WordPress is responsible for more than 66 million websites worldwide, including CNN, Forbes, TechCrunch and, of course, our very own Easy Weddings. Creating your own WordPress site is easy. If you’re already a proud owner and want to pimp your site with the latest gadgets and add-ons, try these 7 must-have WordPress plugins to make your blog the envy of all competitors:
1. Akismet – spam slaying
If you’ve got comments activated on your blog as a tool to encourage questions, feedback and open communication with your customers, but the genuine comments are hard to find in between all the links to Rayban deals and cheap Nike specials, we’d like you to meet Akismet’s hosted anti-spam service.
From as little as $5 per month, Akismet’s anti-spam soldiers will guard your comments from the perils of spam with their advanced filtering systems keeping spam off the web at a rate of 7.5 million comments per hour.
2. W3 Total Cache – speedy load times
47% of consumers expect websites to load in two seconds or less, and when it doesn’t, they bounce! Let’s play Hypotheticals here for a second… If your e-commerce site was making $100,000 a day, even a 1-second page delay could cost you $2.5 million in lost sales annually – OUCH!
Conquer slow load times before you get there, with the W3 Total Cache plugin. This nifty plugin improves your site’s server performance by caching every aspect (storing files on visitors’ devices for fast retrieval on return visits), so your site can enjoy reduced download times, keeping both Google trawlers and prospective customers satisfied.
3. Jetpack – stats, social, speed, sharing & security
This free WordPress plugin will blast your website management skills to the next level with a suite of cool tools:
- Traffic growth & insights: shows visitor traffic stats and helps you increase your traffic with features like Related Posts for suggested reading, Publicise for automatically sharing posts across multiple social networks, Sharing for inviting people to socially spread your content, and Enhanced Distribution.
- Security: helps protect your site from suspicious, unauthorised logins, as well as monitoring crashes and updating plugins.
- Image Performance: optimises images for improved download speeds, reducing your bandwidth and saving you hosting costs.
- Centralized Management: allowing you to manage all your plugins and menus from one central dashboard… and a bunch of other great features!
4. BackupBuddy – site backup
This plugin automagically backs up all your WordPress files with scheduled backups and sends them to a secret, offsite BackupBuddy Stash location in the event that your site crashes.
If it does, BackupBuddy comes to the rescue with quick and easy restore options to get your site up and running again asap. No corrupted or incomplete files; just complete backups of your entire media library, theme files, plugins and everything else.
5. iThemes Security – security & protection
You shouldn’t have to be an IT geek to safely secure your most valuable marketing asset. That’s why iThemes Security makes it simple, helping everyday WordPress users protect their sites with the following features:
- limits on the number of failed login attempts
- modified default login URL so attackers don’t know where to look
- file change detection to ensure you’re notified if hackers get in and start moving stuff around
- scheduled database backups with offsite storage
- away mode to deactivate your admin area when you’re not in there making changes
6. Yoast – SEO
Yoast boasts the most complete WordPress SEO plugin known to Google and its bots. It offers SEO (search engine optimisation) for real time page analysis, helping you optimise your page content, image titles and meta descriptions to ensure your website puts its best foot forward in the organic race to the front page of search results.
You can enrol in Yoast’s Basic SEO training for $249USD, which gives you access to the secret Yoast SEO training videos. Here’s a teaser of the tutorials you’ll receive…
7. Mailchimp – lead capture
You’ve probably heard by now that this list building business is kind of a big deal. MailChimp for WordPress helps you grow your subscribers by sending contacts directly to your MailChimp lists form customisable opt-in forms designed for competition entry, newsletter sign ups or discount redemptions.
It will also integrate with other forms on your website, such as comment sections, contact pages and checkout forms to ensure all your prospects’ data ends up in your hands for future marketing opportunities.
You’ll need a MailChimp account to get started. Creating one is free and only takes about 30 seconds.
Do you use plugins on your WordPress that make marketing, automation, list building, security or SEO easier for you to manage your site? Leave a link to your favourite plugin in the comments so we can add it to our list!