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WordPress Plugin Roundup

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WordPress has a whopping 50,224 plugins!

At least, that was the count when I checked today. This leaves you with a whole lot of decisions and possibilities. (A previous post talks about some of the guidelines in choosing the best plugins.)

I'm going to break it down for you and share the handful of plugins we start with on each of our client's websites. These plugins provide quality protection and functionality. I know these play well with each other and will get you started.

The Plugin RoundUp for a New Site

Here are a few of the plugins in our WordPress toolbox that you will find installed in each site we build as well as what function they serve.

Contact Form: Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms goes above and beyond in performance and reliability, it’s just not as pretty as some of the other options.

Recently I thought I'd try a different approach to forms. In the end, I came to a new found appreciation for the stability of Gravity Forms. I tried to integrate TypeForms. It was sleek and cool but it doesn’t compare to the tried and true plugin that I know will meet the needs of all our clients.

I recently heard about LastForms. Their developers understood the pain point I felt with TypeForms. Stay tuned for a review once I check this out. It looks promising that I may get to have the best of both worlds: pretty and efficient! We shall see!

What makes this plugin stand out above the rest is its ability to...

  • ...work beautifully with conditional logic (where you tell the system, for example, if the person chooses yes then show a new set of questions)
  • ...and integrates well with our other core plugins. I have used it to create an online registration for a nonprofit for the last four years and it proves to be stable.

Gravity Forms continues to do the job it was meant to do quite well.

Is there a free version?

No. Gravity forms is a premium plugin, so it will cost you a license fee each year.

It is worth it!

The Gravity Forms development team keeps the plugin secure and running smooth with a steadfast support team. As your website needs expand, a large menu of extra add-ons to integrate are available.

Security: WordFence

WordPress sites have a vulnerability to being hacked or spammed. With the proper plugins and security practices, you can lessen your chances of being hit. It’s when you don’t do anything to protect your site that it becomes a liability.

My favorite security plugin is WordFence. The team behind this plugin regularly analyzes the latest threats to provide up-to-date protection. The free version provides excellent protection for your website.

WordFence informs you with emails on the attempts to break into your site. It’s like having a security system that alerts you every time someone tries to unlock the door.

You have the option of setting up Wordfence to lock out a user who has been trying to hack into your site, and you can decide if you want to block them for good.

Sign up for their frequent updates on security best practices and the recent hacking threats the internet faces. Nothing is foolproof, however with this plugin and taking other security precautions, you can rest easier.

Is there a free version?

The free version is fantastic, will meet your needs, and keep you informed via email. However, if you want a bit more ‘breathe easy’ feeling with additional powerful security functions, then I would suggest upgrading to the yearly license.

This plugin helps to keep robot hackers from their login attempts. Pretty neat!

Search Engine Optimisation: Yoast SEO

If you want to be found in search engines, you need to optimize your website. The Yoast SEO plugin gives you step-by-step instructions to optimizing your web page or blog post in real time.

It is a fun tool and will be helpful to those with the most basic of SEO understanding.  I love the way it rewards you with colored dots. Red means you haven't started, orange means you're almost there, and green means it's been optimized.  It teaches you as you work in it. That's the best way to learn!

Now if only it would do keyword research for me.

Take a look at the dashboard view from our blog.  You can see the 'green' lights in there on previous posts.  The red light is for this post that is being written and is not yet optimized.

Plugin Roundup

Here is what it looks like when you edit your post:

Yoast SEO edit post view

Is there a free version?

Yes!  The free version is robust and will meet your needs if you are starting out and learning SEO.

For a mega boost on optimization and added tools, you might be interested in their premium version.

Check out their feature list here.

Security: UNLOQ

One of the other ways you can secure your WordPress website is to set up two-factor authentication.  Basically, this is just a fancy way of saying that there's an additional login step that is added to divert hackers.  The login is actually done with your cell phone.

With UNLOQ, the login is actually done with your cell phone.

Note: If you decide to pay for Wordfence Premium, you will have access to their two-factor identification and will not need to use this plugin.

With UNLOQ I can easily customize the login screen to match website colors and add a logo. It looks clean and modern when you are logging in. I have to admit, I think it's a perfect match when style and tech join hands.

Check out our login page.

UNLOG customized login screen

Is there a free version?

Yes.  UNLOQ is free for 1-100 users and you can have unlimited authentications and authorizations.  That is quite a steal for a free plugin.

What is your favorite plugin and why?

I appreciate when other WordPress users share their experience with their favorite different plugins.

Please share with us.

To victories great and small!

AUTHOR

Lisa Garner

Lisa Garner is co-owner and Web Architect for Magnified Web. Get more from Lisa on the Magnified Web blog or connect on Twitter.

Lisa Garner, Co-Owner & Web Architect for Magnified Web
Lisa Garner, Co-Owner & Web Architect for Magnified Web

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