What is a WordPress plugin?
A WordPress plugin is an extension used to implement new features on a WordPress site. It can improve the functionality of an existing feature, or add more options.
What are the different types of plugins in WordPress?
There are plugins for adding new features to the CMS, plugins for changing how it functions, and plugins for making it faster or more secure. You can install free or paid WordPress plugins. In most cases, the paid (premium) plugins are way more developed and come with comprehensive developer support.
WordPress plugins are also different by the scope of use. That’s said, there are WordPress plugins for general use, like affiliate marketing, reviews, LMS, security, SEO, eCommerce, etc., and plugins for a specific niche/industry: restaurants, hotels, real estate businesses, weddings, and so on.
How Many WordPress Plugins are there?
In 2022, the WordPress Plugin Repository will count around 60,000 plugins (59,756, more precisely, according to WordPress.org).
Essential WordPress Plugins
Regarding our project, after WordPress CMS is installed, before starting any customization, we have to install a theme (already did it) and some plugins to make our new website more beneficial for the visitors.
We’ll install the essential WordPress Plugins we’ve hand-picked for this tutorial. Keep in mind there are hundreds of WordPress plugins, but we have identified the most important plugins that are the most popular, practical, and stable. Some plugins are bloated or outdated and will crash your website, so be very careful if you plan on installing other plugins. We have carefully selected stable and widely used plugins for this tutorial. We have provided more tips for installing other plugins further down in this section.
On the left side navigation, click ‘Plugins,’ then under ‘Plugins,’ click ‘Add New.’ One by one, type in each of the plugin names listed below and click ‘Install’ next to the name that matches the plugins we have listed below, and then ‘Install Now.
– Important Note –
Many of the plugins have similar names. Make sure you only install plugins that exactly match the plugin names we have listed below. It is essential that you only install the exact plugins we reference below.
We’ll do the first one together. We have illustrated the process below.
Type in ‘Advanced Ads – Ad Manager & AdSense,’ then click ‘Search Plugins.’
Then click ‘Install Now’ in the ‘Advanced Ads – Ad Manager & AdSense’ row.
– Important Note –
Once the installation is complete, click ‘Activate Plugin.’ Wait for the plugin to be activated, then visit the homepage to ensure nothing has broken.
In rare cases, plugins will conflict with each other, and after installing a plugin, the site will crash. By activating each plugin one-by-one one by one and checking the site for any problems after each plugin activation, you can identify which plugin caused the crash.
In the event of a crash, go to your ‘Installed’ ‘Plugins’ page and click ‘Deactivate’ next to the plugin that caused the crash. This is a great general troubleshooting strategy if you’re having problems with your site. In this case, go back to your plugins page and ‘Deactivate’ all of your plugins, and then re-activate each plugin one by one until you identify the plugin that’s causing the problem.
Now repeat the above instructions and install each of these plugins – if you see any notification messages at the top of the page, ignore them.
What WordPress plugins should I use?
First of all, a security plugin. What could be the use of a compromised website?! Go to plugins -> add new, and search for “Sucuri.” This plugin is pretty good, and it’s free. After that, go and get a backup plugin to keep a backup copy in case of disaster. I recommend Updraft. Alongside the “Sucuri,” you can also try to harden the site using means like .htaccess, 2FA, password protecting the admin directory, strong passwords, etc.
SSL certificate – If you remember, I mentioned in the first articles about HTTP vs. HTTPS. Well, in 2022, you need to use HTTPS, no discussion. After you’ve implemented the free SSL certificate through LetsEncrypt, make sure you install this plugin: Really Simple SSL
How to stop spam emails from my WordPress website?
To stop spam emails, you have I recommend Akismet Anti-Spam. For short:
- Log in to your WordPress site as the. Administrator.
- From the Dashboard, click Plugins.
- Click the Add New button.
- Locate Askimet
- Click Install Now.
- Click OK.
- When the installation completes, click Activate.
This plugin comes pre-installed with WordPress, and it is essential. It checks your comments and contact form submissions against Askimet’s global spam database to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. It costs around $5/mo, but your site will be spam-free. Comment spam is a huge problem, and you should use Askimet. After you activate it, you should get a notification message at the top of the page that looks something like this:
Akismet is almost ready. You must enter your WordPress.com API key for it to work.
Make sure you get the API key for your site and configure it.
Another good alternative is “Antispam Bee,” already installed on over 700,000 sites.
What is Antispam Bee?
Use WordPress Caching Plugins to Speed Up Your Website
Nowadays, the speed of your WordPress site is a decisional factor in SEO, so you have to make sure your site is running smoothly.
Does WordPress need a cache plugin?
Yes! A caching plugin is essential to keep your site’s performance at its best.
Some of the best free WordPress caching plugins:
The best free caching plugin for WordPress is W3 Total Cache. This plugin provides various time-saving features, including browser caching, CDN integration, HTML5 video support, and GZIP compression. It also supports the latest WordPress technologies to offer the fastest site possible.
The second best free caching plugin for WordPress is LiteSpeed Cache.
LiteSpeed Cache (on LiteSpeed Server). WP Fastest Cache (free) on other sites. If you’re not uploading already optimized images, an image optimizer would be good.
What is a SEO plugin for WordPress?
A WordPress SEO plugin can help to optimize your blog’s SEO. It does this by automatically adding meta tags, generating XML sitemaps, and uploading images to Google photos.
There are a lot of free and paid plugins on the market. I recommend The SEO Framework plugin (It is lean, lightweight, non-intrusive, and non-bloated. Quite the opposite of the bloat that is Yoast). You should also install Google XML Sitemaps.
How do I track traffic on my WordPress site?
If you want to track the traffic on your WordPress site, there are a few ways you can go about it. One way is using Google Analytics to track the number of people coming to your site and which pages they visited. The other option is using a plugin called Jetpack that provides many additional features such as social media integration and contact forms that you can use on your site.
For tracking, I personally recommend Site Kit by Google and Microsoft Clarity by Microsoft.
There are hundreds of other plugins in the WordPress Plugins Directory. Most of these plugins are old and not compatible with current versions of WordPress, or are not widely used or tested and should be avoided. You have to use caution because many are very buggy and can crash your site. That is part of the value our tutorial provides. Through much research and trial and error, we have identified the most ‘essential’ and the ‘safest’ plugins that are listed above.
If you are curious or are looking for additional functionality, you are welcome to try additional plugins. We do recommend though that you only use plugins that have been updated recently and that have significant positive feedback. We also recommend that you set up a separate ‘test’ website and do your testing of new plugins there.
I won’t discuss any other plugins in this tutorial, but once you gain confidence using WordPress and WordPress plugins, you can download additional plugins and test them out if you like.