WordPress is a blogging platform and content management system for everyone. It is safe to say that there is nothing you cannot achieve with WordPress, especially with so many plugins, add-ons and themes to choose from. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of the most popular WordPress plugins and the added functionalities they offer. Let’s get started, shall we?
It is really difficult to talk about popular WordPress plugins without talking about this one: Akismet. With over 15 million downloads, Akismet is a spam-fighting plugin that helps keep spam comments away.
Akismet is very easy to set up. After the plugin is installed, you need to get an API code for it to work. Don’t worry, because Akismet offers both premium and free spam filter to its users. You can choose to pay to use the service or opt for the free version for personal use.
Once you have entered a valid API key, Akismet will protect your blog from spam comments automatically. The plugin is not 100% accurate, but it will help prevent spam comments from flooding your site most of the time. It can also be used to scan old comments for spam.
Google XML Sitemap
This next plugin offers one invaluable feature: the ability to create and maintain Google-compatible sitemap automatically. Install Google XML Sitemap and you don’t have to worry about Google indexing your site incorrectly ever again.
Google XML Sitemap is also very easy to configure. It has the ability to exclude certain pages and posts – or even an entire category – and many other tools that will help maintain an effective XML sitemap of your site.
Although Google XML Sitemap is very useful, its functionalities are often included in other popular plugins. This brings us to….
All in One SEO Pack
Some would argue that Yoast’s SEO plugin is better in terms of features and ease of use, but the All in One SEO Pack leads the way in popularity. It has close to 17 million downloads – probably a lot more by the time you read this – and has been offering stellar SEO functionalities to WordPress bloggers around the world.
The All in One SEO Pack offers a long list of features, including:
- Support for XML Sitemap creation and maintenance
- SEO for Custom Post Types
- Google Analytics integration
- Compatible with WP ecommerce plugins
- Advanced tools for advanced users
You can fine-tune virtually every part of your SEO campaign with this plugin installed. It is also worth noting that All in One SEO Pack works with a lot of themes that has built-in SEO features.
There are a lot of plugins that offer the ability to create online forms, but Ninja Forms offer so much more than that. For starters, the plugin is available for free, but offers a lot of advanced functionalities that can only be found on premium plugins. There are also a hell of a lot of tutorials out there due to it’s popularity.
Its drag-and-drop form builder is simply too good to miss. Creating even the most complicated forms can be very easy to do thanks to Ninja Forms and its simple user interface. Each form element can be dragged and configured in just a few seconds.
Ninja Forms also comes with built-in subscription management. This makes the plugin suitable for creating opt-in forms, through which users can choose to subscribe to your blog or other mailing list applications. The anti-spam measures available will help keep form entries from being bombarded by spam.
If you need more features, the premium versions of Ninja Forms are highly recommended. There are a lot of add-ons to choose from too, from simple ones such as the Multipart Forms add on to the Conditional Logic and Campaign Monitor add-ons for advanced users. All of these add-ons are just as easy to use.
Nothing attracts users more than visually pleasing photos that can be accessed easily. Whether you need to maintain a dedicated photo gallery page or you simply want a better way to embed galleries into your posts, NextGEN Gallery is clearly the plugin to use.
Known as one of the best-rated WordPress plugins today, the NextGEN Gallery offers so much more features than WordPress’s standard gallery and image management tools. For starters, the lightbox integration and the way photo galleries are displayed are improved over the native counterpart.
NextGEN Gallery also has a lot of extensions that you can add to add functionalities. Custom galleries, the ability to sort photos, video support and even front-end uploads for users are all supported through add-ons and extensions. The fact that this plugin is one of the most popular WordPress plugins comes as no surprise.
Last but not least, we have Jetpack. This is a plugin by Automattic, the company behind wordpress.com. Jetpack bridges the gap between the features you get on wordpress.com – such as the built-in statistics and the ability to follow other blogs – and self-hosted WordPress blogs. Whether you are moving from wordpress.com or you simply want to enjoy the same functionalities on your self-hosted blog, Jetpack is definitely a must-have.