The Best in Life is Free: Essential WordPress Plugins that Cost You Nothing
Essential WordPress Plugins that Cost You Nothing
WordPress is phenomenal. There’s a reason nearly 75 million sites worldwide run on it. WordPress is easy to use, even for computer novices. Within minutes, you can set up a good-looking site and start publishing content.
But the biggest factor that makes WordPress so great is the community aspect. Anybody can create a WordPress plugin available for public download, and developers are constantly coming up with stuff to make your website cooler. Plugins let you give a site new functionality without the hassle of messing with code.
The great part is that a lot plugins are 100% free. Naturally, it’s great to show your support with a donation if you can, but there’s no obligation to pay a big fee or monthly installments like you would for a paid tool.
The plugins you choose to install depend on your site’s particular needs. However, these are the ones that pretty much everyone can find useful, no matter what kind of site you’re running. Just follow the links to grab them when you need them.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
This convenient little plugin gives you everything you need to get started optimizing your site. All you have to do is enter in a keyword for the page or post you’re working on and you receive a summary of how to improve all the major SEO factors (title and header tags, description, alt tags, keyword density, content length) for that keyword. You can then edit title tags and meta description with ease.
Contact Form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi
Most sites need a contact form of some kind. With this plugin, you can create simple and effective ones in seconds with no coding!
All you have to do is select the fields you want your form to include (email, name, message, etc.) and write-in the email you want all contacts sent to. The plugin then produces a short-code which you copy and paste into the content area on your page and voila! You have a contact form on your site!
FV Top Level Categories
This neat plugin solves a common WordPress issue. As you know, WordPress creates pages that display all posts belonging to any category of your creation. You can conveniently use these category pages as menu options in your site navigation.
The problem, however, is that these category pages feature the word “category” in the url, so that a category page for “news” reads yousite.com/category/news.
This plugin removes the word “category” so that the url reads yoursite.com/news. That looks better and makes it more readable for people and search engines.
The only thing you have to do is download and activate the plugin. Once you do so, the change is made with no additional effort on your part.
Fonts for Web
To give your site a dynamic appearance, you probably want the power to adjust font styles, sizes, and colors–just like you have on your word processor. Regular WordPress may not come with these features, but you can have them at your fingertips easily with this plugin.
You can make changes in the editor or while viewing the page as an admin. Choosing the latter option allows you to edit font specs beyond the page content, such as the header, footer, and widget area.
SumoMe offers a full suite of tools that help you build your website traffic. Although you can pay for the premium version, the free version gives you all the functionality you need to get things done when on a budget.
My favorite SumoMe tool is the mobile-responsive social sharing bar, which lets gives you a wide array of share button, including Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Reddit, Tumblr, and more.
Other tools include heat maps to let you see how people interact with your site and an email list-building popup creator.
WordPress Notification Bar by SeedProd
This plugin makes it possible to add a message and call to action bar at the top of your website. It attracts attention, and you can configure the button to take users to the url of your choice upon click. A great free alternative to Hello Bar.
Q2WE Fixed Widget by Max Bond
This plugin gives you the option to make your widgets “sticky,” which means they stay in place even as the user scrolls down the page. This is a useful way to maintain visibility for your email list opt-in forms or ads.
AMR Shortcode Any Widget by Anmari
Use this plugin to get a shortcode for any of the widgets you create. You can then paste the shortcode onto a post or page to have it appear within your content area.
Photo Gallery by Web Dorado
Generate elegant image galleries for your website.
Setting up a website doesn’t have to be complicated. Use these and you’ll look like a pro.