A Guide to the Best Plugins for WordPress
Since entering the CMS scene, WordPress has become one of the most widely used website publishing platforms out there. With 22% of all new websites created in 2012 using WordPress, the evidence of its usability and growing popularity is staggering! The reason for this popularity among Web Publishers stems from the fact that it is easy to learn and completely customizable with the use of WordPress plugins.
Plugins make the WordPress world go ’round! They allow any user to add custom features onto their WordPress site without having to know how to write code. The WordPress library of plugins currently has more than 22,000 free plugins available for download and thousands of paid-for premium plugins to choose from. To help you sift through the massive number of developed WordPress Plugins, we have compiled a list of useful plugins that we recommend for any WordPress website.
WordPress SEO Plugin
We all know about the importance of SEO, but what you want to know is; how can I implement keywords on my own site? Well lucky for you WordPress has a ton of SEO plugins that are ready to make that job easy for you. There are two we would recommend giving a try: WordPress SEO by Yoast and All in One SEO Pack. Both of these plugins allow a clear interface to add meta-titles, meta-descriptions, keywords to each one of the pages and posts of your WordPress site.
WordPress SEO by Yoast has bit more to it’s interface than All in One SEO Pack. Yoast gives you an indicator of how strong your title tags, meta-descriptions, and keywords are and will even try to look up keywords for you based on the title of your page.
All in One SEO Pack keeps it simple. The interface is very clean and easy to understand with no inputs other than the ones you need. If you are confident in how to find the right keywords than this plugin makes your On-Site SEO simple.
WordPress Redirection Plugin
If you need a quick and simple redirection plugin, Redirection is the way to go. This WordPress plugin allows you to manage 301 redirections and keep track of 404 errors without requiring knowledge of Apache .htaccess files. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
Convert Posts to Pages
In order to easily convert a post to a page or convert a page to a post on WordPress, pTypeConverter does the trick! This plugin allows you to easily convert any post type of a certain post to another in an easy to use interface. It even rewrites the permalinks after conversion so that your old URL will automagically forward the user to the new URL.
WordPress Cache Plugin
If your website is loading slowly than W3 Total Cache is the plugin for you! This plugin improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
WordPress Social Plugin
There are so many different social media plugins for WordPress that choosing one can be a daunting task. The main difference between the various social plugins is the way they look once implemented on your WordPress site. It is important to consider how the plugin will integrate before making a final decision. There are a couple that we would suggest taking a look at; Social Slider and Sexy Bookmarks.
Contact Forms for WordPress
There are quite a few options when choosing a contact form to use on your website. Some WordPress themes recommend a specific contact form plugin that easily integrates with the theme’s layout and options, if this is the case it is a good idea to work with what the theme suggests. Our go-to contact plugin is Contact Form 7, it is easy to use and implement on any website. When using this plugin also make sure to download Contact Form Database Extension to save a database of all of the submissions to your contact forms.
Simple Google Sitemap XML generates a valid Google XML sitemap, which can then be used with Google’s Webmaster Tools. It’s incredibly simple to set up and very important for your site’s Search Engine Optimization.
Mobile Website Plugin
If you don’t already know how important it is to have a mobile friendly website, check out what we had to say about why you should develop a mobile website. If you feel like it is too late to go responsive and don’t want to do a total website redesign then there is a plugin for you: WP Touch. This plugin will convert you existing WordPress site into a mobile friendly interface. Although the free version only really works well with blog sites, the paid version will allow you tons of customization.
For more information about the top WordPress plugins, take a look at The Periodic Table of WordPress Plugins. This table showcases the 108 most popular WordPress plugins, ranked by the number of downloads.