WordPress not only is a great CMS as is “out of the box”, it is also great for SEO taking care of almost 80% of the tasks needed for good ranking and it also has a great community behind it that is constantly working to make it even better.
But today i am going to talk about another very important factor of WordPress that extends what is now great to an even better yet platform. One of the best features of this CMS is the incredible amount of plugins you can find for almost anything you need, some of them are free and some need to be purchased, but regardless, if you have a big, small or no budget at all you are most likely to find a plugin that will suit your needs.
So lets start! Here are my favorite plugins that i use for myself and my clients
1. WP SEO by Yoast
This is one of the best free plugins out there. It is first in my list because it deals with a very important factor that is SEO.
Like i said before WordPress has great SEO built in but it still needs that extra push to make it skyrocket with the search engines. This plugin will take care of several critical points for a proper optimized page like meta tags, titles, content, page analysis and xml site map to name a few.
Let look at some of the most important factors that make this such a great plugin:
WP SEO has a built in page analysis functionality that will check your page and point out the things you might forget to include. Some of the things that will check are for instance the alt tags in you images and if you are using the proper keywords in it, it also checks the length of your articles to see if they are long enough or if you are falling short, it will check your meta description to see if you are utilizing them correctly.
XML Site maps
WP SEO possesses an advance XML sitemap functionality that will create your sitemap automatically by only clicking on a check box and it doesn’t stop there, it will also submit your sitemap automatically to Google and Bing.
.htaccess and robots.txt file
With the built in editor you can customize your WordPress Blogs .htaccess and robots.txt file. This is a task for more advanced developers that know how to utilize these files.
WPGMappity is a simple but great way to include a Google map into your website. There is no hard coding involved and all the configuration is done right in your page or blog, you can even include markers with custom icons, routing, map controls and customize the size and alignment.
3. NextGEN Gallery
This plugin is great for all of you looking for an easy way to create photo galleries, be able to upload and manage these with ease.
NextGEN Gallery has the ability to batch upload image files which is great when you need to upload multiple images at a time, it also imports meta data and creates thumbnails for you. You can group diffident galleries into albums for a better organization and you can choose the layout you want, either slideshow or thumbnail galleries.
So based on these features NextGEN is a great way to centralize the management of all your image galleries and its FREE!
4. Contact Form 7
Forms are a great way to capture visitors information and make your website more interactive. The problem is that creating a form from the ground up requires good programming skills that usually a regular person that knows how to create a blog or page will have no idea how to create a form.
This is where Contact Form 7 comes into play, this plugin is great for adding forms to any WordPress site, you don’t need to be an experienced programmer to utilize this plugin, all you need is the idea of what you want in your form and basic knowledge of WP.
This powerful plugin supports Ajax-powered submitions, captcha and Akismet for spam filtering.
5. Easy Social Icons
This is one more of the various social integration plugins out there. The reason i like this one is the fact that is very straight forward and easy to setup, there are no huge amounts of options and setting you need to configure like other social plugins have just to setup a Facebook and Twitter account. With this plugin all you need to do is upload the social icon, put the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google + or any other accounts you may have and save, that is basically it.
Now of course if you want to get more specific and put more advanced option on your site there are many good Social plugins that will get the task done, but for a simple social icon this is far the easiest and straight forward plugin out there.
So no matter what is it that you are looking for you are certain to find a plugin that will cover your needs.
I also want to thank all the plugin contributors for creating these great plugins and make them available to us.
“Always remember to support our contributors because thanks to them we have these amazing free plugins and without them a 30 min task can take us a few hours :)”