WordPress is an incredible tool for those who don’t know much about web design but want to create a website. By using plugins, you can dive into content creating without worrying about the background ins-and-outs of site maintenance. And here are my seven favorite plugins for such a purpose.
By itself, WordPress has a lot to offer beginners who just want to share blog posts. It also comes with the capacity to grow into so much more. Whether you’re building a news outlet or simply want to express poetry, anything is possible.
Content Creating with WordPress
One of the reasons why WordPress has nearly 60% of the market share for content management systems is because of plugins. These are essentially apps you can add to the website to give it more functionality.
The following are tools I install in nearly every website I work on, whether it’s for myself or clients.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one of my favorite plugins when it comes to creating good content. Not only does it help revamp your site to make it more search-engine-friendly, but it also gauges your content and informs you of any issues.
For example, the system will determine how many sentences are in paragraphs, the use of headers and the reading level of the post or page. Using a red, orange and green light system, you can see at a glance whether your content creating efforts are effective for the average reader.
Yoast determines its information based on current SEO practices on the Internet. It’s updated regularly, and the free version of the plugin is quite extensive. If I had more money, I would surely by the pro version.
Jetpack is a plugin that comes with a menagerie of modules. It’s kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of WordPress. For example, I use it to track traffic through WordPress.com‘s website, Publicize new posts on various social media outlets and the Proofreader while creating content.
A lot of people have issues using Jetpack as you need to create a WordPress.com account to really get the most out of it. Fortunately, this account is free and comes stocked with a wide range of information regarding your website. Plus, you can use it to promote new content to other WordPress.com users.
Something important to consider is the fact the using certain modules in Jetpack decreases the number of plugins you want to install. Although some of these modules are not as elaborate as other plugins, you can still save time and efficiency of developing your website. For example, using the XML Sitemaps function works without installing a separate plugin.
3. TinyMCE Templates
I use TinyMCE Templates to quickly add Adsense shortcodes to my posts every time I work with content creating. It also works amazingly well when you want to add things like affiliate banners, YouTube videos and any other thing that might boost your site.
You can set up a number of templates to do a variety of things. From a post or page editor, you can choose specific templates to drop into the content. A good use of this tool is to keep certain kinds of posts uniform, such as reviews. You can pre-define headers and text formatting before you even begin writing.
For example, what if you want all review posts to have a specific header like, “Why Would You Want to Buy It?” By defining it in TinyMCE Templates, you can quickly click and add that segment then make your changes to it if necessary.
4. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
What site would be complete without Google? The Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin not only helps you track what content is the most important to readers, but it also puts it into your WordPress admin screen. At a glance, you can check to see what posts and pages are vital to your visitors at any given time.
This plugin has an array of options to give you a great deal of information about your site without visiting your Google account. Although it doesn’t have all of the metrics you may want to see, it does provide some of the most important.
You can see information regarding what referring websites are used to find your content, number of page views, what kind of devices people are using to read your blog and much more. It’s quite useful if you don’t want to leave WordPress but what to see how people are accessing your material.
5. Wordfence Security
Security is a must if you want to operate your own website. This is true whether you use WordPress or not. Wordfence Security is a free plugin that comes with a vast array of features to prevent hacking attempts and malware from ruining your content creating experience.
The plugin defends against known issues and hack attempts recorded throughout the Internet. It compares the files you have on the website to the WordPress.org repository to ensure nothing has been changed. It also scans files and comments for malicious URLs.
Although the pro version comes with an array of real-time scanning tools, the free version is quite effective. For instance, I receive an email any time someone logs into WordPress. Since I am the only one, this is quite handy. However, I can see it to be a pain if you have 50 or so people logging in on a daily basis. At which point, you can disable the email feature.
6. OneSignal Push Notifications
OneSignal is a plugin I stumbled across recently. It adds the notification feature to WordPress so subscribers can see when you post new content. It works almost identical to the notifications used by YouTube.
If you don’t have a Secure Sockets Layer on your website, or SSL certificate, OneSignal processes the notifications from its own secured server. This works just fine, but it may confuse some people to see OneSignal within the URL of the notification. Personally, I haven’t noticed a big problem between secured and non-secured servers, though.
OneSignal is what operates the notifications on this website, so you can kind of get an idea of how it works. It has a slew of customization features, such as colors and messages, and is easy to set up.
I like how it tracks all of the different websites I have it attached to my account and the number of active subscribers for each site.
7. UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore
One of the best ways to avoid downtime in the event of a website catastrophe is to keep regular backups. UpdraftPlus is a very useful tool for this. It restores from previous backup files, allows for scheduling and sends backup files to online Cloud storage systems like Dropbox.
Another feature you may want is the ability to clone or migrate your website. If you’re on a server and you plan on moving to a new web host provider, Updraft will help by quickly moving your site from one to another without losing data. However, this is a premium feature and will cost you a few bucks.
I rest easy knowing that my websites are protected through current backups. If something happens, I lose very little of my content – if any at all. It’s a nice thought when you’re not really worried of a server crash or malware attacks ruining your website.
While I use the above plugins on nearly every website for creating content and keeping it safe, there are a few others that are useful as well. You may want to take a closer look as some of these honorable mentions.
Even though I don’t use TinyMCE Advanced a lot when I dive into content creating, it’s still useful to have around. It expands what you can do in the WordPress editor and essentially turns it into a full word processor. If you use the visual editor in WordPress, you’ll definitely appreciate this plugin.
One of the highlights to this tool is the ability to drag and drop functions in its settings area. You can add or remove formatting tools while using up to four different bars across the top of your content screen. For example, you can remove the bold feature if you wanted to make room for another tool you’ll use.
Broken Link Checker
Valid links in your content are vastly important for search engine optimization. If they are bad, it could impact your ranking in search results. Broken Link Checker regularly scans your links to make sure they are still active and accessible.
When a link is bad, you’ll see a message in your WordPress dashboard. At which point, you can use the plugin to directly alter the link or remove it altogether without accessing the post or page. This is helpful if you don’t want to sift through your content to find the bad URLs.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin
Page Builder by SiteOrigin is one of those tools that requires a bit of exploration. It has a lot of features for fine-tuning a post or page, which takes customization to a whole new level. However, its sheer size can make it intimidating for new developers.
What I like is how much customization you can add without knowing a single line of code. It works with nearly every theme available for WordPress and gives you the ability to add things like sidebar widgets directly into the bulk of your post during content creating.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is a performance plugin that is supposed to speed up your website. And because speed is a contributor to SEO, it’s a sought-after feature while content creating. I say “supposed to speed up” only because I haven’t really noticed all that much of a difference when testing my sites.
Then again, most of my sites are really small compared to others.
Another way to optimize your website for speed is by keeping images small. WP Smush helps with this by decreasing the overall size of the graphics you upload while content creating. This, in turn, makes your website slightly faster.
As I am using the free version, I’ve only seen the slightest improvement in page speed. Part of that is because I already optimize many of my graphics before uploading them in the first place. However, even fractions of a second can mean the difference between someone reading your post or abandoning your website.
Make WordPress Your Own
WordPress has more than 45,000 available plugins ranging from things to help during content creating to overall design and layout. Part of the fun is sifting through what’s available and finding new methods to deliver information. Spend some time looking for something you think your visitors will appreciate.
It’s all about engaging your audience. And WordPress is one of the best tools for this purpose.