Plugins… Plugins…. Plugins

I had an e-mail recently asking which plugins I use and recommend on my WordPress sites. I thought that this was a good question and that there are no doubt others who would be interested in how I answered this particular reader. So, in this article I am going to outline the plugins that I use on most of my sites… and why!

There are literally thousands of plugins available and the number keeps growing almost by the hour. Some you have to pay for, sometimes monthly and others have a one off payment. There are others that are free and yet others that have a free version with an enhanced feature set in a paid version. Many I use are free versions because the free versions do all that I need of them. Others I have paid for because the features were worth it to me. Don’t be put off by the fact that they are free or not… the question you should be asking is, “Does it do the job that I need?”

With that short introduction out of the way let me introduce the plugins that I use on most of my WordPress sites, including this one.

Akismet Anti-Spam

This is a plugin I activate on every site I operate. It will intercept spam comments and put them to one side for you to take a look at at your convenience. One you have uploaded and activated the plugin you will need to insert your API key to make it work. Don’t worry if you don’t have one it is a simple matter of going to the developers website and getting your unique key. Once you have it you can use the API key on every one of your websites.

Once installed Akismet will intercept all comments it thinks are spam and hold them for you to review. It does pay to check through them quickly because the plugin is not 100% perfect and the occasional valid comment is intercepted but is is a simple task to correct that. It is easy to overlook the occasional slip up because it really does such a great job and keeps all the junk off my sites!

All In One SEO Pack

The next plugin I use on most of my sites is All In One SEO Pack, which, as the name suggests adds SEO features to your posts making it more attractive to the various search engines and making it easier for people to find your content. As I have said many time before I am not a huge SEO nut but to ignore it entirely is naive in the extreme.

The plugin makes the job easy and it is a simple matter of filling in a few fields at the base of each post you write… a title and a short description as well as a few well considered keywords and the job is done. Obviously there are other SEO plugins that will do the job as well but this is SEO that is quick and easy!

Sharebar

When you spend all the time that you do writing your posts you want them to work as much as possible for you. One of the ways you can do that is to have others share them with their own group of followers. This is where Sharebar comes in. If you look to the left of this (or any of my posts) you will see the social media box ‘floating’ next to the text. This allows my readers to share my posts on their social media account or accounts. Once again there are many different plugins available but this one works for me.

CommentLuv

This has to be one of my all-time favourite plugins. CommentLuv helps with SEO by allowing the comment writer to link to one of their own posts when leaving a comment on your blog. Search engines like busy websites so the more comments you can attract the better and CommentLuv provides an incentive to your readers to leave a comment. You also get a link to an external website… so no downside to this plugin!

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

Backuping up your site is a must. Imagine the unthinkable… all the work you have put in and something happens that means you loose it all! Not with a site backup plugin like UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore. Send your backups to the cloud or e-mail them to yourself but make sure you backup. This plugin does the job automatically once it has been set up so you don’t ever have to worry about it again.

Wordfence Security

An obvious follow-on from backups is site security. We all want to keep our sites secure from hackers and malicious files and to do this for me I use Wordfence Security. One of the things I really like about using this particular plugin is that the developers will send out e-mail alerts as soon as anything new is discovered to that you can act in a timely manner and keep your site as secure as possible.

WP Smush

This nifty little plugin compresses your images so that your pages load quickly without compromising the quality of the image. We are all aware that people will leave your site quickly if it does not load fast so using a plugin like this helps keep your visitors on your site by making sure that the pages load as quickly as possible. This is a must have plugin!

Conclusion

There are many other plugins that you could use, indeed there are many others that I do use. Some I use only on one or two sites to do a specific job or function. There are others that I use on most of my sites for various reasons but the ones that I have talked about here are the main plugins that I would recommend. Perhaps the most important thing to look for in any plugin is that it is updated on a regular basis. This means that the developer is still supporting it and that it is compatible with the latest releases of WordPress. An outdated plugin is a security risk!

Are there any plugins that you simply can’t (or wouldn’t) do without. Leave a comment and tells us all about them. Remember to share this post with your own followers… use the plugin on the left!

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