WordPress plugins refer to various software added to the back end of your WordPress website to either extend or expand the functionality of your WordPress website. Most times people are often confused about what WordPress plugins are, what they do and where they can possibly get free high-quality plugins. Plugins are an important part of the WordPress ecosystem, and they are essential for building great websites using WordPress. They are integrated and run on top of the WordPress software. With them, you can create almost any kind of website. There are more than 48,000 free plugins available right now on the WordPress.org plugin directory.
Things You Can Do With WordPress Plugins
Just imagine anything you want to do that is not on a default WordPress, there is certainly a WordPress plugin for it. With them, you can:
- Work and improve your Search Engine Optimization, this you can do with the Yoast plugin.
- Create a customized function like contact form, add payment gateway.
- Build an ecommerce website, Picture galleries, Book galleries and the rest. It is vital to note that you can add any function you want to your WordPress site through plugins if it is not present initially or by default.
Operational Structure Of A WordPress Plugins
The fact is, WordPress platform is an open source platform and it is written in such a way that other developers can add their own code into it. Now, each WordPress plugin install on your site is registered in your WordPress database. This means you can activate and deactivate them any time you want. When you add a plugin, WordPress connects to the database, loads the core software, and then loads your active plugins. All this code is processed on your server and then sent to the user’s browser
Free WordPress Plugins
Below are the best free WordPress plugins you can get. With them your CMS job or project will pass through a seamless process.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is amongst the most popular SEO plugins in today’s market. With this plugin, you create an automatically updated XML sitemap for your website, preview your content’s search snippet so you can see what site visitors see, and even gives you the green light when your content is SEO optimized. You can also add meta tags, set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content and Google penalties, and integrate with Google Search Console so you can see how search engines are indexing your site and fix any crawl errors that exist.
Are you looking to build a landing page in WordPress? Then, Beaver Builder is a great solution for you. It’s the best WordPress page builder plugin. It lets you create a beautiful landing page without having to write a single line of code. The plugin comes with a set of powerful content modules that you can arrange, mix, and match to build landing pages. The content modules include a text editor, photo, audio, video, sidebar, etc. which you can use to build your custom page layouts. You can get Beaver Builder in both free and premium versions. If you need advanced page builder options, you can try its premium version
If your WordPress theme doesn’t come with the Google Fonts you want, you can always use the Easy Google Fonts plugin. With it, you take control of your website’s typography. This free plugin integrates with your WordPress Customizer, so accessing the 600+ fonts is easy to do. Preview font changes in real time, create your own font controls and rules, and automatically enqueue all stylesheets, all without any coding or editing of the main stylesheet so when your theme updates, you don’t lose your custom work.
Maybe during the cause of your website building, you find yourself needing to import content from a WordPress export file, such as demo content for a new WordPress theme, WordPress Importer is the way to go. With this free WordPress plugin, you can import posts, pages, custom post types, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, and even authors. The thing you need to do, is simply to run the importer, upload the files you want to import, and click Import.
Now, as a CMS developer you should know by now that your content marketing strategy is the key to consistently publishing valuable content for your site visitors. The best way amongst others to organize your website’s content is to use the free WordPress plugin Editorial Calendar. With this, you can See all posts and when they’re scheduled to go live, drag & drop post due dates on the calendar, quick edit post title, content, and publish times, and even manage posts for multiple authors. With this plugin, you can fill in the gaps where content needs to publish so your website is continually churning out posts that will drive traffic, boost conversions, and increase sales.
If you have a great many old posts and pages on your site, there’re increased chances for broken links. If you have them, it’s definitely not a good thing. You’ll need to identify your broken links and fix them.That’s why Broken Link Checker is here on our list of best free plugins for every website. The plugin checks all your posts, pages, comments, and other content for broken links. If it detects any, it’ll immediately notify you, so that you can fix it. In addition, the plugin also reports missing images on your site. It’s a very useful plugin for keeping your site user-friendly and SEO-ready.
Do you want to give your site visitors a way to view and print PDFs of your site’s content? If so, you should look into using Print Friendly’s free WordPress plugin. Users can view content in PDF form, print content in user-friendly formats, and even share content via email. Your site’s content is not stored on our servers; it’s permanently deleted after your user has time to download the file. With Print, PDF, Email, you can brand your prints and PDFs with copyright information, customize the buttons, and include custom headers and footers. Plus, you can allow users to preview content before printing to save paper and ink.
8. WPForms Lite
A contact form is one of the most essential things every website should have. With a contact form, you can make your site more interactive by allowing your users to contact you. If you’re looking for a free plugin for creating a contact form, WPForms Lite the best option available on the web. It comes with an intuitive drag and drop interface that helps you create beautiful contact forms in mere seconds. In addition, it has pre-built form templates which you can use as they are or customize to suit your needs. WPForms Lite has plenty of fields for building a simple form; however, you can use its premium version for creating advanced forms like payment forms, order forms, survey forms, etc. You can use advanced fields, get access to several marketing tools, and utilize powerful addons with the pro version.
Sometimes you need to add code into your theme’s header and footer section to enable certain functionalities like Google Analytics tracking code, custom CSS, Facebook pixel, etc. Insert Headers and Footers is a free plugin that provides you with an easy solution for your needs. Editing a theme’s headers and footers is something complex for the beginners, and can be risky as well. Sometimes, it can go wrong and break your theme. But this nifty tool helps you avoid such mistakes as it lets you insert code without editing you theme file.
Duplicator, as its name suggests, helps you to duplicate your website data. It’s useful when you need to move your website data from one location to another, like moving to a new host. This is also helpful for creating site backups. Using Duplicator, you can clone the live site data and install it on a localhost for moving your site. Then, with the help of localhost data, you can move your site to a new web host without downtime.
11. WP Smush
WP Smush is a powerful free WordPress image optimization plugin. It helps you to resize, compress, and optimize your images. When your images are optimized, it reduces your site’s load time, meaning your visitors will see your content faster. WP Smush automatically optimizes your images as you upload them. And, if you want to bulk compress the images in your media library, you can easily do that. The best part is that it doesn’t harm the quality of your images. It cuts down the unnecessary data and makes your images lightweight without losing quality.
Part of optimizing your WordPress website for speed and performance is cleaning up the insides of your website. This means removing unnecessary data that is piling up in your site’s database to make more room, reduce the strain on your server, and increase your site’s speed. With WP-Optimize you can get rid of spam comments, pingbacks and trackbacks, and any other stale data that’s sitting around. Schedule automatic clean ups, control which optimizations you run, and even trigger an automatic site backup if you use the Updraft Plus backup solution. This free plugin is mobile friendly, easy to use, and even comes translated into several languages.
By default, WordPress doesn’t provide a tool for adding tables on your site. If you want to add a table manually, you’ll need to have a certain level of HTML knowledge. TablePress solves this problem for you. It’s a user-friendly WordPress plugin that lets you create and manage beautiful tables easily. You can embed the tables into posts, pages, and text widgets, using a simple short code. You don’t need to touch any code to use this plugin. Using TablePress, you’ll also have options to import and export tables from and to Excel, CSV, HTML, and JSON files.
14. Login Lockdown
Although you set a strong username and password to access your WordPress dashboard, it can sometimes fall prey to brute force password discovery. So, you’ll need to use the Login Lockdown plugin to protect your site from such attacks. It records the IP address and timestamp for every failed login attempt. If it detects more than a set number of failed login attempts, it disables the login function for that user for a certain period of time.
As its name suggests, Jetpack is a plugin that offers a ‘pack’ of features useful for WordPress sites. It includes design services like access to hundreds of powerful WordPress themes, customization tools, high-speed image and video content delivery network, lazy image loading, etc. In addition, it provides marketing services like website stats and social media sharing plus security services like spam filtering, daily backups, malware scanning, etc. It’s a composite plugin with different useful features for WordPress sites. It’s a WordPress.com product, so you’ll need to create a WordPress.com account to use Jetpack on your site.