One of the real benefits of WordPress is also one of its problems – plugins.
You want a WordPress website and you need to know which plugins to use. Fair enough.
As you know, plugins offer additional power to the core of WordPress. Fortunately, much of the power necessary to develop your photo website is available through the theme and the page builder. Especially with Astra, Elementor, and Brizy.
But, let's look at what else we may need.
When choosing a plugin, it's critical to review the following:
- The number of active installs – obviously, the more the merrier. If these numbers are down, they are there for a reason, and conversely – crowds follow quality plugins.
- Last update – this is also shown as to whether or not the plugin is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. Some simple plugins don't need constant updating, but other, more complicated plugins certainly do. This shows a level of commitment from the developers. Your commitment should be commensurate with theirs.
- Star ratings – are they predominately 5 stars or middle of the road. There's always 1 and 2-star ratings, usually for dubious reasons, but it's important to look at all the categories. Unlike Amazon ratings, which are too often bogus, WordPress plugin ratings seem to be more real.
All of the following plugins are free or free with an update to a pro version. Generally, the pro version is not needed – just a rule of thumb.
Akismet – this is essentially spam protection and is a basic best practice for WordPress sites. You can get a free version or offer to support their efforts.
Analytify and Analytify Pro – is the easiest way to add Google Analytics tracking to your website with the lowest possible overhead. The connection is direct and simple. I've used a number of Google Analytics and Analytify is absolutely the best. Very easy to set up and the Pro version even offers analytics on the activity of each specific page and post. I couldn't live without this plugin.
Autoptimize – Want to speed up your site with minimal efforts? Autoptimize minifies and cache's scripts and styles and moves everything into the right position to speed up sites without difficulties. Test your site's speed with and without Autoptimize to see the difference.
External Links – want to add the ability to create all “no follow” links to increase your SEO rankings? External links accomplish this in one simple plugin. Don't forget to add this.
ManageWp – If you want the ability to manage one or more websites with respect to backup, SEO, speed etc., use ManageWP, owned by GoDaddy. The worker plugin needs to be installed on your site and ManageWP is then accessed and connected to provide all the management controls – such as updates, backups etc., You can operate this app either free or at very minimal costs. It works as a great backup facilitator.
Pretty Links – is absolutely essential if you have any affiliate marketing efforts.
SEOPress and Pro – Yoast used to be my go-to on SEO but recently they made a programming error which caused many to lose traffic. That part was understandable but their unwillingness to fess up and let everyone know about the problem cost them some serious credibility issues. I changed to SEOPress and love it much better. It has more features and is simpler than Yoast. Additionally, the Pro price is only $39 for unlimited sites.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer – Want to optimize your site's speed? Image size is typically the main culprit for slow sites. ShortPixel is simply the best and easiest optimizer available. You may have to buy an upgrade here is your site has a lot of images.
Share Buttons by AddThis – I spent hours trying to discover the best social share and social follow plugin and finally landed on Share Buttons. This plugin offers tremendous power right out of the box and ties the two together like no other plugin. It's free, with a paid upgrade, so give it a try.
Table of Contents Plus – Like the social share buttons, I spent tons of time trying to find a table of contents feature that doesn't cause other problems and is easy to implement. Table of Contents Plus is as easy as adding a shortcode anywhere you want your table of contents to appear and produces a table of content based on WordPress headings. Again, free and powerful.
Temporary Login without Password – Giving someone your login and password becomes a whole lot easier and safer with this plugin. You can limit by time and simply give a link which allows access to your admin panel.
The Post Grid – This plugin has a lot to offer in the free version, and the very inexpensive paid version continues with feature rich options. The problem with most blog posts is that, outside of the current post, no one sees them. With The Post Grid, you can sort them by category or tag and allow users to search their needs, which makes all posts current.
WP Content Copy Protection – There are always ways to steal your images on the web, but this plugin offers an easy way to discourage image theft.
If you're interested in building your own website, make sure you check out my article on Recommend Blog Resources here.
That's it. You don't need a lot of plugins. You just want enough to give your site some real power without bogging it down and causing other conflicts.
You can certainly use other plugins, just make sure they meet the criteria discussed above and provide value without excess overhead and conflicts.
Again, enjoy the journey.