Let's Learn WordPress

Recommended WordPress Plugins

What Is a Plugin?

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that extends the functionality of or adds features to your website. WordPress plugins allow third-party code to work with your WordPress website. There are currently over 50,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin repository – a place where you can search for and download plugins onto your website.

Not All Plugins Are Created Equal

Before listing some of my favorite WordPress plugins, you should know that not all plugins are created equal. Anyone can submit a plugin to the WordPress repository, and even though there is review process, it does not prevent bad plugins from being submitted. Therefore, it is important to investigate the quality of the plugin, and ideally test it, before installing it on your current website. Many WordPress problems come from installing plugins with bugs or using plugins that interfere with others already on your site. I highly recommend having an expert check out a plugin before you install it.

My Recommended WordPress Plugins

Contact Forms

Almost every website has a contact form. Coding a form from scratch is a real drag because there are so many things to consider, from preventing bots from submitting malicious content to integrating the form with third-party software like MailChimp. There are a few excellent form plugins for WordPress that makes this process very simple.

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. There is a lot to know about SEO in order to improve your site ranking in search results. Why not have a plugin to help guide you to best practices? Yoast SEO pretty much dominates the WordPress SEO marketplace, and they have a really great blog that explains not only SEO, but also how to effectively use their plugin.

Website Backup

It is extremely important to back up your website. I have learned time and time again that good ol’ Murphy will eventually show up – “What can go wrong, will go wrong.” It simply isn’t worth the risk to lose all the hard work that goes into a site. Please back up your site. If you need help with this, don’t hesitate to contact me for help. There are plugins to help back up your website.

Analytics

I highly recommend using some sort of analytics software on your site. The information it can provide is simply invaluable to the success and improvement of your website. Fortunately, there are WordPress Plugins that help set up and decipher your site analytics.

Security

Website security is a pretty big topic and there are a lot of plugins out there. Picking one out for your site can be tough, but the following are well known in the WordPress community.

Performance

Do you want to speed up your website? With the help of a plugin, you can do just that!

Conclusion

WordPress plugins can help improve your site in many different ways, but always be careful when choosing a plugin for your site. Not all of them are of good quality. Make sure to take the time to investigate the plugin before simply installing it or talk to an expert.

Lee Stratman

Owner, Stratman Web Development

Lee Stratman is a Web Developer from Madison, WI. He helps small-to-medium-sized businesses build effective websites that utilize the popular content management system WordPress.

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