Free WordPress Plugins You Need in 2020.
I have always heard of WordPress Plugins, but have never paid them any mind until I began building my own WordPress blog. My WordPress blog was beautiful, in my not so humble view, however, I could not do some of the things I wanted to. Like, use a simple form to get people to sign up to my newsletter. My site loaded slowly and it took forever for my images to open. What was even worse is that my beautiful Blog which I worked tirelessly to build, got hacked!
WordPress Plugins to the Rescue
Imagine my frustrations at this point. But, relating my sad story to a colleague, he immediately asked me which WordPress Plugins I had installed, to which I replied with a blank confused stare, duh…
Now that incident happened some time ago when I was a complete newbie at all this WordPress and Blog stuff, today with the lessons learnt, I will never build a WordPress site without introducing some WordPress Plugins to help with securing, speeding up and generally maintaining my sites.
To help new WordPress site builders or even older ones, I want to share with you some WordPress Plugins that I currently use and have found to greatly enhance the performance and security of my sites.
What Are WordPress Plugins
WordPress Plugins are scripts created using the PHP scripting language. They extend the functionality of WordPress and can greatly enhance the existing features in WordPress. Plugins can also add entirely new features to your site. WordPress Plugins are often developed by volunteers and can be either free or come with a paid Pro Version. They are available via the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Now that we know what they are let’s take a look at my list of WordPress Plugin recommendations.
Sucuri WordPress Plugin
Securing your site is of paramount importance, you do not want to risk being hacked. For this Sucuri is considered one of the best WordPress Plugins to use, it is a full-featured security plugin for WordPress sites. It comes with both a basic version which is free and a premium version with additional features which can be purchased. Both versions include security activity auditing, file monitoring, and malware scanning. The premium version includes third-party features such as Google Site Browsing and McAfee Site Advisor. This WordPress Plugin provides email notification of suspicious activity, as well as blacklist monitoring features.
w3 total cache WordPress Plugin
This WordPress Plugin is considered to be the fastest and most complete WordPress performance plugin. It is trusted and used by many sites including some of the big companies. The Plugin improves the user experience of your site, it improves your server performance, caching everything on your site and it reduces the download times. This is important for your sites SEO performance as Google uses page load speed as one factor in ranking your site.
Smush WordPress Plugin
Smush is a super must-have WordPress Plugin. If your site or blog contains images, and let’s face it who does not have images in their blog today, you should not be without this WordPress Plugin. Smush optimizes your images without loss of image quality, it strips unused data without affecting image quality and is hands down the most widely used image optimization WordPress Plugin today. A must-have!
a3 Lazy Load WordPress Plugin
This WordPress Plugin will load images below the page fold or even conditionally, that is, only when they appear in the browser’s page view. Images at the bottom of the page will not be loaded if the user does not scroll down.
This is a required feature because it helps your page to load faster, all images do not need to load before your page shows up. You page loads a lot faster this way and your SEO will be better. It is worth noting that the previous WordPress Plugin, Smush, also does a lazy load of images.
AMP for WordPress Plugin
Today almost everyone uses mobile devices to surf the web and if your blog does not load quickly on these mobile devices you will lose a lot of traffic and money from your blog. AMP for WordPress, automatically adds Accelerated Mobile Pages (Google AMP Project) functionality to your WordPress site. Accelerated Mobile Pages makes your website faster and improves your Mobile visitors’ experience. AMP also has some useful extensions to extend its features, making it even more powerful.
Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
This WordPress Plugin is an invaluable tool when creating content for your blog, it helps you create SEO-friendly texts with the correct keywords in mind. It makes sure that you are writing easy to read, engaging content for both visitors and search engines. This is important again because Google will rank your pages based on its SEO quality. Yoast SEO comes in both a free and a premium version, and in most cases, the free version may be all you need but do take a look at the premium version also.
Sumo WordPress Plugin
If you have a blog and plan on monetizing it then you should be collecting organic leads. You should be getting at least the email address of visitors to your site. The Sumo WordPress Plugin will help you to do just this. There is both a free and a premium version, and if you are just starting out the free version will be more than enough for you until your traffic starts to really increase.
Companion Auto Update WordPress Plugin
This WordPress Plugin auto-updates all Plugins, all themes and the WordPress core.
If you are running a WordPress site which you cannot afford to lose or have hacked, it is important that you keep your system updated times at all with all the latest stable updates. This can sometimes be a bit of a hassle as you may not have the time, neglect to check for updates or just plain forgot. This Companion Auto Update Plugin will fix this and ensure that your site is always updated.
Cookie Notice WordPress Plugin
With the recent change in Data protection laws in the EU region (GDPR), it is important for your site to be compliant. This plugin allows you to show cookies consent to users to comply with the EU regulations. If you do business in the EU region this will help you to comply with the EU Cookie Law regulations.
All in one WP Migration WordPress Plugin
This plugin could be a lifesaver for you! It gives you the option to make a backup of your entire site. You can also export your entire site in case you wanted to share it or import it into a new WP installation or domain.
LuckyWP Table of Contents WordPress Plugin
This Plugin will create an SEO-friendly Table of Contents for your posts and pages. This will make it much more pleasing to your visitors. The Table of Content can be used to get a glimpse of the included content, or to jump to sections which they may be interested in. Great customization appearance.
Simple Basic Form WordPress Plugin
Simple Basic Contact Form is just that, a simple clean, secure, plug-&-play contact form for WordPress. It’s minimal yet flexible, Simple Basic Contact Form delivers clean code, solid performance, and ease of use. No frills, no gimmicks, just a straight-up contact form that’s easy to set up and customize.
Duplicate Page WordPress Plugin
Instead of recreating pages from scratch, you can duplicate them with this Plugin. Once duplicated you can then make the changes you wish, keeping the structure of the seed page intact.
Ad Inserter WordPress Plugin
In every Bloggers life, there comes a time when he/she starts thinking of monetizing their blog. With the Ad Inserter, this becomes a piece of cake. Just add the links and tell Ad Inserter where you would like the Ad to appear. Easy isn’t it?
WordPress is a very popular and user-friendly website platform with lots of support available online. It is important that you secure it and enhance the performance as much as possible. The WordPress Plugins listed above will assist to this end. I do strongly encourage you to give them a try.
I use these Plugins on my WordPress sites and they are very helpful. Should you decide to use these WordPress Plugins please be sure to backup your site first. And test the WordPress Plugins as you may have others already that could conflict with the new ones.