Are you using WordPress as your website’s CMS? Great! You’re one of the millions of website owners out there that rely on its stability and popularity to run your online business.
While WordPress is certainly a great platform for website management, it’s unfortunately not perfect. This is where plugins come to the rescue. It’s also one of the main reasons why WordPress is so popular. With thousands of available plugins that are available to you through the WordPress plugin directory, it’s fairly likely that you’ll find a plugin for almost anything you need to keep your website running smoothly.
But not all plugins are created equal. There are free plugins that are given to the WordPress community by its authors, and there are also paid plugins that offer better technical support should you need it. This brings us to an important question: Which plugins are worth using for your Hawaii attraction or activity website? Have no fear; here’s our list of five must-have WordPress plugins that will keep your website secure and help you be an online success.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Any self-respecting website owner knows the importance of having a solid search engine optimization plan. While it is indeed easy to create content using Worpress, the subtle nuances of good on-site SEO—having optimized title tags, meta information and other similar white-hat SEO best practices—is more time-consuming without a good SEO plugin.
In this space, Yoast is the most widely used plugin because of its ability to make SEO tasks easier. It’s one of the few SEO plugins that tell you in an instant if the value of your page is poor, OK, or good, and gives you recommendations on how to fix your content for better rankings. Aside from this, Yoast also offers powerful tools to properly connect you to Google’s Webmaster Tools, create XML sitemaps, and even provides great social media integration.
As with anything free, there are also plugins that contain malicious code that inject links into your pages for the purpose of gaming Google and other search engines, steal sensitive data from your databases, or worse, shut your website down completely.
Enter Wordfence, a WordPress security plugin that not only keeps the bad guys out of your WordPress files but also monitors your traffic for malicious visitors. In addition to providing a solid firewall and file repair tasks, Wordfence also provides notifications for attempted logins, blocks questionable IPs, scans for malware and even checks for spam and malicious advertising on all your pages and posts. In short, this plugin is perhaps one of the best plugins you will ever use for WordPress security.
All webmasters have, at least on one occasion, restored their websites from a backup due to one reason or another. While restoring your WordPress website via your web hosting account is indeed possible, another way to do this would be through a backup plugin like BackupBuddy.
One of the best things about BackupBuddy is that it stores backups of your site in a different location called the BackupBuddy Stash (available for $80 per year for two sites). The plugin’s restore tool is also very user-friendly and brings your site back up in no time at all. It also monitors all pages and posts for any changes and creates a “snapshot” of these changes in real-time, making the responsibility of backing up your site as easy as possible.
W3 Total Cache
Fact no.1: According to Amazon, when pages are slowed by one-tenth of a second, sales are decreased by 1%.
Fact no.2: Page loading speed is one of Google’s ranking factors.
With the aforementioned facts, WordPress users should know that WordPress can be notoriously slow especially if you have a lot of plugins installed or if you’re using a badly coded theme. While it’s sometimes not feasible to reduce your plugin count, the next best thing to do is use a caching plugin.
Wait, what is caching you ask? Simply put, caching is a way to deliver your website’s pages and posts as static pages as opposed to dynamically created pages (or pages generated on the fly). This reduces server and database queries, both of which can get bogged down by too many requests. Serving up a static or pre-made file from a cache reduces your site’s page loading speed, which in turn generates a better user experience.
With that out of the way, let’s get back to why W3 Total Cache is one of the best for making your website load faster. As with our previous selections on this list, one of the primary reasons is because it’s widely used, with over a million downloads since it was introduced in the WordPress plugin directory. Aside from caching your website’s pages, it also features database, browser and object caching. Another icing on the proverbial cake is its CDN integration, which makes content delivery even faster.
WP Live Chat Support
Having a contact form and a phone number on your website is great, but customers are now finding live-chat customer support to be a faster and more convenient alternative. Isn’t it time to have one for your website as well? A live-chat support option can easily increase your website conversion rate, provides a professional alternative to phone calls and allows you to guide your customers through your website sales funnels.
There are many live-chat support options out there to choose from, but most of them are subscription-based services. Thankfully, WP Live Chat Support is a free and effective alternative and provides the same features as its paid counterparts. You can also get the pro add-on for a one-time site license fee of $39.95.
WP Mail SMTP
Can’t seem to get any e-mail messages from your website? Use this handy tool to authenticate your sender e-mail address on WordPress so that you can successfully receive your contact form messages.
Arguably the best form creator for WordPress today. If you want to create beautiful forms that work flawlessly, consider using this handy plugin. Gravity Forms also has a variety of add-ons that extend the use of your forms from simple contact forms to more sophisticated tasks.
Tired of seeing comment spam? Akismet (which comes standard with every WordPress installation) allows you to get rid of most comment spam without wasting too much of your time.
Contact Form 7
While most WordPress themes will come with their own contact form plugin, it’s not uncommon to find a few themes that use this plugin to generate contact forms. In fact, this plugin is so widely used that it wouldn’t be surprising if you’re using it for your own website. Just in case you haven’t, now you know of a plugin that can give you a reliable contact form.
Do you have a favorite plugin that you just can’t live without? Share it with us through the comments section below!