Good morning my little angel mice, did you know that hundreds of kind web developers out there have toiled through the frustration, the rage, and the unhealthy levels of caffeine consumption to write plugins for WordPress that you can use absolutely free? If you’re not a programmer and have never had to write your own software before you might be having a hard time conceptualizing the level of personal sacrifice involved in an undertaking like that, so let me help you out: they are goddamn modern day heroes. First off, you have to learn how to program, then specifically how to do it in PHP (because all the programming languages are different), then learn the WordPress API so that your program can talk to it. Do you know how many years that would take you, or what API or PHP even means? These men and women should all be awarded with sainthood in my opinion.
Alright I’m getting a bit carried away, but respect the plugin developers. Out of the gifts that they have graciously bestowed upon the human race there are a few that I use over and over and that will make your life a thousand percent better. Probably. I’m going to list them for you. But first, a cautionary tale.
Plugins are like the T-Rex vs. Velociraptors showdown at the end of Jurassic Park: freakin’ sweet. You know it and I know it. But, as with all good things, you can go overboard and fly too close to the sun. Hear me, and hear me well, there is absolutely no damn reason why you would need 50 plugins. Here is the thing, a lot of plugins (particularly ones that affect how your website looks, like an image gallery or fancy menu plugin) will load a bunch of other scripts that make them work in your website header. At best it will slow your website down a lot and at worst it will crash it entirely because the scripts are conflicting or loading 7 different versions of jQuery. Only use plugins that you really need, and activate them one at a time. If you activate one and your website suddenly stops working or is slow as hell, delete it!
Senpai’s Top 5 WordPress Plugins
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Listen guys, you can’t just set up a website and then wait for millions of people to come. That’s not how it works. You need to setup your website in such a way that Google can find information on it really easily, and then you need to market it. But let’s take care of the Google part first, this plugin is literally designed to help you do that even if you don’t know sweet frick-all about SEO. It’s the 3rd highest rated plugin in the directory on WordPress.org and everybody and their spirit animals will tell you that you should use this plugin. Son, if a talking coyote that sounds like Johnny Cash tells you that something is legit, you listen.
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Akismet is so magical that it comes pre-installed in your copy of WordPress. Akismet blocks spam-bot comments on your blog, and believe me you will get them. Maybe not at first, but one day when you least expect it you’ll wake up to 100’s of email notifications that you’ve received a comment on your blog! They’ll all read “What great article! Thank you for to share, much helpful” and link back to cheapnikeshoestotallynotfake.ru. Akismet will stop that, you will need to sign up for an account on their website and then you will get your API key. If you are using it for a personal site you can pay as little or as much as you want, but let me say this: ain’t nobody got time to deal with spam and they are providing you a great service. I appreciate that you might be so poor that you’re eating Mr. Noodles 6 out of 7 days a week, but you can throw them $5. It’s good for karma..
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Contact Form 7
Number 6 on the WordPress top rated plugins list is Contact Form 7. I don’t think I’ve ever built a site that I haven’t installed this on. You do not ever want to put your email address in text on a website, unless you like getting thousands of spam emails about ‘cheap male enhancement products’. This form is incredibly easy to setup and to customize, and it has a really good built in spam filter. No more talking, just downloading.
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Google XML Sitemaps
Ladies and gentleman, this is your champion: the top rated plugin on WordPress.org as of the writing of this article. It only does one thing, but it does it flawlessly. Basically this sets up a road map for search engine spiders to crawl your site (that’s a good thing, you want spiders all up in your website). The easier it is for Google and other search engines to find info on your websites the higher you will rank and the closer you will be to that solid gold statue of yourself.
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W3 Total Cache
This plugin comes in second for highest rated WordPress plugin of all time. Basically this takes all of the stuff that makes up your website and squishes it up into smaller files so that your website will load faster than me running from an angry hippo (that’s very fast, if you didn’t know). Makes for a better user experience, and Google looks upon it fondly. Now, you should not install this plugin until after you are done with your site development or you will have the very confusing experience of changing something and having it ‘not work’. It did, you’re just seeing a snapshot of your website from a little while ago. So don’t install this one until after you’re site is ‘finished’, and disable it when you are working on any major changes to the look and feel of the site.
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How to Install WordPress Plugins
It’s so easy it’s basically criminal. I could write it out, but I’m kind of tired and somebody already made a video.