Plugins for WordPress. They are fantastic tools that allow us to customize our website. The possibility of having these applications is perhaps the reason why WordPress became one of the most used CMS in the world. But for those who are not familiar with this topic we will start by defining the concept.
What is a plugin?
A plugin is a program that is installed to get a higher performance and expand the functionality of our website. It allows you, for example, to create an e-commerce store, improve a simple website, enhance a corporate page, or highlight your blog.
You can also improve the user experience, speed up your site, optimize for search engines, provide greater security, collect information, make backups, manage contacts, and so on.
In short, there are many features that give you plugins for WordPress. Here I will focus on those that improve the performance of a page, and that it is convenient to have them from the beginning in any project. Of course it’s a very subjective choice. You can take it as an orientation and then look for others that also adapt to your needs.
10 Essential Plugins for WordPress
1. WP Super Cache
Generate an HTML copy of each page of your site, to facilitate the loading when visitors enter our website. We know that WordPress is fantastic for content management. But its power and versatility implies processes that usually delay the loading of the website and because of this it is necessary to optimize its content and install a plugin like this to load faster.
2. UpdraftPlus Backup
With this plugin we will be able to make backups of our web page. We all know how important it is to have a backup for any problem that occurs on the site. It also allows us to make backups by parts, themes, plugins, database and send these backups to different deposits in the cloud as Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, Amazon S3 and others.
AMP is a web design format that provides benefits in loading speed and even positioning on Google. It allows the optimal visualization of the different pages of a web site in any mobile device. The AMP plugin allows fast, attractive and high performance web experiences.
Makes optimizing your site really simple. You can add, minimize and cache scripts and styles, inject CSS into the default page header but you can also integrate critical CSS and postpone all the added CSS, move and postpone scripts to the footer and minimize HTML. You can optimize and defer image loading, optimize Google Fonts, and much more!
6. Contact Form 7
With this plugin it is very easy to manage multiple contact forms, as well as customize the form and content of emails. The form supports Ajax, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and much more.
7. Really Simple SSL
Really Simple SSL plugin automatically detects your settings and configures your website to work on https. The site url and the cover url are changed to https.
Lossless compression. You can delete unused data without affecting image quality. It is also possible to set a maximum width and height and large images will be reduced as they are compressed. Locate the images that are slowing down your site and many more features.
9. Safe SVG
SVG is a vector image in XML format that is used on some websites to display logos and icons. WordPress by default does not allow to load them. With this plugin you have the ability to allow SVG uploads ensuring that they are sanitized to prevent vulnerabilities that affect your site.
An all-in-one created by Automattic, the same people who develop the WordPress core. It’s ideal when you don’t have much knowledge of these topics as it covers the complementary aspects that a basic project usually demands. This plugin offers features that include security, content tools, visitor participation, social exchange, comments, spam protection, delayed image loading, storage on the official WordPress CDN, related publications and also improves the performance of your site.
How to measure the quality of these tools?
WordPress has more than 40,000 plugins that can be easily installed. However, we must be careful when choosing them, because more plugins means more loading time.
Therefore, it is important to install only those that are strictly necessary so as not to hinder the operation of the site. The practices I recommend are the following.
First of all we must verify the reviews that are on the left and are plotted with five stars. Next to it you will find the exact number of opinions. It is convenient to analyze the number of stars with the ratings made, because 5 stars of 10 opinions are not the same as 4 stars of 1000 ratings. No doubt we will keep the last complement.
We must also keep in mind that the WordPress plugins we choose are updated periodically. It is not recommended to choose those that go more than three months without updating. However, in the case of simpler programs, 8 or 10 months may not affect their performance.
Considering active installations is significant when analyzing the quality of a plugin. More than 5000 is a reasonable number.
Check the details tab, there you will find more information about the program, features, installation, compatibilities, functionalities, and so on of the plugins for . In addition, there is the profile of the creator that will be very useful to you because we will be able to verify his experience, the quality of the support he offers, or contact him personally if we have any doubt.
It is important to verify that the current version of the plugin is compatible with the version of our WordPress, to avoid problems with the site. Generally the tool itself warns us of this situation, but we still have to be very careful with this.
Precautions When Installing a Plugin for WordPress
I saw on some blog the term “plugin addicts.” The truth is that I found it very tight, because it is very easy to become addicted to these tools that give us so many solutions.
It is not difficult to feel the temptation to install many add-ons thinking that this way we will get more benefits for our website. But the truth is that we have to choose, as we said, the essential for the proper functioning of the site. You must be very careful, for example, not to have more than one plugin with the same objective, which often happens without us noticing.
We cannot forget that, when we decide to dispense with a plugin and deactivate it, it still takes up space on our server. Therefore, if we no longer need it, we must deactivate it and uninstall it. In this way we will avoid that our web becomes slower for accumulating programs that we do not use.
How many plugins can we have?
Actually I can not say a certain number as this depends on many factors. WordPress plugins don’t always offer the same results. For example, someone can install 20 plugins and your page will work perfectly. While another person, with the same amount, may be affected the operation of your site.
And why does this happen?
In general it depends on the hosting contracted and the characteristics of the plugins installed, among other elements.
More than the quantity we must take into account the quality of the application. It is very important to analyze them well.
Let’s consider that a line of code badly programmed in these tools can compromise the security and the performance, the usability and the SEO of our web.
Overcome the initial impulse to install dozens of plugins for WordPress and rationalize your decision. Anyway, as a general rule, I suggest that you monitor the operation of the page as you add these programs, so as not to have surprises later.
Where do we find WordPress plugins?
These programs that cover so many specific needs are in three different spaces.
On the left sidebar of our WordPress desktop we click on “Plugins” and some of them will appear by default. Also, if we click on “Install Plugins” we have a search engine that allows us to find by name the one we are interested in.
On the WordPress desktop, when you click on the Plugins – Add New menu, the top section of the screen has 4 links. These are: Highlights, Populars, Recommended and Favorites, and the Search for Add-ons box. The Featured page is active by default when you click on the Plugins – Add New menu.
Type of search: If we click on the search arrow gives us three options: Keyword, Author and Label. The keyword searches for plugin names and descriptions for the specified keyword, the Author searches for plugins created by the Author, or to which the Author contributed, and the Tag searches for plugins labeled as such.
Best Free WordPress Plugin is a plugin comparator that gives us information about the most downloaded by category. It allows you to verify how one plugin for WordPress works in comparison with others. It gives us comparative information about downloads, installations, opinions, etc. It also provides a graph with the downloads and the frequency of the survey that you can specify (from a minute to an hour). This way we can make a previous analysis before deciding which complements for WordPress to use.
You can investigate yourself the type of plugin you need and choose according to your needs. Just always keep in mind the suggestions I leave you in this article so you won’t have any surprises after installing them.