In this day and age running your own blog or web site about subjects that you are passionate about is not as difficult as it was some 15 years ago. Especially with innovative platforms like WordPress that gave much needed voice for those of us who aren’t too familiar with web design and coding. Since its introduction in 2003. up until today, WordPress has become the largest self-hosted blogging tool and CMS (Content Management System) available in the world. It’s powering millions of sites that garner tens of millions of views from people around the world on daily basis.
You might be surprised to learn that some of the hard hitting web sites are actually powered by WordPress platform. For example: Tech Crunch, The New Yorker, BBC America, Variety, MTV News, Fortune to name just a few, are all managed through WordPress. And the best part is, WordPress is entirely free. Its open source nature means that everyone who feels competent and creative enough can contribute to the community with resolving bugs, adding features, designing visual themes and plug-ins and so on.
Speaking of plug-ins, you might wonder what those are and do. WordPress plug-ins are small pieces of software that can enhance your web page or blog with additional functions and properties that might be useful to you or your readers. Further on, we’ll introduce you to few free plug-ins that are pretty much essential for any page, no matter of theme and purpose.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is web analytical tool that enables you to keep track of numerous stats using the latest Google Analytics tracking code. It will integrate into your WordPress dashboard and that way be always easily accessible. Plug-in is highly customizable, so depending on your needs you’ll be able to tune what stats and reports you want to see and what not. This is useful for anyone who’s interested in bringing more visitors to the site and taking it to another level. Through it you’ll be able to track: number of visitors, traffic sources, geographic location of your visitors, what operating system and browser they are using and many many more. Granted, it might not be too interesting and informative for the beginners, but the longer you run your page you’ll more and more appreciate its broad functionality and info that provides.
Same as with your work files and documents, it is also important to setup reliable backup solution when running a website. There are numerous plug-ins that provide this service for you and BackUpWordPress is one of the best reviewed plug-ins of this type for WordPress sites. It is very easy to use and provides great support as well. With ot you’ll be able to schedule automatic backups and have them sent to your e-mail as additional layer of security. At the moment BackUpWordPress is translated to several world languages, and if you’d like to help with translating it to your own, you are invited to join the community and help.
Contact Form by WPForms
Contact Form by WPforms is easy to use, drag and drop WordPress form builder plug-in for WordPress. It is considered one of the most beginner friendly plug-ins with broad functionality for this type of work. With it you’ll be able to create anything from simple contact forms, over subscription forms to payment forms and much more. If you don’t feel too confident in creating these forms in fear of messing something up, included templates might help you with that. Forms created with this plug-in are all responsive in design, SEO friendly and will protect you from spam – using CAPTCHA and Honeypot method.
Just like it’s smart having some sort of security tool installed on your desktop PC, it is also good idea to have something that will protect your page from malicious attacks. Wordfence Security has profiled itself into one of the most used security plug-ins in the past few years with over 22 million downloads. This plug-in will help you maintain healthy web site, block hacking attempts with its built in firewall, block malicious networks based on their IP and domain and limit or block entirely various crawlers, scrappers and bots that are prone of damage to your site. For additional security, you can activate so called “Two Step Authentication” method of logging in. As far as scanning and monitoring against malicious threats go, this plug-in will cover you against all known security threats.
Although WordPress is “out of the box” well developed in dealing with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), this plug-in by Yaost will help you to further optimize your content. This will ideally lead to ranking higher among related Google search results and increased traffic to your page. Yaost SEO will try to encourage you to write more SEO friendly content, pointing you to mistakes that you might be making in your writing and structuring of articles. For example it will check if your article is long enough, if some paragraphs are too long, do you use subheadings and images in your article and so on. This might seems trivial, but it’s useful in creating content that is attractive to search engines. With this plug-in you can also write meta description and chose focus keyword for each piece of content you are creating.
So there you go. These are some of the essentials for every web page based on WordPress. Naturally, depending on type of site you are running, you can search for additional plug-ins that will add functions you are in need. Plug-ins are plenty and mostly free, so feel free to explore, be creative and elevate your page above the rest.