WordPress, one of the most popular web design platforms, is essentially a framework which web developers, like Roundpeg, can customize in a variety of ways without the need to do extensive coding because we rely on plug-ins.
What is a plug-in exactly? Plug-ins are software components that add specific features to an existing computer program. While plug-ins have been developed for many different software platforms, the open nature of WordPress has attracted many high quality developers to produce these tools to extend functionality of your site.
As of today, WordPress.org offers 44,952 autohorized plug-ins which allow us to add things like image galleries, improved video display, shopping carts or contact forms. With so many different plug-ins how do you decide which ones to use?
Over the years we learned that not all WordPress plug-ins are designed equally. Some are updated regularly while others aren’t and become vulnerable to security breaches. Since these plug-ins provide core functionality for many of the websites we build, we have tested a number of tools and have quite a few we use over and over again.
Our Favorite WordPress Plug-ins
While there are many more, here are a few no well dressed website should be without:
Unlike some of the other plug-ins on this list, this one was developed by WordPress. This robust dashboard has a number of features which you turn on and off independently. Our favorite feature is the Sites Stats. While not as complete as Google Analytics, it gives at a glance performance data every time you log in. Discover where visitors are coming from and what they are looking at in real time. There are also other traffic building tools which encourage social sharing, and publicizing your content.
Jetpack provides protection against brute force attacks and unauthorized logins. It also offers designers the ability to use custom CSS, shortcode embeds and much more. This is a must have on any WordPress site.
WordPress is configured to present your content to search engines in an organized manner, providing basic SEO for your site. Yoast is designed to help you raise your visibility in that competitive game. It is super easy to use, with a stoplight system for rating your pages on their compliance with SEO guidelines.
Along with the score, there are always suggestions and links for more information which can help even a novice create relevant page titles and meta descriptions like a pro.
The popularity of WordPress has also attracted the attention of hackers. We rely on Wordfence to protect our sites. There is a free version available, but we think the extra security makes it worth the upgrade to a premium version.
This tool scans your site for malicious files, which can cause small performance issues or a catastrophic failure of your site. The plugin doubles as a firewall, protecting your site from being hacked, all while being constantly updated with the current types of threats out there. After you install this plug-in take a few minutes every month to run a scan.
This tool is absolutely perfect for backing up all portions of a site. The key feature that makes Updraftplus so great is that you can save the backups to a remote location such as a specific Dropbox folder, Google drive, direct FTP or a host of other options. If you aren’t currently backing up your site in any way, I would highly recommend trying out Updraftplus.
If you work hard to attract visitors to your site, you don’t want them leaving without letting you know they were there. From simple contact forms, to complex landing pages we rely on Gravity Forms for many of our sites. It’s easy to create forms and you can view the entries online or download them to a spreadsheet for analysis or even upload them into your contact management or email system.
There is an annual subscription fee, but considering there is no limit on the number of forms you can build or submissions you can have, we have found it to be extremely affordable.
Keep all your plug-ins current
WordPress is continually updating their operating system to improve performance and provide added protection against security breaches. Don’t let your plug-ins be the weak link in your defense. Every month, after updating your operating system, update all of your plug-ins. Delete any old plug-ins you are no longer using to keep your site secure.
If you aren’t sure how to update your plug-ins, give us a call. We offer monthly and quarterly service contracts for almost all WordPress sites.[su_button url=”https://www.roundpeg2020.wpengine.com/contact” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#FF7100″ color=”#FFf” size=”10″ center=”yes” radius=”5″ text_shadow=”px px px #000000″]CONTACT US[/su_button]
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis web design firm.