Tuesday, October 2, 2018

WordPress Plugins - Where Do We Start!

Plugins - what on earth are they, and why do we need them? When I first started working on my sites, these were overwhelming questions for me. I have to admit, I just added plugins a bit randomly, not knowing what I was doing, or why. I have progressed (a bit), and now make better decisions (I hope!). My sites are all WordPress - one paid for, the rest free. This happens to be a platform that works well for me. The plugins that I am going to look at here are some of the most important ones, IMHO, to consider for WordPress.

When setting up a site (especially if you are a novice, which is how I still see myself) we are faced with so many questions! (Some of which we are not even aware of until we are in the middle of getting things done.) We are looking at things like: 

  1. How can I get my site to load faster?
  2. How do I handle spam in my comments section? (This is a very serious concern for me.)
  3. How can I protect myself from hackers?
  4. What is malware, and how do I protect myself from it?
  5. And the ultimate question - How do I get my site in a decent position in the Google rankings?
Plugins are the apps that help us accomplish our goal of having a site that represents us well, holds the interest of site visitors, and meeting the intention of the site (which for me is to sell books). Akismet is one of the first plugins that I worked with. It performs the all important goal of keeping your comment section spam free. A great site will fail miserably if the quality of the comments section is not up to par with the quality of the site. Love this app!

Yost SEO is the next plugin that is going to be added to my site. I put my head in the sand if I even hear someone whisper "SEO", because while I know what SEO means (Search Engine Optimization), but I do not understand what I need to do about it. What this app will do is send visitors your way (from Google, Bing, and social media) and increase the engagement from your readers. The biggie here is that the little spidies (search engine spiders) have a site map created by this app that makes it easier for them to index your site. You can download a free version of Yost SEO, or purchase a premium version for a reasonable amount per year. A bonus, from my POV, is that this app also computes an on-site SEO score for you.

We all want our sites to load faster. Site visitors won't put up with a site that loads slowly. W3 Total Cache creates a cached version of your website on your visitor's browser. When they return to your site (which is what we want them to do!) the browser loads the local files from their previous visit, which helps your site load faster - very user friendly!

These are just a few plugins that can make life a whole lot easier! (And they are easy to use.)

(c) October 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

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