Top 10 Free WordPress Plugins
In this 2 part post we’ll go over our top 10 free WordPress plugins that we love at Raid Host. Out of the box WordPress is a very powerful tool, but a number of plugins can increase the experience even further.
First in our list of top 10 free WordPress plugins we have Jetpack. Most WordPress users prefer to self host their blog to maintain a sense of control and use their own domain. What they don’t realise is that they are missing out on a number of great features only available on wordpress.com. Jetpack is an official plugin written by the WordPress team which integrates your blog with wordpress.com allowing you to make use of these cool features. Best of all many of these features are desired by even WordPress beginners so it makes getting started so much easier with only 1 plugin to download, install and maintain.
Publicize allows you to link your WordPress to social media networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Each time you create a new post WordPress will post a status message on those social media sites on your behalf, great! It also works well with scheduled posts.
WordPress.com Stats does just as it says. It provides a gateway into your visitors browsing habits across your website and also produces some neat graphs.
Carousel is a great feature allowing you to create image slide shows on your site. A very popular technique used by web developers and included in this 1 stop shop plugin!
There are many more great features to list, too many to capture in this one article.
2. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is Raid Host’s caching tool of choice. It will generate static HTML files of your website and send these to your visitors, rather than the dynamically generated content from WordPress. This is fantastic especially if you run a busy blog(s). This tool can dramatically decrease the load on your server and saves you money on expensive resources, allowing you to run a busy WordPress blog with 10,000s of visitors on our Lite hosting plan. For more information on Caching you can checkout our article WordPress Caching To Improve Performance.
3. WordPress SEO
For the beginner, intermediate or experienced user, WordPress SEO by Yoast is a great tool to help with your search engine rankings. The in-page analysis (shown below) allows you to dynamically see how your article ranks in terms of search engine optimisation by checking your page title, heading tags, url, content etc. The tool can also generate XML sitemaps which all search engines just love. A sitemap is essentially the contents or index page of a book for your website and thus every site should have one.
One of the best tools to turn your WordPress website into it’s own social network is BuddyPress. It’s designed to bring people together and can be used from a number of things including a social network for your school or college; an internal communication tool for your place of work; a niche network for your sports club or interest topic. It’s easily customisable with it’s own repository of plugins and extensions, and has a great community driven support forum.
Some of the features of BuddyPress include extended user profiles, activity streams, user groups, friend connections and private messaging. It also works very well with WordPress Multisite, but you’ll have to lookout for part 2 of this article to find out more!
5. Contact Form 7
Pretty much the only thing websites have in common these days is the need for a contact form. Strangely WordPress doesn’t come with a native solution, so Contact Form 7 is one of our favourites. It’s very simple which is what makes it so great. Use the contact form wizard to create your form and then copy and paste the shortcode (highlighted in brown) onto your contact page to display the form. This basic form can easily be styled to match the look and feel of your website.
That’s it for the first part of this post. Look out for part 2 of our top 10 free WordPress plugins coming soon where we’ll provide you with more SEO tips and how to turn your blog into an online store.