WordPress is an open-source blogging platform and Content Management System that has been in existence since 2003. It is an easy and cost-free option for people who want to run a website for either commercial purposes or just for the love of blogging. WordPress has offered people opportunities to develop plugins to serve a variety of purposes. Being in the industry for last 10 years I want to share my experience of least must have WordPress plugins that are important for a website to perform basic functions in today’s technological era. Here is a quick list:
- Akismet an anti-spam for blog post comments.
- ApplyOnline, Receive Online Applications conveniently.
- Contact Form 7, makes contact easy for visitors through website.
- WordFence, essential security suite.
- GADWP – Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
- Yoast, an SEO tool
Here is the list of Must Have WordPress Plugins.
Akismet is a WordPress plugin developed by the team who invented WordPress. It is one of the default WordPress plugins on the website when WordPress is newly installed. It basically functions as an anti-spam plugin which helps to check all comments on the blog and filters out comments that are spams. The plugin has a status history for every comment so you can use Akismet to find which comments were spams. This plugin is free for personal blogs and websites but you do have to subscribe a monthly plan if used for commercial sites. With the premium plans, users get additional protection asides spam protection.
Apply Online – Receive Online Applications conveniently
Every business has to deal with online applications at some point in their business or product lifecycle. In this regard Apply Online is a free and functional one of the best must have WordPress plugins which can create an Ads and Applications Management System on your website. It is super easy to setup and use. If you want to add a Job page to your website or want to register students online for a course or you want to collect applications for any purpose then this is the perfect plugin for your website. You can start receiving registration applications immediately it is published. With ApplyOnline’s interface, you can categorize, add, and manage job adverts inside your WordPress dashboard. You can then customize it by adding descriptions and other job-related features. You would receive an email whenever an application is submitted. The Apply Online is a very straight forward and functional plugin. If you are looking for a free job board plugin for your WordPress website then Apply Online is your best option.
Apply Online plugin provides you a dedicate urls to display ads i.e. yourwebsite.com/ads where all the relevant ads are listed there. After opening an ad from the list, applicant can see description of the ad & an application form to apply through the website. Another method to create ads listing page is write aol shortcode in a WordPress page editor. It will show list of all ads with a filtration option to narrow down list of the ads by given parameters.
- Simple integration, easy to setup.
- Multiple ad type instances on one website e.g. Careers, Registrations, classes
- Drag & drop application form builder with all HTML form fields e.g. text box, text area, check box, selection box, Radio buttons, paragraphs, separators and more.
- Creating ads archive using [aol] shortcode on WordPress page.
- Ads filtration option on front-end to narrow down ads listing.
- Ad detail page with description, features and application form.
- Standard WordPress interface to add, categorize and manage ads.
- Prepacked WordPress user role AOL Manager for dedicated.
- Analysis of an application by different stake holders using comments system.
- Application email notifications for list of recipients.
- Multiple file attachment fields.
- Hooks and functions for plugin advancements and customization
WP Reloaded has recently released an extension called the Application Tracking System. This extension is a next level Application Tracking System for the Apply Online plugin. It allows applicants to signup on the website before applying for an ad. Logged in users can start filling an application & can pause it for later filling. Hence they can update their application for multiple times before the final submission & dead line. It gives applicants an out of the box application filling experience. It includes a dedicated dashboard for the applicants to track the progress of their application along with applications history. User experience of of this extension is similar to any modern day recruitment website out there.
Contact Form 7 – Instant email communication
Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin is rated one of the best when it comes to free plugins. It has over a million active users and is very efficient. It, however, has more functionality in it premium plans. Luckily, this plugin is fully extendable and you can have access to more advanced functionalities by simply downloading and installing the add-ons and extensions that come with it. Each Contact Form 7 extension is completely free from the WordPress plugin directory. They are also stackable, which means that you can mix and match various extensions to get all the functions that you need.
Wordfence – Get the right security before its too late
As a website or blog owner, one of the most important things you should do is to keep your site from getting raided by hackers. There are thousands of malicious wares that can attack your website and destroy your work in the twinkle of an eye by black listing your websites by browsers & search engines. This is why it is important to keep your site free from spams and properly secure it. There are many WordPress security plugins available today for this purpose.
One that you can definitely count on to do the job is the Wordfence Security plugin. The plugin is designed with Firewall protection system which prevents your website from being hacked, login security, malware scan, spam blocking, live traffic monitoring and so much more. The Wordfence Security plugin enables you to monitor the traffic to your website in real-time. Keeps tabs on all logins and logouts, monitors all human and robots activity and detects any 404 errors. Its special blocking feature disables all malicious attacks and networks which can be dangerous to your site. To further improve login security, The Wordfence Security plugin adopts the Two Factor Authentication. It also checks the strength of all admin and user passwords.
GADWP – Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress plugin allows you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and enables you to view key Google Analytics stats in your WordPress install. In addition to being able to view Google Analytics stats, this plugin also gives in-depth Page and post reports which further helps in the segmentation of your analytics data. It also helps in providing performance details for each post or page from your website or blog. The Google Analytics WordPress plugin allows advance data collection such as events and custom dimension and is fully customizable.
Yoast SEO – On site SEO tool
One of the best ways to improve the performance of any website is by improving its optimization on search engines. Yoast SEO plugin is your best bet to secure that best spot on search engines. The premium version of this plugin helps in keywords optimization and it allows you to preview your page from Google, Facebook, and Twitter. There is, of course, a free version and it stills helps in keyword optimization. The Yoast SEO plugin is updated regularly so your website stays abreast of all the new Google algorithms. Yoast SEO helps your technical configuration automatically appear on search engines.
- Page analysis.
- On page SEO score.
- XML sitemap generator.
- Detects SEO errors.
- Suggest fixes.
- Facebook OpenGraph support.
- RSS settings.
- Edit titles and descriptions in bulk.
- Edit .htaccess and robots.txt files.
- Import and export settings.
- Various permalink tweaks.