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Top 5 WordPress Plugins (July 2016)

July 5, 2016 - Posted in Plugins

Top WordPress Plugins

With over 45,000 plugins available via WordPress.org, it can be a daunting task to sort through and choose the right plugins for your WordPress site.

Where do you even start? If you know what type of functionality you’re looking for you can always search for specific keywords, then check the ratings of the numerous options that pop up. The thing is, many people don’t even know the extent of the options available, which makes searching a bit more difficult (what would you even search for?).

That’s why we at Brothers Design decided to make things a bit easier for you, by recommending the top plugins that we use on our client’s sites (and even our own). We’ve done the legwork for you–we know what works and what doesn’t, saving you the hassle of doing the research yourself.

Quick recap before we get started: a plugin is a software package that extends the capabilities of your WordPress website in any number of ways. Many plugins are free, but some cost a bit of money to purchase (or to upgrade to a version with more features).

These plugins are available for download via WordPress.org (after which you would need to install on your website via an FTP program), but the easiest way to search for and install plugins is direct through your WordPress control panel. Just click on the Plugins option on your left-side menu, then Add New to bring up a window where you can search for, then install additional plugins.

So, without further ado…

1. Broken Link Checker

This small, free plugin notifies you if it finds a broken link (external or internal) on your site, then gives you the option to unlink it, or change the URL. Google doesn’t like sites that have a bunch of broken links, so this helps you stay on top of the game and make sure your site is broken-link free.

2. Akismet

You’ve probably seen this one before. There’s a good reason for this–it’s because it is installed by default on every WordPress site. The thing is, many people don’t go ahead and activate it, and that’s why we’re mentioning it on this post. It’s important to follow steps to activate it because it drastically cuts down on comment spam on your site, which can be a real pain to manage once it gets to a certain level (yes, all you need to do is log in and delete the comments, but that can be a chore once you’re getting dozens of automated spam postings everyday).

It’s free (for personal sites) and easy to do, so make sure that’s one of your first steps whenever you set up a WordPress site (tip: on the registration page, the default cost is set to $36, but if you use your mouse to pull the slider over, you can set it to $0, thus making registration free).

3. EWWW

This amusingly-named plugin automatically reduces the size of images that you upload to your site without noticeably diminishing quality. This is a good tool to have because Google puts a lot of weight regarding search results based on how quickly your site loads, so every bit helps. (Is your site slow? We can help!)

Install it and it’ll do all the work for you. Easy! (There is a paid version of the plugin available that slightly increases the level of image compression, but most users will do fine with the free version.)

4. Duplicate Post

This plugin makes it simple to copy an existing page or post, so that you don’t need to recreate everything from scratch each time.

5. Obfuscate Email

Have you ever seen people write e-mails online as “example [at] somewhere.com”? This is because there are programs that run online to automatically search the web for email addresses and add them to spam lists. Writing your email out like this may or may not help with security (the people that create these programs aren’t stupid, and probably have a workaround to capture even those email addresses that are written in a non-standard way), but the best way to take care of this quickly and easily is to use the Obfuscate Email plugin.

Just install it, and whenever it notices an email address written on your site it replaces it with code that “hides” it from automated bots programs (without changing what appears on the user’s screen).

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Have any questions about WordPress plugins, or need assistance installing or customizing a certain plugin? Just give us a ring.