One of the main reasons people love using WordPress is the vast library of plugins available on it.
WordPress currently has a massive 50.000 plugins available to download. With these plugins you can do almost anything, from turning your website into a shop or building an entire website with absolutely no code at all.
However, along with the perks of plugins comes a lurking problem.
If you have too many plugins your website might be slow to load. Or if you have poor quality plugins that aren’t maintained you might find your website, or part of it, breaking down the line.
It’s good to know a few plugins that you know how to use and can rely on. That’s why I’m going to share with you 6 must-have plugins that you can use to make almost any WordPress website better.
You can have the most stunning website in the world but if you don’t work on SEO (search engine optimisation) you’re not going to reach a big audience.
SEO can be challenging if you don’t know anything about it but if you installYoast SEO it will give plenty of pointers about how to improve your sites SEO.
Some of it’s most notable features are that it creates a sitemap which helps Google crawl your site, scans your content and tells you how to improve it, and makes it easy for you to write page titles and meta tags.
Speaking of SEO, one of the most important things you can do for your website is to improve its load time. Fast websites rank higher in search results.
There are a lot of good speed-boosting plugins out there but one of the best free ones isWP Optimise.
It’s an all-in-one speed boost plugin. If you set it up to use all it’s features it will clean your database, compress large images and cache your website’s files.
Before setting up the plugin I’d recommend usingGTMetrix to get your websites current speed score.
This way you can see the improvements that the plugin makes. With any luck, your website will get into the green and start gaining more traffic.
Adding a contact form to your contact page is well worth doing – it makes that initial contact just that little bit easier.
There are a plethora of contact form plugins to choose from. While it used to be that Contact Form 7 was considered the best free contact form plugin I think it’s fair to say thatWPForms has now taken this position.
Contact forms are typically one of the more complex parts of a website but with this plugin it is made about as easy as it can be.
If you want a simple contact form you can create this using one of the plugin’s templates and have a contact page added to your website in minutes.
In the free version of the plugin there are enough fields to make a simple contact form. However, if you want a form with more advanced features such as uploading a file or a date picker then you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version.
Remember to set up reCAPTCHA for stopping the inevitable bombardment of spam. This takes a bit of time to set up but if you follow thistutorial you’ll be spam-free in no time.
Simple Page Order
Simple Page Order is a small and simple quality of life plugin.
What it does is make it possible to drag and drop pages in the page section of WordPress. This is really helpful because when you create pages they are displayed by the date you created them so they won’t usually be in a logical order.
For instance, you might have your ‘home’ page at the bottom of the page and your ‘contact’ page at the top.
WordPress comes with a native feature for reordering pages but you have to set the order by number so it takes a bit of calculation.
If you have very few pages you might be happy to fiddle around and get them in order but why bother? This plugin makes the process of reordering your pages a lot faster and easier.
It’s worth pointing out if you want this same feature for custom post types you’ll need to install aseparate plugin.
If you have a WordPress website that isn’t already backed up then go and get this plugin immediately. A site that isn’t backed up is a disaster waiting to happen.
UpdraftPlus is one of the best free backup plugins. With it you can backup all your files and database and download the backup to your computer or cloud storage.
With Updraft you can also set a backup schedule. This can be set to occur from anything from a few hours to monthly. For most websites a monthly backup is sufficient but if you have new content added to your site daily you’ll benefit from more regular backups.
GDPR Cookie Consent
For small businesses and freelancers, GDPR (General Data Protection Act) can pose a bit of a hurdle.
GDPR was adopted in 2016 and requires all businesses to share with its users what they are doing with their user’s data.
It provides a template with a large amount of generic text that is needed in these policies. It won’t take you too long to fill in your details and have a legally obliging website.
Author bio: Peter Bateman is an experienced freelance web designer who specialises in WordPress development. View his portfolio and services atpeterbateman.co.uk or follow him on Twitter@PeterBateman4.