Plugins are extremely valuable tools that allow you to customize the functions of your site. They can improve your site’s speed, help promote your social media channels, or generally create a better experience for your visitors in a number of different ways. With more than 30,000 plugins to choose from in the WordPress plugin directory, how do you know which ones are right for your site? Here are some of the best free WordPress plugins that every site should have.
Backing-up is one of those important tasks that we overlook until it’s too late to retrieve our lost work. BackUpWordPress backs up your entire site, including your database and all your files. You can set the back-up schedule and there’s an option to have each backup emailed to your inbox. If something goes wrong, you’ll have a copy of everything you need to get your site back to normal again.
Contact Form 7 allows you to manage and customize multiple contact forms for your site. This plugin supports CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering, and other tools that ensure you can easily connect with your readers without getting overwhelmed by spam.
Google Analytics is the standard tool used to track the number of visitors on your site and learn about their behavior. The Google Analytics plugin helps you access and manage this important user data.
Sharebar adds a vertical bar to the side of your posts with social media buttons that readers can click to share your content. When the browsing window is minimized, the vertical bar is replaced by a horizontal bar at the top of the post. You can choose which social accounts to include, as well as the order in which they’re displayed in the box.
Shortcodes Ultimate helps break up boring blocks of text in your blog posts by allowing you to add interesting buttons, sliders, tabs, boxes, responsive videos, and other eye-catching features. The plugin includes more than 40 shortcode functions, giving you the chance to experiment with different ways to make your site more visually-engaging.
Simple URLs is a URL management system that enables you to create, change, and track URLs on your site. It’s a particularly helpful plugin for affiliate marketing because you can shorten long, clunky affiliate links, as well as track how often those money-making links are being clicked.
SumoMe is fantastic plugin comprised of numerous tools, all of which help you generate more subscribers and readers. The heat maps feature provides valuable data about where visitors are clicking when they get to your site. The list builder tool helps you create a lightbox popover for building email subscriptions, and the image sharer makes it easy for readers to share photos from your posts on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the best SEO plugins available, providing everything you need to fully optimize your site for search engines. This plugin helps you choose a keyword when you’re writing a post, and also includes a number of other features that optimize and streamline your site.
WP Smush.it reduces image file sizes without changing their visual quality, which increases your site’s speed and creates a better experience for your readers. Every new image you add to a page or post is automatically run through the plugin to optimize it, and you can even run your existing images through the plugin as well.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) displays links to posts related to the current page, encouraging visitors to read other content on your site. The plugin uses a specialized algorithm to determine which posts and pages are relevant to the page the visitor is already looking at. These related post links improve your site’s SEO and help to keep visitors on your site for longer.