When we talk about WordPress, the first thing strikes to the mind is a well-structured code and immense functionality. While WordPress offers astounding features and flexibility, there is still a lot of scopes to add more functionality to the website in order to improve it on various aspects.
One of the best ways to add in the missing pieces of functionality is by installing the right plugins which can equip the website ideally with all those features that can optimize the website for users as well as admins.
There are over 40,000 plugins available in the “WordPress Plugin Directory” which can transform your WordPress website into an online space that visitors would love to navigate.
What Are WordPress Plugins?
WordPress plugins are like apps and each plugin equips the website with a particular functionality. For instance, an SEO plugin would make it easier for you to optimize the website by adding on-site SEO elements like meta titles, meta descriptions etc.
Plugins can significantly improve the user experience and allow the web admins to effectively optimize as well as monitor the website’s performance.
Like mobile apps, which make it easier for us to utilize the different features of the mobile hardware, the plugins make it possible to leverage the website in multiple ways while catering your web audience in the most astonishing manner.
Which WordPress Plugins You Need On Your WordPress Website?
Here is a list of 8 free and premium plugins which you must install on your website.
1. W3 Total Cache
“W3 Total Cache” is an amazing plugin which has been specifically designed to optimize the website by increasing its page load speed and improve the overall user experience on the website.
During the high traffic periods, when a lot of visitors are trying to access your website, the W3 cache efficaciously improves the web server performance and prevents the website from becoming slow in loading.
- Reduces the download time
- Reduces page load time
- Improves website performance
Website’s loading speed is important from both perspectives, user’s and search engine’s. If your website is slow to load, neither search engines will give it high rank nor your users would be pleased with the website, and consequently, you won’t be able to attract a lot of visitors to your website.
When a lot of users visit the website and comment on the blogs/content, the website owners consider it as a sign of success, but sometimes, the comments are spam and they may damage the website.
Akismet is one of the best security plugins which helps in filtering out the spam comments by automatically checking the comments through the Akismet Web Service.
In order to find out that whether the comment is from a genuine user or is spam, the Akismet plugin tracks the comments, as every comment will have a history of users. If the comments do not have a history of an associated user, those comments are marked as spam.
- Maintains the history of which spam is deleted by Akismet
- Keeps the comments’ history, which are unspammed and spammed by the moderator
- Offers another important feature, Discard, where it straightaway blocks certain spams and it saves the space in your disk.
- Displays number of approved comments to the moderator of every user.
One of the underlying ways of attracting the organic traffic to your website is by making the search engines show and list your content in the search results. But, the search engines like Google cannot do it unless their crawlers have visited your content and registered it. Thus, every time you add a new blog or content page, you need to wait for the search engine crawlers to come and visit the content once so that it can be registered.
SmartCrawl makes it easier for you by making your website more visible to the leading search engines. It informs the web crawlers about every new piece of content which you have added to the website.
Apart from informing the web crawlers to come and visit the website, the SmartCrawl can:
- Customize how your web content descriptions and titles appear on the search engines
- Create a sitemap
- Add automated keyword linking
- View the industry leading reports
4. Wordfence Security
There is a myriad of reasons why this plugin is one of the most popular security plugins on the market. It is a complete solution of security from hackers. One of the key reasons that it is the best, is that the developers keep on updating it from time to time, to have an upper hand over the new security threats. Below you can see other salient features of the Wordfence security plugin.
Live traffic view- with it the user can see real-time traffic as well as hacking attempts.
- It also sees if the IP address of your website is Spamvertised.
- It also supports blockage of a certain country and audit of the password.
- Not only it blocks malicious network, which could be advanced IP or Domain WHOIS, but, it also blocks a known attacker on your website automatically if any other website using Wordfence has blocked an attacker.
- It offers two-factor authentication, and enforce sturdy passwords.
- It deeply scans your website for all sort threats and vulnerability.
5. iThemes Security
Another security plugin which can secure and protect your WordPress website. It was formerly known as WP Security but now the name has changed. It works on strengthening the vulnerable spots in the website which might compromise its security of your website.
Some of the salient features of this plugin are below:
- Provides two-factor authentication.
- Password expiration, it forces the user to change password at some time interval or immediately, when required.
- Performs malware scanning with email if any issues are found.
- Tracks the activity of user like login, logout and when he edits the content and informs the admin if anything suspicious is detected.
6. Backup WordPress
In today’s vulnerabilities oriented world, anything can happen to their IT assets and thus, it’s important to safeguard them. Another fact is that, no matter how stringent security mechanisms you deploy, the hackers or viruses can still damage your email accounts, websites and other similar online data repositories. This is why backing up your data is mandatory.
The “Backup WordPress” is a backup plugin which stores all the data on the website. It is very simple to use and requires very less amount of memory.
Some of the main features are:
- It can effectively back up the entire website
- It works on Windows as well as Linux server
- It can even email the backed up data to you
- It supports translation to multiple languages
7. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Optimization of the websites has become one of the most vital requisites today. There are millions of websites in each niche and thus, one needs to optimize his/her website to attain higher search engine rankings, to get listed in top search engine results and to attract huge influxes of organic traffic.
SEO by Yoast, which is one of the favorite plug-ins of a majority of Search Engine Optimisers is a complete solution for all your on-site SEO needs. It has a broad array of features which can take your SEO efforts to a new level.
Here are some of best features of Yoast SEO Plugin:
- It allows you to define all the on-site and on-page SEO elements
- It helps in developing the XML sitemap of the website
- It flourishes the content by impelling you to use focus keywords.
- It helps to increase the rank of the page by using snippet preview
- It takes care of page analysis in a brief manner and notifies about small yet salient things like image, focus keywords in tags, meta description and much more
- It itself inserts meta tags and link elements which are imperative to get higher rankings on Google and other search engines.
8. Social Media and Share Icons
Social Media has become one of the most vital tools to attract organic traffic to your website. The “Social Media and Share Icons” is a social networking plugin which not only adds icons of social media platforms like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and YouTube but, offers a plethora of customized features to help a WordPress website make prominent social media.
Some of the important features of this plugin are listed below.
- It includes more than 200 social media icons with customization.
- 16 different designs are available for users to choose from their social media icons.
- Animation feature for icons with float and sticky option.
- Option for email subscription is also available.