What is a plugin? Think about how we have apps on our phones. Mobile apps enhance how we’re able to use our smartphones. Well, that’s basically what a plugin is to a WordPress site! Think of it as almost like an app that’s going to add functionality to your site.
Topic (00:30): Top 5 Plugins For Your WordPress Website
It’s important to know that when you put a plugin on your WordPress site, the plugins are created by independent developers. Plugins aren’t created by WordPress. WordPress is really just the host, the same way you have an Apple phone, Samsung phone or Motorola phone and you can install apps on it. Those apps are created by hundreds of different developers. Plugins are the same way. Developers create them, which means some plugins are good and some plugins are not built as good.
These are our top five plugins that we encourage you to get, which have been downloaded by millions of people and are extremely popular. They’re also well-reviewed and well-coded.
#1 (3:18): Yoast SEO
This plugin is excellent when it comes to trying to improve how your website ranks on search engines like Google. This is a free (or freemium, because there is a paid version) plugin. As a marketer or as a business owner, you want your business to get found on Google with associated keywords. What the Yoast SEO tool lets you do is add those keywords into your website and some of the technical places that a developer would normally put those keywords. Places like page titles, page descriptions, your URL, etc., to help improve your site’s ranking.
Another great feature is that it also looks at the readability of the content on your webpage, and it gives you a reading grade on a scale. And why is that important? Because search engines actually do pay attention to how many words are on your page, each page of content that you create, and how easy it is for people to read the content. If you have content that’s really complex and complicated and hard for people to read, it won’t necessarily help with your rankings.
#2 (5:29): Akismet
This is one of the first things that we recommend people create or set up as a plugin when they first launch their WordPress site. Akismet is basically a spam blocker. If you’ve ever seen a lot of bad or spammy-looking comments when you’ve looked at blogs before, using Akismet is one way that you can prevent that spam from appearing on your own content. But also, even if you have your blog closed off to commenting from the public, there are still ways that different bots or computer programs can access the backend of your website and try to put comments on some of your blog posts or even in some of your pages. So, Akismet basically guards your site against a lot of the junk that can come through and appear in your comments.
Akismet is one of the few plugins that actually was developed by the same people who created WordPress. So, it’s a good, sanctioned plugin that’s frequently updated. It’s also a freemium plugin, meaning if you have a personal website you want to launch it on, you can get it at no cost or on a donation basis. If you’re using it for business purposes though, there are business plans that will guard against your spam and protect it even better.
WordPress recently switched over to a new, block style editor. It’s similar to the type of editor you would see on a Squarespace type of website. It’s called Gutenberg or Block Editor. It goes by both names. Then there’s the Classic Editor, the version of WordPress that we’ve used for years. So, depending on what version your company is currently on, the classic version at some point will go away. You can actually download a plugin that lets you still access the Classic Editor or vice versa. If your company is still using Classic Editor and you want to start shifting yourself over to using Gutenberg, you can download the Gutenberg plugin.
Bonus & But (8:42): There’s also a way that allows you to switch back and forth between both. So, you can use either version depending on which one you’re more comfortable with. Now, for anyone out there using page builders like WPBakery or Elementor or Beaver Builder, this does not even apply to you because those page builders remove Classic Editor and Gutenberg out the picture altogether.
There are a lot of computer programs and algorithms by hackers that are created to take sites down or inject bad code and get malware onto your site. So, it’s a good idea to put either Sucuri or Wordfence onto your site. These are tools that will protect your site or alert you if there’s an attempt to hack your site or, if your site does get hacked, you can pay an annual fee so they will actually remove the malware or bad code from your website. You can download the Sucuri or Wordfence plugins onto your WordPress site and it’ll do the monitoring for you for free. But if you want to just get it fixed, you need to pay for the actual service.
Bonus 2 (10:55): Also just from a security standpoint, look for plugins that put other security features on your site. One that we use is Limit Login Attempts. It’ll lock anyone out of our site that attempts to log in more than three times. That’s also just a nice little protection against hacking.
There are way more cool and helpful plugins out there, but plugins will always vary according to your website and how you choose to build it. Everyone’s WordPress site is unique and different when it comes to plugins.
Final Thoughts (11:37): Try not to get more than 20 plugins loaded on your site. If you’ve got as many as 30-40 on your site that are active, try to scale it back; have a meeting with someone who can assess and audit your site for you, like your developer, and find out what plugins are worth taking away. Some stuff could be really hard-coded through the backend of your site where you don’t need a plugin at all, and that’ll help cut down. The reason you don’t want that many plugins on your site is because, number one, it creates a backdoor for hackers to get in, especially if you aren’t keeping your plugins updated. And number two, you want to keep in mind that that could also create a lot of conflicts between coding because you’re putting more and more code on your site every time you load a plugin.
Closing (12:34): We wish you all the best success with your WordPress websites. Check out more of our blog for informative articles, videos, and more podcasts so you can keep up with more tips and resources. Please contact us if you’d like a consultation on your digital marketing, transformation, or training efforts with your own WordPress site.