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My Favourite WP Plug-Ins

From time to time I have written about a particular WordPress plug-in that I like but for this post, I thought I’d list 6 of my favourite WordPress plug-ins.

Now, these aren’t necessarily 6 plug-ins that I use on every WordPress site I build, nor the most important ones or the most functional (those will come in another post, very soon). Rather, these are just plug-ins that have really cool features that I LOVE!

Some are free, some are paid plug-ins, and others have a basic free version and a pro-version for a fee. But they are all extremely affordable and well worth the investment.

In no particular order, here are 6 WordPress Plug-ins I recommend you check out:

1. W3 Total Cache – In short, this plug-in can improve your WordPress site’s page speed and overall user experience. This may not sound like a big deal, but you may be surprised to know how many visitors (and potential customers!) leave sites because they were taking to long to download.

Plus, the search engines may take your site’s page speed into consideration when determining your page rank in the search engines. So a better page speed can mean better search engine rankings which can then lead to more people finding your site.

2. WP Google Maps – This Plug-in makes it so easy to add a Google Map to your WordPress site. There’s a free version that allows a fair bit of customisation, or if you want more options and features you can purchase the Pro version for just a few dollars. The free version has been sufficient for my needs but it’s great to know the extra options are available at a very affordable cost.

3. WishList Member – There are now a few membership site plug-ins available but this one is still my favourite. I love that you can have so many options and, best of all for my requirements, that you can ‘drip-feed’ content so easily.

(Note: This is an affiliate link so if you purchase WishList Member via my link I may receive a referral fee. There’s no obligation for you to purchase this product but if you do and it leads to me receiving a referral fee, Thank You in advance. This helps me to continue to provide great content and training while keeping costs to readers and students as low as possible!)

4. Easy Timer – The Easy Timer plug-in allows you to add a countdown timer to your sites. This is extremely useful if you have an event or launch of some sort and want to count down to when it begins.

5. Simple-Press Forum – If you’re considering adding a forum to your WordPress site, make sure you check out this plug-in. At the time I stumbled across this plug-in, I’d just forked out a couple of hundred dollars for another forum program … and it wasn’t able to do what we needed it to.

Not only has Simple-Press Forum been able to do everything I wanted it to, it was pretty easy to install and configure and the support team are brilliant if ever you do need help with it.

6. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart – There are some really great eCommerce and shopping cart plug-ins available, but if you’re looking for something that’s free, easy to set up and – most importantly – easy for your customers to use, make sure you try the WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart plug-in.

There’s absolutely no doubt that there’s plenty of really cool plug-ins available. But there are also some important rules you need to remember if you are like me and get excited by how easy these plug-ins make it to add all these brilliant features to your site:

1. No matter how ‘cool’ a plug-in is, consider whether you really need it before installing it. I mean, do you REALLY need it?

Honestly, there’s no point adding cool features to your site if they don’t meet a purpose, especially if there’s any chance they may distract or annoy your visitors. So before installing a new plug-in, ask yourself if it’s going to make the experience better for your
visitors.

Or is it going to make it easier for you to manage the site?

If you can’t answer a definite yes to one of these questions, perhaps leave it off for now.

2. Remember also that the more plug-ins you add and customisation you do to your WordPress site, the more chance there is of there being incompatibility and other technical and/or display problems.

So go back to the last point and ask yourself, “Is this really necessary?”

3. Only ever install, update or configure one plug-in at a time. Then check your site in detail to make sure everything seems to be functioning correctly.

If you install, update or configure multiple plug-ins at once and there is an error with your site, it’s more difficult to go back and check which plug-in might have caused the problem.

That said … enjoy playing with your new plug-ins!