up, and you don’t have to wait for yours to load up forever! W3 Total Cache optimises your site for speed, which keeps visitors from hitting that back button on their browser because your site takes ages to load, and also helps with SEO.
Download W3 Total Cache here: W3 Total Cache
A quick look on website forums show you how often people’s sites are getting hacked. One of the ways you can reduce the chances of this with a WordPress plugin is by using Login LockDown. Hackers can get into your WordPress site by using software that enters in different combinations of passwords, eventually getting in to your site. With Login Lockdown you can set a limit for how many times a password can be incorrectly entered before the IP address of the person attempting to get into your site is blocked. A definite must-have in our opinion!!
Get Login LockDown here: Login LockDown
Simple Social Icons
We like tying in all of our work on digital – for example if you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll find the links to all of our social channels – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. By visiting our social channels, you’ll find links to our website. We find this highly important for people such as yourself to be able to engage with us any way you like, such as commenting on this post, liking on Facebook or sharing with the people who follow you. Simple Social Icons is a great plugin by StudioPress which, as the name suggests, allows you to add social icons to a widget area on your site with links to your social channels. It’s all it does, but it’ll help drive traffic to your social channels, increasing likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter and subscribers on YouTube!
Download Simple Social Icons here: Simple Social Icons
We all hate it when we’re browsing a site, click on a link, then get hit with the dreaded 404 error. The Redirection plugin stops that, allowing you to redirect any links that would normally go to a 404 error page, to 301 redirect to a live page. Again, it’s a very simply plugin but one which will help keep people on your site.
Download here: Redirection