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5 Free WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using

Posted on January 12, 2016

Anyone who has worked on a WordPress website knows there are thousands of free plugins available. The bad news? Most of them are total crap. However, there are a few free WordPress plugins that stand above the crowd and offer awesome functionality on par with that of a paid plugin. Here are my top five choices for free plugins you should be using on your WordPress website.

Yoast SEO

Disclaimer: Search engine optimization still requires a human brain for strategic decisions. But you can make your life easier by using Yoast SEO to help display and analyze content.

This extremely popular and trusted plugin allows you to add page titles, meta descriptions and keywords directly to your pages and posts within WordPress. Another awesome feature is that it will analyze your content to make sure your copy has the correct keyword density.

Some other important features to note? Yoast SEO will add Open Graph and Twitter Card metadata to each page and post. It will also generate an xml sitemap and ping search engines every time you update your site. Sweet!

Get it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

W3 Total Cache

The W3 Total Cache plugin is all about performance and speeding up your website. It increases server performance, reduces download times and allows for content delivery network (CDN) integration.

Normally, you would have to manually write all the configuration options to the site's htaccess file. This can be a frustrating and time consuming process if you are not familiar with things like leveraging browser caching, enabling gzip compression and minifying. (Geek alert!) With W3 Total Cache, you will receive an instant speed boost and score higher on PageSpeed and YSlow just by installing and activating.

Get it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/

Updraft Plus

One the most overlooked aspects of owning or maintaining any website is making regular backups. All it takes is one update to break your site. (Yikes!) And if your site wasn’t backed up before performing that troublesome update, you could find yourself spending countless hours (and dollars!) trying to fix it.

Enter Updraft Plus. You can configure manual backups or have it backup your site automatically. It allows you to backup the site’s files and/or database; then, you can then save your backups to a remote storage location like Dropbox or Google Drive

It’s very easy to set up and restores with a simple click of a button. This plugin can truly be a lifesaver. If you have a WordPress site and are not making backups, stop reading and go download this plugin ASAP.

Get it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/updraftplus/

WP Smush

Having stunning, high-res images can really add some pizazz to your website. Unfortunately, these high-res images can dramatically slow down the loading of your website.

WP Smush strips out all metadata from your image…that would be things like color profile, exposure time, GPS coordinates and camera information. Removing all this unneeded information greatly reduces an image’s file size, all while maintaining high image quality.

Get it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit/

WP Optimize

WP Optimize is a great plugin for keeping your WordPress database clean and organized. Every time you create a new page or post, a copy is saved in the database. If you make revisions, a new copy is created. Every time you get a spam comment, it’s saved in the database. All of this can quickly increase the size of your database; the larger your database is, the longer it takes to process a query.

WP Optimize is a great tool for removing all these unwanted database entries. It also has an option to run automatically so can you can set it and forget it. Just make sure to also have automatic backups being created as well (ahem, Updraft Plus) just to make sure you don’t lose something you need

Get it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this list of Kiwi Creative’s top five choices for free WordPress plugins useful, but if there are any other free plugins you’d like to add to the list, just add ’em in the comment section below!

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Topics: Website Development

Ryan Patterson

Written by Ryan Patterson

Ryan Patterson is Kiwi Creative's code-obsessed Web Developer. A master of all things related to WordPress, he builds custom marketing-focused websites for our clients that look awesome and are easy to use.

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