WordPress (WP) was originally designed as a blogging platform. But along with themes, ‘plugins’ have turned into turned WP into probably the most flexible website platform on the web.
So what are ‘WP plugins’? And how can they help you build a better small business website?
WordPress.org describes them as:
Adding plugins to WordPress is simple. What’s better is that most of the plugins that you need for a small business website are free from WP’s plugin directory.
Go to <Plugins> on the lefthand column in the WordPress dashboard. In the dropdown menu that appears, click on <Add New> and the WordPress plugins directory appears. Thumbnails of the most popular plugins appear. You can also search for plugins using the search box. Once you’ve found the plugin that you want, click on <Install>.
Here’s a video with a WordPress plugins tutorial:
Let’s look at the must have WordPress plugins you’ll need to install on your website and why:
1) Caching: What Is And Why Do I Need A Caching Plugin?
In an Indian restaurant, a batch of a general sauce will often be made up before dinner service. It can be used in a number of dishes. Imagine how long it would take if the sauce had to be made fresh for each meal.
Caching works a bit like this. The WP caching plugin stores a version of the website that has been previously requested. It serves up the ‘premade ’webpage making loading much quicker.
There are many caching plugins available for WP. Here are some of the most popular:
WP Super Cache
W3 Total Cache
2) Search Engine Optimizations (SEO) Plugins
SEO plugins add tools to the standard WP installation so that your website is as search engine friendly as possible.
The two most popular are:
All In One SEO
There’s a paid version of Yoast SEO with more features. A cheaper paid option is SEOPressor Connect.
3) Anti-Spam Plugins
The comments function built into WordPress is a useful for feature for letting visitors interact with your website. But spammers also love it. So an anti-spam plugin is a must.
The most popular is:
Akismet – as it comes with the WP installation.
However, it does require an API key and payment for commercial use. A great free alternative is WP SpamShield.
4) Security Plugins
Hackers are a problem for any business website. So installing a security plugin is commonsense.
A word of caution: if you set a security plugin to its highest security level it can often cause problems with other plugins on the site. So always make a back up of your website before you start setting up a security plugin.
Popular security plugins are:
All In One WP Security & Firewall
5) Back Up WordPress Plugins
If for any reason your website goes down, a back up plugin can be a lifesaver. You can easily restore a copy of your website to your server. There are loads of back up plugins, both free and paid. Here’s a few to look at:
UpdraftPlus (free and premium versions)
These plugins are only scratching the surface of the features that plugins add to WordPress.
Want a membership area?
Want a forum?
Want an ecommerce site?
No problem there are plugins for all of them. There are cool WordPress plugins for so many things!
We’ll look at plugins in more detail in future posts.