Top 5 Free WordPress Plugins
We’re very proud of the websites we build and we’ve grown in confidence when it comes to using WordPress. Using WordPress has become an integral part of many businesses’ day to day activities. It enables people with a range of skills to use the CMS to add updates, changes images and generally input to their own business website. There are hundreds, thousands, of WordPress plugins available to add extra features and functionality; some are commercial, but there are thousands of free ones available. Below is a short guide to our top 5 free plugins available for WordPress.
Yoast SEO – improve your Google search results
Yoast offer a free and premium plugin, for us the free plugin does more than enough. This plugin is effectively a keyword SEO analyser, it allows you to set a keyword or phrase relevant to your blog post, page or other post type and then rates your content via a traffic light system. It gives a number of tips and hints for the writer to adhere to and when Yoast notices you have successfully completed a particular bullet point, it will become green; that’s good. The red and orange bullet points contain tips of what still hasn’t been completed or needs a little more optimisation. There is also a Meta Description snippet editor, enabling you to compose your own personal meta description as a summary of the post. All in all this plugin is very simple and effective, it gives you direct tips on how to improve your page’s SEO and tells you when you’ve completed it; what more could you ask for?
Our Top Tip – When editing the meta description, don’t just copy and paste the first paragraph/sentence as duplication isn’t best practice for Google ranking, create a brief overview including the focus keyword or phrase.
EU Cookie Law – best practice for your website
Toolset Types – don’t limit your content
WordPress’ native post types are Posts and Pages, however it’s very easy to add your own custom post types with custom fields, attributes and permissions with Toolset Types. We’ve used this to create different post types for accommodation, each with different fields and templates, it’s also possible to create shortcodes to display a feed of the custom posts like you would see on the native blog posts archive page. There is also a paid version of this plugin that offers much more functionality and views; the paid version does offer a very good set of features but if you’re a small business with a limited budget, it may not be ideal.
Our Top Tip – Do the research in creating custom posts and how to get them to display on the site first, the last thing you want is to spend hours creating the new posts with their content and not be able to display them.
Contact Form 7 – cut down on email spam
Pretty much every website that’s offering a service or product will want to have one or more ways of contacting them; whether it’s a phone call, email address or a contact form. Contact Form 7 is another one of the free WordPress plugins that offers a huge amount customising, additions and features to create a form with almost any field you can ask for. Its simple interface is very intuitive and also allows you to personalise all notification messages from the successful send message to a number of error messages. The plugin also works seamlessly with Google’s Recaptcha feature, to stop spambots flooding your email account with spam messages.
Our Top Tip – Signing up to Google’s Recaptcha will be extremely beneficial, a simple system to increase your security from spammers will be nothing but positive for your business!
SEO Redirection – avoid error pages
Another SEO based plugin, but vital none the less. It’s crucial that your site doesn’t have broken links, that includes any internal links as well as inbound and outbound links. When rebuilding your site, you often want to change the structure, layout and pages site wide; using this simple redirection tool enables you to simply redirect from one link to another, quickly and easily. It uses 301 redirects which are best practice for SEO. Ensure that you regularly do a backlink and broken link check, this way you can identify and fix any issues; whether it be a 404 page or an archive page you need to redirect.
Our Top Tip – When redirecting pages internally, use 301 redirects, these are best practice and looked at more favourably by crawlers.
All in all…
It really doesn’t matter how much or little you understand about building websites, the key point about using WordPress is that it provide you with a stable and universally recognised platform. WordPress plugins also provide any number of ways to change functionality or the way the website works without the cost of bespoke programming. Solent would love to talk to you about building your next website and the good news is, if you then decide that you’d like to move it somewhere else you can – no problem.
For more information or to discuss a web project, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.