By Sally Warner
If you’re working from home as a freelance professional relying on WordPress, you’re likely trying to figure out how to make your job as easy as possible. With so many things to consider, analyze, and apply, installing apps and plugins comes as a logical solution. If there’s anything that can speed up your work or help you deliver a better-optimized product, you should try it. You’re about to discover some quite helpful and practical WordPress plugins. And, in case they’re not free, they’re quite affordable.
What can WordPress plugins do?
Demand dictates supply, and the offer of WordPress plugins in 2021 is vast indeed. Plugins can be classified into several categories, which are those that assist you with:
- creation of various types of content
- Search Engine Optimization and marketing
- online security and website performance
Each one of these sections hides a multitude of plugins, as every owner of a WordPress website has a specific need that must be fulfilled.
With that in mind, it is essential to stress the difference between plugins and widgets, as they’re often used interchangeably. While plugins add particular functionality feature(s) to a site, widgets are used to display different kinds of content at the top, bottom, or sidebar of a website.
Content creation plugins
WordPress is an excellent content management system with various built-in features, but even WP can’t do everything. Luckily, whatever type of content you need to present to your audience, there’s likely a plugin that enables it.
- WPForms / Gravity Forms. Two plugins that help you create contact forms of your choosing. While WPForms comes with a free version, Gravity Forms doesn’t but it also provides some additional helpful features.
- TablePress. Displays tables on your site and allows you to import data from Google Sheets or Excel files with ease.
- Beaver Builder / Elementor. These two page-builder plugins help you design and create eye-catching pages in minutes without any coding knowledge. Both have a free version that is sufficient for beginners.
- Atomic Blocks. Adds a block of content to your page. Yours is only to choose the type you need from a pack of helpful blocks and add content.
- Editorial Calendar. The user-friendly plugin helps you manage scheduled posts and enables you to organize various authors contributing to your blog.
Another great thing about WordPress is that it allows installing various plugins that make the whole experience significantly better. Most importantly, it will enable you to customize your website with the help of specific WordPress plugins you will benefit from the most.
SEO and marketing plugins
The main goal of SEO is to drive organic traffic to your website by helping you position highly in search results. Follow the SEO rules, and you should be fine – if only it were that easy. The rules are many, and you may not be an SEO expert. That’s why the SEO plugins are for: to guide you and remind you.
- Yoast / Rank Math. Both plugins help you optimize your content for search engines. However, Yoast is simpler to use and is suggested to SEO beginners. Comparatively, Rank Math is a bit more advanced.
- SEO Friendly Images. A time-saving plugin that does tedious work for you and automatically adds alternative text and title tags to your images.
- Sassy Social Share. Provides social media buttons to your site. It enables easy sharing of content and ensures you a strong social media presence, a must for those who prefer to engage their audience.
- Jetpack. This is truly a multipurpose plugin that combines a multitude of features, marketing included. With it, you can monitor website traffic statistics and publish social media posts cross-platforms.
- WP Review. Creates reviews for a product, page, or post using any scale that applies to a particular type of review.
On the other hand, there are marketing plugins, tightly connected with SEO plugins, as they rely on the same key indicator to measure success – traffic. The better exposure, the stronger the online presence. The stronger your presence, the better plugin you have used.
Website security plugins
With the workforce going remote, so are cybersecurity threats. With the growing number of safety issues following online work, the topic of online security is not to be underestimated. For that purpose, there are few plugins at your disposal:
- Wordfence. Raises a firewall, fends off malware and cyber-attacks and performs security scans.
- Akismet. It recognizes and mops away spam comments for you, although you might need to whitelist false positives from time to time.
- UpdraftPlus. Should anything happen with your website, you better have a backup. UpdraftPlus makes a backup copy of your site and stores it in a cloud.
Setting out to protect your WP website against cyber-attacks is a priority. Today’s digital environment is more akin to World Wild West than ever and online safety is one of the biggest issues. At the same time, it is a matter that can be mitigated with proper tools. However, take good care that you install only plugins from verified sources.
With the ongoing situation, online work is more important than ever and presents a whole new host of challenges. Hence, you should do everything in your power to make it easier. With the help of the right WordPress plugins, you’re ensuring your site looks professional and runs smoothly, your content is well optimized for search engines, and your website is safe from various online attacks.
While it may seem challenging to choose the right plugin out of the plethora of similar solutions, you can’t go wrong with the one that has the best online dating. If thousands of excellent reviews and millions of users recommend it, then it is the right one for you, too.
Sally Warner is a regular contributor to the wpfullcare.com blog on many marketing and SEO topics. As a self-taught SEO specialist, she strongly believes that knowledge can be found online with a fair bit of effort.