Our Top 10 Favorite WordPress Plugins
One of the best things about using WordPress to power your website is that there are countless plugins you can use to extend the functionality of your website. The problem with having so many plugins is that the average person never knows which plugins are useful and reliable.
That’s why we outlined our favorite plugins and exactly why we love them (and use them). SiteFox clients might find these plugins familiar; we pre-install most of the following plugins with each new installation – that’s how much we like them…
Table of Contents
- 1: Yoast SEO Plugin
- 2: SEO Slugs
- 3: W3 Total Cache
- 4: Redirection
- 5: Google Analytics for WordPress
- 6: Disqus Comments
- 7: Post Plugins Library
- 8: Popular Posts
- 9: Similar Posts
- 10: Gravity Forms
1: Yoast SEO Plugin
The Yoast SEO Plugin is one of the simplest ways to manage your website’s search engine optimization.
It allows you to setup title tags, indexation rules, and remove the “category” slug from the URL. The plugin also makes it very easy (just one checkbox) to add in open graph data, optimizing your website for social media.
2: SEO Slugs
When you’re writing an article, WordPress automatically turns your article headline into the URL slug (if you have your permalinks setup to use postname).
The SEO slugs plugin, removes all the extraneous keywords from the URL. It removes words like “the, it, etc”. That way you keep only the keywords that are relevant and search engines can place greater focus on these terms.
3: W3 Total Cache
WordPress works by saving all the content and information on a page into the website’s database. This means that whenever you load a page, the server has to access the database and display the information from there.
Accessing a server’s database can be slow and cause the website to take longer to load. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your WordPress website has proper caching setup.
Caching allows your server to save the information from the database on a page and only have to access the database if something changes. This process is much faster and makes your website load super fast.
The W3 Total Cache plugin is one of the most robust and feature friendly caching plugins available. It’s something we highly recommend!
Have you ever been browsing the web and then come across a page that gives you a 404 error? The error page is not user firendly and usually just stinks.
So, what do you to do make sure you don’t show the 404 error to your users?
The Redirection plugin monitors what URL caused the 404 error and makes it easy to setup redirects (transfer your users from the 404 error to a URL you defined).
Use this plugin to make sure your users never see a 404 error.
5: Google Analytics for WordPress
We’re huge fans of data – it’s something that helps us make knowledgeable decisions. That’s why we love the Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.
Google Analytics is a free analytics system that Google offers. It tracks how many people visited your website, where they came from, and what they did.
The problem is that installing the Google Analytics tracking code can be difficult for non-technical users. Thankfully, the Google Analytics WordPress plugin installs it for you and makes it easy to customize for your needs.
6: Disqus Comments
The standard commenting system that WordPress comes with is fairly bare and feature less. There’s a lot most users request from their comments. Thankfully, Disqus makes it super easy to add a lot of the features you want without having to do a lot.
Disqus is a third party commenting system that makes it easy for readers to leave comments using their social media profiles, get updates when someone replies, and even upload images to their comments.
The Disqus WordPress plugin makes it super simple to integrate the Disqus comment system onto your WordPress website; it’s definitely a service to check out.
7: Post Plugin Library
Although this plugin doesn’t seem like it does anything, it’s actually a super powerful plugin that powers two other plugins that we love.
The Post Plugin Library is required to install the Popular Posts plugin and the Similar Posts plugin.
8: Popular Posts
The Popular Posts plugin is a great tool for highlighting articles that are receiving a lot of traffic. With this plugin you’re able to list your most popular posts wherever you want, using the plugin’s templating system.
Highlighting popular posts drivers users further into your website and increases the likelihood that they’ll spend more time on your site.
This plugin is extremely easy to customize and install, especially if you are simply listing popular posts in your sidebar.
9: Similar Posts
Much like the Popular Posts plugin, the Similar Posts plugin acts as a tool for increasing how long users spend on your website. Displaying similar posts at the end of an article is a great way to help users discover more of your content.
The Similar Post plugin uses much of the same templating and customization functionality that the Popular Post plugin uses. This makes it simple to implement both plugins on one website.
10: Gravity Forms
The last plugin we love is actually a premium plugin (it’s not free like the others). We tried to keep out premium plugins, but this is one of those that we just can’t live without.
The Gravity Forms plugin allows you to easily and quickly create forms on your website that users can fill out. It makes it very simple to embed a contact form or newsletter sign up form.
The forms are stylish and easy to use. They can be setup to notify an email whenever the form is submitted or it can be integrated with a number of third party systems including MailChimp, FreshBooks, or even the SiteFox Email Manager.
If you’re serious about your website and blog, the Gravity Forms plugin is definitely a good investment.
Most of the plugins above are simple to install and configure. It’s just a matter of getting a WordPress website up and then using the plugins to extend it.
If you have any questions on how to use one of the above plugins or how to install it, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! We’re happy to help answer any questions you might have.
Of course if you need someone to help you do it for you, consider signing up for a SiteFox WordPress hosting plan. We’d be more than happy to help configure your website the way you want it during your WordPress setup!