Top Free WordPress Plugins 2017
by Jamie Duncan
WordPress is my favourite platform for building websites for small business owners. It’s quick, flexible, easily editable and can look fantastic with the right theme. The best benefit though are the thousands of amazing (and free) plugins to help your website’s SEO, lead generation, user experience, security and much more. Having worked with WordPress for the last three years, I’m going to give you my list of essential WordPress plugins for 2017 and beyond.
1. Yoast SEO
An absolute must for any business looking to get ranked in search engine results pages. You can optimise individual pages by easily specifying title tags and meta descriptions, but also gives you a score on how well optimised that page is for your target keywords. It will also advise how well your content reads and if there is enough text on each page (300 words minimum). It also automatically generates XML sitemaps which you can submit to Google Search Console, and integrates (associates) your social media accounts with your website.
2. WP Spamshield
I only discovered this one in 2017 but boy I wish I found it earlier. This plugin blocks ALL spam: contact form spam, comment spam, the lot. Believe me, this is absolutely essential for any WordPress site.
3. WP Smush
Really simple image compression plugin – drastically improves your page load times which is great for both user experience and SEO. The best part about this plugin is that once it’s installed, you don’t need to do anything else – it automatically “smushes” new images when you add them to your media library.
4. W3 Total Cache
Caching is essential for any WordPress installation, and this is the best free caching plugin we’ve used. This will boost your website’s speed considerably, a key ranking factor for SEO. Careful consideration needs to be taken when setting this one up however, it’s not for beginners.
5. Page Builder by Site Origin
Generally, we’re not a big fan of page builders here at JD Business Marketing. Most have really poor user interfaces and can slow down your website drastically. Page Builder, on the other hand, is a lightweight solution for easily formatting page content without coding – this is essential when setting up websites for our clients, ensuring that they can make changes easily.
6. Contact Form 7
Does exactly as the title suggests – easily create contact forms and embed them via a shortcode on pages and widgets. Simple, flexible, effective. We use this plugin on client sites for creating both simple contact forms and more complex registrations forms.
7. Wordfence Security
Last but certainly not least, Wordfence is a fantastic free security plugin which will protect your website from hackers – believe me, you definitely don’t want to be without this one.
The seven plugins listed above are what we consider to be the essential free plugins for laying the foundations any WordPress website. There are thousands more out there which add all sorts of functionality to your website – everything from e-commerce and events management, to recruitment and real estate. We’ll be covering more of these in detail in the coming weeks – watch this space!
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Hopefully you found this blog insightful. If there’s anything we can do to help enhance your online presence, don’t hesitate to get in touch.