WordPress out of the box is a powerful tool for building your website, but the real beauty is in how extendable it is through the use of countless available plugins. Maybe you need event registration, a robust calendar, or a complicated contact form—these are all possible through plugins.
Just getting started with WordPress and not sure which plugins you need to install? Below are eight great options to help get your feet wet and to start extending WordPress’ native functionality.
Akismet is an automated spam filter that checks your comments against its web service to determine whether or not they’re spam. This plugin is free for personal use (you’ll still need to grab a free account). However, if you’re running a non-personal site or blog, you’ll have to opt for a commercial account key which will run you between $5 to $50 a month.
Jetpack is a handy plugin that gives your self-hosted WordPress site a handful of well-crafted security, performance, and marketing tools. My favorites include the site accelerator which helps boost your site’s image and file load time, the publicize options which allow you to easily share new posts across a variety of social platforms, and the advanced comment functionality that’s a little more robust than WordPress’ native abilitiy.
Yoast SEO excels at helping you write optimized content for your site’s pages and posts. It’s also jam-packed with a bunch of other great SEO features including the addition of meta and link elements, XML sitemaps, the ability to edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file, social integration, and breadcrumbs.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is a great little plugin that tracks the content on your site and gives you a list of posts or pages related to the current entry. By providing related content, you’re more likely to get readers to stick around longer and to be more engaged.
Contact Form 7
There are SO many WordPress contact form plugins, but many are overly-complicated and difficult to implement. Contact Form 7 is simple and flexible and supports features like Ajax submitting, CAPTCHA, spam filtering, and file uploading.
I’m still not quite sure why this ability isn’t built right into WordPress, but luckily there’s a great little plugin that exists to get the job done. If you’ve ever wished you could easily copy an existing page to use as a template for a new one, then you should definitely check out the Duplicate Page plugin. It allows you to quickly make copies of pages, posts, and custom post types.
Changing URLs within your WordPress website without setting up the appropriate redirects can have a negative impact on SEO (not to mention, users might not find what they’re looking for!). Redirection is a great tool for creating the necessary redirects when URLs change, all from an easy to use interface.
Looking for more WordPress plugins to kickstart your new site? Here are five additional plugins to further enhance WordPress’ native functionality.