I love WordPress. It has been my CMS of choice for years. However, at its core, the WordPress framework is very minimalistic.
My WordPress sites would be useless without the right plugins. I have found a number of really cool plugins that provide the functionality my blogs need. Here are the ones that I recommend for 2017.
Bloggers depend on forms to receive feedback from their followers. There are a number of form plugins, but most are too basic.
WPForms is one of the best I’ve come across. This plugin lets you create contact, email opt-ins, e-commerce order and other forms your site may need.
There are plenty of reasons WordPress is an awesome CMS. Security is not on the list. Nearly three-quarters of WordPress sites are vulnerable to hackers. Over 16,000 WordPress sites were hacked between January and September of last year.
If you don’t have a decent web security plugin installed, you need to get one immediately. Sucuri is one of the best.
There are many reasons cautious bloggers are using Sucuri to keep their sites secure:
- Sucuri is one of the best defenses against DDoS attacks.
- Sucuri cleans up hacked up websites. If your site has been blacklisted by Google or flagged for malware, these problems can be reversed after you install Sucuri and get the problems resolved.
- Sucuri identifies and disables brute force hacking attempts.
This is a premium app, so you will need to pay based on the level of protection you want. The cheapest plan costs $16.66 a month. This pales in comparison to the cost of having your website hacked, which most free plugins aren’t as equipped to protect against.
The default WordPress installation allows visitors to leave comments on your posts. However, it isn’t the most engaging setup. The commenters can provide comments to you, but can’t really interact with other commenters.
Disqus is a more seamless and sophisticated commenting platform. It allows child comments, so users can create discussions with each other, instead of just commenting on your post. Your users can even be emailed when someone replies to their comments.
It turns your blog into a mini-social network. Many people will likely return to your blog just to engage with other users on Disqus. It’s also important to note that blog commenting was one of the most used methods for growing engagement and backlinks to websites and blogs in an ethical matter. This is according to more than 60 experts who were asked about their preferred methods of content creation and link building.
If you’re running a blog in a very visual niche, you’ll need a plug-in that lets you showcase lots of images at a time. NextGEN Gallery does the job very well.
It has been downloaded over 16 million times in the past 10 years, because it’s the best gallery management plugin available.
This plug-in makes it easy to upload multiple images at a time, sort and rearrange images, create thumbnails and import meta-data.
If you want to make any modifications to your theme, then you will need to do so through the CSS templates. Unfortunately, CSS is pretty complex and many bloggers aren’t willing to take the time to learn it.
CSS Hero is a great plugin that handles your CSS coding for you.
The Ever Growing World of WordPress Plugins
While I’ve listed some of my favorite WordPress plugins for you to consider, it would be a huge mistake to simply stop here. Be sure to check out the ever-growing list of plugins available through WordPress’ directory. No matter what you would like to accomplish with your site, there is a good chance there will be a plugin out there for you.