I was invited to share 5 things I love for a Periscope challenge. So I chose WordPress plugins, since WordPress is my web design tool of choice. It’s user-friendly, by which I mean end-user friendly, not just designer-friendly. Call me crazy, but I just don’t like the idea of a small business professional being completely dependent on their web designer for even the most minor changes. I prefer to empower them to have a hand in maintaining their website if they so choose.
Jetpack for Stats
My two favorite components of Jetpack are Publicize and Site Stats. Publicize is for another time and place/post. When it comes to the usefulness of Site Stats, let’s face it…you may have Google Analytics installed, but as a small business professional, do you ever actually log in and check out your stats there? Probably not. With Site Stats, your stats are RIGHT THERE when you log in to WordPress, showing your site traffic, traffic sources and most popular posts. WOOT!
Wordfence for Security
Wordfence has a LOT of components, but once it’s set up, it pretty much runs itself. This security plugin provides enterprise-class WordPress security for free (there is a paid version starting at $39/year, but the free version is pretty darned robust), protecting your website from hacks and malware. When my website was hacked and harboring malware (you read that right…a web designer’s site was hacked), a certain malware removal/security service wanted upwards of $500 to repair the damage and reverse the situation. I installed Wordfence for FREE and was able to handle it all myself…successfully. DOUBLE WOOT!!
Yoast for SEO
It may be cliché, but I chose it anyway. Yoast is simple and streamlined but still effective in helping small businesses boost the search engine value of each page and post on their website. I’ve taught clients to use it and it’s probably the #1 SEO plugin currently available. With that being said, I have had some theme-compatibility issues with Yoast, so my second choice (and the one I use, actually, as someone with Yoast theme conflicts) is All-in-One SEO Pack.
BackupBuddy for Backups
I love love LOVE BackupBuddy [that’s an affiliate link right there]. It’s like zipping up your entire household into a teeny package, moving it miles and miles away and then POOF! all your ‘stuff’ is automagically placed right where it belongs. It’s also a super easy backup tool you can use for regularly backing up your WordPress site (you DO regularly backup your site, don’t you?!?). For less than $7/month, it’s totally worth the peace of mind you’ll receive.
Juicer for Social Media Aggregation
Why have a Facebook feed widget, a Twitter feed widget, an Instagram feed widget….and so on…when you can pull all your feeds into a single page with Juicer? That’s right, aggregate and embed your social media posts on your site (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and many more) as a single beautiful feed. The free version lets you aggregate from 2 sources. If you want/need 3-5 source accounts, it’s just $19/month.