It’s true, plugins make the WordPress go round. If you’re new to WordPress, the world’s most popular weblogging software, or content management system as it’s more verbosely known, you may not be familiar with plugins. Plugins are software that add greater functionality to a WordPress blog, enabling you to do more stuff with it, like make it spiffier and keep hackers at bay.
There are more than 30,000 plugins available for WordPress. Most but not all are free. Others are available in both free and premium (paid) versions. The premium versions place a broader range of tools at your disposal so you can do even more stuff than the stuff you were able to do with the free version. I use only the free versions on my blog. What’s a euphemism for cheapskate?
This is a list of plugins I use that live up to their advertising and then some.
I’ve saved the best for first. What’s so great about Anti-Spam? It works its magic without any setting up or configuration from you. Once you’ve installed and activated it, you’re done.
Does it stop spam? Does it what! I’ve had this miraculous plugin on my blog since day one and haven’t copped any spam at all, zilch.
Many of the other spam-fighting plugins require some configuration and won’t function unless you enter an Akismet activation code or sign up to an anti-spam database. Anti-Spam gives all of that tiresome rigmarole the flick and starts bouncing spam like a good spam bouncer should right from the get-go. WordPress plugins don’t come any better.
All in One WP Security and Firewall
Hackers love WordPress like BO loves armpits. Unfortunately, the out-of-the-box version of WordPress offers little in the way of protection against hack attacks. That’s why you should install All in One WP Security, or a similar plugin, as soon as your blog is up and running.
When some malevolent geek tries to access your blog’s dashboard, All in One will ban his IP address after a specified number of failed login attempts, then notify you by email that he was up to no good. All in One has a smorgasbord of features you can access from the WP SECURITY link in your dashboard.
UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
One of the things about web hosts that gets my goat and me too is that most of them deign to back up websites only when they feel like it. If you want backups performed daily, you typically have to pay extra for a dedicated backup service. WordPress solves this problem with a generous selection of backup plugins.
UpdraftPlus Backup and Restore is numero uno in my book. With this plugin you can perform backups manually or set it to perform them automatically. Once a backup has been made, UpdraftPlus will email it to you or upload it to one of a range of preselected storage options.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
WordPress SEO is a search engine optimization tool and one of WP’s most popular plugins. Thirteen-million-plus downloads don’t lie. WordPress SEO helps you fine-tune your blog so search engines and web surfers will flock to it like patrons to a pub with free beer. Getting a handle on all of the plugin’s options can seem daunting, but the guide below will soon have you SEOing along with the best of them.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin
Page Builder makes designing captivating WordPress pages a cinch by turning common widgets, those drag-and-drop boxes that make up your blog’s sidebar, into versatile building blocks. Page Builder helped construct this blog.
To get your blog looking just right, it helps to know some CSS and HTML. I simply Google whatever I need to do, e.g. add a colored border with CSS, and there will be a tutorial on that very thing waiting just for me. Incredible coincidences like that follow me all over the Internet.
Black Studio TinyMCE Widget
Is it a gangsta rapper or a plugin? It’s a plugin! This one works beautifully with Page Builder. If you’ve ever used a text widget, you’ll be aware that you can’t do much with it unless you know your way around web code, or you paste web code into it that somebody else knows his way around.
TinyMCE gives you the functionality of WordPress’ visual editor in a widget. You can change fonts, indent paragraphs, insert block quotes, and do anything that the visual editor can, all without any knowledge of web code. After you’ve installed and activated the plugin, you’ll find it listed as Visual Editor in your widgets page.
WP Super Cache
Don’t you just hate it when a webpage takes longer than a lecture on microeconomic reform to load? In this day and age of wanting everything last week, few of us have the patience to wait for a dawdling web server to pick up the pace. That goes double for visitors to your blog.
WP Super Cache stops people from hurrying on to the next website by loading your webpages fast. I don’t know how it works—I’m as technically minded as moth larvae—but what I do know is that it works brilliantly. Since installing this plugin, I’ve never had an issue with slow-loading pages on my blog. WP Super Cache is super indeed.