While WordPress strikes a nice balance between being full-featured and being fairly easy to use, it can’t do everything “out of the box.” Plug-ins make sense for WordPress because having it as an all-inclusive solution would be cumbersome. Instead, the plug-in system lets you install what you need, without other features getting in the way.
WordPress has more than twenty thousand free plug-ins available, which makes choosing the few essential ones a daunting proposition. Here, we’ll offer years of experience from savvy webmasters condensed into the essential WordPress plug-ins you will probably want. Think of it as a miniature WordPress plug-in tutorial, a subject that could easily take up a book.
WordPress, being the most popular blog platform on the web, attracts a relentless crowd of spammers and hackers attempting to break it. Fortunately, due to its open-source nature, it gets patched fast whenever a show-stopping vulnerability shows up.
However, for the comments section, if you have one, you will need this at the least. Dealing with blog comment spam can prove to be a constant nagging pain. This is one of your best lines of defense.
Once you have a blog up and running, you will be curious to see what kind of traffic it’s getting – or not getting. Analyzing traffic will tell you what is and isn’t working with your online marketing strategy so that you can experiment and adapt. Jetpack is a statistics reporter cut out just for this job. Without it, you’re just blogging in the dark, hoping you reach out to your base.
While Yoast SEO isn’t the kind of software that holds a glamorous spotlight, it does ship by default with many installations and is the best tool we can get for the job. It is the closest you can get to an AI SEO (Search Engine Optimization) engine.
It analyzes your content looking for keywords and supporting keywords, then identifies potential problems with the search engine traffic you’re trying to attract. It also adds meta tags to pages, handles your meta-description, and otherwise manages light blog-keeping tasks. Useful more as a diagnostic when you have spotted a problem elsewhere.
The technicalities of blog maintenance tend to grow in complexity once you get rolling. It can be a hassle keeping track of what post uses which template, or how you embedded a video last time to finally get it to work.
This becomes more bothersome with extra people onboard maintaining one blog. This plug-in does exactly what it says on the tin. Not sure how that last post got the image captions to display right? Just make a duplicate of it and refill the same template with new content. Also handy for backing up a post before extensive edits.
An eCommerce website is going to expect some interaction with online customers. This will mean gathering data from them, in some cases letting them purchase goods and services from your electronic shopping cart.
This plug-in provides drop-in solutions for all that, plus user polls, interactive quizzes, subscription forms for signing up for newsletters, contest entries, applications, take-out orders, and much more. It’s all “drag and drop,” far easier than building all these parts from scratch.
Elementor Page Builder
This is like a paint-by-numbers kit for your blog posts. For those techno-phobic users who absolutely cannot stand to (or can’t be trusted to) set their own image-to-text alignment, handle section breaks, or other factors of content layout, this is a drag-and-drop editor which sets up detailed templates that will set everything from font size to background color to image borders and more. It is capable of some amazingly snazzy layouts and is fun to play with, albeit seasoned pros may prefer s more hands-on experience.
While WordPress, as we have pointed out, does get show-stopper security holes fixed, many online businesses need upgraded security. Sucuri is a hardened security fortress around WordPress, protecting it from brute force hacking, XSS scripting, malware threats, DDoS attacks, and all kinds of web nastiness. It’s as much firewall protection as most websites will ever need.
If your blog is going to be a substantial part of your marketing strategy, with lots of content produced on a steady schedule, then you will want a back-up for all that hard work. That’s what this does; it backs up your WordPress files only and stores them remotely at the cache of your choice, such as DropBox or your backup server.
One Caveat On Plug-Ins…
Be conservative with what you install at first, at least until you get a feel for how much management you want to put into your blog. It may be tempting, like phone apps, to grab everything and try it out just because it’s a shiny new toy.
However, plug-ins also introduce the “airplane rule”: Every additional engine you add to the plane multiplies the possible failure points. Too many plug-ins tend to produce weird bugs when they clash, and uninstalling a plug-in isn’t always the cleanest task. It’s fine to install a sensible number of tools picked for their robust performance. Just don’t get so cluttered that it becomes overwhelming.
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.