Jetpack is a great starting point for the brand new WordPress user.developed by Automattic (the people responsible for WordPress.com), it offers an eclectic mix of functionalities — bringing everything from a CDN for serving images more quickly to a related post widget, social sharing tools, site stats and even brute-force attack protection. It’s the ultimate all-in-one plugin.
These are functionalities WordPress.com users take for granted, transported to the self-hosted platform in one super-convenient package. And, because Jetpack is maintained by Automattic, you can trust that the plugin is exceptionally well-coded, user-friendly, and always compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
It’s no surprise this versatile powerhouse is one of WordPress’ most popular plugins of all time, with more than 30 million downloads to date.
Within minutes of publishing a blog, the first instances of spam will start trickling in. At first, this may seem flattering — ‘Wow! People are already reading my posts and leaving comments.‘ However, you’ll quickly learn the vast majority of WordPress comments are, unfortunately, spam — and, after a while, this will get hugely frustrating. As such, you need an effective anti-spam defense system to ease the burden.
Akismet — another plugin brought to you by Automattic — offers the best protection against spam. In fact, the plugin used to ship with every fresh WordPress installation by default, such was the need to combat spam.
Akismet works in the background, automatically intercepting anything that looks spammy, and outright blocking the most obvious instances. And, because the spammers are always looking for new tricks to beat the filters, Akismet analyzes data from across its million-strong network of users. This allows it to learn the latest strategies, ensuring it’s always one step ahead.
- Yoast SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) remains the best way to attract visitors to your website via search engines. And, when it comes to optimizing your content, few plugins can compete with Yoast SEO in terms of feature set and usability.
Yoast SEO’s best-known feature is its page analysis tool. This scans your content for SEO best practices, instantly telling you where your content is strong, where there’s room for improvement, and any SEO tactics you’ve plain forgotten.
Other useful SEO features include an XML sitemap generator (for getting indexed) and a snippet preview tool (for better CTR).
- Ninja Forms
Every WordPress website needs a contact form plugin to let readers get in touch or make inquiries. At WinningWP, we recommend the free Ninja Forms plugin.
Why? Simply put, it’s the easiest contact form plugin to use, with a simple interface and intuitive drag-and-drop form builder.
However, don’t let this overview fool you. Contained within the user-friendly package, you’ll find several advanced functionalities. These include AJAX form submission (so visitors won’t have to refresh the page), powerful anti-spam reCAPTCHA, and advanced fields, such as a date picker.
When you access social media websites, such as Facebook, you’ll immediately notice the content your friends are sharing. Wouldn’t it be great if your content was shared via social channels, too?
If you want to tap into social sharing, you’ll need a plugin for the job, and Monarch is your best bet.
Part of the highly regarded Elegant Themes family, Monarch lets you add social sharing buttons for more than 20 networks. There are also nearly endless customization options, letting you craft buttons that look gorgeous and encourage clicks. These buttons can be displayed almost anywhere on your page, too — even inside time-delayed popups.