One advantage of using WordPress as a content management system is the countless array of plugins that enhance a website’s functionality and increase its power. The nine WordPress plugins contained in this list do just that. Many are free while others offer pro versions that include added features and provide user support and help.
1. Yoast SEO
This WordPress plugin is the industry standard for on-page search engine optimization. Yoast allows site owners to customize each post’s or page’s SEO title and meta description. It also shows how a particular post or page ranks against a desired keyword.
Yoast has a page analysis tool that lists best practices on how to optimize content and will warn you if it finds potential SEO issues on your site.
One core feature that’s missing from WordPress — which would make it the perfect small business CMS — is a highly-functional form plugin. Gravity Forms, one of the most robust form plugins on the market, solves that problem.
You can use Gravity Forms to create simple contact forms as well as complex registration forms with payment integration. You can also tie forms directly to popular services such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Paypal, as well as many CRM software platforms.
Beginners will like the easy drag-and-drop interface and straightforward configuration. Advanced users can build on Gravity Forms’ sophisticated styling features, conditional logic, and template hooks, which make the number of configuration options almost limitless.
Free Alternative: Contact Form 7
Recently, WordPress received quite a bit of negative attention for its security vulnerabilities. Wordfence, a security plugin, takes much of the guesswork out of protecting a WordPress site.
Wordfence scans your site’s themes and plugins for any malware and puts systems in place to avoid future intrusion. The plugin enforces strong password practices and adds brute-force attack protection — a common attack used to figure out administrator login passwords.
(Read my article “How to Keep Your WordPress Site Safe from Hackers” for more information on WordPress security, )
It takes time to put a website design together, customize plugins and themes, and build up a content repository — so make sure your work is backed up.
BackupBuddy is an easy-to-use plugin that will make partial and full backups of your WordPress site. You can schedule regular or daily database backups to protect newly-updated content or full backups that include all site files and folders.
BackupBuddy also lets you send backups offsite to services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, or another FTP server. If a website ever needs to migrate to a different server, the plugin provides a migration assistant that will make configuring the new server and moving all the site’s files much easier than moving manually.
Free Alternative: BackWPup
Although WordPress comes with a built-in “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) editor, there are times when an editor could use more functionality than what the default has to offer.
TinyMCE Advanced adds features such as tables and font-family selection to a site’s content. It also allows administrators to customize which buttons are added to the toolbar, and in what order.
Google Analytics is a powerful resource for tracking a site’s traffic and usage statistics. The Google Analytics Dashboard plugin brings those potent analytics’ tools directly into the WordPress dashboard. With GA information embedded, you can easily compare post and page traffic and performance without leaving the website. The plugin also comes with widgets for top performing posts and top referrer sites.
Continually updating images and documents on a site is a useful practice but can be complicated when attempting to manage outdated or broken links to old media library items. Enable Media Replace provides an interface to replace current files with links to new files while, at the same time, updating all links and references on the site.
Although WordPress has made creating a website a snap, it can still be difficult to customize the design or layout without editing the template files. Visual Composer provides a drag-and-drop page builder that lets an administrator tailor-make a page’s content using a variety of elements, such as widgets, social media icons, call-to-action buttons, content tabs, and accordions.
The plugin also has a system for creating rows and columns that are mobile and responsive compatible. The drag-and-drop interface allows easy reordering of columns and other widgets, enabling you to modify the design in a variety of ways.
Free Alternative: Page Builder by SiteOrigin
Another feature missing from WordPress is the ability to post events on a calendar, something many businesses could use. The Events Calendar plugin facilitates not only posting of events but also selling tickets to events and shows through a WooCommerce and Eventbrite add-on. The plugin has both free and pro versions, and it is highly customizable, with widgets and page styles that enable display of the calendar in multiple ways throughout the site.
This post, 9 WordPress Plugins That Add Functionality And Power, was first published on WebMarketingToday.