WordPress essentials: Plugins
Matt Miller has been building WordPress and other sites for a number of clients over the past few years. He also maintains sites for clients and provides coaching for those wishing to build on and grow their own website. Matt believes that by using WordPress you can have complete control of your site whatever your knowledge. You should be able to update it and change it as much as you wish for only the cost of your domain name and hosting requirements.
This week Matt shares his favourite top plugins to help you do more with your website. He is publishing a elearning module and an ebook covering the basics of setting up your site at the end of the month. Contact us for details
One of the key benefits of building your WordPress website is the ease in which it can be customised to fulfil your requirements. We do this by installing plugins, small programs that fulfil a specific function in a similar way to Apps on your phone. If you can think of something you want your site to do, there is almost certainly a plugin for it. Here is my top ten list of recommended essential plugins.
1 Wordfence Security – By Wordfence – Free
Wordfence is a security plugin, it works like a firewall and scanner for your computer, protecting it from hackers and viruses. Wordfence is a very powerful tool and has some specialised functions and customizations. A wizard helps you through these functions but for most people it’s working in its default setup as soon as it’s installed and activated.
2 WooCommerce – by Woothemes – Free
Brilliant shopping cart plugin, add your real or downloadable products, in any number of categories, set your postage and shipping calculator, schedule sales offer discount and gift vouchers, supports many kinds of payment options, easy to use and just as easy to customise as the rest of your WordPress site.
3 Revolution Slider – By Themepunch – Free for basic version
Place slide shows of pictures anywhere on your site it lets you overlay text and links over the images. It’s tricky to get started but very powerful and makes your site look very professional.
4 Formidable – By Strategy 11 – Free for the basic version.
Simple to use drag and drop form builder, You can build contact forms and newsletter sign ups, etc., supports Googles Re-capture to help prevent spam. For a small fee, the premium version gives you access to many more field types and formulas allowing you build quite advanced quizzes and tests.
5 Akismet – free or small fee depending on site use
Comes pre-installed with WordPress, If you allow commenting on your site Akismet is very successful at preventing spam comments, however, you will need to sign up for an API key for it to work.
6 Easy Twitter Feed Widget – By Design Orbital – Free
Display your Twitter feed in any widget area on your site, very easy to set up. Activate it, give it your Twitter handle and drop it where you want it on your site.
7 Social Media Widget – By Noah Kagan – Free
Similar to the Twitter feed widget, add you social media links and it’s ready to go. Displays links with the correct icons, the plugin, supports many social media sites, even some fairly obscure ones.
8 Sensei – By Woothemes – Payware
Very powerful – a fully customisable e-learning module for your WordPress site, allows you to set up multiple courses, test, score and manage your learners, while complex it follows the same structure as WordPress so quickly becomes intuitive to use, Sensei works seamlessly with WooCommerce allowing you to monetise your courses.
9 Testimonials Basics – Kevin Archibald – Free
Allows you to add random rotating client and customer testimonials to your site. Very easy to use.
10 WPtouch Mobile Plugin – BraveNewCode
A simple plugin that makes older WordPress themes mobile phone friendly by resizing it and making the menu easier to see and access on a small screen, just install and activate, no need to do anything else. Most newer themes are mobile device ready by design.
These are just a small selection of the plugins available.
If you are building your WordPress website or you are considering WordPress as a platform for your site, either new or a switch from another platform we can help with support, advice and training, if you want to know more, email us here.