For most start-up bloggers, WordPress will be the natural option – and with good reason. First of all, its user base just keeps on growing, which is proof that the software delivers. Professional bloggers will tell you that WordPress goes way beyond the standard blogging site; it’s more of a Content Management System (CMS) providing all the tools you need to build a business or e-Commerce website.
One of the major advantages WordPress offers its users is a huge library of plugins to add new features or functionality to your site. The beauty of WordPress plugins is their seamless integration with WP sites and, better still, many of them are available for free! With new bloggers in mind, we’ve selected 6 of the best plugins currently on offer.
WordPress powers around 25% of all sites across the web – which makes it one of the most popular targets for malicious hackers. Many SME website owners think that it’s only the the biggest websites that get hit, but in fact smaller websites are increasingly the victims of cybercrime, and perhaps most worrying is the fact that many owners remain oblivious that their site has been compromised.
iThemes Security Pro is designed to defend your website from hacks and external attacks. It offers an impressive array of security features including protection against brute force attacks, email alerts should site files be changed, lock out for bad users, scanning for bots checking site vulnerabilities, and strong password enforcements.
The JetPack plugin only makes sense if you know the difference between WordPress.com, and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is the site that new bloggers tend to head for; it’s easy to get started and manages your site for you, however any advanced features you want, will cost. WordPress.org. allows you full control of every aspect of your website but not all the .com features are available.
JetPack has been developed by Automattic to provide .org WordPress users with all the .com advanced features. Once activated it gives you access to over 30 modules including: visitor engagement stats, contact form shortcodes, tiled galleries for your images, multiple shares of social media posts, image optimisation, and powerful security features for your site.
Google Analytics is such a powerful tool for measuring your website traffic that it’s simply stunning that its free to download. The data presented by Google Analytics allows website owners to know what’s working well, what’s isn’t and – crucially – where your priorities lie. Knowing how users navigate your website allows you to make informed business decisions.
Google Analytics caters for both casual users and those who want more granular data. Website owners can gain insights to visitors to the site in real time, as well as identifying pages that are performing poorly. Additionally it offers you data on the geographical location of visitors, how long they stayed on each page and how they found your site.
All websites are vulnerable to ransomware, DDoS attacks or server crashes which could leave you unable to operate. UpdraftPlus offers a simple but powerful solution. This WordPress plugin will backup and restore your website should the worst happen. Feedback from users rate its easy-to-use interface; all you have to do is install it and schedule a backup to a remote location – it does everything else.
Increasing the speed your site loads is great for your visitors, improves your SEO and saves you money on your server bandwidth costs. EWWW Image Optimizer achieves this for you by reducing the images on your website by 10-30%. Once set up, this plugin will automatically compress any images you upload, and allow you to optimize existing images in bulk.
Visitors to your website need to know that they’re viewing a secure connection. SSL is a cryptographic protocol which was developed to guarantee security over internet communications. If this isn’t in place your website could be vulnerable to intercept, or ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks, where cybercriminals view sensitive data such as bank and credit card details, or account login.
Even if your website is secured it may be importing insecure material from HTTP sources. The Really Simple SSL plugin searches for active HTTP hyperlinks on your website and switches them to HTTPS quickly and easily. Once installed, fixes are automatic.
It can be difficult to know where to start given the sheer volume of plugins available in WordPress. The ones we’ve chosen provide the basics for your website, without overburdening it in the early stages of development.
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