8 WordPress Plugins You Must Install
What Does This Plugin Do? Automatically publishes posts to popular social media sites.
Why Should I Have This Plugin? There are a lot of social media-themed plugins and for good reason. One of the best ways to promote your posts is through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. This plugin lets you automatically post to all three networks, plus offers filtering and other options.
Features: Social Media Auto Publish allows users to publish links or posts to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with images. Items can be filtered to match certain categories or customized post types. Messages can be tailored to each social site. And if you need to post to a specific Facebook page, you can do that as well.
What Does This Plugin Do? Keeps your site safe from hackers and other threats.
Why Should I Have This Plugin? Website security is a number-one priority. And while there are lots of options for WordPress websites, you can’t argue with the stats on this one: Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars, with over 2,600 positive reviews. And while the free version is certainly effective, the premium version will only cost you about $35 per key per year.
Features: Users can adjust their site’s security level, sign up for email alerts, watch site activity in real time, and set advanced controls for their site. Our favorite features: IPv6 and IPv4 support, multi-site support, two-factor authentication and strong password requirements (paid version only), and URL scanning on comments and posts. Fellow security geeks will be glad to know there’s extensive documentation, a free knowledge base, and community support available, too.
3. Slider WD
What Does This Plugin Do? Keeps your website’s look current with a rotating image display.
Why Should I Have This Plugin? A slideshow doesn’t just capture viewers’ attention; it gives you much more virtual real estate to showcase your brand. Not only does Slider WD have an impressive rating (75 of 92 reviews are five-star), it packs quite a feature list. And it’s easy to use: once the plugin is activated, you can simply drag and drop images into place to create your slideshow.
Features: The free version of Slider WD offers unlimited images and unlimited customizable sliders, plus transitional effects and the option to add music. It’s fully responsive, offers touchscreen swipe functionality, and is SEO friendly. The Pro version allows users to make slides out of playable YouTube and Vimeo videos. This version also gives users the ability to embed Dailymotion, Instagram, and Flickr into their slideshow.
Developers: Matt Mullenweg, Ryan Boren, and others
What Does This Plugin Do? Helps you keep your site's comment section clear of spam and misleading URLs.
Why Should I Have This Plugin? There are lots of things we’d rather do than manually check website comment sections for spam. No one wants their readers to be lured away to questionable destinations on their watch. Akismet is generally acknowledged as one of a handful of plugins that no business should be without, and their million-plus downloads bear this out.
Features: Akismet checks all comments against its web service and blocks anything spammy. It gives moderators the option to review comments, see hidden or misleading links, and get an idea of the history of the commenter. Note: You will need an Akismet.com API key to use this plugin; the price ranges from free (for a personal site) to $5 per month for basic business use; add in backup and security or enterprise-level service and the cost goes up to $9-$50 per month.
Developers: Automattic, Adam Heckler, and others
What Does This Plugin Do? Just about everything: boosts traffic and speed, lets you view your stats, helps customize your site, and gives your security a helping hand.
Why Should I Have This Plugin? Jetpack is a must for beginning WordPress users, and it's not a bad bet for more experienced users either. It includes tools to manage site analytics, beef up security, streamlines site management, and coordinate content publishing and scheduling. Will you find individual apps to do all these things? Yes; there are some great ones on this list. But will you find a single plugin with all these options? No, and that's why we recommend it.
Good to Know: While standard Jetpack service is free, you can upgrade to a premium ($99 per site) or professional ($299 for three sites) yearly subscription. To use Jetpack, you will need a WordPress account. Don’t worry; the account is free, and you can stick with your existing host.
Features: Here's a quick list of the free features: social network sharing, enhanced content distribution, 24/7 uptime monitoring, protection against brute-force attacks, high-speed image delivery, bulk plugin installation and management, CSS customization, configurable widgets and forms, and much more. If you only install a single plugin, JetPack will give you the most robust feature package.
What Does This Plugin Do? Uses Google Maps to show potential customers where you are located, which builds trust — – and helps them find you in the real world.
Why Should I Have This Plugin? Move over, printed addresses. Customers now expect to see your location pinpointed on a map. Google Maps WD is specially designed to be intuitive, easy to integrate, and easy to use on WordPress or anywhere you like. Site visitors can even get directions straight from this plugin, and the customizable design means it will fit in nicely with your website.
Features: This plugin offers unlimited markers and maps, support for all types of Google Maps styles, overlay support, zoom, store locator, and geolocation. The included tool-tip makes configuration simple, and you can view any changes you make in real time from the admin area.
Developers: Michael Torbert, Steve Mortiboy, and others
What Does This Plugin Do? Optimizes your site so it can be found by search engines — no coding or tedious SEO work required!
Why Should I Have This Plugin? Search engine results are hugely important to the visibility of your website. Unfortunately, SEO is hugely time-consuming when you try to do it yourself without previous experience. Not only does this plugin help you with foundational SEO, it automatically notifies search engines of changes in your content, avoids duplicate content, and goes to right work upon installation.
Features: Lots of them, including automatically optimizing your titles and generating META tags for your site. This plugin comes with support for Google Analytics and XML sitemaps and offers search optimization for customized post types, among many other things.
What Does This Plugin Do? Exactly what it says on the tin: creates and styles the appearance and function of contact forms.
Why Should I Have This Plugin? It’s responsive and fully customizable on WordPress. Plus, it’s very easy to use: after the standard WordPress plugin installation, you can activate and use Contact Form Builder by simply arranging contact elements on a form.
Features: You can activate or deactivate form elements, edit the color and design of the form via CSS, and customize your thank-you email. You can also block IPs, use Captcha and ReCaptcha to avoid spam, and move the form from one page to another with shortcodes. The free version comes with ten customizable templates, detailed email options for both users and WP admins, Google Maps integration, and form preview options. The Pro version adds more than two dozen themes, a submissions section, data export capability, and statistical data for multi-option fields.