Using a premium WordPress theme, that is feature rich, is not always available or even a good idea. Built-in features create code that is complex and lengthy. It can bog down your website with features that go unused, or don’t actually work the way you want.
Moreover, what happens when you want to change themes? Using a WordPress theme with built-in features, you risk losing valuable content when you decide to make a change. Does that make sense?
The solution is to use a lightweight theme, and add functionality as needed with plugins. WordPress is developed to be lightweight and flexible, with minimal code bloat. Plugins increase the functionality of WordPress with custom functions and features.
Unfortunately, finding the best plugins in not always easy. If you search for the “best WordPress plugins,” what you usually get is garbage. The reviewer (and I am using this title loosely) is providing a long list of plugins, all with positive endorsements, that you kinda start to doubt they ever actually evaluated.
The five amazing WordPress plugins, I am recommending in this article, have all be tested and used. I have taken the time to compare and contrast their features and performance to other similar plugins, They are for either article or site enhancement, and are plugins I consider the best at what they do.
Starbox – the Author Box for Humans
One of the goals for Koffee-O-Matic is to eventually have regular contributors and guest bloggers. Therefore, having a plugin that will automatically add author information, and ensure Google Authorship and Facebook Authorship, is very important. I looked at many authorship plugins, and Starbox became the clear winner.
Starbox is a plugin that allows you to add author information to each of your WordPress posts. Plus, it gives authors some control of how their information will appear, and where it appears in the post. Starbox can even be turned off based on the author’s preference.
Google Analytics by Yoast
I think we can all agree Google Analytics is an vital tool, helping measure the effectiveness of marketing. Enormous time and money is spent getting people to visit our sites. Oddly, many site owners do not keep track of what works and what does not.
We are using digital marketing tools such as social media, newsletters, search engine optimization, and more. Wouldn’t you like to scale back on marketing that is less effective? Google Analytics informs you of how many people are visiting your website, and where they are coming from.
Yoast is one of the most trusted names in WordPress plugins. The Google Analytics by Yoast plugin puts vital information right in your WordPress administration area. Who wouldn’t love that?
You know you want to fancy up that plain-jane website. Shortcodes Ultimate plugin promises to turn any free theme to premium and feature rich. The plugin provided 50+ shortcodes. Add buttons, tabs, different sliders, responsive videos, and much more.
Do what I did, take it for a test drive. I think you will see the value of Shortcodes Ultimate. Many premium themes have a lot of cool features, but very few have as many as this one plugin.
UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
Your hosting company may provide automatic backup of your site but, if you are like me, you may still have that little voice telling you not to trust it. This is why I went and took a hard look at backup plugins. What I found was a plugin with over 500,000 installs and 4.9 stars out of 5 rating.
UpdraftPlus a simple, easy to use backup and restoration WordPress plugin. You have multiple cloud options including: Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, DreamObjects, FTP, Microsoft OneDrive, SFTP, SCP, WebDAV, OpenStack Swift, and email. Best of all, restore is just one click.
W3 Total Cache
I am running WordPress with 33 plugins. Before installing the W3 Total Cache plugin, this site tested at 30+ seconds to completely load. After installing, the load times ranged from 4 seconds to 8.4 seconds, depending on the page. Amazing improvement, right?!
In every test, most of the elements that are self-hosted loaded in less than 2 seconds. Any drag in loading came from off-site elements, like the Google and Amazon ads. This improvement also came without the plugin fully engaged, like using a content delivery network.
This WordPress plugin is designed to work with shared hosting, virtual/dedicated servers, and dedicated servers/clusters. All you have to do is pick the recommended setting for your situation.
Speed test your website at Pingdon.