When you want to run your own blog or an easy-to-manage content site, WordPress is a free application that allows you to do just that, regardless of the level of programming skills you have. When you choose to use the WordPress application as your blog’s site structure, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to layouts and themes in addition to plugins.
WordPress plugins are files and third-party software that installs with your existing WordPress installation. Your WordPress site will still be the same, but you will have added features depending on the plugin you have downloaded and installed. Plugins are useful for productivity, keeping spam at bay, and also with increasing interactions with you and your community or blog’s followers. Some of the very best and well-known plugins for WordPress are entirely free and only take a few minutes to download and install on a WordPress site.
WP Cache is a well-known WordPress plugin that is available for free for both personal and commercial blogs. WP Cache helps to store “static” pages of your site that include your header, footer, and style sheets. This helps to speed up load time for visitors on your site (dramatically) and uses less of your CPU processing, which is ideal if you are renting your server or paying for a dedicated server each month.
Gravity Forms is another free plugin for WordPress that offers the implementation of free forms directly into both posts and pages in WordPress site installations. With Gravity Forms, you can easily add images and media to your form fields for a completely custom look without purchasing software to build the forms for you.
WP Page-Navi is a must-have for any blog or community with a large amount of content. When you have a large blog, allowing users to browse easily is essential to increase page views and visitor loyalty as well. WP Page-Navi offers easy page navigation buttons for users to go “back” and “forward” and throughout numbered pages easily to find all of the content they are on your site to find.
Askimet is a popular WordPress plugin, and rightfully so. This plugin stops spammers and spam bots right in their tracks when they attempt to comment or pingback your posts with their links, spreading nonsense and unreadable sentences all over your site. With Askimet, you no longer have to worry, as it is frequently updated and capable of catching spammers immediately upon their attempts to post to your blog. These spam comments and posts are gathered in one location for easy deletion, eliminating time spent browsing through your real comments (versus potentially spam posts).
All in One SEO Pack
The All in One SEO Pack helps to grow your site organically using search engines without having to have in-depth knowledge about programming and using SEO tactics yourself. With just a few lines, you are able to enter your URL and keywords to help with getting your WordPress site showing in search results and big online directories.
Cool Author Box
Cool Author Box is a free plugin that works well with blogs that have multiple authors or with larger online communities using WordPress as their platform. Cool Author Box is a virtual box that appears after each article and include the author’s name (and page link for their profile if available) along with a photo (using Gravatar) and a link to the author’s own site as well. This helps to keep community members active and encourages them to take part in adding content to the site as well.
JetPack is a plugin that was originally released by WordPress themselves. This plugin is quite robust and contains social media sharing, email subscription options, a URL shortener and even stats. You can check in with your site’s most popular posts throughout the day with JetPack’s free stats, which also show your referrers and the most clicked on links of your blog for the day. This can help you to track popular posts and also to get an idea of what your audience and demographic is interested in when it comes to reading new content online and directly from your site. JetPack is free and blends right in with the WordPress administration panel. It also has its own category when accessed from the administration side of the WordPress site you own.