What are WordPress Plugins?
WordPress plugins are addons. They help WordPress do jobs it can’t do by itself. For instance, to add a contact form to your WordPress website you would install a contact form plugin.
And what is WordPress? It’s the most popular website building software.
How many WordPress plugins are there?
There are over 58000 free plugins and many premium plugins.
Do I have to install plugins to use WordPress?
No. You can build a good-looking website using just WordPress, a domain name and web hosting.
How many plugins should I install?
As few as possible. And only install plugins from the official WordPress website or from a business that you trust.
Can plugins be dangerous or slow my site down?
Yes. So, install trustworthy plugins and only when you need them.
Could you list some popular WordPress plugins please?
Below I list a few good plugins, but only install the plugins you need. Most of the plugins in this list have free and paid versions. The free versions are good enough for small business websites.
When you write a web page, Yoast prompts and advises you. It makes sure the page is easy to read and optimised to rank well in Google.
First Yoast scans your page using the flesch reading score to see how easy the text is to read. If you’re using too many big words or too much jargon Yoast tells you to simplify the text so it’s easier to read.
Next, Yoast asks you what words you want Google to rank your page for. This could be plumber in Bradford or MOT in Idle, for instance.
Then Yoast tells you where in your page you need to add those keywords, so Google can find them and categorise your page correctly.
This helps Google show your business to the right customers when they search.
WP Forms plugin is a simple way to add a contact form to your website. The free version of WP Forms only offers basic contact forms, but that’s enough for most small business websites. WP Forms has a wizard that guides you through the setup of your first form.
Soliloquy image slider
Most experts say avoid using page elements that move, they can lose more sales than they bring. However, if you must add an image slider to your page, Soliloquy is a well-respected plugin with a free version.
Envira Image Gallery
WordPress has a built-in image gallery but the free version of Envira gallery looks nicer.
Smush Image Optimiser
Before you upload an image to your website, you must optimize the image to reduce its file size. For instance, you can reduce an image that might be several megabytes in your camera to a hundred kilobytes or fewer. And the images look good when displayed on your website.
If you use Photoshop or other software to optimize your images, you don’t need Smush. However, if you haven’t got a clue what image optimisation is, Smush could help you make sure your image sizes are not too big and don’t slow your site down.
If you want a good-looking homepage without designing it yourself, a plugin like Genesis Blocks can help. After installing the plugin, you can choose from a small selection of readymade page layouts and page sections. You can add a layout to your page with one click, then change the text and images. The free version of Genesis Blocks is OK for a small local website. The paid for version is awfully expensive.
If you have some design skills and want to build your own webpage layouts, you can. GenerateBlocks is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) page layout program that makes it easy to design webpages without using code. If you learn how to use GenerateBlocks fully, you can build almost any website layout. GenerateBlocks is currently free. A paid version is due for release soon. The free version is enormously powerful, but it takes time to learn.
There are 58000 more WordPress plugins available
This list is just a tiny sample. To begin with, only use plugins available on the official WordPress website. Also make sure the plugins you install are up to date with lots of five-star reviews.
Everything in moderation
Use plugins in moderation. By not installing plugins, you miss out on things like contact forms. But too many plugins can slow your site down making it more vulnerable to hackers.
What is the right amount? The plugins you need, and no more.