10 Must-have WordPress Plugins for a Successful Brand (Zip Download Provided)
WordPress is a powerful content management system that allows you to easily build a dynamic website for your side hustle. One of the biggest advantages of using the WordPress platform over other platforms such as Joomla or Drupal is WordPress’ ever-growing library of Themes, Plugins and Developers. But most importantly, Plugins.
What are Plugins?
The best analogy I have given in the past to explain wordpress plugins is; If WordPress was your car, plugins would be your sound system, rims, nitro etc- all these things basically extend the functionality of the car & subsequently enhance it. So do plugins to your base WordPress installation.
I’ve taken the liberty to put together a list of my favorite plugins. I have used all the plugins listed below so this is my personal recommendation. Hopefully this will help you save time and a lot of frustration down the road.
1. WordPress SEO by Yoast (Free)
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
By now, you should know the importance of Search Engine Optimization. This plugin quickly and easily lets you optimize your site/blog. I’ve used it on every website I’ve designed for my clients.
2. W3 Total Cache (Free)
Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.
Speed is everything when it comes to website page loads. To sum it up, this plugin helps your site gain some load speed. This study by KissMetrics shows how load time affects your bottomline.
3. Akismet (Free)
Akismet filters out your comment and track-back spam for you, so you can focus on more important things.
One of the drawbacks of using WordPress as your main platforms especially if you have comments enabled (which you should) is the constant nagging of spammer bots with useless urls and comment posts that basically fish for links. Fortunate enough, we have Akismet which helps you manage and get rid of comment spam.
4. Contact Form 7 (Free)
Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
I personally used this when I started out and it worked great. But when I discovered Gravity Forms (see below), I had to make the switch. Contact Form 7 is a great place for starters, but I’d highly recommend switching to Gravity Forms once you make some money.
5. Gravity Forms ($39-$199)
Same as Contact Form 7 above, only better. 100 times better!
6. Google XML-Sitemaps (Free)
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
Great plugin for SEO- helps your submit your site’s XML sitemap and as listed above, helps your site get indexed better.
7. Better WP Security (Free)
The easiest, most effective way to secure WordPress. Improve the security of any WordPress site in seconds.
This has to be my favorite plugins, EVER! I can’t tell you how many times I went to bed only to wake up the following morning will ALL my sites (and my clients) hacked! This is a nightmare. For almost a year, I was constantly cleaning up sites from viruses, repairing and what not. I lost a couple of clients because they were too frustrated with the consistent attacks!
At the glimpse of giving up, I discovered Better WP Security and all my problems were solved- instantly! This is an invaluable tool that I would not mind paying for. It will save you a lot of frustration, time and energy.
8. 404 Redirected (Free)
Creates automatic redirects for 404 traffic and page suggestions when matches are not found providing better service to your web visitors.
9. Custom Login 2.0 (Free)
Use this plugin to customize your login screen, great for client sites!
Huge plugin for branding your site’s login panel. Make it beautiful with your logo- or your client’s.
10. Login LockDown (Free)
Simple Login Lockdown prevents brute force login attacks/attempts on your WordPress installation.
Another super frustration saver. Keep hackers away by locking them out of your site when they attempt to login x number of times.
11. s2Member® Framework (Free & Paid)
s2Member® — a powerful (free) membership plugin for WordPress®. Protect members only content with roles/capabilities.
Great membership plugins. One of my personal favorites. It’s what I’m running on our membership site, Brandstorm Network. Works like a charm and it’s constantly updated.
12. Digg Digg Social Share Plugin (Free)
Your all in one share buttons plugin. Add a floating bar with share buttons to your blog. Just like Mashable!
Helps you take advantage of the viral component of social media. Also what I’m currently using on this site!
13. Broken Link Checker (Free)
This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.
The worst thing you can have is dead links on your site. It makes your brand look weak and neglected. Embarassingly enough, I’ve fallen victim to this. But not anymore, thanks to this little plugin. It shows you which links are broken so you can fix them. Instead of manually checking through your site- a process that can be tremendously drowning especially if you have a large site.
14. Facebook Like Box Widget (Free)
Facebook Like Box Widget is a social plugin that enables Facebook Page owners to attract and gain Likes & Recommendation Comments from their own website. The Like Box enables users to: see how many users already like this page, and which of their friends like it too, read recent posts from the page and Like the page with one click, without needing to visit the page.
Helps you drive traffic to your Facebook Page. Increase those likes baby!
15. Facebook Comments (Free)
The Facebook Comments WordPress plugin makes it easier for you to setup, administer and customise Facebook comments from your WordPress site.
Helps you increase engagement. It’s currently what I’m using below 🙂
DOWNLOAD ALL PLUGINS
Readers: Do you have any personal favorite plugins that I didn’t mention? Feel free to mention them in the comments below and your experience with them.