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our top 5 favorite free wordpress plugins

January 23, 2020

written by
Chantel Gonzales

With over 50,000 plugins to choose from in the WordPress Plugin Directory, it’s overwhelming for website owners and developers to determine which ones are best for your website. Fortunately, there are a plethora of plugins out there that can be easily and quickly installed to extend the functionality of your website which would otherwise be costly or time consuming for a developer to build from scratch. On the down side, there are also many plugins that are not regularly updated or optimized by their developer which may not only bog down the performance of your website but can potentially open dangerous security vulnerabilities as well. :-O

So to give you a headstart, below you’ll find the top 5 WordPress plugins we at 3FO install on nearly all of our websites.

1. Yoast SEO

The number one WordPress plugin we find ourselves installing on each and every site we build is Yoast SEO —” the #1 WordPress SEO plugin”. It’s no secret how important search engine optimization is for your website and Yoast makes it a breeze to implement without any coding. By providing an intuitive interface on your WordPress pages, you’ll find clearly labeled fields to input your page titles and meta descriptions, assign images and descriptions for social media sharing, and many other settings.

2. Advanced Custom Fields

In order to provide ourselves and our clients with an intuitive editing page and experience inside the WordPress UI, we use the Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin. ACF provides web developers and page builders with an interface to create custom fields that can be assigned to individual pages, templates, navigation menus, etc. The field types available range can range from a simple text field to a group of repeating fields that contain datepickers, textareas, WYSIWYG editors and more.

3. PODs

PODs is another great plugin that exposes helpful functionality to the WordPress UI for web developers and page builders to visually configure. We mainly use PODs to create custom post types to help organize content for our editors, however, it has a few other features you may find helpful such as configurations for archive pages or the ability to create custom fields as well (though we tend to prefer the previously mentioned ACF for this functionality).

4. TinyMCE Advanced

Although the default WordPress WYSIWYG works quite well, we like to amp it up with the additional features TinyMCE adds on. Most importantly, it adds a custom dropdown within the WYSIWYG editor that allows developers to add custom text formatting for frequently used styles that can be easily applied to text directly in the editor. You can also control which tools appear in the WYSIWYG editor by adding and removing them from settings page, reorder the tools and control a few other text formatting options.

5. Redirection

Last but not least, we have to include the Redirection plugin on our list of favorite WordPress plugins simply because we cannot ship our sites without it. Not only are 404 errors bad for SEO but they put a major damper on the quality of your user’s experience. Redirection mitigates this by providing a simple to use interface where you can add and remove page redirects as well as monitor and track 404 errors. Keep in mind, WordPress will automatically create redirects when a page URL changes; however, we’ve found that it’s helpful to extend this functionality in order to have greater control over what pages are redirecting and where they are redirecting to.

 

We’ve chosen these five WordPress plugins for a variety of reasons, but what they all have in common is: each plugin’s developers frequently maintain, update, and test their plugin with every new WordPress release. Meaning any security vulnerabilities or bugs are quickly patched, and the plugins successfully help extend WordPress’ core functionality in a way that helps save time to develop and maintain a site for both developers and editors. When we save time, you save time and money. Not to mention, they’re all free to use! If you don’t already use any of the above plugins on your website(s), we highly recommend checking them out. #notsponsored