NOTE: These pages are Under construction!
WordPress is an incredible Content Management System — and it is free! But WordPress off the shelf is just that — a content management system. The best part of WordPress is that it is extensible!
But there is a problem. As of this writing, there are tens of thousands of great plugins available, many that offer overlapping functions [see References: PlugIns]. How should one go about finding the right plugins?
A first question that you might ask is how does a webmaster go about selecting plugins? For me, first I spend some time figuring out the problem I’m trying to solve. Once I’ve figured out the problem, then I look for plugins with some of the following characteristics:
- Have been around for awhile. Why? Because often folks get an idea to make something, then just stop supporting it. While this isn’t always the case, for a professional web site, it is a good idea to have seasoned software.
- Have recent updates. Why? Because actively updated software will have more of an opportunity to have bugs flushed out.
- Have at least reasonable ratings from a reasonably large number of respondents (say 3.5+/5 stars, and a few hundred respondents). Why? Because I’d rather see hundreds of people interested enough to give a 3 rating than a dozen people interested enough to give a 5 rating.
- Completely free, if possible, or at least part of the offering is free forever, not just a “test” or “trial”. Why? Because I am part of the open source community. Also, my recommendation is that there are so many free plugins available, try the free ones to see if they are “good enough”. If after testing the free ones available, if you don’t find one that meets your requirements, write down the things you want the plugin to do, and either keep searching or buy something based clearly on these written requirements.
That said, here are a list of things I needed to solve, and the plugin I chose.
Now we are off to the choice races!
We’ll group Plugins into one of four primary sections. Each group is separated on a different page because the blog became way too long.
- Interacting with your visitors
- Security – Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability
Backups, high availability, site speed
- Driving traffic and Search Engine Optimization
- Other Plugins to make your world a better place
“Jetpack by WordPress.com By Automattic” is a premium plugin with a free offering. While one of my primary criteria is “Must Be Free!”, I have relented with Jetpack. Here’s why.
<< the rest of this article is a work in progress >>
- As I was trying to maintain my site, it became apparent that there were some issues with SMTP, at least for my site. It turns out SMTP is handled by WordPress without authentication. But wait, isn’t that just not a best practice? Yes, you are right, it is not a best practice. Here’s a WP SMTP plugin to help mitigate the issue.
Contact Form 7 is free. Use it! Be sure to turn on reCAPTCHA
- PlugIns, https://wordpress.org/plugins/
- Contact Form, https://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/
- Google Adwords Planner, https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
- KeywordTool, https://keywordtool.io/
- “Blue Captcha By Jotis Kokkalis (BlueCoder)”, https://wordpress.org/plugins/blue-captcha/
- “Simple Google reCAPTCHA By Michal Novák”, https://wordpress.org/plugins/simple-google-recaptcha/
- “Shield Security for WordPress By iControlWP”, https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-simple-firewall/