A WordPress Plugin is (to quote WordPress) a “bit of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site.”
What that means is that a plugin allows you to do more with your site, giving you more abilities and functions, and in turn increases your professionalism. In short, it is a type of app you can add to your existing WordPress site that allows you to do more with it than before.
Plugins were, and continue to be, invented and distributed by developers who started off as users wanting more from their own sites. Therefore, plugins are designed to be practical, functional and useful, and as a result they are universally popular with professionals, business users, bloggers and newcomers alike.
What to look for
Finding the perfect WordPress Plugin can be tricky, however. Just as you might have a completely different use for your own WordPress site than a fellow user, your requirements from a Plugin are likely to be totally different.
With that in mind, a tutorial on the best plugins is often unnecessary because your definition of the term “best” might differ hugely from that of another user.
However, when looking for the perfect Plugin for you, there are ways to go about your search.
Although the experiences of other users aren’t the be all and end all, especially considering the wide variety of needs discussed earlier, looking at reviews of Plugins can give a great insight into whether a Plugin is right for you. Not only can you see how the plugin has been used but in finding a reviewer who is working in the same way as you plan to, you’ll be able to assess just how useful the Plugin is likely to be.
In addition, you’ll want to know that the Plugin, whatever it may be, will do what you want it to do. With thousands of Plugins to choose from, investigations into abilities, functions and reviews will help you decide whether this is the piece of tech you need.
What to choose
What one person deems to be essential is another person’s idea of frivolous, so choosing from the most popular Plugins isn’t always the best way of finding the best. However, seeing the same names pop up on the most popular and most acclaimed lists time and again gives a good indication that these are high quality finds.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Most users are aware that SEO can increase the visitors to their site, and that is the purpose of WordPress SEO by Yoast. Its main function is to increase the number of visitors a site receives by making that site appear more clearly in search engine listings. WordPress SEO by Yoast does so by optimising content, providing tutorials in better writing, analysis and by helping the user optimise their titles and descriptions for Google. In addition, users can add XML sitemaps, add permalinks and rewrite code.
W3 Total Cache
Whilst many Plugins aim to make life easier for the site owner, the idea of W3 Total Cache is to make the experience better for a visitor by increasing the performance of the server, reducing download times.
Floating Social Bar
Most users are aware that one of the most successful ways of increasing visibility online is to access social media as well as web usage. Floating Social Bar allows you to harness this by adding a sharing bar on your site, which not only allows you to share your content with your own social feed but also allows your visitors to share.
Many WordPress site owners use adverts to increase their targets and to make additional revenue from their sites. Adsanity is a favoured Plugin when it comes to managing these ads. Not only can you add and manage adverts but the Plugin also keeps statistics, allowing you to see just how useful those adverts have been for your site.
As a reader and a site owner, one of the biggest annoyances is spam comments. Not only are these off putting but they can also give the appearance of a site being unsafe, which could have an effect on the number of visitors you have. Akismet aims to grow and evolve to not only deter these spam comments now, but to also offer protection in the future as the spammers evolve.
In an age where hacking and online security are important, having a Plugin that not only scans and allows you to review and fix threats but that also allows you to backup all of your content is worth its’ weight in gold.