8 Free Plugins Needed to Optimize Your Website

Creating a beautiful and highly functional website with WordPress is mainly due to Plugins.  Plugins enhance your website with features and benefits that make your website look professional…

 

They are pieces of code that you can activate directly in WordPress and can be the exact piece-of-puzzle you need to make the Website do exactly what you need it to do. They can be available to any web-owner free-of-charge or you can buy ones that are not free. In this article, I will give you recommendations for 8 free plugins needed to optimize your Website, when using WordPress.

 

 

Plugins help Google search engines find you,  provide you statistics about your website, links your website to social sharing, gives you abilities to sell e-commerce, provides protection from hackers and spammers, compresses pictures to help speed your site up, and makes it overall easier for you to enhance your pages and posts without coding. 

 

WordPress alone does not have bells and whistles when you first get it. It functions OK but is limited. With the help of plugins, you can improve the look and function of your website. When you first begin to create your website, you need to add the following plugins to help protect your website and to enhance its capabilities and to make it easier for you to do more things with your pages and posts that the plain WordPress site does not offer at the time of activation.

 

 

First, you need to know is:

 

Where to Find Plugins…

 

After logging into WordPress, you will see a sidebar on your left-hand side (as shown in the example below). A title called Plugins will automatically be there for you to choose from.  Click on Plugins to gain access.

 

 

 

A Plugin List will then appear (per my example below). It will show all the plugins you have installed to-date and if you have activated them or not.

 

 

Click on “Add New” that appears at the top left-hand side of your screen. This will give you a list of FREE Plugins that are available for the choosing: 

 

After you Click on Add New, this screen will appear. It provides a list of all ‘Featured’ Plugins, as well as Popular ones, Recommended &  Favorites. There is a Keyword search section that I use all the time as it saves time when I need to find a specific plugin or if I am on the search for one that I need to help me complete a task.

 

 

 

OK now that you know how to find Free Plugins, we are going to start to 1) find my recommended plugins for your website 2) activate them.

 

 

#1: Jetpack by WP- for performance & security

 Summary of Detail:

  • Design & Customization: this plugin helps you create & customize with various themes, applies high-speed to images & videos for computers and mobile
  • Marketing & Performance: it provides analytics and stats for your website performance, SEO & Social Media Tools, and Paypal payment buttons
  • Security & Backup: It protects against hackers and spam
  •  

For more information: Click Here_Jetpack by WordPress

 

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When your search appears for any plugin, don’t install it immediately.

First look to see if it is compatible with your website. If it is not, then don’t download it because it could corrupt your website. Next, take a look at 1) how many active users have installed the plugin 2) the star ratings 3) the last month updated.

The number of active users, the star ratings, and the last month updated will give you a clue as to whether or not the plugin is top notch or a bit of a dud. If not sure, read the ratings, and if still not sure, then don’t install it.

 

#2: Akismet– to avoid spam

 Summary of Detail: 

  • Akismet checks for spam by scanning “Comments” that the public put on your pages and posts
  • It filters all questionable comments and either remove them or puts them aside for you to determine if they are relevant and acceptable or not

To find out more: Click here: Akismet

To get Akismet for FREE Click my Blog Here to get Step-by-Step Instructions:  How to Add Akismet Plugin for Free

 

#3 Yoast SEO– to attract readers & customers

 Summary of Detail:

  • This plugin gives you guidance and recommendations for improving your articles based on your keywords
  • It is essential for getting more visitors to your website from Google and Bing

To find out more: Click Here: Yoast SEO for everyone

 

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#4 WP GDPR Compliance – to comply with the LAW

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]: It was actively implemented in June 2018 in order to protect personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within the EU member states.  Even if you don’t live in the EU, you still are subject to their law if you have transactions in any manner with European citizens.

Read Here for more information on GDPR:  https://www.csoonline.com/article/3202771/data-protection/general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr-requirements-deadlines-and-facts.html

To find out more: WP GDPR Compliance Plugin

 

#5 EWWW Image Optimizer – compresses images optimizing your site’s speed

Summary of Details:

  • converts your images to the best file format
  • increases your page speed

To Find Out More: EWWW Image Optimizer

 

#6 Google XML Sitemaps – helps Google Crawl to Your Site

Summary of Details:

  • improves SEO by creating an XML sitemap for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com to better index your site
  • having a sitemap helps these search engines see the structure of your website so they can retrieve the data you have put on there more efficiently

To Find Out More: Google XML Sitemaps

 

#7 Contact Form 7 – Helps your Readers Contact You

Summary of Details:

  • “Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.”  – By Takayuki Miyoshi

To Find Out More: Contact Form 7

 

#8 Social Warfare– Get More Leads to Your Website

Summary of Details:

  • Attractive social sharing buttons act lightning fast 
  • You can choose from the top social networks sharing buttons, including:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Google+
    • Pinterest
    • LinkedIn
    • StumbleUpon

To Find Out More: Social Warfare

 

These are the 8 plugins I recommend you use when starting out your website or enhancing your current website in order to give it leverage and competitive advantage.

 

What plugins do you use that you feel can help other website owners?

 

I look forward to hearing from you.
Best Wishes from The Cloud.
Deb
Entrepreneur & Owner of Cloud9 Marketing On-Line

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