Website development: Four Plugins every WordPress site must have

With the internet widely accessibly, there is widespread acceptance of the World Wide Web as a medium for communication; the need for a website for any forward thinking company or individual is no longer questionable. The questions are shifting from why to when and how the website should be built.

Over the years, we have built hundreds of websites, at our early days we built the whole damn thing from scratch – a complete unique and custom back end. Then as the demands kept changing, we started looking into open source technologies, so we adopted Joomla and Drupal for “websites” and WordPress for blog and high content orientated based websites.

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I love WordPress for one thing, its simplicity is unmatched. WordPress does a lot more than just build blogs; we have built a number of commercial websites on it.

Like any other application, to get the best out of it you have to tweak it. So here are four plugins that I think every WordPress powered website should have. Some are premium, but, just the free features will suffice.

  1. Better WP Security – this should be the first Plugin that should be installed on any new WordPress installation. WordPress powers more than 60 Million websites, more than any other CMS(Content Management System) and with a majority of these self hosted, this provides hackers an open playing field. What this Plugin does is; it covers the holes and weakness that major hackers use to get into WordPress sites. The Plugin helps protect against SQL Injection & URL hacking, access to sensitive files, default admin user account, default prefix for database tables, Brute-Force Login Attempts, among many others. It’s easy to install, configure and use. Well, if you find it hard, the pain is worth it compared to dealing with a defaced website.

  2. Better WordPress reCAPTCHA (BWR) – one thing synonymous with the internet is SPAM – a lot of the websites we build receive a lot of junk mail and comments from the forms, a simple tool to reduce spam is installing a human verification Plugin. Why I prefer BWR to the traditional WP-reCAPTCHA Plugin is its integration to WordPress’ Akismet,  plus ability to style the plugin to your liking. Installing is quite easy, but, if you need help then read fighting spam – how to install reCAPTCHA here.

  3. WordPress SEO by yoast – we know that ranking high on search engines is the secret to success online. With practically millions of websites online including your competition, a study by optify has it that 58.4% of the traffic goes to the sites on the first page of search results, with the first website appearing on top of the search results raking an average of 36.4% click throughs. That is why implementing a good SEO strategy is key to online success. This plugin helps with some areas of SEO; it is so rich, in ensuring that your posts are friendly to search engines. As matter of fact it is the page analysis functionality besides many other features that drove me to it, and I think anyone keen on creating content that ranks high and that attracts traffic will want to explore this plugin.

  4. Social Media Auto Publish by xyzscripts. Social media is the place to be, so how can we automate some of the tasks? I have been asked by many client; “if we have Facebook and all those other free social media accounts,  why then would we need a website?”. Sometimes I answer back with a cocky reply, “if there are hotels and lodges all over town, why would you need your own home?”. I then tell them, that it does not matter how “successful” you social media campaigns are, as long as you are not directing your fans to your landing page or somewhere then why run the campaign anyway, unless of course if its purely publicity. At the helm of any social/digital media strategy should be a website. However, before I get sidetracked, what this tool does is, it automatically posts excerpts and links of the new post to defined social media accounts; eliminating the hustle of manually signing in to your different accounts to share links, that’s if you even do it.  Sometimes I use SMAP alongside MicroblogPoster or  Sharethis.

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A professional website should be secure with a well designed user interface and in the age of social media, a lot more “social”. The plugins i’ve discussed can help you or your website developer achieve these objectives.

What plugins that do the same have you used? Or are there any others worth sharing? Then share them with us in the comments section below.

 Image: Nichepursuits

Editor’s Note: About the Author.

Joshua Okapes is keen about technology, passionate about incorporating technology into routine business processes and sharing tech experiences for the last 10 years. He’s currently serving the industry with Hosteac – a web hosting and design brand of “Devterch Limited”. You can find him on Twitter @JOkapes

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