Opinions expressed below may not be suitable for all skill levels and individual requirements but please enjoy our article.
While WordPress plugins can add extra functionality to your website, their use should be carefully assessed for your individual needs, and remember; loading your site with tonnes of plugins can have adverse affects in both performance and security.
Click Click Media is not affiliated with any of the plugins or developers listed below.
WordPress as a CMS
WordPress; It has been a revolution in how businesses and people publish content to the internet. Its explosion onto the web development scene has been phenomenal, open source and backed by one of the internet’s largest communities, it is easy to see why it is so popular.
I am a fan of WordPress, having taught it to countless clients now, it is a CMS you can work with that a client will benefit from long term and as a bonus encourages good online marketing practice such as blogging and updating your content. I even beleive the fundamental use of the WordPress should be taught in our schools.
(Some interesting stats on WordPress use as a CMS here: http://trends.builtwith.com/cms)
5 Awesome WordPress plugins for your businesses website.
In no particular order here are five awesome WordPress plugins I find myself using on (almost) all sites.
- Yoast SEO Plugin
- Better WordPress Security
- Gravity Forms
1. Askimet (Spam Prevention Plugin)
Askimet is the default plugin deployed with all WordPress installations. All you need to do to deploy it is go to your plugins page within your WordPress CMS, click activate and follow the instructions.
Askimit is what I would consider one of the true ‘essential’ plugins for all WordPress websites, it is a hosted web service that saves you time by automatically detecting and deleting comment and trackback spam. Anyone with a WordPress website without Askimet would know the volume of spam comments a website can receive, the annoying process of receiving an email, checking the comment and deleting is all automated with this plugin.
While you can use this plugin for free, a small donation to the developer is I’m sure appreciated and you can do this during the sign up process.
(More on how askimet works here: http://akismet.com/how/)
2. Yoast WordPress SEO (SEO Plugin)
Easily remove hours of work when optimising your WordPress website. This plugin is great and has been great for a long time.
This plugin allows you to easily set titles and meta’s (along with creating template rules for both), manage indexation rules, disable archives you are not using, generate xml sitemaps, verify your wordpress website with Google, Bing, Yahoo webmaster tools and many other enhancements…
(Full feature list here: http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/)
One of the more valuable features (I find) is when tutoring a client how to creating content on their website is the visible title and meta description with the post / page editor can ensure a client understand exactly what the page will look like showing up within a google listing!
The developer also provides and guide to WordPress SEO with his plugin here: http://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/
3. Better WordPress Security (Security Plugin)
Ok this plugin can do a lot, and some of the features shouldn’t be attempted without an understanding of what they do.
Luckily the plugin has an option to secure sites from basic vulnerabilities that can be done without worrying too much (called one-click protection). This simple function will significantly increase your WordPress website’s security.
This plugin allows you to rename database tables, hide your admin section, ban multiple login attempts, ban multiple 404 errors, prevent long suspicious url stings being entered, rename your content directory and limit admin access to specific times to your site.
(Along with a huge range of features: http://bit51.com/software/better-wp-security/)
While most of these functions can be performed manually (actually that is true of every WordPress plugin) and the developer of course doesn’t place any guarantees that this plugin will completely protect your site it will go a long way to making your WordPress website more secure against the more common forms of attack.
Again a free plugin with optional donation to the developer.
4. Gravity Forms (Forms Plugin)
Gravity forms is in my opinion the best form plugin for WordPress. The clients love this one as it makes creating and deploying forms to your website is exceptionally easy.
Gravity forms provides an easy to understand visual editor allowing you to create complex forms for both information collection and commercial transactions. Once your forms are created an additional icon within your editor allows you to easily select and insert the form into your page.
Other features I love within Gravity Forms is the simple integration with your e-marketing platforms, the ability to collect content straight into custom post types and the simple displaying of form views and form conversion rates.
(Tonnes of additional features: http://www.gravityforms.com/features/form-builder/)
Gravity forms is a premium paid plugin, but for ease of use, reducing development time and client satisfaction it is a great option.
5. WooDojo (Bundled General Enhancements)
WooDojo is a bundled collection of plugins that Woothemes deploy with their WordPress themes. It has a lot of great features such as social profiles, under construction page, login branding and the exceptional WooComerce (more on that in another post).
(Full features found here: http://www.woothemes.com/woodojo/)
I however think this plugin is awesome for the following inclusions:
Post development a common change can be custom widget area’s for specific pages, be it a special landing page, new offer or offering information within widgets depending on product, services or pages. Woo Sidebars allows you to create new widget areas based on the rules you set.
You can create a new widget area for post type, taxonomy or specific post / page very easily and populate them as you would normally through appearance > widgets. Including this feature within your clients website will not only save time / money, but hopefully get them thinking creatively about the information they are including in widgets.
Same as Woo Sidebars, modify what your menus are displaying based on a set of rules.
WooDojo Custom Code
This plugin gives you an area to easily prototype custom CSS changes and add additional HTML code into your websites head. This is great for ‘on-the-fly’ changes and if the client has some familiarity with CSS, you are giving them somewhere to play around before asking you to make the final changes to the stylesheets, and if things go wrong, they can easily delete the custom code with no ongoing affect to their website.
WooDojo is free to download and can be activated with registration to their site, also free.
What are your awesome WordPress plugins?
Got any great wordpress plugins you are in love with? have you had experience using any of the above you would like to share? Please leave your feedback and comments below!Images by Click Click Media