WordPress plugins (additional modules) are add-ons – separate units of program code, which we install on our WordPress site in order to expand it and introduce new functionalities.
WP plugins are usually said to do one of the following two things:
- They make our lives easier or
- Make our site fantastic!
In this article, you will learn how to find, install, and update WP plugins, as well as some of the best plugins we have come across for bloggers.
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You don’t have to move away from the Dashboard to find and install the plugin on your WordPress site.
From the Plugins list, select Add New.
A window with suggested plugins will open. In the Search plugins search box, type a keyword for the new functionality you want to add and wait for the search results to appear.
For example, if you want to install social sharing buttons, type social share buttons in the search box.
There are several different plugins for each feature you want to add to your site.
When you find a plugin that looks appropriate to you, instead of installing it right away, first evaluate whether it will work with your version of WordPress and whether it is exactly what you need.
Although WordPress.org is the official site for downloading plugins, you must always check the stability, security, and quality of the plugin before use.
For this purpose, there are ratings, comments, and data on the number of downloads. This is information that you must check before installing a new plugin.
You will surely notice that many great plugins are not rated with five stars, but that is why they have thousands of downloads. Users do not download plugins that do not work, nor do they recommend them to others.
After the first checks, be sure to review the documentation of the plugin, to find out more about it.
- Does it take countless tasks to make it work?
- Does configuring it look hard after installation?
Remember the following:
A good plugin is not difficult to configure, does not slow down the loading of your site and does not jeopardize the work of other plugins.
Note: Avoid plugins that require you to open an account on a suspicious website in order to activate it.
Install WordPress plugins
When you find the plugin, click the Install button. This way you download a copy of the plugin to your server. If all goes well, the Install button will now say Activate. Press the Activate button.
The developers of the WordPress community work on improving existing plugins on a daily basis, so from time to time you will see a small number next to the Plugins button informing you that certain plugins need to be updated.
Visit the WordPress Updates page, select the plugins you want to update, and click the Update Plugins button.
During the update process, the old version is quickly and easily transferred to the new one. In this process, WordPress goes through several stages: entering maintenance mode, disabling the plugin, updating it, re-enabling, and exiting maintenance mode.
In maintenance mode, your site is not available for visits, but fortunately, this process only takes a few moments.
Note: Updating plugins is not something you should ignore. One of the most common ways hackers abuse sites is through old versions of plugins, so always try to have the latest versions installed.
There are really many plugins and there is certainly no final list of the best. Of course, there are different plugins for different needs, and we will list here some that are welcome on every site.
WP MAINTENANCE MODE
With the WP Maintenance Mode plugin, you can create and set a cover page while your site is still under construction. This is the first task we perform when we start creating a site for our clients. Later, as needed, you can turn your cover page on and off as you make major updates to your site.
On this page, you can place a logo, your contact information, information when the site will be available for search, links to your accounts on social networks, etc.
WP LIMIT LOGIN ATTEMPTS
By default, WordPress allows users to enter an incorrect number of incorrect passwords on the login panel. Hackers often abuse this feature of WordPress, so it is important to protect your site.
With the WP Limit Login Attempts plugin, you can limit the number of invalid passwords entered.
Akismet is the champion among the modules for protection against unwanted content, which arrives via comments and all other contact forms on the site. WordPress installs it by default but does not activate it. Akismet only needs to be activated, obtain its own API key, and use it.
The power of Akismet is reflected in how many users use it. The more people review comments and mark them as spam, the better the filters become. This is a module you must have.
We all want search engines to find pages of our site easily and quickly. While WordPress is great at optimizing the content of our site for search engines (SEO), help would come in handy.
Yoast SEO is one of the plugins that you absolutely must have installed on your site, whatever business you are in.
In addition to helping you easily optimize your site and its content for search engines, it also creates a special index or map of your site for search engines such as Google. That way, in one file, you give search engines everything they need to know about your site.
To learn what SEO is and how to optimize your content for search engines, read the following articles:
- Does Hosting Affect SEO Site Optimization
- SEO facts – 7 Things You Need to Know About
- TOP 10 New SEO Facts You Did Not Know
W3 TOTAL CACHE
This plugin also have optional connectors to database optimizers and content distribution networks, which improves performance because database content and functions rely less on a single server.
W3 Total Cache will definitely improve performance related to site loading speed.
Many times it will happen that you rename or delete a page or attachment, and the address that leads to it remains recorded.
In order for site visitors not to just get an error message in this case, 404page allows you to direct them to other pages and attachments on your site.
SOCIAL SHARE BUTTONS – GROW BY MEDIAVINE
Share buttons are also one of the mandatory items on the pages of our site.
We had the opportunity to try many plugins for social share, from free to paid, but in the end, we decided on this plugin because:
- Easy to configure
- Program code is well-written
- The loading speed of the website remains the same
- It does not have any conflict with other plugins
It is true that Grow by Mediavine offers a share on only 5 social networks. but no one needs more than that. In addition, too many share buttons can greatly complicate the operation of the website.
The WP Smush plugin allows your image files to become smaller. It is based on Yahoo! ‘S Smush.it image compression protocol.
This plugin works automatically as you upload images to WordPress. When you install it, you will only notice that the pages load faster.
The MySQL database is the most sensitive part of your site. Without it, you have almost nothing. It contains not only all your parameters but also the complete content, comments, file locations – almost everything that is really important.
The WP-DBManager plugin regularly backs up the database. Backup files can be stored on the server and can also be sent to you by mail. This plugin also has the ability to repair and optimize your database.
Green Popups is a premium plugin, but worth every penny. With this plugin, you can create beautiful popup windows and subscriber login forms to your email list.
There is no limit to the design of these forms, so it is very easy to make exactly the kind of popup or shape you want.
It also offers the possibility of integration with all leading email marketing providers: Mailchimp, Mailerlite, MailPoet, SendGrid, etc.
BETTER CLICK TO TWEET
This is one of the best ways to make your content available for sharing on Twitter.
Better Click To Tweet allows us with a shortcode to insert the message we want our visitors to share on Twitter account.
WP-Optimize is a plugin that makes our life a lot easier by improving the loading speed of our website pages.
With the click of a button, you can delete all old attachment revisions, unwanted comments, saved working versions of your pages, and all content found in all trash sections of your site.
Before we discovered the Caldera Forms plugin, we used paid plugins to provide our clients with the maximum quality of all the forms on their site.
This plugin helps you create all kinds of online forms – from contact forms to booking forms. It works on the “Drag and Drop” principle, so it is extremely easy to work in it.
Do you need all these WordPress plugins?
While WordPress plugins are fantastic, you need to be very careful about their number on your site.
It is not enough that all WordPress plugins on your site are tested and of good quality. If you install 20, 30 of them, you will have more harm than good.
Before you decide which WordPress plugins you absolutely need, make sure you choose a good WordPress theme.
A good theme within its settings provides functionalities that replace many plugins.
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is that they do not take into account what theme they choose for their site because they believe that all its shortcomings will be compensated by plugins.
The consequences of such an attitude are slow loading of the site and complete chaos in the execution of the tasks of certain plugins.
Before you start creating your WordPress site, make a specification of its desired functionalities.
Only after you find a theme that provides as many of the listed functionalities as possible, improve the theme with plugins and you will get a great site that works well.
WordPress plugins are probably one of the best features of WordPress and that is why you need to use them wisely to get the most out of this great blogging and website development platform.