It’s been a little while since my last post, a lot has happened, being busy with work (new clients) and the odd bit of gaming on the side (the release of GTA 5). I do promise though to start bringing you more quality frequent posts.
And here it is! Here’s the essential top 5 WordPress plugins for 2013. Now, a lot of you will know of these plugins, or most probably currently using these, but this is why they fall under the ‘essential’ category and brilliant for first timers to WordPress. They’re not hidden, new or undiscovered, but could be great as a checklist for once you’ve installed WordPress to your web space.
Before I begin with my list, please let me know your thoughts if you think I’ve missed a plugin out that ‘towers’ above any of the 5 below. You may know of a plugin that I don’t know of and I’ll be happy to share this with everyone on my blog.
Everyone has a need for a plugin…
Everyone has plugins on their wordpress site and it all depends on what type of website their running which will vary between what plugins to use for its needs. But these are the ones I feel that should be installed regardless (unless you write your own of course).
The Essential Top 5 WordPress Plugins for 2013
WordPress SEO by Yoast
What?: This fantastic plugin by Yoast is enriched with features to help improve your search engine optimisation for any website or blog. I’ve tried the ‘all in one’ SEO plugin but felt it was a shade behind Yoast’s masterpiece. Some of the features are great like the built in xml site maps, the on-page tips & improvements for when creating blog posts and pages are to name a few. The plugin is easy to use, and Yoast’s website is packed with help and support with getting your site optimised.
Contact form 7
What?: There’s literally hundreds of contact form plugins on the wordpress plugin database but this one is widely known, used and supported which helps a lot when trying to customise your contact forms for certain needs. I like the ability to customise my forms to my websites theme (you can even send emails as HTML) and has many customisable options for each field including number of characters, captcha security, date pickers and form validation all built in. This plugin works great with the ‘send mail as SMTP’ plugins which is great to get away from the standard send mail using php’s mail() function.
Jetpack by WordPress.com
What?: On most self-hosted installations of WordPress this comes as standard but with the choice to activate at the start. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t keen with this at the start of my WordPress days as it lists way too much ‘mini-plugins/widgets’ that I would never need which might/could harm my website’s speed or reliability. However I’ve come around to actually liking it… A lot! The sharing tools, publicize and custom css editor comes in handy for if your using a public free theme which will allow you to bring your own personal touch to your site/blog.
The best function is the stats, I’m an avid Google Analytics and Webmaster tools user but there’s no easy to use apps(for iOS) to access these Google products easily (if you’re reading Google…get cracking!) and with WordPress iOS app this allows me to check my daily visitors and see what’s trending within my website’s content. It’s a no-brainer for on the fly stat checking when out and about.
What?: Ever found that your website runs a little slow or seems to be using high amounts of bandwidth a lot when serving content to your visitors. There could be a number of reasons why your website is running slow but this plugin helps speed up your website by taking a ‘snapshot’ of your web page and compressing it for easier and quicker download to serve to your visitors. – This can be crucial for SEO and your website visitors as who likes to wait nowadays for a web page to download? Not me, if I’m waiting for more than 5-8 seconds I’m off looking elsewhere. – don’t let this happen to you!
There are more detailed and customisable cache plugins but I found this one great for people who don’t really know too much about what it does (This plugin also explains what each option/ function does in a simple way and even tells you the recommended setting if your unsure.) and this offers an ‘out of the box’ plug and play website speed improvement.
Simple 301 Redirects
What?: This is my dark horse selection for the essential top 5 WordPress plugins 2013 list, but if your into SEO, you know that you’ll need to do 301 redirects on the fly, this could be if your moving a page or a section to another location and will help your visitors to not land on a 404 error page -which might deter them away from your site. Just recently the plugin owner has re-vamped the plugin to add some extra features like a wildcards option to redirect anything after a certain criteria had been entered.
Thee are many similar plugins like this but all I want is a lightweight solution that gets the job done. No fuss.
I hope you have found my top 5 essential wordpress plugins for 2013 helpful, by all means give them a try you may discover something new! As I’ve said before let me know your feedback, have you discovered an awesome plugin? Share it with me in the comments below!