WordPress is the most popular Content Management System that exists currently on the planet with over 74 million sites running on its platform. The platform features all type of industries; E-Commerce, Travel and Leisure, Business, Sport etc. In order to make these sites perform supremely, Plugins are used to extend their functionality. Plugins add awesome features to WordPress sites and make them perform just great.
The official WordPress plugin repository has over 47,000 plugins, covering virtually every function or feature that you need for your site. The majority of these plugins are free or freemium (a free plugin with an option to upgrade to the premium version), while others are premium.
Although the niche a site belongs determines the type of plugins that would be installed, there are certain basic features and functionalities that are needed by virtually every site.
Below is a review of the top 10 most valuable plugins for bloggers.
Akismet is a default plugin which comes with every new WordPress installation. It is designed and developed by Automattic. Akismet is an anti-spam plugin, helping WordPress site owners to filter comments left on their posts to determine if they are ham or spam. On the Akismet dashboard, the plugin gives a detailed report of the number of comments found to be spam and explaining why it thought so.
Akismet is a freemium plugin. It is available for free for personal sites while commercial sites will have to subscribe monthly for the premium version.
2. Yoast SEO:
Yoast SEO is a search engine optimization plugin. Every web owner wants traffic for his site. What Yoast does is to make your WordPress site more search engine friendly, thereby improving the number of visits. It helps to improve your sites ranking on search results. Yoast also guides users on creating search engine friendly content. It allows the users to pick a focus keyword and guides them towards using that keyword appropriately throughout the content.
Also, Yoast allows users to create short meta description which would appear together with the SEO title in search results. All of this improves visibility on search engine.
3. Google XML Sitemaps:
This is another SEO plugin that allows WordPress sites to be easily visible on search engines. Google XML sitemap creates an XML sitemap of your site making it easy for your content to be indexed by Google, Bing, Yahoo and other major search engines. These search engines are notified every time a new content is added to the user’s site.
4. W3 Total Cache:
A cache is a component that stores data in the computing world so that such information can be retrieved faster when requested. The W3 Total Cache is a plugin for temporarily storing data on WordPress sites so that when requested it can be served faster. This plugin helps to reduce site loading time thereby improving its search engine optimization which results in greater traffic for sites. It can be used to improve site performance.
5. WP Smush Image Optimization:
Images tell stories in ways text can’t. One of the ways of communicating ideas on WordPress sites is via images, and the neater (and larger) the image the better. But this feature come at a very expensive price, slow loading time. Large images take a lot of storage space and slow down a site. The alternative is to compress your image before uploading, but that would reduce image quality.
WP Smush Image Optimization is a plugin that allows users to compress and optimize image without losing quality. This helps saves a lot of space while allowing the image to retain its quality and still not affecting loading time.
Users do not need to endure the stress of individual image compression; the plugin allows for bulk smushing.
Jetpack is unarguably the most useful plugin available in WordPress. Designed and developed by Automattic (the team behind the WordPress software) Jetpack carries a pack of wonderful features for your WordPress site.
Jetpack handles site statistics; monitoring the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly traffic of a WordPress site. It gives a report of the geographical location of the traffic as well as the search engine keywords that brought the visitors to the site.
Jetpack handles site security, protecting sites from malicious attacks. It offers to Publicize, a feature that allows your content to be shared on any or all social media of your choice once you publish. Jetpack also improves and optimize image speed.
It also allows search engines to easily index and finds your site by creating sitemaps. Jetpack monitor helps to monitor your site every five minutes to report back to you if your site goes dark. Aside from that, it has a related post feature that displays related posts to any post that is published.
We all love a clean house, right? So why not a clean WordPress site? WP-Optimize is a free WordPress plugin that cleans up a database and optimizes user’s website. The best part is that it does this automatically, without stressing the user to manually query. WP-Optimize removes spams, unapproved comments, pingbacks, and trackbacks. This would improve the performance of your database.
8. WordFence Security:
Regardless of how attractive your site may be or how rich your contents are, if you do not install adequate security, then everything can disappear in one day. WordFence Security is a WordPress plugin that keeps your site secure and protected from hackers. The plugin ensures firewall protection, conducts malware scans, and conducts a live traffic monitoring. It allows users to monitor their traffic in real time, thereby preventing an attack on the site. It goes further to check the strength of all admin password, suggesting to them better tougher alternatives.
9. Broken Link Checker:
One big frustration web users experience is clicking on a link and then discovering the link is broken, landing them on an undesirable page. This is a big letdown for web users and they would probably be discouraged from returning to your site. Broken Link Checker is a WordPress Plugin for finding broken links on WordPress sites. It also checks for missing images and does same. The plugin works automatically and it is free.
10. Mail Chimp:
Mail chimp plugin is a freemium WordPress press that allows you to manage your email list. It is used for email marketing. The plugin presents beautiful forms that allow visitors to subscribe to your email list. Mail chimp report back to users the number of subscribers on their email list, those who are opening the mails and those who are not.
11. Social Icons:
Social Icon is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to add social media icons to your WordPress pages and post. These icons come in different shapes, sizes, and color. The plugin features over 100 popular social media platforms. The plugin is easy to use, as it allows drag and drops arrangement of the icons.