WordPress is among the most widely used blog and content management system platforms in the world. Because of this, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the day-to-day and forget that new plugins are continually being created. Here are five must-have WordPress plugins that I highly recommend and have included on all my sites.
These five plugins were chosen due to the diverse attributes they will lend to your site, from making it more sharable to enhancing it strategically, from visual fluidity to overall optimization. Essentially, when used properly they will help you inspect (hence the above photo by pasukaru76) your content and make it better while looking good.
Whether you’re new to WordPress or an old pro, it’s always good to keep an eye out for new WordPress plugins. If you have a plugin recommendation, please share it in the comments and let us know why it’s so great.
1. Google Analytics for WordPress
This is a new site, so it doesn’t have many visitors yet, but you bet’cha that I’m monitoring and tracking my analytics like a hawk! Google Analytics for WordPress provides easy integration with your Google Analytics account, and it’ll give you access – through Analytics – to a wealth of information you can use as insight into your site’s performance. Used strategically, Google Analytics allows you to:
• Create analytical and statistical goals for your site and measure against them.
• Pinpoint your best content for promotion and in-site linking.
• Gain insight into which articles draw traffic and produce similar content.
If you’re not tracking and monitoring your analytics, you’ll soon be left behind. Grab the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin here.
2. Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack has a hodgepodge of features that you can use to improve your site functionality, sharing capabilities, and more. There are pods that allow you to activate the infinite scroll, transform your image galleries into a large full-screen experience, automatically post to your social sites like Facebook and Twitter, and optimize your site for Mobile devices.
3. WordPress SEO
WordPress SEO gives you added search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities by allowing you to manipulate your SEO title and meta description and more. While altering your meta description alone won’t likely help you rank higher, but it allows you to generate a proper description and may ultimately generate more clicks when it does show up in search.
4. WP Fluid Images
This one has been a godsend. One of my biggest personal complaints with modifying existing WordPress themes, specifically on my blog FensePost, has been the problem of inconsistent image dimensions. Having a minor case of OCD when it comes to such things, it bugs me to no end that my early FensePost content has smaller images than the current posts as, over time, the content width has increased in size.
Enter WP Fluid Images and this problem is solved for any future posts. While I cannot go back and manipulate the image size on photos I cropped in the early days, by adding a full-size photo to the site, WP Fluid Images scales it to the appropriate content width – and it’s variable to take advantage of responsive sites like this one nonetheless. A true must-have!!!
5. MediaElement.js HTML5 Audio and Video
I don’t use this one very often, but it does come in handy on occasion. If you’re looking to add audio or video content that is NOT uploaded to a sharable audio platform (like Soundcloud) or video platform (like YouTube or Vimeo), and instead plan to host the content yourself, MediaElement.js HTML5 Audio and Video allows you to easily embed the content in your WordPress post or page. Highly recommended for the multimedia content developer/generator.