In our earlier blog post, How to Choose Plugins, we talked about how to know when you’ve met the right plugin. Don’t rely on eyes across a crowded browser; up your standards! Be picky!
Now, here are some of the plugins we could seriously consider settling down with. All of these are responsive and reliable, and make your world (or at least your site) a better place.
What it does: Boosts your SEO and social sharing
Active users: 3million+
Cost: Free, but more features are included in the Premium version (from $69, about £50)
If you know you need to get better at SEO but don’t know where to start, start here. Yoast SEO is a crazy-good plugin that helps you to optimise your content for search engines. It lets you set a focus keyword for your posts, gives you readability scores, and even tells you off if you use words which might stop people reading. It’s also great with social sharing: you can upload specific pictures to use on Facebook and Twitter, and customise your snippets so you don’t have a post description that stops in mid
Yoast SEO can also control which pages Google shows in its search results – and which pages it doesn’t. And it allows you to create Breadcrumbs (those easy-to-follow navigation shortcuts).
What it does: Helps people contact you easily
Active users: 3million+
Cost: From $39 (about £30)
Gravity Forms is one of the easiest and most powerful contact form plugins going. Whatever wild and crazy kind of form your brain can conceive, Gravity Forms can achieve. You can use conditional logic, set automatic limits to responses, integrate with third-party services such as PayPal, and customise practically every pixel. It has a simple drag/drop interface and, we promise: no coding.
There are a few restrictions: Gravity Forms is designed only for WordPress sites, and only those that are self-hosted. If you have a WordPress.com site, you can’t use this. (We suggest Contact Form 7 as a good alternative.)
What it does: Tracks who does what on a multi-user site
Active users: 50,000+
Cost: Free, but donations are always welcome
If you have several people managing your website content, Simple History allows you to keep a record of who does what. Yes, you can spy on your colleagues and, yes, you can hassle them if they mess up. The plugin works as a log, audit and version-history of the most important events that occur in WordPress, and can be viewed directly from your dashboard. You can see who made changes to simple items like posts, pages, attachments and comments, and more complex things like plugins, widgets, taxonomies and users. Simple History also records everyone who tried to login to your site, but failed, plus their IP address.
What it does: Keeps you on top of updates
Active Users: 100,000+
If you’re a SiteBites customer, we will handle most of your updates for you, including WordPress core software and plugins. But if you haven’t yet recognised our genius/fallen under our evil spell* [*delete as appropriate], this is a great option.
Endlessly customisable, Easy Updates Manager can take care of updating the WordPress software itself (major and minor releases), some third-party plugins, and themes. It’s also useful if you want some users of your site to have the ability to handle updates (like Savvy Sarah, who’s good with technical stuff), but not others (like Inept Ian, who can’t be trusted).
What it does: Helps you find great, free pictures from Unsplash.com
Active Users: 2,000+
As we mentioned in an earlier blog, illegally using licensed images on your website can incur some hefty fines. One way around this is to use photos that have a “creative comms” licence. Luckily, there’s a cool website called Unsplash.com that supplies stock photos, provided free of charge by generous snappers. The Instant Images plugin allows you to find, select, upload and use these images right from your WordPress dashboard.
If you need any help with plugins, or any other part of your online marketing, contact us at SiteBites.