3 Free Essential WordPress Plugins

Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress is our favorite CMS system. One of the best things about WordPress is the wide range of Plugins available and the huge difference that they can make to a site.

WordPress is rather unique in that its two main benefits are completely at odds with each other.

  • It is good to go, straight out of the box, with no further additions required.
  • It is customizable to an almost unlimited extent.

Though benefit 1 is fantastic for those who are brand new to WordPress, it’s not particularly exciting to read about, is it? So let’s put that to one side and talk about plugins and the huge difference that they can make to a site.

A lot of Plugins are available for free and here are three that we would strongly recommend to anyone, especially developers:

Akismet

Comment spam is one of the unfortunate things that you have to deal with when running a blog that allows comments. Within hours of starting a blog, the spam comments begin to flow in at a seemingly never ending rate.

What better plugin to start with than the only (useful) one that comes installed with WordPress as standard? Akismet is the most popular spam prevention/management solution available for WordPress.

Although it is pretty consistent, you will want to keep an eye on the items it marks as spam. Genuine comments seldom get caught up amongst the spam.

Under Construction

This is a very simple plugin; which to the outside world, creates a “coming soon” message on the home page of the site which you can customize to say whatever you like. When you login to the admin area of WordPress, you can still see all of the content and can look past the coming soon page. It’s a fantastic plugin, which allows you to create new WordPress websites on a live server without the rest of the world being able to see it.

Yoast SEO Plugin

Yoast is so far the best plugin ever used for numerous reasons. To begin with WordPress themes/templates should not handle the SEO aspects of a website such as Meta titles and descriptions but despite this, many themes attempt to do just that. One of the best things about Yoast is that if you’re a using a theme that is trying to handle the SEO, it will remove that code (with your permission) to allow it to have full control over the SEO. A lot of SEO plugins don’t do this and unless you edit the code yourself, you end up with duplicate Meta tags throughout your site. On top of this, you get a snippet preview which shows you how your site will look in the Search Engine results and it can even create XML sitemaps for you.

List of other popular plugins:

  • Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin
  • W3 Total Cache
  • Contact Form 7
  • WordPress SEO
  • SexyBookmarks
  • Google XML sitemaps
  • WPTouch
  • BackUpWordPress
  • Pretty Link Lite
  • Broken Link Checker
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