Once you have your basic WordPress install up and running, you’ve chosen a theme, and maybe even started posting to your blog. There are some things you can do to improve the User Experience (UX) of your site, make your posts more discoverable to search engines, and to make your posts easier to share by people who read them.
Plugins are pieces of software that extend the features and functionality of your WordPress site. The plugins available from within WordPress are tested to make sure that they work before they are made available to you for downloading. Use other plugins at your own risk.
Before Adding Plugins to Your Site
Before you add a bunch of plugins at once, let me give you a word of advice. Any time you add plugins, you change the operating environment of your site. WordPress tells you when you are trying to download a plugin that is old, or has not been tested against the version of WordPress you are running. But even if you are downloading the latest and the greatest, sometimes things don’t work right.
Most plugin developers want your feedback, so they’ll have a mechanism for you to tell them about issues. And plugins can interfere with each other. So the best thing to do is install them one at a time. Activate them and then do a quick check of your site to make sure nothing has changed. I recently installed a translator plugin that altered things on my website I could not account for. But clicking the Deactivate button brought it back to normal.
Five Plugins to Add to Your WordPress Site
Here, in no particular order, are five plug-ins that will quickly and easily improve your site.
Plugin #1: Follow Buttons by Add This
Provides configurable buttons that float on your pages/posts linked to your social media accounts. Clicking the button likes/follows said account(s). The buttons can be positioned on the top or sides of the pages/posts.
Plugin #12 All in One SEO Pack
This is a free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugin that can be upgraded to a pay version. It helps make your pages and posts more visible to search engines. It provides SEO Title, SEO Description, including suggested character counts and a built-in counter.
Plugin #3: Contact Form 7
I have heard this time and again. “I didn’t think it was important to capture people’s email addresses.” This is a simple way to do it. This plugin enables you to add a contact form easily.
Plugin #4: Share Buttons by Add This
Like their Follow Buttons plugin, these are configurable, floating buttons that enable your visitors to share your posts directly to their social media. Buttons can be configured to float along right or left margins or top/bottom of screen.
Plugin #5: Yet Another Related Posts Plug In
If you’ve managed to get someone to your site to read one of your posts, wouldn’t it be great to give them a list of other posts that have similar qualities? This plugin uses your titles, body copy, categories and tags to set thresholds based on several levels/factors. Displays a list of related posts following any given post. Related posts are rated based on your thresholds and best match is displayed first. For the administrator, each match also displays a number showing the percentage match rating.