WordPress plugins to take your blog to the next level.
Your WordPress blog is up and running; you have outfitted it with an amazing theme of your choice, and you are publishing content regularly. However, sometimes that is not enough. You might need more security features, more ways to share content, better SEO optimization, or other tools to get the best out of your WordPress blog.
WordPress plugins could be your answer. There are many amazing WordPress plugins that allow you to get more mileage out of your blog. Here are 10 WordPress plugins that everyone with a WordPress blog should know about. Their functions range from security, admin, sharing, and SEO, to help you optimize your site in every way possible.
Floating Social Bar
Social media sharing
This plugin allows viewers to easily share your content through a floating social media bar at the top of your site. It is easy to set up, and uncluttered, with only a handful of social networks that matter. Social media share buttons can significantly impact your site’s speed, and the floating social bar was created to maximize social media visibility without impacting site speed. This makes it a winner.
Email list builder by SumoMe
This email list builder helps create a full-screen call-to-action that visitors see when they land on your page. It is easy to configure and can be very effective at increasing your mailing list by encouraging people to join. It is best used thoughtfully and sparingly though, as it could disturb visitors and increase bounce rate.
Search engine optimization
Yoast is the only plugin you will need for search engine optimization. The plugin provides real time content analysis, with recommendations that will help tweak your content for better SEO. You can also easily add SEO-friendly titles, snippets, images, and meta descriptions, and optimize your content for a certain keyword.
Track content changes
Stream is one of the easiest ways to track content changes happening to your WordPress site, especially if you have a site with multiple users/authors. It allows you to track when changes were made and who made the changes in an organized format so you don’t have to stay in the dark. The only minus of this plugin is the load on the database, but it is worthwhile if you need the tracking functionality.
Load images only when visible to the user
This plugin will improve your page load times and server bandwidth by loading images only when they are visible to the user. It is very useful in ensuring quick load times for a website or page with lots of images. However, we have seen some compatibility issues on some websites when using this plugin.
Google XML Sitemaps
Generate XML sitemap
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines by showing the complete structure of your site, and helping them retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content. However, it is generally not allowed in WordPress managed hosting: e.g. mediatemple.net, wpengine.com.
Udinra All Image Sitemap
Generate image sitemap
Udinra automatically creates a special XML sitemap for images and pings Google, Bing and Ask.com. This will make a big difference in visibility for websites that rely on a lot of images.
Title Experiments Free
Split (A/B) test for multiple titles
Most people decide to read your article based solely on it’s title. This plugin lets you test your titles to determine which ones encourage readers to click through and read on. Use the process of A/B Testing to write multiple variations of your post title, and see which one has a higher click through rate.
w3 Total Cache
Web performance optimization using caching
A popular plugin with more than 5 million downloads. W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. Your page speed will improve, making for better user experience, and better SEO. A few drawbacks though: it broke down some forms created by plugins and is also not generally allowed in WordPress managed hosting.
The Sucuri WordPress Security plugin is a security toolset for security integrity monitoring, malware detection and security hardening. It offers malware removal and real time alerts of threats to your site. It was built using intelligence gathered from thousands upon thousands of remediation cases, millions of unique domain scans and 10’s of millions of website security attack blocks. The only drawback to this plugin is too many emails, as a result of its real-time alerts.
(This post is based on a presentation by WordPress professional Raushan Jaiswal at WordCamp Nepal 2015. In it, he talks about 10 useful plugins for WordPress, drawing on his experience as Founder of Codewing Solutions, Co-Founder of Rara Theme, and as a blogger.)