WordPress can be a tricky place, sometimes. Just kidding. It’s super easy to figure out once you get the hang of it. But sometimes you, website owner, need a little extra poof and puff, perhaps a little razzle dazzle, if I may. Plugins are of interesting nature, particularly because not every WordPress owner needs the same ones. A taco stand looking to set up their menu on WordPress, most likely wouldn’t find each and every one of the suggestions on this list very useful. Neither would a housekeeping company looking to set up a “meet the team” homepage. Unless, of course, they also blog. (Which, by the way, is a great way for companies to keep customers engaged and in the loop with their products and/or services.) However, today I’m reaching out and specifically targeting bloggers, who are seeking awesome ways to improve their website, without compromising their wallets.
Plugins are fantastic because they enhance the user experience and overall functionality of your website. The only overwhelming factor is the amount of WordPress plugins which are available. Scrolling through tens of thousands of plugins is not something people would particularly enjoy doing for a few hours. Nor is it very productive. And where’s there’s good, there’s also bad. Really, really bad. Thus, I’m here to save the day 🙂 Here are 7 free WordPress plugins your website can benefit from.
1. YOAST SEO
Yoast SEO is a freaking powerhouse, people. This is by far one of the most important plugins for any blogger to have. And in case you didn’t know, SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. This means that if your SEO is outstanding, you’ll rank higher up in Google search results, bringing more traffic to your website. Yoast takes you step-by-step on each feature and gives you a green, red, or yellow light, alongside grades and suggestions of how to make your SEO even better. Turn your site’s ranking from zero to hero in one click (with a few efforts on your behalf as well, lazy babes — nothing in life is that easy). ❤
Having a quick-loading time on your website is both necessary and valuable for all bloggers. Why, you ask? Websites that load fast not only keep your readers happy, but it also makes them want to stay and browse through the rest of your content. Pagespeeds also affect your SEO ranking, so hellur! This is where this plugin comes into play. It gives you a hand in compressing your website’s uploaded photos. This means that the original image is resized, without resulting in any visible loss in quality — Saving you loads of storage space and bandwith.
If you use any type of images in your blog posts and/or website, you need to make sure they are pinnable. Let’s say a reader is browsing through your blog, and you have a few different images of a recipe you made. They enjoyed your post, they may want to make it at a later date, and would like to save this said recipe in one of their Pinterest boards, but aha! They don’t have a reminder to do so, thus, they’ll probably just hit the ol’ dusty trail and find another similar recipe elsewhere. Having a ‘Pin It’ button pop up on hover of an image will make your audience go, “Oh yeah! Good idea”. You are giving them the opportunity to go back to your post, AND you are reaching this individual’s Pinterest following as well. More audience, more looove.
UpdraftPlus allows you to automatically backup your website on a regular basis. Yeah, ‘crucial’ may be the word that immediately comes to mind when I think of this plugin. But not only does UpdraftPlus backup your WordPress files, it also backs up your database, and automatically overwrites the previous copies to help conserve free space on your drives.
Related posts are a great way to increase your audiences engagement, by giving them access to more reading material they may find interesting. Plus, the more content your audience is exposed to, the more they’ll fall in love with your work, and the more they’ll be willing to share your work via social networks, family, friends, and coworkers.
Just like the “Pin It” button is an encouragement for your readers to share, so is “Tweet This”. Tweet This gets embedded in your page in a pretty way so that when people see what you’d like to tweet out, they get excited about it and share it with their following.
Since most of us aren’t online security experts, we need a tool that can automatically protect our content, without us having to figure everything out on our own. WordFence Security is one helluva powerful scanning tool, and definitely falls into the “must-haves” of the plugin world. This plugin scans for malicious code, monitors your website, checks your passwords, and blocks any suspicious activity they can find. Basically, it saves your butt from getting hacked. There is absolutely nothing I could ask for more of with this plugin.
How do I install plugins on WordPress?
As mentioned above, although WordPress is very simple to use, it can be a very intimidating software to get around at first glance, especially for those just starting out with a blog. Luckily, once you get the hang of it, it is as easy as pie. (And who doesn’t like pie?)
1. Sign in onto your website. This is accessed by entering “/wp-admin” after your blog name.
— example: yourblogname.com/wp-admin
2. Locate and hover over “Plugins” on your dashboard, and select “Add New”.
3. Enter your desired plugin (name) in the search bar.
4. Install your plugin via the “Install Now” button.
5. Click “Activate” and voila!
What are some of your favourite WordPress plugins? Tell me about ’em below!