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15-12-2017 10:49 AM

15 Best WordPress Plugins for blogs

Learn about 15 WordPress plugins that improve performance, accelerate blog loading, do SEO and image optimization automatically. They are available in free and premium versions.

If you want to boost functionality of your WordPress website, you should definitely install plugins. This is a convenient way to boost performance and improve user experience. Today we will observe 15 useful WordPress plugins that can take your website to the next level.

Officially, there are more than 47,000 WordPress plugins, so there’s always something to choose from – there’s a plugin for almost any feature. Although the specialization of your website defines the type of plugins you should use for our project, there are some versatile plugins that every WordPress blog will benefit from. Such features as speed, security, and SEO optimization are relevant for every website owner, so you cannot just ignore them.

As you can guess, there are numerous plugins for the same feature – you just need to find a suitable one for your website. There are both free and premium plugins for WordPress users, and the vast majority of them are ‘freemium’: it means you can install a free plugin and upgrade it to the paid premium options to get advanced features.

1. W3 Total Cache

Caching is one of the easiest and efficient ways to boost website performance. What is caching? It’s temporary storage of website content/data in the cache, which makes loading faster when the next time user opens the same page and requests the same content. Cache is the place where something is stored in computer environment during a stated period of time.

To activate caching in WordPress, you can leverage a WordPress caching plugin: it will cache posts, static HTML files (images, scripts, layouts). Plugins enable caching of pages, databases, objects, browser caching and much more. Besides, it allows integrating CDN services to accelerate page loading. Such plugins top it off with minifying and HTTP compression of JavaScript, HTML and CSS files, so you can save on bandwidth by up to 80%.

Caching of static HTML files reduces loading time considerably and allows optimizing general website performance. Besides, high page loading positively influences SEO – you get better ranking in search results, which attracts traffic and conversions.

Although it’s one of the best WP plugins, W3 Total Cache is made so that it can contradict with other plugins. If that happens, try its alternative versions, for instance, WP Super Cache.

2. MailChimp for WordPress

This is a very popular email marketing service that allows managing subscribers, sending email letters and checking the results. Such tool will come in handy for business developers and web-masters. You can easily integrate MailChimp into WordPress website with the help of the plugin. It helps to add pretty subscription forms to your website. If you want to exploit the plugin for commercial purposes, there’s a premium version.

With the help of this plugin, you can create opt-in forms to attract subscribers to your email list, and even integrate it with all other contact forms, checkout and comment forms on your website. MailChimp supports all major plugins like WooCommerce, Contact Form 7, etc.

3. Broken Link Checker

When you have a remarkable number of daily visitors, and your business is doing well, it’s crucial to maintain its health and permanent availability. Imagine what visitors feel, when they land on a broken page: they expect your professional and attractive website to work flawlessly, but something goes not as they expected. This is how you lose potential customers and create a bad impression about your website. Broken or “dead” links are embarrassing and devastating for your project.

Good news: there’s a useful plugin that scans your website for broken links, and it’s called Broken Link Checker. It does all your job automatically checking posts, comments and the rest of website content for broken links, and notifies you right away, if there are any. Besides, it reports on the lost pictures so you can fix them fast. Additionally, the plugin prevents search engines from following the broken links and displaying the broken links differently. You can set notifications so that to get them via email, or your WordPress dashboard.

4. User Registration

WordPress user registration is one more integral feature that you will find useful. ‘Register’ feature is present on default WordPress installation and can be enabled from WordPress dashboard panel the following way:

Go to your WP admin panel > Settings > General.

You can just put a check on ‘Anyone can register‘ option to activate WordPress registration or membership features. As soon as you enable it, users will find a register option in website login page (for instance, www.yourproject.com/wp-login.php). Now they can register on your website by typing a username and email, but it’s not perfect yet.

Why? First, it’s not convenient for a user to find login URL and the registering option. Secondly, as a website owner you cannot gather more data, because it’s limited to a two-field form that contains only a username and email. This is why you need a WordPress installation plugin. This is where User Registration plugin comes into play.

This drag-and-drop plugin has a lot of amazing features: you can create a convenient and beautiful front-end user registration form in a few minutes. Other key features include:

  • Unlimited registration forms;
  • Support of multi-columns;
  • email notifications;
  • ReCaptcha support.

You can add to these features by ordering premium add-ons. If you want to learn about WP user registration, you can read a complete step-by-step tutorial for WP starters on how to create WP registration forms.

5. Jetpack

This is an efficient plugin that was elaborated by Automatic, WordPress developers. This plugin comes with the whole pack of cool features to improve your website and make it successful. Jetpack can take care of:

  • website performance;
  • traffic boost;
  • optimization of photos;
  • website design, etc.

The plugin enhances distribution of your public content to third-party services, including search engines, and helps to boost traffic and coverage. Besides, it creates sitemaps, which helps search engines to index your website better.

To top it off, Jetpack protects your website security by blocking brute force attacks and checks your website for downtime and security problems every five minutes.

6. BJ Lazy Load

If your website is full of photos and images, it may take eternity for it to load. That annoys visitors and helps to diminish bounce rates. There’s a simple way to solve this problem: install BJ Lazy Load plugin. Lazy loading is a great way to accelerate website loading, if it consists of hundreds of images.

BJ Lazy Loading replaces post thumbnails, images, gravatars and content iframes with a placeholder and starts loading the content as its gets closer to being shown in the browser screen, e.g. it displays photos as a user scrolls the page. This way, your website loads quicker, and bandwidth is saved.

Besides, the plugin works with embedded videos from YouTube, text widgets, etc. BJ Lazy Load is suitable for media content rich website that optimizes performance and SEO.

7. Google XML Sitemaps

This is a handy SEO tool for WordPress that helps search engines (Bing, Yahoo, Google) to index your website via a special XML sitemap. When you activate the plugin, it automatically generates an XML sitemap for your website to be indexed better. Search engines can view the structure of your website, which helps ranking. Besides, when you publish something on your website, the plugin notifies all major search engines about it.

8. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets

Most probably, you’ve seen some additional pieces of data (number of views, star rating, images, etc.) below some pages in search results. They give extra information about the page or blog, and are called “Rich Snippets”.

This is the best way to make your pages stand out on search engine result pages and make them look more complete and professional. Snippets provide additional information about the page or product and attract attention to them, which improves click-through rates via search engines. Instead of wasting your time on creating rich snippets, you can just install All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin. It provides search engines with important information and promotes better ranking of your website.

9. WP-Optimize

Need to clean up your WordPress database and optimize the website? Exploit WP-Optimize plugin – it removes all unnecessary data from your WordPress blog without manual manipulations and always maintains database optimization for better performance.

Your website can be full of useless data that slows it down, even if you’re not aware of it. With the help of this plugin, website cleaning will be performed automatically: it removes spammy and unapproved comments, trash posts, trackbacks, pingbacks, and so on. 

10. Yoast SEO

Since search engines are the main source of traffic for every website, the importance of Search Engine Optimization is hard to overestimate. SEO is more relevant than ever before. Yoast SEO is a plugin that can help you with it: it gives you the guidelines concerning creation of better content and improvement of your ranking in search results. Being technically SEO friendly, it helps user to create better content, gain visitors’ trust and maintain perfect SEO rankings.

First, Yoast SEO offers you to choose a focus keyword and use it appropriately in the text you’re writing. Page analytics will check if you have keyword everywhere including meta description, image alt text, headings and the post. Besides, it will suggest properly setting up the text for better visibility in search engines.

Secondly, Yoast SEO helps to improve blog posts in search results with snippet preview. Thanks to better headlines and catchy meta description, you can increase click-through rate of your website. Readability feature allows creating user-friendly, understandable content.

There’s a similar plugin called All in One SEO Pack – you can try it, as well.

11. Akismet

This plugin has also been created by the team behing WordPress (Automattic team), and it comes as a default plugin with every new WordPress installation. In its essence, this is an anti-spam plugin that filters out spammy comments. It provides status history for every comment so that you could learn which comments have been found spammy by moderator, or by Akismet. You can also review the number of approved comments for every user, check URLs in the comment body and get rid of suspicious links. Personal blogs and websites can use this plugin for free, while commercial projects need to order a paid premium version. A good option to maintain your WP security!

12. Wordfence Security

As a website developer, you know that one of the most important things is to keep your website secure from hackers’ attacks – it’s something you simply cannot ignore. There are thousands of malicious bots around that can destroy your website and business in a jiffy. This is why you should always prevent spam and keep hackers at the bay.

Wordfence Security is one of the most reliable WP plugins that comes with:

  1. Firewall protection.
  2. Login security.
  3. Malware scanning.
  5. Real-time traffic monitoring and more.

It monitors all the traffic in real time, including people, robots, logins and logouts, 404 errors, and so on. This way, you can always be aware of security threats your website is facing and take quick actions against it.

Besides, the plugin comes with firewall application that prevents hacking, attacks and malicious networks from intruding your website. To improve login security, it implements Two Factor Authentication and checks the strength of passwords of all users and admins. This technique allows preventing brute-force attacks.

13. Redirection

Sometimes we change permalinks of pages and posts, but forget to redirect them. As the result, users cannot land on available page following the URL that doesn’t exist anymore – it’s another frustrating situation that can repel potential customers.

If that’s your case, Redirection is the right plugin for your project: it allows managing all types of redirections and prevents 404 errors. This plugin automatically creates a 301 redirection when post’s URL is changed, while you can also add 301, 302, and 307 redirections to your pages. You also have full logs for all redirected URLs. That’s a useful plugin, if you’re migrating pages from your old website, or change the directory of WP installation.

14. WP Smush

Images are highly beneficial for your website, because they help to attract more attention to your pages – they deliver your message better than any texts can. That makes your website look engaging and catchy. There’s one downside, though: images require a lot of storage space and slow down website loading. This is why you need to reach compromise between website speed and cool design. How to do that? Compress images!

Instead of doing it manually, you can use WP Smush plugin. It optimized images of all types (JPEG, GIF and PNG formats) with the help of advanced compression methods without loss of quality. Besides, it auto-smushes the attachments on upload, while you can do it manually in the media library.

The plugin allows smushing bulk data (up to 50 files) at a time.

15. Social Icons

Social media is one of the best ways of website promotion that has advanced in recent years. The number of social media users is steadily increasing – people acquire relevant information and news via social media. This is why social media is as essential part of marketing today. Social icons is a handy plugin that can help you with that. It displays popular social icons on your website adding them via shortcodes or widgets. This plugin supports more than 100 popular social media platforms, and is pretty simple in use. You and your users will like convenient and beautiful layouts.

Additionally, this plugin has customization options for social media icons: it resizes icons, makes them grayscale, square or rounded, and so on. With drag-and-drop navigation you can complete this task faster.

With these 15 useful WordPress plugins, you can make your website work faster and better. They improve performance, appearance and speed, and the best part about it is that they are free. Grab the opportunity to improve your project and attract more visitors.

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