Cameron FrancisAugust 14,2013

Ten of the Best WordPress Plug-ins For Designers

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There are more than 60 million individuals who have selected WordPress as their website platform. WordPress is CMS software that is very easy to customise, which means there are a wide variety of applications for which it can be used. There is also an enormous amount of designer support with WordPress and a huge number of available plugins, and many of them are free. I am going to show you 10 of the best essential plugins for designers of business websites to incorporate into their sites.

1. BackupBuddy

Every business will require a means for backing up their site periodically. A website backup must be secure and easy to restore in a relatively short time. BackupBuddy achieves these goals.

With BackupBuddy you can perform a partial or full backup of your WP site including all plugins, database and core WordPress software. You may even schedule backups on a regular basis and have them stored in a location of your choice such as BackupBuddy Stash, Dropbox, or any other location of your choosing.

BackupBuddy is the WP backup plugin that is extremely comprehensive. It has hundreds of useful features. The best feature is that you will be able to restore your backup in just a few minutes.

A BackupBuddy developer license costs $197. If you only need it for two or fewer sites, it costs $80. To use it on up to ten sites, the cost is $100 and $150 for an unlimited number of licenses.

It may seem a bit costly, but if your site gets corrupted or hacked, you will be glad you chose to use BackupBuddy.

2. Content Aware Sidebars

Content Aware Sidebars is a free plugin. If you have made use of other CMS software, like Joomla, you will soon discover that you will need to assign widgets to individual pages or posts. WP does not provide a means for doing this.

That is where this plugin becomes useful. It provides you with a means for creating sidebars in unlimited numbers for widget areas and then assigns them to specific posts, categories or pages. Basically, it creates an area of virtual widgets that replace the existing widget area for the specified page.

3. Enhanced Text Widget

The text widget that is provided by WordPress can be useful; however, it does not include many necessary and important features.

This is a free plugin that provides users with a widget that is feature-rich. Samplings of features supplied by this text widget include:

  • Allows you to display or hide the title of the widget
  • Change the title of your widget into a link
  • CSS classes can be assigned to the widget
  • Supports PHP, HTML, JavaScript, text, Flash, and Shortcodes

4. Akismet

Even though there are numerous plugins for combating spam, Akismet may be your best choice, since it is provided with WordPress and it is free.

The setup of Akismet is quite easy. All you have to do is go to the Akismet website and register in order to obtain a WP key. Once a key is assigned to you, you are ready to insert your key in the Akismet settings and say goodbye to your spam problems!

5. WordPress SEO by Yoast

This is simply the best WP SEO plugin, and it is free. It provides users with total control of Meta descriptions and page titles for pages and posts. It also allows you to control these features for every taxonomy (tag pages or category).

Other features that are useful include 301 redirects and creating rules for robots like nofollow, follow, noindex, index, etc. You can also use this plugin to customise Google Plus and Facebook descriptions for specific posts or pages in cases where you do not want to utilize the default settings in the Meta description area.

This plugin also adds the rel=”canonical” tag to each post and page to help avoid duplicate content penalties from Google.

6. Visual Composer

WP can be quite limiting for many users when it involves creating an attractive page layout. Although anything can be done by using CSS and HTML, though many users are not familiar with their use. This is why Visual Composer for WP may be of assistance.This plug-in will transform the WP page editor into a very robust editor that is rich in features. It will provide a means for adding columns, accordions, image galleries, videos, tour sections, buttons used in call-to-action, and more.

Visual Composer is available at codecanyon.net for $25.

7. 404 Redirected

Quite often business owners will not monitor broken links on their site as frequently as they need to. Broken links will present an SEO and business problem for a site. Potential clients may quickly leave your site when a 404 error presents itself and Google won’t pass page rank to a 404 page.

This free plugin will display all URLs that have 404 errors and it will provide you with a means to provide a 301 redirect to functioningpages on your site. This provides a way to redirect visitors to content that is appropriate and pass page rank to the proper pages.

8. Gravity Forms

Every business site needs to use forms. Forms are used to collect user information that is used to provide and market services and products to them.

There are numerous WP form plugins, however, none of them have the number of features that Gravity Forms possess. There are also many add-ons that can be used to expand upon its features and integrate it into CRM systems like SalesForce, InfusionSoft, and high-rise.

Even though Gravity Forms is not free, you can buy it for as little as $39 with a year of updates and support. Most of the add-ons are free so you should not have to spend more on add-ons.

9. Digg Digg

If you are not using social media to market your business, it is probably time for you to start. This free plug-in places a floating box on your site that will enable visitors to easily share a page they are viewing.

All of the popular social media platforms such as Pinterest, Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are supported. The services that are presented to your visitors are customisable so you do not have to show services that are not relevant to your business.

10. W3 Total Cache

The need to cache pages on your site varies between sites. Sites that have a lot of scripts and images will see a large speed improvement by using this plugin.

This is a free WP plugin that possesses all the features for caching that will be needed. As a matter of fact, the number of features in this plugin can be a bit overwhelming at first glance.

Conclusion

WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System. There are thousands of available plugins available free or cost little investment. While developing a WordPress website, you can use these plug-ins at different stages to improve the efficiency, security and effectiveness of your website with little or no support from the web developer

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Author: Cameron Francis Cameron Francis is the Director of eTraffic Group. He has been engaged in all aspects of online marketing for the past 8 years. He is actively involved in SEO, Paid Search, Social Media Optimisation, and Web Design.

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