Plugins, plugins, plugins. There are a gazillion of them out there that do a gazillion different things. The trick is not in finding a plugin I like, but finding just the right plugin to do just the right thing, yet not blow up my website with too many plugins that zap my resources and conflict with all of the others.
So … in an effort to be concise, I’ve chosen my 5 favorites to share with you.
Yoast describes this plugin as “The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.” And I have to say they really rocked it. This plugin makes it so very super easy to add SEO to your website/blog. You really need to go through the settings to make sure you have everything set up correctly first, then you can easily add keywords and anything else needed to each page and blog post. To make this plugin REALLY effective, I strongly recommend MaAnna Stephenson’s Udemy Course, DIY SEO For WordPress, priced at a whopping $24. She takes you step by step through setting up the plugin to get the most out of your SEO efforts and it is seriously worth the very small investment. [Note: You do NOT need the premium version of the plugin. The free one will do what you need.]
Out of all the social sharing plugins I’ve found, this one does the most. When the developers describe their plugin as “A plugin to maximize social shares and drive more traffic using the fastest and most intelligent share buttons on the market, calls to action via in-post click-to-tweets, popular posts widgets based on share popularity, link-shortening, Google Analytics and much, much more!” they are telling you the truth! The options you have when using this specific plugin are great. My favorite one is the built-in click-to-tweet function. But with all of the different things it will do, it’s like a whole bunch of plugins in one.
I’ve looked at many different backup plugins, but this one really fit the bill. It’s not a free plugin. I pay $15 per month (it’s only $9 per month if paid annually), and there are many different plans to fit your individual needs. But it’s worth it to me because it protects my content, themes, plugins, and settings with real time backup and automated security scanning from VaultPress. It’s easy to install and get going. All I had to do was activate the plugin, enter my registration key, and never worry again.
WordPress Zero Spam
I was a big Akismet fan for many, MANY years. I even sucked up and did the paid version for a whopping $5 per month. Until it stopped working. All of a sudden, it was not catching the real spam, but instead marking all of my replies to comments as spam. So … I changed to Zero Spam, and am very pleased. It’s free, has caught all of my spam without letting it slip through, and doesn’t appear to be a resource hog. Go Zero Spam!
This is probably one of my very favorite plugins for opt-in boxes and forms for my site. It lets you do popups of all kinds, sidebar opt-ins, use short codes to add your various opt-in boxes to the bottom of your blog posts or a specific page, and integrates with just about everything. I love it because it integrates so easily and beautifully with MailChimp. Plus, their customer service is great! Opt-in Cat has a very reasonable one-time fee, but it’s well worth the cost. I chose the Business license for $67. The plugin has so many options and features that you really just need to go to the website and check it out.
There are, of course, more plugins I really like, but that’s probably another blog post. What are your favorite plugins, and why?