Let’s face it. WordPress is the single greatest and most useful invention of the modern era, far surpassing such lesser inventions like velcro, nuclear physics, and those cool plastic toothpicks that also have dental floss in them. Even so, WordPress can be made even more useful when you install plugins! What are plugins? Well, friends, plugins are non-core functionalities that you can plug in (get it?) to WordPress to further bend it to your will. In this series we’ll detail some of what we consider to be essential FREE WordPress plugins that everyone – even lame people who don’t use those cool plastic toothpicks that also have dental floss in them – should use. Let’s begin.
As the saying that I just made up goes, “If you don’t have Yoast, your SEO is toast!” If you don’t know what “SEO” means just Google it. In short, SEO is formatting all the pages of your site in such a way that Google will fall in love with them and want to show everyone in the world who goes looking for your products or services. If you sell handmade toilet plungers and someone searches for “handmade toilet plungers” in Google, and your site has good SEO, then Google will show those people your site as if to say, “Hey! If you’re looking for handmade toilet plungers you’ve GOT TO check out THIS site! You’ll love it! Seriously.” Yoast helps you get Google this excited. With Yoast you can dial in all the optimal SEO settings for your site, customize title tags and meta information, generate XML sitemaps, and even calculate respectable restaurant tips. Well, it might not do that last one. I’ll have to check.
You never know when some calamity may befall your website, completely obliterating it from existence. The chances of this are surprisingly scary. Have a look:
- Odds of your website being obliterated by a hack, malware infection, or alien invasion: 2%
- Odds of your website being obliterated because you totally screwed something up: 98%
As you can see, you really need to be backing up your website. Most people don’t back up their websites because it sounds painfully boring. “Backup my website?!” people often complain, “but I could be giving myself a root canal instead!” However, with UpdraftPlus, backing up your website can be an exciting thrill ride! Just click the “BACKUP” button and watch the progress bar race along at professional racing snail speeds! Actually, the beauty of UpdraftPlus is that you can schedule backups so they happen automatically on a recurring basis while you’re off doing more exciting things like hang gliding or playing solitaire.
Admin Menu Editor
This is a personal favorite of mine. As any WordPress site owner can tell you, as you keep piling on plugins your admin menu becomes a terribly disorganized mess. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone searching for the “pages” menu option in a jumbled WP admin menu only to become so frustrated that I eventually set up a career day booth at the local community college just to hire a grad to do it for me. It took him three days. Admin Menu Editor solves this! With Admin Menu Editor you can organize the WP admin menu exactly how you want it, whether that means grouping together menu options you use often or simply alphabetizing them all with a single click. If only organizing my office were that easy. Luckily, after installing Admin Menu Editor I was able to hire a grad from the local community college to organize my office.
There you have Volume One of our most essential FREE WordPress plugins. Tune in next month for Volume Two where we’ll tell you all about more free WordPress plugins you should be using.
Sean works with Redwood Creative as lead WordPress developer. He’s been customizing, coding, and optimizing WordPress professionally for over 5 years.