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8 Plugins you need for your WordPress Website 2018

One of the very many benefits of using WordPress for your company website is that it is very easy to use plugin system.  The most difficult part of using the WordPress plugin system is deciding which plugin to use.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 plugins who should install on your website to reduce the administrative effort and maximize results.

So, you’ve taken the plunge and followed our advice on why you should use WordPress for your business website . To take your website to the next level and generate traffic and ease the administration effort required, the following is a list of some of our favorite plugins to install.

What is a WordPress Plugin

A plugin is generally a software component containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website, too extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites.

WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. The WordPress community of developers, make it easy for users to add features to their website without knowing a single line of code.

There are thousands available for free to download at the official WordPress plugin directory. The vast majority of plugins are free, which usually means they do not come with tech support. Hence why it is important to be careful when choosing which ones you want to install on your site.

Although there are plugins that can do virtually anything, some are much higher quality than others. Our list below will help get you started with some of the best plugins we use regularly on sites we build for customers, to quickly, easily and securely build robust, scalable and reliable websites.

Spam protection

Unfortunately, the increasing popularity of your website also increases the risk of attracting the attention of the unscrupulous organisations who want to spam you with all sorts of rubbish. Fortunately, due to the fact that many of these organizations and individuals out there, don’t know really know what they’re doing, they are really easy to foil. Simply implementing these 3 plugins will automatically reduce the administrative burden of dealing with the spammers.

Our must have list of 4 plugins that will not only help to reduce time wasted by dealing with spammers, but will also help add an extra layers of security to your WordPress Websites.

1 . Akismet

Akismet anti spam plugin

Comment spam and contact form spam will more than likely increase as your site gains in popularity and web traffic increases.  Dealing with spam will consume your time if you don’t address it from the beginning.  Fortunately, it is easily addressed by installing and registering Akismet .

Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against our global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. You can review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.

You’ll need an Akismet.com API key to use it. Keys are free for personal blogs.  There are paid subscriptions are available for businesses and commercial sites.

We generally recommend taking out a paid subscription plan even if you are going to be running a personal blog with the intention of monetizing it with affiliate  and advertising links.

Akismet is a cloud-based application, so has access to a massive database used to filter and catch spam. The performance impact on your site is unnoticeable.

Akismet, will catch the most but not all spam comments submitted to your website. You will still need to moderate comments and if you see spam comments that escaped Akismet, mark them as spam, which will also update the database to help others in future.

We believe that Akismet is a must-have plugin for all WordPress sites. The volume of comment spam is just too much to deal with and Akismet will help you save a lot of time. It is easy to setup, does not require you to do much, and works very well.

Get Akismet

 

2. Stop Web Crawlers

Stop Web Crawlers
Referrer spam is a big problem when you want to analyse your website traffic in Google Analytics . There have also been a number of very dubious SEO tools implicated a some of best known names in layered security have been actively blocking these bots

Referer Spam can really distort your analytics results and may give the impression your site is doing a lot better than it really is.  In some cases, it can also affect the actual performance of your site, because your website’s resources may be continually tied up in dealing with Fake Request.

Although most web hosts do provide protection against these bots, these bots many don’t include it on their medium tier hosting accounts. So in order to fill this gap we have developed a free plugin Stop Web Crawlers to dramatically reduce effects and save you a whole lot of time!

This plugin will help to block over 1400 known and reported as spam crawlers compiled data from several collaborative resources and spam lists.

The plugin blocks crawlers with a 403 Forbidden message so that they no longer show up in your Google Analytics statistics. Although the plugin is effective in Blocking known referer spam crawlers, which actively visit your site you may want to read our guide on how to stop referer spam in Google Analytics

 

Get Stop Web Crawlers

 

 

3. Disqus

Disqus Comment System
You’ll want users to leave comments and to improve traffic to your site, by leaving comments on other websites, you’ll want to protect against comment spam and build a community. With Disqus you’ll be able to do all and potentially generate revenue from this effort.

Disqus pronounced “discuss” is a popular third-party commenting system for WordPress. A number of popular sites including CNN, The Next Web, Bloomberg, CNBC, The Atlantic and threenine.co.uk use Disqus.

Disqus helps you to Manage and Moderate comments on your website without actually having to log in to your website. It also helps eliminate Comment Spam, which is one of the unfortunate side effects of inviting comments on your blog.

The Disqus for WordPress plugin lets site owners and developers easily add Disqus to their sites, replacing the default WordPress comment system.

Features

  • Syncs comments automatically to WordPress for backup and flexibility if you ever decide to switch to a different platform
  • Loads asynchronously with advanced caching so that Disqus doesn’t affect your site’s performance
  • Monetization options to grow revenue
  • Export comments to WordPress-compatible XML to backup or migrate to another system
  • Analytics dashboard for measuring overall engagement on your site
  • Mobile responsive design

 

Get Disqus

 

4. Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator
The Google Authenticator plugin adds an important second layer of security to your login module. In addition to your regular username & password, this plugin either sends a push notification to your phone or some other form of authentication such as using a QR code or asking a security question.

This way, your login becomes far less penetrable with 2 Factor Authentication.

Best Features of Google Authenticator

  • eliminates login vulnerabilities
  • choose which two-factor authentication method is the easiest for you.
  • select which user types need to go through the authentication process.
  • shortcode for custom login pages.

 

Get Google Authenticator

 

Digital Marketing

The primary purpose of any blog or website is to generate leads, educate customers and inevitably make sales! There are a bunch of tools you can use to get the most out of your digital marketing strategy.

The plugins listed below, are what we consider to be the most fundamental when initiating a digital marketing strategy.

5. Yoast SEO

yoast SEO
WordPress comes with a lot of SEO out of the box and in fact, if you didn’t install any plugins at all your site will do just fine.  However, to get some additional assistance and guidance on how to write effective content and need an additional helping hand as you progress through your digital marketing journey the Yoast SEO plugin offers just that!

We recommend just installing the free service for at least the first year or two of your website.  What you’ll learn from this plugin in that time is invaluable and it will better prepare you for when you actively engage with the Yoast or any other digital marketing team later.

The Yoast team also offer a number of courses you can take to improve your understanding of not only SEO but digital marketing in general.

The main benefits of this plugin are :

  • Easy and simple linking of your Google Analytics ID
  • Creation of Google XML SiteMaps for submission
  • Connecting all your social media accounts
  • Creating templates for your all your Meta tags and titles

Although this plugin abstracts many of the complexities of SEO, it is essential that you have at least a basic understanding of SEO.  Taking the time to read through  will put in you in good stead to understanding the benefits of this plugin and how to make the most of it.

Optimize Search Friendly Content

Yoast SEO provides various content analysis tool, which help you when you are editing your content online. You can enter your targeted keyword, Yoast SEO will analyze your content against 12 SEO ‘best practices. Checking your content for keyword density, readability and number of outbound links. It also checks whether your keyword is used in the SEO Title, Meta Description, and first paragraph of your content.

The Snippet Editor allows you to edit and preview how your content appears in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). It gives you the opportunity to customize your SEO title and rewrite your meta description which plays a significant role in boosting Click Through Rate (CTR).

Using a helpful ‘traffic light’ scoring system, it analyses everything to help you easily identify the areas you can improve. Yoast SEO also displays an overall content score using the same traffic light system where obviously, the aim is green. This functionality guarantees your content won’t sink in the SERPs.

Although the Yoast team have done considerable work on this over the years, we still take the scoring system with a pinch of salt

 

Create XML Site Maps

An XML sitemap makes it easier for Google to discover the pages on your site. Yoast SEO offers built-in XML Sitemap functionality, enabling users to generate a sitemap and update automatically whenever a new post or page is published.

Once the Sitemap functionality is activated, Yoast SEO notifies the search engines every time you publish new content. So your content & images get indexed by Google and other search engines whenever they are published.

Social Media Integration

With Yoast SEO, you can integrate your website with four popular social media tools:

  • Facebook Open Graph
  • Twitter Cards
  • Pinterest Open Graph
  • Google+ Publisher

This feature enables you to edit the title, meta description and also upload a custom image, for when people share your post across the various social meadia channels.

Get Yoast SEO

 

6. LuckyOrange

luckyorange
Lucky Orange is a complete conversion rate optimization and customer feedback tool designed to help your website perform at its best.

Lucky Orange provides:

  • live visitor monitoring and recording
  • Heatmaps
  • Poll monitoring
  • Form analytics
  • sales/support chat.

Lucky Orange sports a unique feature where you’ll be able to select a particular visitor to chat with from the admin dashboard.

Its WordPress plugin quickly integrates the service in your WordPress site. Plans start at $10/month and support three websites with a combined total of 50,000 monthly page views. The recoded heatmap data is kept for 30 days.

Get a 7 day trial period with no credit card required during signup.

 

Get LuckyOrange

 

7. Download Attachments

download attachments
One of the essential aspects of any website is to offer the ability for customers to download material from your website. i.e. PDF brochures, Books, Software etc. The Download Attachments plugin provides an easy way to manage downloads in WordPress, Enabling you to place download links within Blog Posts and Pages.
Features include:

  • Automatic or manual download links display
  • Select post types where Download Attachments should be used
  • Select list or table display style
  • Downloads count
  • Advanced attachments sorting
  • Drag & drop files ordering
  • Based on Media Library attachments
  • Easy customisation of Frontend & Backend display
  • Pretty URLs for download links

 

Get Download Attachments

 

General

8. WordPress JetPack

JetPack
WordPress JetPack isn’t just one plugin, it’s a whole suite of really useful tools you can use to truly optimize your site!  Even if you don’t install any of the other plugins we recommend, you just need to ensure you install this one! It offers a whole host of tools and features to enable you to:

Traffic Growth & Insights

Jetpack tells you how many visits your site gets and helps you get more traffic with tools like Related Posts, Publicize, Enhanced Distribution, and Sharing.

Security

Jetpack protects your site against brute force attacks and unauthorised logins. We also monitor your site for downtime and keep your plugins updated.

Image Performance

Jetpack automatically optimizes and speeds up images using the global WordPress.com content delivery network. This saves you hosting costs by reducing bandwidth.

Centralized Management

With Jetpack comes a centralized dashboard on WordPress.com. Manage plugins and menus, publish posts, and view enhanced site stats for all of your sites.

Jetpack has been criticized for adding bloat to your site, especially if you only want to use 1 or 2 modules, but this has never been proven with a speed test. We run Jetpack on a number sites, have seen no noticeable decrease in speed, and think it’s well worth it.

 

Get JetPack

 

Conclusion

The above list is popular free plugins for WordPress to help build a WordPress site. As we all know that plugins increase the functionality of WordPress and add more and more features to it. We do advise you exercise caution and ensure you don’t install too many plugins, and also check that the plugins you install don’t have overlapping functionality.

Many plugin developers often get too carried away in developing features for plugins, which can have an impact on performance or conflict with other plugins.

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Gary Woodfine

Helps businesses by improving their technical proficiencies and eliminating waste from the software development pipelines.

A unique background as business owner, marketing, software development and business development ensures that he can offer the optimum business consultancy services across a wide spectrum of business challenges.
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