5 Free Must-Have WordPress Plugins

wordpress pluginsI’ve been blogging since 2004, and during that time have tried a lot of WordPress plugins.

That is, programs with a set of one or more functions written in the PHP scripting language that adds a specific set of features or services to the WordPress weblog.

In other words, WordPress plugins are programs developed by third-parties intended to assist bloggers (like me) who use WordPress (or WP) to create and maintain their website (like this one). Most use the General Public License, version 2 (or GPL2) used by WordPress.

That means that most WordPress Plugins are routinely offered to WP bloggers free to use (like you and me). New ones appear daily, and there are virtually thousands to choose from.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for a novice blogger like myself to install them almost recklessly based upon some assumption what they will do, without much understanding about whether or not they are really useful. Over time, of course, as we gain some experience with WP we are able to weed out (or replace) those less likely to benefit us.

I am no where near being a WP expert (not even close), but my experience with several WordPress plugins have proven to be of tremendous benefit. In this article, I would like to share with you five. They are all free (though donations are requested by the developers).

  1. Akismet
  2. Plugin Central
  3. WordPress SEO
  4. Dynamic Widgets
  5. Redirection
Akismet

Akismet is an automated spam killer. It is a must-have for your blog because it blocks spam comments and pings. The Akismet service is free for personal use, though with most blogs it is necessary to obtain an API key (no charge). This plugin has virtually freed me from having to deal with spam.

Plugin Central

Plugin Central automates the process of installing WP plugins. This is a tremendous benefit because it will (in addition to other benefits) save you from having to download, unzip, and upload plugin files to your website manually. It was developed by Vladimir Prelovac.

WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO provides a number of features intended to increase your blog posts and pages SEO (search engine optimization). Foremost, it will help you write better content by forcing you to choose a focus keyword that it will make sure you use and focus everywhere surrounding your article. It was developed by Joost de Valk.

Dynamic Widgets

Dynamic Widgets gives you full control on which pages your widgets will appear by allowing you to dynamically show or hide widgets on WordPress pages. For example, whereas you might want to include a list of “recent posts” to appear in the sidebar menu for articles under one category, you might not want them to appear for articles under a different category. This plugin makes it easy. It is a product provided by QURL.

Redirection

Redirection provides you with a quick and easy way to manage 301 redirection from WordPress without the need to do it from your servers’ dashboard. This is particularly useful when a post’s URL changes (e.g., you delete an old post and want it to redirect to another URL rather than to display a 404 error). It was developed by John Godley.