Best WordPress Plugins: How to Add Features without Coding

By Maria Peagler

Aug 12
best wordpress plugins Socialmediaonlineclasses

Ever wished you could add an important feature to WordPress like a shopping cart, SEO tools, a contact form, or a spam blocker, but you don't have the technical skills to do it?

Plugins to the rescue!  They're  tools ready for you to add to your website, no coding required.

But, how do you know which ones are the best?  And what's the difference between a widget and a plugin?

Plugins vs. Widgets

Both plugins and widgets allow you to add new features to your WordPress website/blog, but they serve different purposes:

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    Plugins add additional features to your WordPress site. The most popular are analytics, shopping carts, and form builders.
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    Widgets add content to your sidebar or footer area.

Plugins turn WordPress from a plain blog into a robust website.  But, you need to know how to select ones you can trust:  plugins are the most-often cited source of problems & hacker opportunities for WordPress.  So it's crucial to select the best ones with a solid reputation.

Plugins are the most-often cited source of problems and hacker opportunities for WordPress.  So it's crucial to select the best ones with a solid reputation.



Top 6 Best WordPress Plugins (You Can Trust)

In true David Letterman form, here are my recommended "best" WordPress plugins: they'll:

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    protect your website from hackers
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    analyze your website traffic
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    increase your search engine rankings
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    make your website mobile-friendly (responsive)
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    protect your website from spammers
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    add a Contact form to your website

Jump to the plugin you're interested in using this handy table of contents:

1.  Wordfence Security

The website that can't be hacked doesn't exist: everyone's website is vulnerable, and the Wordfence Security plugin keeps your WordPress site safe. I use it on my own website and their blog always has the latest updates on hacker attempts to infiltrate WordPress websites.

They offer both a free and a paid version: I started out with the free version, and was so impressed I upgraded to the paid one.

Why?

Because on the paid version you can block specific countries from accessing your website. Since installing the free version, I saw hackers were coming from the same countries repeatedly: Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and China, as you can see below:

wordfence wordpress plugin

These visitors are trying to hack into my website most frequently, according to Wordfence Security plugin.

I upgraded to the paid WordFence plugin and immediately blocked anyone from those countries from accessing my website.

I suggest you do the same.

2.  Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics for WordPress is another trusted plugin by Yoast (since purchased by Monster Insights). It's still an awesome plugin, and I highly recommend it.

How do you know if you're blog posts are being read?  Is your blog attracting traffic?  And from where?  Get these answers and more without having to add a single line of code to WordPress using this plugin.  You still need to go to Google Analytics to view your stats, but this plugin makes it super simple to connect GA to WordPress.

3.  Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO gives Google, Yahoo, Bing & other search engines exactly what they need to list your website when visitors are searching online.  Anything from Yoast you can trust, and you'll save yourself thousands of dollars in SEO consulting with this plugin.

4.  WP Touch Mobile

WP Touch Mobile is the fastest, easiest way to make your website responsive (mobile-friendly).  It automatically identifies when a visitor is viewing your website from a mobile device and displays it in a mobile version.  

Mobile traffic is taking over the internet, and it's critical your website is able to display in a responsive fashtion.  Turning your website into a mobile-friendly version can be a huge investment (ask me how I know), but doesn't have to be.  WP Touch Mobile =   Simple. Easy. Done.

5. Akismet

Weird name — awesome plugin.  It's the Ironman of SPAM blocking plugins, and it comes from WordPress itself, so you know you can trust it.  SPAM is the bain of any online site, and combating it can be a real headache.  Akismet identifies SPAM, blocks it automatically, and lets you  delete it in batches.

6.  Formidable Forms

Formidable Forms puts a simple Contact Us form on your site, easily.  It's not the most popular Forms plugin, but it's the simplest & the best.  I use it (and paid for the premium version after being impressed with its support).  I have a confession to make:  I have a crush on this plugin. I started out using it for a simple Contact Us form, and have used it to create self-service functions for visitors, including file uploads, member directories, surveys, and much more.  Highly recommended.

Summary

Add these plugins to your WordPress site and you'll transform a plain blogging platform into a secure & full-featured website you developed yourself.  Need details on exactly how to do it?  Check out these recommended resources below.

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About the Author

Founder of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com, Benjamin Franklin award-winner for independent publishing, award winning author of eight books, wife, mom, quilter and watercolor artist.

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