Having a WordPress website is ideal for any webmaster regardless of their skill and experience of website development. For the experts WordPress provides an instant platform through which to introduce more complex functionality and customisations. For a beginner WordPress provides an incredibly easy to use platform that allows for simple content updates and new pages in a few clicks.
WordPress also has a vast library of plugins many of which can instantly transform the way your website works without having to type a single line of code.
If that wasn’t good enough, then what’s even better is that many great plugins are either free or have a free version which provides a host of useful features.
We love WordPress and below we’ve provide a top 10 must have plugins that are either free or come with a free version. Some make your website more secure, some make it work better or improve SEO and others introduce awesome functionality.
1. Wordfence Security
Website security is more important than it’s ever been. The free version of Wordfence security is a must for any diligent website owner.
Wordfence will regularly scan your website for security threats and suspicious code, and in making cases provide a simple on click option to remove them. The plugin will also email you a summary of every daily scan.
Unless you’re a competent coder or are happy spending time doing it, you’ll need a page builder in order to create engaging web pages. Elementor is an easy to use content builder which includes a host of drag and drop modules to create great looking pages.
Get detailed control over every element of a page through an intuitive interface and get access to host of ready made page templates.
3. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is one of the most downloaded plugins of all time – and for good reason. Using Contact Form 7 you can easily create both simple and complex contact forms that can be simply placed on any page using a shortcode.
The best bit is that’s totally free, you get all the functionality you need straight away.
4. Ting PNG
The time it takes for your website to load is now an important factor Google takes into account when deciding where to rank your website. Compressing your images is often a quick way to instantly gain more performance.
Tiny PNG can do this job a few clicks. The free version gives you 500 free compressions per month which is often more than enough for a small website.
5. Lazy Load
Another quick to increase your PageSpeed score is to introduce lazy loading. This delays loading images below the fold of the page until the user scrolls. This results a quick initial load of your pages which Google loves.
6. All In One SEO
A simple yet comprehensive seo plugin for WordPress. It’s easy to set up and perfect for both beginners and expert SEO users.
Easy add your seo tags to every page and create your sitemap ready to submit to search engines.
7. Broken Link Checker
Broken links are those that point at pages that don’t exist. It could be that you’ve incorrectly added a link or removed pages without adding re-directs. Either way a ‘404’ error is bad for usability and will mean search engines find dead ends whilst crawling your website.
Broken Link Checker does a simple crawl of your website and will produce a list of broken links. You can then work to remove them.
The Redirection plugin is an easy way to manage 301 re-directs and this easy to use plugin is ideal for any sized website.
If you find yourself having to remove pages from your website you should always redirect these links to a relevant live page. This avoids users being greeted with a page not found error and keeps the search engine crawler bots happy.
Redirects are always highly useful if you were to be replacing an existing website with a new build. There will undoubtedly be removed pages or changes to link structures – and these can be easily ironed with Redirection.
9. Updraft Plus WordPress Backups
In today’s climate it’s absolutely vital to get regular backups of your website, especially if you are constantly making updates (as any good website owner should!). The magic of a backup is that if anything goes wrong you’ll have a working copy on file.
Updraft Plus introduces a really easy way for any WordPress website to create a back up. These can be stored either on your server or in a cloud platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
If you ever need to restore a previous version this can be achieved through a simple click.
WooCommerce is one the world’s most popular eCommerce platforms. If you want to introduce an online shop to your website and begin selling products, then WooCommerce is the plugin you need.
A basic implementation of WooCommerce is free and this will provide you with everything you need to start selling. However, there are many other free and premium extensions (for relatively small costs), that can introduce a host of extra features.
11. MailChimp For WordPress
MailChimp is pretty much the most popular email marketing platform around. Using the MailChimp For WordPress plugin you can create great looking subscriber forms that seamlessly sends the users email address to your mailing lists on MailChimp.