What will we be learning?
In this video, well be providing a very general overview of the best free wordpress plugins I think that every new WordPress website should install. All of these plugins are free and are actively installed on our own WordPress website. Specifically, we’ll be looking at:
1. Akismet – Anti Comment Spam Plugin
2. Floating Social Bar – Social Share Plugin
3. Ithemes Security – Free Security Plugin
4. Jetback by WordPress.com
5. Mailchimp for WordPress Lite – Mailchimp Integration
6. Ninja Forms– Contact Form Plugin
7. W3 Total Cache – Caching Plugin
8. WordPress SEO by Yoast
Why are plugins important? How can I benefit from this list of free plugins?
Well, Plugins provide amazing functionality and simply put, they allow your website to improve in functionality, speed, design and overall performance. Each of the best Free plugins listed have their own unique features and I’ll talk very briefly about each one.
Akismet is a comment spam moderation plugin made by Automattic and is made by the makers of WordPress. As you continue adding content to your WordPress website, you’ll find that the number of spam comments will inevitably increase. Akismet helps to reduce these.
Floating Social Bar is an easy to use floating or sticky Social sharing plugin. It is a great plugin to help get your social share count to increase.
Ithemes Security Plugin provides a second layer of security to your wordpress website. It is our #1 choice for securing our wordpress website for free!
Jetpack by WordPress is a very complex plugin that provides some amazing features that WordPress.com websites have. Made my the makers of WordPress, Jetpack was designed to give you amazing functionality and added control.
Mailchimp for WordPress Lite is a simple to use WordPress Plugin that helps to integrate WordPress with Mailchimp.
Ninja Forms is the best free contact form plugin on the market today. While we use a premium plugin for our contact forms, Ninja forms is the best free alternative.
W3 total cache is a great WordPress caching plugin just like WP Super Cache. However, unlike WP Super Cache, W3 total cache can easily integrate with great CDN providers like MaxCDN. As a whole, this plugin helps to increase your sites speed and overall performance.
WordPress SEO is the best SEO plugin for wordpress. With amazing features and ease of use, you can be sure that you’ll be on the right track to an SEO optimized wordpress website.
So in this next video I am going to be talking about the top 8 plugins that I think that every wordpress website should have. At least any new wordpress website. This is kind of like, the foundation of the plugins that you should install, right.
And I will just kind of go briefly over into each one of them. I will kind of just talk about them as a whole and then I will kind of show the ones that are more important, that need a little bit more explaining. But most of them are pretty self-explanatory.
They don’t need too much detail into them. Alright and so just to list all of them right now, I believe I have 8 in the list right now. Ya, I have 8 installed. And this is just a new website. So, on my actual website I have much more than 8.
But these are just the 8 that I think that, if you are just starting out. If you have a brand new website then these are the 8 that you should at least, the very minimum.
The first one being Akismet, I guess that’s how you can say it. And I will talk more. Like I mentioned before, I will talk more about what each of them do. But very briefly, Akismet is, it’s like a comment management tool.
And so, you will know this over time when you’ll make more entries.
When you have more blog posts that you will get a lot of spam. A lot, a lot of spam. And so, this plugin, really helps to reduce that amount of spam.
The next one being floating social bar. I mentioned this in another video. But really what floating social bar does, it allows you to have social sharing functionality. What I like about this is that it has a sticky social bar.
So it’s at the top of the header. It’s very clean and very elegant looking. And it just floats there. So it stays there at the top and it kind of follows the user as they go along.
And so that’s good because, you know, if your user is reading a very long post and they do want to eventually share it, if they are halfway down the post, chances are they are not going to scroll all the way back up or scroll all the way down to actually click share, alright.
So that’s what’s one thing that’s good about it. Any social sharing plugin will do. This is just one that I think that works well.
Next one being ithemes security. And the one thing about wordpress websites is, I feel as though, because a lot of people utilise wordpress websites that hackers and people who, you know really are up to no good are able to somehow break into wordpress websites a little bit more often just because than other websites, just because kind of.
The structure is kind of very similar among various wordpress websites because we all use the same software to build the website, right. So this ithemes security adds a bit more security to your actual website and it makes it a lot better in my opinion.
And there is a lot of functions that you can actually, and there are a lot of settings that you can change within the ithemes security. And I might go over those very briefly.
Next one being jetpack by wordpress. And I think this is actually automatically installed with your new wordpress install. You have to check that. But pretty much the jetpack, it gives you a lot of functionality that you would have with the wordpress dot com wordpress blogs.
And remember we are having a self-hosted wordpress website with wordpress.org. The same software that they use at wordpress.com. But we lose a lot of that special functionality. And I will talk very briefly about this jetpack plugin as to why it’s so useful. Well, we can get out of this, right.
The next one being mailchimp for wordpress lite. And any type of I guess, email, building a newsletter plugin will do it. This one works well for me simply because it has two different options that I like. One is that, it allows you to have a normal widget like you normally would see on a website where you can sign up for the newsletter and something like that.
But it also has the ability and it will automatically update your list for your mailchimp accounts, so you don’t have to export and then import it. It will just do it automatically for you. But the second thing that it does that I like is that, so you can imagine when you use your add a comment, right.
If they are going to add a comment, chances are they might be fairly interested in signing up for your newsletter. So with this, you can add an extra checkmark. So you can add an extra checkmark and also on forms as well, contact forms, you can add it as well there.
But especially in the comments section. So new user adds a comment, right, they have to also enter in their email. And so since they are already doing that, there is an extra check box that says, would you like to sign up under our newsletter. Chances are they probably will. And so it has that option for them.
Next one being ninja forms. And I mentioned this one earlier as well. But this one, it’s not necessary what we use to make our contact forms, what we use is use is something called grab d forms. But the reason why I am suggesting this is because grab d forms cost I think around, let’s say 39$, ninja forms is free.
And I didn’t mention before but all these plugins are actually free. Right, so ninja forms is free as well. And ya, like I mentioned before, it’s good for contact forms or any type of forms that you really need to add.
W3 total cache. I did mention this in another video as well. The reason why, pretty much what it is, it’s a caching plugin. So you can think very simply of, it increases the speed of your website. It allows certain files to not have to be loaded every single time a new user views your website
So some things are stored in the cache. And it just allows your website to be a little bit quicker. They, I believe in your original wordpress install, if you did it through the C panel or whatever you did it through. WP super cache should have been installed.
The reason why I am using this one instead of that, they do the same thing, very similar functionality. The only thing different is that I use the content delivery network and that just speeds up the website even more. And so the content delivery network is good. Well the one that I use is maxCDN and so w3 total cache is good because it provides a very very quick installs.
Actually what the people at maxCDN, they tell you in instructions, how to install their CDN service with the wordpress is to download this plugin. So that’s why I figured, you know, chances are you are probably eventually going to get CDN in the future, so might as well just stick to this w3 total cache plugin from the get go.
The final one is wordpress SEO. And so what wordpress SEO does is kind of, to allow people what they think is that this plugin is, you know, it does the SEO for you. So there’s nothing that you have to do. You just install and automatically it takes care of the on page SEO for you.
And that’s not necessarily true. What it does do, some things that are automatic is, it creates these sitemaps for you. It allows you to have Google authorship, fairly easy, you know with just a couple of clicks. It makes certain things easier but really what it is, is on page content analysis.
That’s really the core of it. It will tell you kind of the importance of. Well it will tell you what you are missing on each page. For example, if you are trying to target some type of keyword, it will tell you which, you know, are you having the keyword in the header. Are you having it enough times within the content? Are you having it in the different heading tags? Are you having it this and that.
And so kind of just that tap on the back that, you know to just remind you that these things are there and that they are necessary to have. And so I guess this has already been fairly long of a video as it is. So I probably won’t talk about all of them here.
I will make an individual video for some of the longer ones that I want to discuss. For example, jetpack and this ninja forms. I will make a separate video for those. But very quickly, let’s just talk about Akismet and the floating social bar, right.
So, let’s just go into the settings of each of these. So for the Akismet, what it kind of does and sorry if I am saying it wrong. I am not entirely sure how to pronounce it. But the way that it works is, is all on the backend, right. So you just sign up for an API key, right.
And it’s free to use. They do say that there is different plans that you can sign up for depending on, you know, how big your website is. But you can think of it like a donation, everything was a donation. You can just slide the bar to, I don’t want to give a donation at this time.
And if you just thought later, you want to give a donation, I am pretty sure you are allowed to do that. But ya, you sign up for a personal free account. You can always upgrade in the future. And it just does it for you. It will take care of the comments. The only options really is, silently discard the worst and the most pervasive spam, so I nerve see it. Or always put spam in spam folder for review.
And it’s up to you, which one you want. I just put it in the spam folder for review because at the end of the day, maybe one of these comments aren’t spam, so I can kind of take a look at it. And after 15 days, they are deleted automatically, so it doesn’t really matter, right.
So, I just have that option. So very simple plugin, everything’s in the backend. Floating social bar, and I mentioned this before, that’s why kind of the settings are already here. So you can add different whatever the social services that you want to add in. twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn or ping. So those are the only five that they have.
But in my opinion that’s all you need. You don’t need more than that simply because, what they found in studies is that the more social services you add, for example, if you add now, I guess, what are some of the other ones. I am drawing a blank right now, for example buffer or reddit or you know, a bunch of the other ones.
I am drawing a little blank as of now. But the more you add, the decrease, they found that it’s a decrease in actual effectiveness, right. So the more you add, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will find the social service that they are looking for and they are more likely to share. Most likely they will just look at it, too much, ok, I’ll pass.
So that’s why keep it to just these three, sometimes they add pinterest, sometimes they will add LinkedIn. It depends, you know, it works for certain websites. For some websites, it really wouldn’t. If you can imagine, it’s like a personal blog or something that’s very funny, unprofessional, you know, it’s more for entertainment value.
Then LinkedIn probably wouldn’t work that well. If it’s a picture website or something, pinterest would work amazingly in it, or even a blog. So that’s why sometimes they put pinterest in. the social bar label, we just say what it is. Show bar on single, so you could show whether it’s on post, pages and then the different custom posts that you may have.
This is specific for this theme in general. Then you can add in the username so, it will add a little @ to you. So when people kind of like retweet it or share it, it will show that. You can have a bunch of other options. And you can just save that as well.
And I will show you actually what it looks like in the future. I think ithemes security, I will make a separate video on that. Jetpack, I will make a separate video. Mailchimp, ya, I actually will show you this when we actually set up the newsletter. So I will show you that in the future.
And like I said, ninja forms, I will show you in the second. So ya, in regards for this video, that’s all I am going to show you right now. You will see that all these plugins I describe in great detail in the future, I mean other videos. But for now, I mean I think that what’s the best for you to do is just install of them.
Install all of them and all of them are very very simple to install. The only one that may have some difficulty are these ninja forms, and I will show you exactly right after this in the next video. If you are on our actual course, you will be able to see it. And so it will be the video right after this.