WordPress is allegedly one of the most popular content management system in the world right now – for some good reasons. With a raving community of developers, there are so many WordPress plugins developed and launched out there, that can make life so much easier when it comes to managing your company website.
If you are looking for one or two free plugins for your WordPress-powered site, I do have some recommendations for you. Here’s a list of 12 great WordPress plugins that’ll make tasks like content creation, social sharing, subscription-handling, and site maintenance way less stressful for you and/or your employees!
Watermark is an essential plugin for any site that offers photo content. It applies a watermark to any photos that are “downloaded” from your site using a browser. Any time someone downloads an image from a site using Watermark, it will be a watermarked image. The watermarks aren’t visible when viewing images on your site, and you can still download them via FTP anytime you want without the watermark being applied. Great for copyrighting your images.
Get it here: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/alti-watermark/)
This free plugin allows you to hit your visitors with an “exit pop” whenever they try to leave one of your pages. You’re allowed to have two pop-ups configured at a time while using the free version – any extra and you’ll be required to upgrade to the pro version. For most businesses, one or two exit pops to test is just fine. You can set it up for individual pages and are able to upload your own, custom HTML contact form too.
Find it here: (https://wordpress.org/plugins/popupally/)
3. Microblog Poster
This is an indispensible tool for anyone running single or multiple social accounts on each network. Microblog Poster automatically updates your social followers with each of your new blog posts, providing them a short custom message or post excerpt, along with a backlink to the page. The only drawback I’ve noticed with this plugin is the lack of Pinterest and Instagram support, which may be a drawback for some of you.
Get Microblog Poster here: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/microblog-poster/)
4. Floating Social Media Icon
I believe this is the most popular social media icon plugin out there right now. It’s great if you don’t like the lack of customization offered by similar widgets. It allows different icon sizes, drag and drop icon reordering (real nice feature), and in case you’re worried: you can make the widget static too; it doesn’t have to float if you don’t want it to.
Here it is: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/floating-social-media-icon/)
5. Social Media Feather
Download here (http://wordpress.org/plugins/social-media-feather/)
6. Easy Custom Auto Excerpt
This plugin is great for keeping your home, archive and on-site search results pages neat and tidy, with easy to read excerpts from all your posts. It also offers 40 different “read more” button themes, which add yet another level of uniqueness to your website. You can choose your own excerpts or allow the plugin to auto-generate them for you. Very customizable for a free plugin!
Get it here: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/easy-custom-auto-excerpt/)
7. Coming Soon!
I wouldn’t pay for a plugin like this, but since it’s free I’ll definitely recommend it. This is great for new sites that you just don’t have the content ready for, or for when you have to take your site down for maintenance. It displays a custom “Coming Soon” or “Maintenance” messages for visitors, and allows a range of customizations using HTML5 and CSS3.
“Coming Soon” can be downloaded here: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/coming-soon/
8. WordPress SEO by Yoast
This plugin would have been way more useful back in 2009, but it still has some relevance today. When you plug in your main keyword, Yoast goes to work scanning your post title, post content, page url, and meta description for that keyword, displaying the results in a checklist for you on the post editor page. It also offers Google search snippet previews, checks for sub-headings, sends sitemap images automatically to Google, and checks for alt tags in all your images.
Find the plugin on this page: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/)
9. Contact Form 7
This is the only contact form plugin you’ll ever need. It’s free, easy-to-use, and supports multiple contact forms at once. It flawlessly supports Ajax-submit, Captcha, and integrates with Askimet for further spam protection.
Get Contact Form 7: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/)
10. 404 to Start
When one of your pages gets a nasty “404 Not Found” error, this plugin will redirect visitors to your home page, or a custom error page of your choosing. This is a great option that will reduce the amount of traffic lost due to broken links or oversights when content is moved. It will also notify you (if you wish) whenever a 404 occurs.
Get it here: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/404-to-start/)
11. Content Aware Sidebars
This is a must have if you’re running multiple sidebar widgets on your website. You don’t need to pay a coder or waste your employee’s time. Anyone can use this plugin without a snippet of coding knowledge. There are many powerful options to make use of here. It allows you to customize different sidebars and footers according to category, page title, author, custom post type, and whole list of other parameters.
Download for free: (https://wordpress.org/plugins/content-aware-sidebars/)
12. Google Analytics for WordPress
This plugin will be relevant to any site owner so long as Google sits atop the search-engine-mountain! The Google Analytics plugin streamlines the registration and authentication process to get your site setup with tracking: See Analytics page.
Get the plugin here: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress)
There are many more great (and free!) WordPress plugins, but before you install each and every one you discover, here’s some words of caution for you: Please make sure that you only install WordPress plugins you really need, and be sure that you monitor whether the plugins you installed are updated regularly. Many free WordPress plugins are not actively maintained, which means that they can be utilized by the bad guys to inject some bad codes into your sites.
As always, premium WordPress plugins are charging you money for some good reasons, especially the fact that the plugins are continuously developed to continue to give you value months, even years to come.
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