An Intro to WordPress Plugins: What Are WP Plugins?
Did you know that an estimated 35% of all websites are WordPress hosted and developed? This is largely thanks to the incredible versatility WordPress offers businesses of all sizes. From individual bloggers to massive Fortune 500 companies, WordPress has something to offer everyone.
One of the key foundational reasons WordPress is so popular is because of its plugin features. WordPress plugins are essential for ensuring all fundamental web design tasks run well.
If you’re still a bit confused about WordPress plugins, don’t stress.
We’ll even give you a list of some of our favorite plugins, WP style!
What Exactly Are WordPress Plugins?
WordPress plugins help to add new functionalities to any WordPress site. By using them, we’re able to enhance the default setups with new features.
Simply put, WP plugins are a way to customize a WordPress site, much like apps on a smartphone.
Built in PHP script, plugins can help you with a variety of functions including:
- Website performance
- SEO and Google rankings
- Contact forms
- Social media buttons or other link buttons
- Creation of media galleries
- And much more!
There are almost 60,000 WordPress plugins available, and more are being built every day. WOWZA. Most of them are completely free, though this means they likely won’t come with fast tech support, if any. So it depends what make sense for you and your budget. A free experience or a fee experience.
But, with the help of a professional web designer, investing in WP plugins can take your site to the next level.
What Are the Best Plugins to Use?
Some plugins are considered must-use (MU) plugins. These plugins are automatically activated as soon as they’re installed, without the user having to do anything. I don’t know about you but we sure love having one less thing to do! These plugins often perform essential functions for WordPress sites too. Such as SEO ranking, backups, security or spam prevention.
Some MU WP plugins that we love include:
Yoast SEO is a popular WP plugin used, as the name suggests, for SEO. Web developers and content marketers can use Yoast SEO to help them rank better on search engines, which is vital for every website. We all are just trying to stay top of searches AND top of mind when it comes to promoting our businesses.
One essential way Yoast SEO does this is by analyzing the web page content. Then, it will give the user suggestions for how to optimize the content, such as blog posts, for search engines.
Other functionalities of Yoast SEO include:
- Optimize keywords
- Create XML sitemaps
- Analysis of internal links
- Analysis and suggestions for readability
Another popular plugin that’s all about optimization, WP Rocket is essential for most websites. WP Rocket helps to minimize site loading times, so audiences can get to the site content faster.
WP Rocket works by making sure images are only loaded as visitors scroll through the page. This way, our site isn’t trying to load everything all at once. Hooray for less buffering!
As essential as a WordPress backup, JetPack ensures the safety of our website. JetPack provides malware protection, security, and speed to help keep a website running smoothly.
JetPack even provides web developers with automatic backups and offers easy restores. Plus, there’s also malware and spam protection thanks to JetPack’s regular scans.
The list of all of JetPack’s features is a long one. But, in summary, it’s an almost essential plugin for website maintenance and security. So unfortunately, you can’t fly with this JetPack but at least your peace of mind will soar.
The WP Merge plugin is essential if you’ve created a site backup. This is because it will clone any changes you make on the live site to the dev backup and vice versa. WAIT REALLY? I always wanted a twin.
YES! WP Merge saves you from having to meticulously make notes of any changes and replicate them. Instead, this data plugin will do all the work, making website development that much simpler.
It’s also great for those working with the development and/or content team. Now, we won’t have to track the many changes made for one or the other. Which means more me time for you, sweet sweet me time!
Most websites will want some kind of contact form, so their customers and audience can get in touch with them. The Gravity Forms plugin makes what could be a complicated task that much simpler. Still not understanding the full gravity of the situation?
Well rest assured, no advanced technical skills are required to use Gravity Forms. Even order forms that include pricing information are a breeze with this plugin.
Gravity Forms can be especially useful when paired with a theme like WP Rentals for business use. Gravity Forms combined with WP Rentals plugins can make booking and ordering for hospitality businesses that much easier, move over AirBnb!
Akismet Spam Protection
One thing that won’t make things easier on your site are hostile sources such as bots. They can create a real problem for websites. By filling a site with spam, these bots can reduce your speed, security, and credibility.
That’s why the Akismet plugin is so vital. It will scan comments and contact form submissions to keep an eye out for potential spam. So you don’t have to! I can hear the hallelujah chorus singing right now.
Akismet works by using its extensive global database of previously submitted spam. It compares the comments on your site with its database to prevent any spam from filtering through.
Some other features of Akismet include:
- Comment status history, so you can see when, where, and why spam was flagged
- Hidden links revealed in any comments
- Discard feature to automatically delete spam and free up space
WordPress Development & Support Done Right!
Now that you know more about some popular and incredibly useful WP plugins, you can go about customizing and improving any WordPress site. However, to really get the most out of the WordPress experience, it’s best to work with a professional web developer.
Request an appointment with us to get started with professional web development & support today. We’ll work together to build a top-notch fast and polished site.
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