WordPress Plugins are simply pieces of software or ‘apps’ that add extra functionality to your website or blog. There are tens of thousands of WordPress Plugins to choose from so the chances are there will be Plugin out there for your needs. Whether it be a contact form, a text/content appearance editor or an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) plugin there is normally a number of plugins that could do the job. Half the battle is trialing plugins to see which is best for you. As mentioned, there are many plugins to choose from, some are paid but most are free. Here is a selection of our favourites.
Free WordPress Plugins
This plugin allows you to use the visual editor used in pages in posts within a widget to allow you to use headings, text alignment, media insertions etc without having to write out the HTML code manually.
This plugin allows you to form columns within the content of your pages and posts.
NextGEN Gallery is the most popular WordPress gallery plugin and one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time, with over 6 million downloads. If you have a large gallery I would recommend using this plugin for ability to upload a large amount of photos at a time.
If you have a small gallery of individual photos this gallery offers you a slick look and feel to your gallery page. Not as practical as the NextGen Gallery but aesthetically more pleasing.
Search Engine Optimisation:
As the creator of this plugin admits, WordPress’ built in SEO is a good platform but if you looking to improve your sites SEO then this plugin is considered to be one of the best. The beauty of this plugin is that you don’t have to possess any previous knowledge of SEO to be able to use it effectively. It also shows you an indicator for each page or post showing you how ‘optimised’ the page is for your specific keyword.
When it comes to contact forms there are literally thousands of plugins to choose from with Contact Form 7 being one of the best thanks to its simple functionality. The layout and categories can be easily customised with CAPTCHA functionality easily added.
This is a very quick and easy to use image slider that can be incorporated into any page or post using a simple short-code found in the 'Tutorials & FAQ's' section. This plugin in fully customisable and is the best slider plugin that we have come across.
Background Image Slider
This plugin allows you to create a background image slider with consummate ease. Just bear in mind that the amount of the background image that you see will vary from computer to computer. i.e. Desktop monitor or laptop.
Note: The logo in the bottom right had corner can be removed by deleting the last line of code in the plugin’s CSS file. (full-page-full-width-backgroud-slider/css/fwbslider.css).
Very popular caching plugin used by many of the big WordPress sites such as derrenbrown.co.uk. If your website is loading a little slowly then this plugin will be the remedy you need to speed things up.
Allows customers to leave feedback/a review about your product, service or accommodation. Also allows customers to give a star rating.
Paid WordPress Plugins
Most of your needs will be served by the thousands of free plugins available but there is one paid plugin in particular that is very useful.
- Visual Composer - $25/£16-17
This plugin enables you to create advanced and professional looking content for you page with columns, icons, buttons, tabs and a lot more. This plugin also offers a free demo which is well worth trying. The chances are after having a go, you’ll be sold.