There may have been a time when you had to be a mini-geek in order to set up cool options for your blog and to keep your website secure. Thankfully enough, those times are over. Instead, it’s now the age of WordPress plugins, which means that there’s a widget to quickly solve almost any problem for you.
Today, it’s no longer a matter of whether you can install an option on your blog. In fact, there are probably ten plugins out there than can do it for you. What’s important is that you know which WordPress plugins are best at what they do, because once you have this information, the solution to your problem is only a small fee and a few clicks away.
Security and spam
Especially when you decide to monetize your blog and therefore require readers to provide credit card details or similar information, you have to make sure that your website is as secure as it gets. That’s why in this particular field, it’s best to use several security plugins, as opposed to relying on a single one that may or may not fail in a given situation.
To begin with, take a look at Force Strong Passwords, a WordPress plugin that does exactly what its name suggests. In other words, it makes sure that every user on the blog creates a strong password, therefore reducing the risk that a hacker will gain unauthorized access by guessing or using a script. Next up, Brute Protect is a great plugin included in the Jetpack bundle that can stop most automated attack scripts from breaking into your blog. If you’re really serious about keeping your Admin password secure, you can also install Clef Two-Factor Authentication, which allows you to create a free account and log into your WordPress blog using both a password and your smartphone.
Finally, if your blog will be successful, then you have to prepare yourself to defend it against unwanted spam. Experienced bloggers agree that the best plugin for spam control is Akismet. Although it might be less effective for short periods of time when spammers change their methods, it is the only plugin that keeps adapting and therefore has the best chance to keep you protected.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While you might not want to spend a lot of time worrying about SEO when you start out your WordPress blog, it’s still a good idea to keep some basic principles in mind as you write. Instead of having to learn SEO techniques on your own, you can ask a WordPress plugin to do it for you. The best in this field is definitely WordPress SEO by Yoast, which can help you bring in as much organic traffic as possible by drawing your attention to SEO titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs and other improvements that can be made to your blog.
Caching and loading speed
Unless you are using a managed WordPress host like Pagely, you’re inevitably going to need some kind of caching enabled on your blog. Otherwise, your website will load very slowly and consequently cause your visitors to leave before they even get the chance to look around. WP Rocket is today’s best caching plugin, not only because of its effectiveness, but also because it is much simpler to use than other alternatives. Indeed, while most caching plugins require configuration in order to function properly, WP Rocket can work on its own and make your WordPress blog faster right after installation.
When you’re running a successful blog, being able to communicate with your readers is of the utmost importance. Of course, you can do this through comments or on social media, but it’s just as essential to give your readers the opportunity to contact you in a direct fashion. That’s why you’ll need a great contact form on your blog and the WordPress plugin for the job is Gravity Forms. These forms are incredibly easy to set up and they’ll be user-friendly to your readers as well. Although Gravity Forms does not feature a free option, it still remains the most popular contact form plugin amongst bloggers, simply the convenience and effectiveness it brings to the table are worth every penny.
Social sharing and reviews
Have you noticed how almost every page you visit now has a “Like” or “Share” button attached to it? That’s because social media is a proven way to run advertising campaigns today and if you want to get popular, you’d better make it incredibly easy for your readers to share your blogs with others. Nevertheless, this is nothing to worry about, because of course, there are plenty of plugins that can do this for you. One of your best choices here is Jetpack by WordPress.com, a WordPress plugin that is simple to use and will not slow down your website with useless scripts. It provides share counts for all the major networks, as well as awesome sharing buttons and plenty of advanced options for those who are technically inclined.
If you’re selling or advertising a product on your blog, don’t forget about customer testimonials and reviews! A neatly designed WordPress plugin that can help you display customer reviews on your is Good Reviews for WordPress.
Ecommerce and membership solutions
If you’re going to start an ecommerce website on your WordPress blog, then WooCommerce can help you get the job done easily. It is currently the largest growing ecommerce platform on the Internet and comes with a great feature set and extension possibilities. However, if you’re going to do business online, you’ll have to consider all the extra coding that comes with a WordPress plugin like WooCommerce. This means that unless you invest in a fast web hosting account, your website might get a little sluggish and cause dissatisfaction among users.
In case you’re considering a membership website, then Restrict Content Pro is probably your best WordPress plugin. Of course, different types of membership blogs might have different requirements from their plugin and Restrict Content Pro is not the most feature-filled option out there. However, it is the best option in terms of coding and ease of use, which makes it the ideal solution for the majority of membership websites.
Ultimately, regardless of what feature you need on your WordPress blog, there’s probably a dozen WordPress plugins that can get the job done for you. The next time you feel like you could improve your blog with an additional option, don’t shy away because it seems too hard to figure out. Instead, find the right WordPress plugin to do it for you!