Why have them at all?
For the seasoned developer, this question would likely go to site workability and functionality. For me, and perhaps you the reader who are bloggers and online entrepreneurs, we need them to simply make our lives a little easier. Plugins in essence are a great resource and give our websites an air of user-friendliness. They can make our posts look awesome, allow us to share video’s easier, trim our images without having to know code to do it, and generally make our websites great looking. They are our own little developers that we have on hand, and to the clever people who have created them, I for one thank you!
Where to start?
With over 50 000 plugins to choose from, knowing what you need is paramount. Luckily, we are guided in this aspect by the plugin themselves, and those of you with a website will know what I mean when I say this. With a WordPress website, the plugin function is so user friendly, even I can use it! Reading the scope of work, and how that plugin will work on your website is plain and simple. When you choose one, it even gives you a handy training video, or a series of them to develop your skills.
Obviously you can’t have too many plugins as this will slow your website substantially, so following much research and advice from people using plugins, follow this simple guide to get you started.
We all want our websites to rank well in search engines, so knowing and understanding some high-level Search Engine Optimisation is useful. Thankfully though, there are some awesome plugins that will help you on your way, and the entry-level services are free!
Yoast and All-in-One SEO plugins are designed to simplify on-page SEO, and make analysis of your data coming from your website far easier to understand. Both plugins provide you with useful tips and great learning opportunities too.
Who loves spam? Not me, and I am sure not you either! Akismet Anti-Spam keeps your site safe from bots and the set up is so user friendly. It seems to be the most popular of the plugins with around 35 million downloads, and the free version is outstanding.
A useful point here though, is when you are browsing the library of plugins that are available, check out how many people are using them. This is a good indication of its popularity and ease of use.
Images are critical to your posts and website. In a content strategy report, it is mentioned that more content is read with images that accompany the article. Note to self! So, you definitely need an optimiser that will set your image correctly and keep your website loading optimally.
Smush Image and EWWW Image Optimizer are two options to look at. Both compress and optimize the images automatically, and still maintain the high quality of the image itself. Great that we don’t have to know technical code to do this manually!
Let your customers contact you easily
Easily done with a plugin that you allows you to create a contact form for your customer to complete.
Have a look at WP Forms or Contact Form 7, which have templates to choose from so you are not reinventing the wheel.
Awesome looking posts
With page building plugins like Gutenberg or Elementor Page Builder, each post and page can look like a seasoned designer has created them. They allow such ease of use, and I would go as far as saying that it’s easier to use than most word processing documents.
With choices of design, colour and layout you can choose themes that fit your business strategy and your preferences. Best of all, they are designed in the first instance to make your customers enjoy their experience too.
Cyberattacks are real and your website is open to them, so having a plugin to stand guard on these unauthorised actions is vital.
Jetpack and Wordfence Security both protect from hacks and malware, and even their free versions are more than adequate to guard your precious asset, that is your website.
So, with your pages looking awesome, your customers happily contacting you with ease, and your pages loading easily your plugins are eagerly doing their work, behind the scenes.
I wonder if there will be an ultimate plugin list where everyone agrees on each and every plugin? For the moment, I am simply enjoying the ease that they provide and will always be grateful to each and every creator of these awesome “power-packs”