Just like millions of other site owners and bloggers, we love WordPress. It has been our favorite CMS of choice for years. However, at its core, the WordPress framework is very minimalistic.
The majority of our WordPress sites would be useless without the right plugins. With that being said, we have found a number of really cool plugins that provide the functionality my blogs need.
Here are the ones that I recommend for 2018.
Bloggers depend on forms to receive feedback from their followers. There are a number of form plugins, but most are too basic.
WPForms is one of the best I’ve come across. This plugin lets you create contact, email opt-ins, e-commerce order and other forms your site may need.
If you are in the market for a new contact form on your site, also be sure to check out these other WordPress plugins.
There are plenty of reasons WordPress is an awesome CMS. Security is not on the list. Nearly three-quarters of WordPress sites are vulnerable to hackers. Over 16,000 WordPress sites were hacked between January and September of last year.
If you don’t have a decent web security plugin installed, you need to get one immediately. Sucuri is one of the best.
There are many reasons cautious bloggers are using Sucuri to keep their sites secure:
- Sucuri is one of the best defenses against DDoS attacks.
- Sucuri cleans up hacked up websites. If your site has been blacklisted by Google or flagged for malware, these problems can be reversed after you install Sucuri and get the problems resolved.
- Sucuri identifies and disables brute force hacking attempts.
This is a premium app, so you will need to pay based on the level of protection you want. The cheapest plan costs $16.66 a month. This pales in comparison to the cost of having your website hacked, which most free plugins aren’t as equipped to protect against.
This tool was also recommended by the heavily trusted WindowsReport website.
The default WordPress installation allows visitors to leave comments on your posts. However, it isn’t the most engaging setup. The commenters can provide comments to you, but can’t really interact with other commenters.
Disqus is a more seamless and sophisticated commenting platform. It allows child comments, so users can create discussions with each other, instead of just commenting on your post. Your users can even be emailed when someone replies to their comments.
It turns your blog into a mini-social network. Many people will likely return to your blog just to engage with other users on Disqus.
While this plugin is one of the most popular ones out there for WordPress users, it’s getting a lot of attention lately from the latest NBA social media drama.
If you’re running a blog in a very visual niche, you’ll need a plug-in that lets you showcase lots of images at a time. NextGEN Gallery does the job very well.
It has been downloaded over 16 million times in the past 10 years, because it’s the best gallery management plugin available.
This plug-in makes it easy to upload multiple images at a time, sort and rearrange images, create thumbnails and import meta-data.
If you are going to use an image gallery plugin like NextGen, be sure to always have it updated, as there have been some serious bug issues in previous versions.
If you want to make any modifications to your theme, then you will need to do so through the CSS templates. Unfortunately, CSS is pretty complex and many bloggers aren’t willing to take the time to learn it.
CSS Hero is a great plugin that handles your CSS coding for you. SitePoint recently highlighted this plugin as well and listed as one of the top must have plugins for a WordPress site.
Improve Your Blog with Premium WordPress Plugins
With WordPress powering more than 30% of the sites on the internet today, there is no doubt that everyone loves this free CMS. However, that doesn’t mean that you should focus on using only free themes and plugins. We highly recommend you take a look at each of the recommended plugins above and see how they can fit into your existing blogging and content creation efforts.