WordPress powers about 29% of all websites on the internet. These aren’t just blogs, they are websites that have a variety of different purposes. While WordPress in its most bare form is great for blogging, it requires a few additional plugins to make it really great.
With a wide variety of themes and plug-ins available, the system can be used to create practically any kind of site you’d like. I have built hundreds of WordPress blogs over the years and discovered many great plug-ins to improve your site. Today I bring you my 6 favorites. These ones are my go-to for many of the sites I build and they provide fantastic value.
The listing here are plug-ins that are free. Many of them offer premium versions of the plug-in, but the free versions should be good enough to handle the majority of your needs.
PowerPress Podcasting Plugin
This plugin by Blubrry is a must have for anyone that wants to integrate their podcast into their WordPress. With the PowerPress plugin you can easily create a podcast episode, upload it to the site, and even integrate it with iTunes and the Google Play store.
This plugin is free and pairs with the Blubrry service (also with a free option) to gather statistics for downloads and more. The website also allows you to use upgraded features, including media, hosting if you need them.
WooCommerce is a powerful add on for WordPress that allows you to essentially build an eCommerce website easily. The plug-in helps users add products, categories, and more. Here’s just a small list of the things that can be done with the free version of WooCommerce:
- List products online for sale.
- Accept payments with PayPal. (Other modules for a fee)
- Manage inventory of individual products.
- Limit amount of products someone can buy.
- Suggest products based on what they are viewing.
- Sell digital and physical products.
- Calculate shipping easily.
There are a number of modules that can be added into the system, some of them are free while others make you pay. With all of the additions and tweaks that can be made to the system this could be a great solution for someone looking to sell products online.
If you’re interested in seeing a demo site of what Woo Commerce can do than visit this link.
This powerful set of tools is from the creators of WordPress themselves. This plugin adds a huge set of options for completely free. These options include:
- Related posts plugin
- Site statistics and advanced anayltics
- Automated sharing on social media pages
- Downtime monitoring
- Secured logins and two factor authentication.
- Additional sidebar widgets
I primarily use it for the sharing functions, but I enjoy the tiled and slider gallery features as well. Please be warned though, this will slow down you website slightly. There is another plugin late in this article that can help with that a little.
WP Live Chat Support
This plugin is fantastic if you want to provide users the chance to chat with you right from your WordPress website. I use this same plugin here on this page (check the little bubble in the bottom right).
My favorite part of the app is the amount of customization and adaptability the add on has. The features of the free version include:
- Live chat box on all pages
- Ability to customize color scheme
- Ability to customize messages
- Provide users with surveys about their chat experience.
- Block IPs to reduce spam or harassment.
- Allow users to leave you messages when you’re offline.
If later on you decide to upgrade to the pro edition you’ll have the ability to add multiple agents for businesses with more than one support staff, relevant document search, and more. There is even an add-on to this that allows users to perform support chats right from their mobile device.
WP Super Cache
In this day and age people are suffering from a shorter attention span. This is in part due to the ease of access we have to information. With the invention of high speed internet and 4G wireless data plans, users expect pages to load fast. In fact, studies show that the vast majority of users will leave a page if it does not load in the first 3 seconds.
One of the biggest complaints I see people have with WordPress is called “bloat”. This bloat is because of the additional coding that may not be necessary for the site, but still loads regardless. These extra wasted seconds could be the difference between getting your site viewed or not. Even worse, a slow loading site could negatively impact your ranking in search engines.
That’s where WP Super Cache comes in handy. This free tool creates a “Cache” of your pages and stores them. Basically it’s like this, WordPress uses a lot of dynamic coding. It’s extremely useful, but can load slower than traditional HTML websites. The Super Cache converts these dynamic pages into static HTML and serves them to viewers. Any viewer that is not logged into your site will be served the static page, causing it to load much faster.
If someone uses a Brute Force attack to hack into your website the consequences could be dire! Loginizer offers protection against this by allowing IPs a certain number of tries to login before blocking the IP from logging in. This is useful in preventing bots from hacking into your admin account and causing havoc on your page.
Other features include reCapthca, Two factor authentication, and Passwordless entry. There are additional features available in a premium version, but the free version delivers a lot of greatness on its own.
Hey Content Creators! Need some FREE tools and resources?
Of course everyone loves the price free, but many times there’s a catch to it. However my completely free resource guide offers a large variety of free music, videos, pictures, and programs to help anyone that produces content. Whether you’re creating a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel; this guide has a lot of great links to help you spice up your content.
Like I said, there’s no catch involved. You simply visit this page, fill in the form, and the download link will be emailed to you. You’ll receive a PDF file that you can easily reference at anytime.