6 Super Useful (and Free) WordPress PluginsĀ 

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.

Woo Commerce

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.

Jetpack

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.

 

Loginizer

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?

Click here to download the Freebie Guide

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.

Build A Website: 5 Reasons You Need a Website for Your Brand

I push and push the concept quite a bit. If you ask me, you need a website no matter what type of online content you’re creating. I get a lot of different excuses for why people don’t feel they need a website for their brand. Among them are:

  • My brand is still small.
  • I don’t know how to code HTML.
  • I don’t have a lot of money.
  • I don’t see why I need one.

Well heck, I can tell you exactly why you need to get one and break down some of these excuses that prevent you from going forward with a page.

It cannot be taken down easily

So let’s imagine for a moment that you have an Instagram that does very well. What if for some reason it gets flagged and your content is taken down? Your users will no longer be able to find you. That’s a scary thought. In the blink of an eye your entire web presence is gone, *POOF!*

Thankfully if you have a website for yourself than people can always reference it when they’re looking for you. Plus, it cannot be taken down as easily since you own the domain and the web hosting is paid for by you. Essentially you are the boss here and everything on the page is geared towards you. No other profiles are shown, only the content you choose for them to see. Isn’t that kind of control great?

It is more professional

When you mark your brand with a .com you also get email addresses. This looks exponentially more professional than the old yahoo.com or gmail.com one you may already have now. By all means, keep those Gmail accounts handy, but it’s best to use your personalized domain email for business communications.

A web domain is also good to put on business card and can be remembered much easier than other URLs. It also looks good to have your own space in the world. It makes your brand appear more professional and because many of your competitors may already have a name, it may be a great idea for you to grab one also.



Building a Site is Inexpensive

People seem to have this idea in their heads that building a website is expensive. Turns out the costs of maintaining a simple WordPress is actually quite cheap. I use HostGator for my website, the cost of hosting there can be as low as $6.95 per month. Many times you can get a discounted price on a domain name when you first sign up. Personally I use NameCheap.com for my domain name registrations. It can get as cheap as $8.88 a year.

Don’t be afraid to shop around for deals. There are many other awesome web hosts out there that will give you great service as well. I have made a page that lists the various web hosts you can use, they are all regarded as solid web hosts and are included on the list because of it. Don’t worry, I try my best not to hook you up with poor services.

It’s the perfect home base for Brand You

So you’ve made the perfect brand for yourself, why not put it all together in one place? By having a website you are creating a home base that can link all of your social media networks together. Chances are you have a YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. Instead of directing users to “Like my Facebook, Follow My Twitter, Follow My Instagram, Blah, Blah Blah, Blah, Blah…” you can just simply tell them to visit your website.

From there you can include everything about yourself in one place. Consider the website to be like the Walmart of your brand, get it all in one easy to remember place. Plus since some social media sites do not allow many links, you’re able to promote yourself and your products much more freely. So while many social media networks don’t like you sending people off of their platform, it may be worth it to send them over to your own personalized space.

It’s easier than you think

If you’re creating a simple WordPress blog than the need for coding knowledge is minimal. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated away from building a blog because you think it’s going to be too hard. The truth is that many themes in WordPress are fully customizable without ever having to open up the HTML of the page itself.

WordPress is not your only option though. Squarespace and Weebly are a couple other places you can turn to for some easy GUI based web building options. So remember, it doesn’t have to be hard. Things are so automated today that you can have a nice looking website up and running in less than a day. Heck, I can have my WordPress blogs ready to launch in one afternoon pretty easily.

Conclusion – If you need more help

So there’s my 5 reasons. Don’t be afraid to get yourself a website. If you’re still a little nervous or have some questions; I understand. If you want some extra advice from me don’t hesitate to get at me over on Twitter @ericminermedia. Give me a follow, send me a message, and I’ll be glad to help out wherever and whenever I am able to do so. Till next time, thanks for reading this one. Keep mining for your social media gold.