Five WordPress Plugins That Will Enhance Your Website
Posted On September 14, 2019
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System, powering approximately a third of the world’s websites in September 2019 according to W3Techs.com. One of its advantages is the ability to quickly add almost any necessary features through the installation of plugins. The WordPress marketplace includes over 50,000 plugins, many of which are free to download with additional premium features available for paying users.
Most WordPress users who spend any time administering a site will hear about the most popular plugins such as Yoast SEO for optimizing search engine performance and Akismet which comes pre-installed with WordPress and reduces spam comments submitted to the site. The following list contains a few other useful types of plugins that you can help you maintain and enhance your site.
Displaying affiliate advertisements from Amazon, Google or other
advertisers can be a great way to recoup the cost of your website and even make
code for many advertisements and display those ads on your site at random or in
some other specified order. This ensures that your ads get the page impressions
that will encourage visitors to click on them and generate revenue for you.
Additional features might include tracking the click-through rate (CTR) of
specific ads and targeting specific ads based on geography and other factors.
Website backups are an important part of site maintenance. Regular
backups, especially before making significant design changes, ensure the
security of your website data. They can also be an important protection from
hackers and outages. Website hosting services will often provide backup
services but a backup plugin provides an additional layer of protection and
easy access to backups files. A good backup plugin creates a copy of your
website and compresses it into a single file that you can save on Google Drive,
Dropbox or your own machine. If you have to restore your site, it’s as simple
as reinstalling WordPress and the plugin and then restoring the backup file
that you’ve made. Some plugins will also enable you to change specific
domain URLs and other text throughout the site to help in site migration.
Allowing your visitors to contact you with questions and feedback
is important, especially if you’re operating an eCommerce or other business
site. A contact form will enable your visitors to send you their
questions and then automatically route the messages to the e-mail of your
choice. They can also do a great job of filtering out spam and other unwanted
messages. If your contact e-mail changes, you simply change it behind the form
and the change is invisible to the users. Advanced form builders can help
you to gather more information from your visitors as needed such as
subscription or survey information.
You’ve probably seen the message bars at the top or bottom of some
websites with links to special offers or important information. You can create
one of these on your own site with a notification bar plugin. If there’s a
message or Call to Action that you want to make sure that all your visitors see
such as a newsletter subscription or upcoming event, these bars can be a great,
non-intrusive way of making that message very visible. Some plugins enable you
to create multiple bars and switch between them as needed.
The longer you run a website, the more likely it is that you will
need to delete or rename pages. This can cause problems when visitors follow
the outdated search engine links to your site and encounter 404 pages because
the page no longer exists. Page redirect plugins let you specify a page to
redirect your visitors to so that you can refocus their attention where you
want it. The plugins can also specify the redirection code such as 301 or 302
which communicates to the search engine whether the redirect is temporary or
permanent. For your own reference, a page redirection plugin might also track
the history of failed requests along with the IP and agent information for the
For any type of plugin you might want to use, there are probably
many different titles by different authors and it can be difficult to choose
the best plugin. Sometimes, it’s a matter of trial and error. When
selecting a plugin, you have the advantage of seeing how many people have
previously installed it and the ratings and feedback they’ve submitted. The
number of installs is just as important as the number of stars in the rating. A
plugin with over 500,000 installs is more likely to have a good community of
users who have tested all the features of the plugin and can even answer
questions. It’s a good idea to take some time to read through the user reviews
to see any specific issues that users might have encountered repeatedly along
with the plugin author’s responses.
Another item to pay attention to is how recently and how often the
developer has released new versions of the plugin. WordPress itself changes
frequently as developers identify issues and add features. A plugin that has
not been updated in a year or so might be considered abandoned by its authors.
It’s not as likely to maintain its compatibility with the rest of the system
and might be open to security issues.
Finally, it’s best to be conservative with the number of plugins
you install on your site. While sleek new features can be fun to play with,
excessive plugins can make it more difficult to test your site and track down
issues that you might be seeing. Forgotten plugins can break a site as the
information they depend on, such as e-mail addresses, changes.
It’s also important to stay current with the latest releases of the plugins on your site since some of these changes might involve security issues and other important considerations, so more plugins means more maintenance and testing for your as the site owner. Also remember that every plugin you use is another outside developer whose code you’re allowing to run on your site. In most cases, the community response to a plugin will alert you to any serious issues but, ultimately, it’s your site to maintain.