Feb
25
2020

Popular WordPress plugins and what they do

There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available to use, but some are more popular than others.

The WordPress experts at RCC take a look at a few of the most well known and well used plugins, and what they can do to improve your website. There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available to use, but some are more popular than others. The WordPress experts at RCC take a look at a few of the most well known and well used plugins, and what they can do to improve your website.

What is a WordPress plugin?

A plug-in is a bit of code added to WordPress to add a new feature to your website. WordPress plugins therefore change the behaviour of your website in some way – they might add a contact form, or change how you can edit content in your website somehow.

WordPress.org lists tens of thousands of plugins you can add to your website, but the sheer number available can be baffling. Here, we review commonly used and popular WordPress plugins for your website.

Contact Form 7 plugin

Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular plugins for adding a contact form to your WordPress website.

It comes with a built-in contact form to get you started easily, but we recommended customising that to your own needs – the “subject” field is unnecessary and just gives your customers more work to do. You can customise your contact form with text fields, text areas, telephone fields, URL (web address fields), and dates.

Using a WordPress shortcode, you can create and embed forms in your website easily in pages, posts and widgets:

Shortcodes in Contact Form 7 plugin for WordPress

The plugin also allows you to customise the email that is sent to you when someone completes it.

Read our guide on creating better contact forms for WordPress websites too for hints and tips on making forms easier to use – and more likely to be completed – on your own website.

Contact Form 7 is free to download and use on your WordPress.org website. Other popular contact forms include Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms.

Yoast SEO plugin

Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plugin to help improve your website’s search engine friendliness. Features include the ability to change your post and page titles separately from what appears in the page itself, which can be helpful for fine-tuning your search engine optimisation.

Yoast also allows you to add structured data to your website to help improve search engine’s understanding of the content and structure of the website. This includes:

  • breadcrumbs – ideal for helping to define the hierarchy of your website’s content
  • Open Graph information – this provides information on your web page’s content which is used in social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as key business information such as your business name, contact details and business address. These contact details can then be used in Google and other search engine listings

Yoast SEO is available with basic features for free, or has a “professional” version with a greater range of features. Other SEO plugins for WordPress websites include.

You may find <our guide to improving your WordPress website’s SEO> useful too!

Wordfence security plugin

Wordfence is a WordPress security plugin. Its features include firewalls and the ability to restrict IPs from accessing your website.

WordPress is open source software, meaning that it is free to use and download the code which makes it work. A team of web developers from around the world work to keep it secure, but there may occassionally be security issues that can be abused by hackers if you don’t update your website in a timely manner. Plugins like Wordfence are designed to prevent this by tightening the default security settings on the website

Wordfence is available for free. A professional, paid version of the plugin with additional features is also available.