WordPress plugins have opened more ground-breaking opportunities for publishers and bloggers in creating high-quality SEO friendly sites. And the evolution of WordPress continues.
Plugin developers vow to continue upgrading their products, adding more useful features year after year due to the demand and support of consumers. The number of plugins available for WordPress has rapidly increased over the years and WordPress bloggers are faced with the challenge of picking out which plugins are the best for their sites.
Plugins effectively extend the functionality of WordPress by offering additional features and custom functions to meet the specific needs of users. In the competitive world of worldwide web where websites are desperate to drive in traffic, website owners just can’t ignore the advantages of plugins that can help them optimize their sites.
You can be sure that every WordPress plugin is safe because each of them passes through the hands of professional developers for meticulous review. Most plugins can be downloaded and installed for free, although you can have the option to pay for their Premium versions which offer more features than their Free versions. And if you are tight with your budget, it won’t hurt you to try the free plugins. Fortunately, there are freemium plugins. These are free WordPress plugins that you can install and upgrade to their Premium versions for free.
Here are the 5 of the best free WordPress plugins to consider:
- 404 to 301
The 404 (page not found) error page in WordPress is frustrating and unsightly. And if visitors stumbled upon this page on your site, they are likely to think that your site is broken. Problems may arise and it can trigger the 404 error page to pop out, but it does not necessarily means that your website has gone down. It can be caused by a broken link or typographical error on the visitor’s part. But, of course, visitors will tend to assume that your site isn’t working when they encounter the 404 page and will leave your site instantly.
Lucky for you, there is a plugin that can fix this dilemma. The 404 to 301 plugin automatically redirects all 404 error pages to any custom page with the use of 301 status. Whenever something goes wrong, visitors will be redirected to an existing page that you have set instead of coming across the error page. This is also a convenience on your part as you won’t be able to see any error reports on your webmaster tool dashboard.
- No more 404 errors in your site.
- You can set custom page or global link to redirect every 404 path.
- Output is multilingual friendly.
- Developer friendly.
- You have the option to monitor all errors.
- Allows you to enable email notification on all 404 errors.
- You can use other statuses other than 301 such as 302 and 307.
- Improves your site’s SEO value due to the absence of error pages.
- Absolutely free to download and upgrade.
- Google Analytics
This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin comes with a tracking code that allows you to track your site and check key Google Analytic stats, page reports, and post reports showing how every page or post of your site is performing in real-time.
You can view your site’s performance details through your dashboard screen where you can customize the options and hooks. Google Analytics reports in real time showing you the number of visitors, organic searches, traffic sources details, bounce rate stats, error analytics stats, device categories, and more.
- Once linked to your Google account, you can easily export and import any code from one site to another
- Shows real-time analytics report on the number of visitors, page views, sessions, and bounce rate
- Shows where your traffic is coming from
- Shows you the latest trending topics that may give you an idea on what content is making the biggest splash
- Allows you to enable email alerts
- Works on any device
- Tracks file downloads in seconds.
- Monitors your outbound link clicks.
- Event and custom dimensions tracking allows you to monitor banner/button clicks and custom dimensions
- Shows you which site is gaining the most traffic
- Shows how your visitors found out your site by tracking referral sources
- Installation and upgrades are absolutely free
- HTML Sitemap
An HTML Sitemap is a page showing the complete list of all exisitng web pages on your website. Each web page is linked and indexed by search. You might also have heard about XML Sitemap. Most SEO plugins automatically generates XML sitemap to let search engines understand the structure of your site. XML sitemaps are important for search engines but it’s got nothing to do with your visitors.
HTML Sitemap is important to facilitate navigation on the part of the visitor. All existing web pages on your website can be accessed with clicks. But it will need quite a few clicks to reach deep pages or old blog posts, and visitors can be impatient. If you place an HTML sitemap in your footer, visitors can easily access the content they need with just two clicks.
Just like XML sitemaps, there is no need for you to manually create the HTML sitemap of your entire website. Just thinking about the task is already taxing. There is a plugin that automatically generates an HTML sitemap for your site.
HTML Page Sitemap is a WordPress plugin that enters the html_sitemap] shortcode in the page content.
- Automatically imports all XML sitemap settings of your website.
- Allows you to customize the number of columns you want to display.
- Creates sitemap that can be viewed on all modern browsers.
- Allows you to modify shortcode options on your sitemap page.
- Works on all devices.
- Translation ready.
- Output has been validated by W3C Markup with no errors.
- Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is considered the most complete and probably the best WordPress plugin to consider. It features real time page analysis, snippet preview, XML sitemaps generation, RSS optimization, images title, link elements and Meta tags optimization. Aside from these amazing features, Yoast SEO can help you create better content by giving you opportunities to discover the best focus keyword for your articles.
- Page analysis: It analyzes and ranks every web page of your website before being published
- Focus keyword: It counts the number of keyword usage and validates if the keyword is used in the right parts
- Snippet preview: It allows you to see what your site would look like when searched in Google
- Breadcrumbs: It facilitates navigation by giving you more granular control over the customary breadcrumb navigation
- Primary category: It allows you to set a primary category for a post which can fall under two or more categories
- XML sitemaps: It automatically generates XML sitemap of your site that tells Google and other search engines about the structure of your site
- RSS enhancements: It allows you to enter a piece of content to your RSS feeds
- Security and Firewalll By CleanTalk
Protect your website against brute force attacks by installing Security FireWall by CleanTalk in your WordPress.
- Protects passwords and login form from being hacked by adding delays in the events of any failed login attempts.
- Monitors/Logs attempts to login and keeps track of every login result whether successful or failed, IP address, username, and location.
- Blocks malicious IP addresses and restricts access from specific countries. You can set which IP addresses and countries to block by adding them in the dashboard’s Blacklist.
- Sends daily security report via email that shows you the total number of failed login attempts and the corresponding IP addresses that entered the wrong passwords. Use these data to identify which IP addresses to add in your Blacklist.
- Monitors every activity in your WordPress dashboard and notifies you about suspicious activity that may be occurring on your blog. It uses an Audit Log to keep track of who logged in and the total time spent being logged in.
Can I Use As Many Plugins As I Like?
Plugins can give you a higher level of WordPress experience and you can actually use multiple plugins on your site. However, there is a truth when I say that ‘too much of anything isn’t good for anyone’. It goes the same with using too many plugins.
You don’t want your site to be frequently crashing and considerably slowing down because your site can’t handle excessive loads of plugins anymore. So, instead of thinking of installing as MANY plugins as you LIKE, why not think of installing ONLY plugins that you NEED. This way, you can make sure that you and your visitors can benefit from the beauty of WordPress plugins.
What other WordPress plugins have you found helpful? I mean, there are a ton of WordPress plugins to consider, but these plugins above many of us would be in agreement that they are among the best free WordPress plugins of 2017.
Your thoughts on other effective plugins for WordPress?