First off, what is a WordPress plugin and how can they benefit your website?
WordPress plugins allow added functionality to a website. So, if you’re ever thinking – “I’d love a calendar on the sidebar of the home page.” or “I’d really like my customers to see a map of where my business is situated.” – You can simply login to your website and add it in via the ‘Plugins’ tab.
Fortunately, the WordPress library of plugins is vastly filled, so you’re likely to find at least 10 variations of the one plugin you need to choose from.
Above, adding a plugin into a website using the search term ‘google map’. With that in mind, let’s kick it off with what I believe to be the top 7 plugins you should have on your website.
1. Yoast SEO
This is one of my more favourite WordPress plugins. Yoast SEO can help you write better SEO friendly content for your pages and posts across your website (see below). It can also allow you to configure your SEO settings and preferences without having to touch any of the code in your website.
2. Contact Form 7
As the name suggests, this plugin allows contact form functionality on your website. It is commonly used on a contact page to allow customers to get in touch with the company and it offers a range of different field and radio button types (see Cariad’s very own contact form below). Also, with CSS code you can customise their look.
3. Anti-Spam by CleanTalk
Spam is annoying. We all know this. Banish it away from your website with this plugin. You will receive an email each week with an update of how much spam has been blocked against how many legitimate enquiries your website has had (see below).
4. User Role Editor
This handy lightweight plugin allows you to create your own custom user roles. It can also let you edit the permissions of the native WordPress built in user roles i.e. Author, Editor etc. For example, if you would like a user to have the permissions of an Author but a couple of other Editor only permissions, you can set this up quickly and easily.
5. WordFence Security
As its name suggests, the WordFence Security plugin gives your website the protection it needs to safeguard itself against bots and people attempting to hack into the backend. It will automatically ban those who attempt an array of different login names and passwords and it will also keep an up-to-date record of the time of attacks and where they are coming from with their location and IP addresses tracked. Emails are sent to the administrator of the website when a user is attempting to login and if a user has been banned for too many unsuccessful login attempts. Furthermore, it can also track plugins which are out of date as well as any other present issues (see below).
6. Screets Chat X
A lot of modern websites have live chat functionality and one handy way to go about this is through the power of this beautiful little plugin. One downside, you have to keep the backend chat dashboard open in a separate tab in order to keep on top of when users come online or send messages. Fortunately, the plugin switches from live chat to a contact form so that if people do try and get in touch and you happen to be away from your computer, you’ll receive an email of their enquiry instead.
Every website needs to have the capability of setting up redirects. This is especially the case for websites that have recently been recreated and given a new domain name. With the redirection plugin, all old URL links can be redirected to their new ones. This avoids any users from landing on a nasty 404 error page.
There are plenty of other WordPress plugins out there that, if you can dedicate the time to understand the functionality and benefits of, could give your website that edge over your competitors. Or if you’re interested in exploring plugins but don’t dare to touch them yourself, you can always speak to the Cariad Team about web-development and how we can help your website. Just call on 01992 582 824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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