WordPress is what we like to call an open source platform which means that the entire platform is open to the public to edit, develop, and resale anything they would like. This is what makes WordPress one of the most powerful content management systems in the world. Developers around the world are actively building and designing different themes, plugins, and other API connections to help people who want to build a website, easier and more fun.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
Plugins are pre written coding applications that you can install on your WordPress website to help you accomplish specific tasks and goals. Plugins are an amazing aspect to WordPress and why it is such a powerful and popular content management system. WordPress has a built in area/directory in which you can search for plugins directly in your WordPress admin panel, however, you can also find many more plugins on the web and install them manually. One of our favorite 3rd party places to search for plugins is Codecanyon.
Things you can do with plugins (not limited to)
- Newsletter Signup Form
- Email Contact Form
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Drag and drop page editors
- Custom homepage slider
- Ecommerce (Online store)
- Lead capture/management
- Calendar and events
- Audio/Video players
- And so much more…
Lyqwid’s Top 10 WordPress Plugins for 2016
#1 – Visual Composer ($30) (Check it Out)
Visual Composer is a must have for new website designers and developers and that is why it number one on our list. This plugin eliminates the hassle of having to know or work with HTML and CSS to create beautiful web pages. By installing this plugin you will be getting a powerful drag and drop page editor so you can add different elements and content to a specific page on your website in seconds. Adding buttons, full width images, videos, social links, icons, and more has never been easier.
#2 – Contact Form 7 (Free)
Every website needs a place for customers to get in contact with them. To make it easy for customers and increase conversions, why not have a contact form where they can fill out their information and email you directly without leaving your website. Contact Form 7 is free and very powerful if you know some standard HTML and CSS skills. These skills are not required to use the plugin for a simple contact form but styling and customization may be limited to the defaults if you don’t.
#3 – Yoast SEO (Free)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is by far the most important aspect of any website. Without traffic, your content is useless. This is were Yoast SEO comes into play. Yoast helps you optimize your on page SEO by easily allowing you to add different meta tags and more. If you do not know the technical jargon of SEO, basically this plugin helps you customize how your website shows up on Google so your page titles and information are relevant to what people are searching for. It also rates each page on your WordPress individually while giving you suggestions on how to improve the pages content.
For instance, if we were to type in “Utah” as the keyword for a specific page on our website, Yoast would scan the pages content and track how many times it comes up on that specific page. Including checking the titles and subtitles for the keyword “Utah”. It will also give you suggestions based on how much text content you have, image alt tags, and even the ease of reading score. This is definitely a must have plugin for optimizing your websites SEO.
#4 – Slider Revolution (Check it Out)
One of the most common layouts for today’s design trends is to have a prominent slider on the homepage of your website that displays relevant information. Slider Revolution is a fully customizable solution to creating an amazing slideshow or video slideshow with animations and layers. Its unlimited customization options may intimidate new users but use one of the pre made layouts and start from there.
#5 – Essentials Grid (Check it Out)
Though this is number five on our list, Essentials Grid is one of the most powerful plugins on the market. Create quality designed grids that are fully customizable and that link directly to your website posts. With tons of pre made layouts and the option to fully customize, it doesn’t matter if you are new to web design or a veteran designer who likes to create from scratch. This is a great plugin for displaying your recent blog posts or a killer portfolio page.
#6 – WooCommerce (Free)
Are you selling products or services on your website? Create a store instantly with WordPress’s featured ecommerce plugin WooCommerce. You can start accepting payments directly from your website whether you are selling clothing, music, or software services. WooCommerce has competitive transaction fees and there are thousands of add-on plugins specific for enhancing your online shop.
#7 – SumoMe (Free)
Social sharing and email newsletters are two of the most powerful marketing tools you can have and SumoMe brings those tools to you for free! With the SumoMe plugin you can instantly have any social media sharing icon stuck to the side of your website so users can share your content. You can also enable a subscription popup where users can input there email address to signup for your newsletter such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and many more integrations. This automatically gathers the users information and transfers it to your newsletter mailing list.
#8 – Formidable (Free)
Sometimes you need to gather more information from customers than just their name and email. Formidable allows you to click and drag options to create a custom form so you can gather as much information from users as you want! Do you want to know their height? Weight? You can gather this information with Formidable but be careful asking personal questions or too many questions.
#9 – WordFence (Free)
With amazing advances in technology comes the rise in cybercrime and hacking. WordFence is a powerful WordPress plugin that Lyqwid uses on a regular basis and offers to clients. Though the premium version of this plugin is expensive, you can still enhance your website’s security with the free version. Block specific countries, IP addresses and set settings so if there are too many failed login attempts it locks the user out. You can also set up two step authentication with mobile text messages to verify your identity. WordFence even includes a secure cache plugin to increase the loading speed of your website.
#10 – W3 Total Cache (Free)
Google has put a large emphasis on UI and UX for the SEO algorithm. Part of UI and UX is the speed of the website that users are on. W3 Total Cache is a simple yet complex plugin that enables caching for your website to increase the overall speed. Caching in simple terms is essentially storing data from your website on the user’s browser so if they return to your website your content uploads directly from their computers hard drive rather than relying on distant servers. There are features that the average user can simply turn on without having a major impact on the websites performance but there are also advanced features for developers looking to maximize their website’s speed from minifying script to CDN networks.