Ready to take your WordPress site to the next level? Wordpress plugins are essential tools for maximizing your website’s value to users. They can give you remarkable information about how your website is doing in terms of SEO, formatting and so much more. In fact, one of the key elements that makes WordPress such an amazing and malleable platform is the plugin model as it offers an opportunity for innovation in user experience.
WordPress plugins are essential, whether you’re launching a brand new website or tweaking an existing one. The question quickly becomes one of which plugins are worth their salt? To date there are nearly 50,000 WordPress plugins available. That’s right, five with four zeros. The reason that there are so many is that plugins can be created by anyone with the knowledge of how to write the code and upload it into the platform, for free or for a premium. Some of these plugins are gold, but to be honest most of them are a trick of the light at best. Wading through all of that is literally impossible.
To be clear, many of the plugins you’ll find on WordPress were developed with very specific targets in mind. If your site isn’t conducive to a given plugin, then it’s possible to write it off almost immediately. If a plugin is poorly rated by other users, keep on clicking. If a plugin hasn’t been updated recently, then it’s likely unsupported and signals a future of headaches for you should you install it.
Luckily, we’ve done some of the work for you. Here are five of the top WordPress plugins that you need for your site, no matter what your niche is.
1. All In One SEO
What this WordPress plugin does: All In One SEO has a title that means what it says. This amazing plugin ties all of your SEO together. You’ll find support for XML sitemaps, e-commerce integration, automatic META tag generation, Google and Bing change notifications, AMP support, and so much more. What’s more, this WordPress plugin is constantly being updated, adding more functionality as SEO evolves.
Why you need it: You don’t want to have to think about SEO, and this WordPress plugin is exactly what you need. It’s as close to plug and play as search engine optimization gets!
Essential info about All In One SEO: This is the granddaddy of SEO plugins. It’s been around for a decade, which is incredible for anything on the net. With more than thirty million downloads, it’s one of the most popular WordPress plugins ever to be released. With a price tag of zero, there’s little reason not to give this one a try. Fair warning though, the comprehensive nature of this one might turn off more advanced users, who want to have better control over their work.
2. Google XML Sitemaps
What this WordPress plugin does:Google XML Sitempas improves the indexing of your site, making it easier for search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and more to find your page.
Why you need it: Everything that you can do make your WordPress website easier to find is worth doing. Search engines are looking for the information that’s included on your site, but can they find it effectively? That’s where Google XML Sitemaps can help. Every time you create a new piece of content, this WordPress notifies search engines. How useful is that?
Essential info about Google XML Sitemaps: This WordPress plugin has been consistently rated as a top plugin for WordPress. It works and it’s been supported for nearly a decade. It’s free, though a donation is always a great idea.
What this WordPress plugin does: Embeds easy to edit tables into any WordPress post. The tables work just like those in a spreadsheet, including working with formulas. The information can be easily imported from existing spreadsheets in all kinds of formats – from Excel to CSV to JSON and more.
Why you need it: Rich content is what everyone wants online. The more easily and effectively you can add content to your site that’s more than words, the more people are going to enjoy reading it. Current table functionality in WordPress is clunky at best, and it’s impossible to create functional tables without some support. Additional extensions give you more options.
Essential info about Tablepress: This useful WordPress plugin has more than a half million active installs, and is highly rated by users. You’ll find that the content is easy to create, without much HTML knowledge. You can put tables everywhere – into widgets, on pages, and on posts. Visitors to your site can even use sorting and filtering to more readily access data.
4. W3 Total Cache
What this WordPress plugin does: Speed matters online, but getting that speed can be a major challenge on WordPress. W3 Total Cache helps to improve the speed of your site beautifully.
Why you need it: Quick load times mean that visitors are much more likely to stick around. If your site takes too much time to come up, people are highly likely just to surf away. W3 Total Cache helps to solve that problem and increase your ability to keep users around with quicker load times.
Essential info about W3 Total Cache: Top companies use W3 Total Cache because it works. With over a million active installs, it’s easy to see that this is a simple WordPress plugin that will really help to improve the functionality of your website. You’ll be able to sustain high traffic periods more effectively, and to improve conversion rates with this marvelously useful WordPress plugin.
5. Yoast SEO
What this WordPress plugin does: Guides you in a step-by-step manner through the process of improving individual page SEO. The plugin works on both pages and posts, with detailed information on steps to take to improve content.
Why you need it: Yoast SEO provides specific tips and information that you need. From focus keywords to meta descriptions, even the most novice user can improve SEO with this plugin. This site plugin is SO easy to use and effective that it’s become an industry standard. SEO is easy with Yoast SEO. Everyone who posts on your site can be taught to optimize with this hand plugin.
Essential info about Yoast SEO: With both free and premium options, you’ll find that you can get the information that you need up and out quickly with Yoast. You’ll also find a rich website for support with tons of information to help you get the most out of this amazing little plugin. So popular that it’s basically become standard, Yoast SEO is used by top websites everywhere.
These five WordPress plugins have the potential to revolutionize your website. You can effectively improve both readability and SEO with ease using these handy plugins. WordPress developers, which plugins have you found to be the most effective? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author
Pete Peranzo is the CEO of Imaginovation, a full service, turn-key digital solutions company serving Raleigh, NC and Charlotte, NC. He is a results driven individual with over fifteen years in the IT and software industry. Pete’s background in customer support is a driving factor in the company’s long term success and reputation. He has embedded customer service into the company’s core culture, and feels that fast turnaround, great communication and high quality support are keys to long term business relationships. Follow him on Twitter @PetePeranzo.