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R11 Guilty Pleasures
Free WordPress Plugins

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So–you are interested in building a website and want to make it as unique, interesting and user-friendly as possible. What can you do to elevate your site, make it unforgettable and functional to the max? Well, that’s where plug-ins come in. A plugin is a type of software that contains a series of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They allow the user to extend functionality and/or add new features to your website. These plug-ins can assist with configuring your website to support a plethora of activities, such as:

  • Starting an online store
  • Creating a job board
  • Building a business directory
  • Designing a photography website
  • Starting a podcast......just to name a few!

With over 50,000 to choose from, it’s important to know which WordPress Plug-ins are worth adding to your site. While there are a handful of plugins that are absolutely necessary, the downside of utilizing too many is that they can decrease website speeds, causing delays for both you and your users. So, in order to ease your search, we have compiled a list of the best free WordPress Plugins.  Keep reading.

Methodology for evaluating Plug-ins

Before we discuss plugins, let’s take a moment to explain what criteria was used when putting our master list together. The first item we looked at was ​Dominance​.
Questions we asked were:

  • Is the plugin popular among site users?
  • How many active installs are there?

Next, we looked at ​Specifications​ (or specs if you’re savvy with tech lingo). A general tip when choosing plugins is to read the description label in order to ensure that it covers all aspects of the task you need completed. Essentially, we asked:

  • What versions of WordPress will this work with?
  • When was the last plugin update?
  • Is plugin installation and configuration simple and straightforward?

The subsequent aspect we took into consideration was ​Trust​. That is, how does the community rate this plug-in? We made sure to look at customer reviews and ratings to get a sense of how other users were faring. Things we looked at specifically:

  • What do my colleagues think about it?
  • Does it come recommended by any of community members?
  • Has there been any documented conflicts with other plugins? If so, which ones?

As we already know, website ​speed ​is crucial for your website’s user interface (UI). As such, we could devote an entire separate article to the importance of speediness, but for now, we employed a basic test to determine whether a plugin has slowed down your website. Simply put, we checked our website’s plugin before, then after activating each plugin. We noted any difference, and eliminated those that effected our website.

Here are some tools that can assist:

  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Page Load TIme
  • Checkbot: SEO, Web Speed and Security Tester
  • Pingdom - offers a free speed test on their homepage, as well as tools designed to analyse your website for potential issues
  • Query Monitor - designed to analyse your website for potential plugin conflict Best Free WordPress Plug-ins

Now that we’ve outlined the strategy behind compiling our master-list, please take a look at our picks for best free WordPress plugins (in alphabetical order):

WooCommerce

WooCommerce lets you create the online store you want, with powerful features and near-unlimited possibilities. This eCommerce platform is used by entrepreneurs worldwide and goes beyond the traditional confines of the industry to deliver incredible results. With WooCommerce, you can sell anything--from physical products to digital downloads and subscriptions, content and even appointments. WooCommerce is also an open source, which means you can customize and have complete control, operating as you see fit.

Groundhogg

WooCommerce lets you create the online store you want, with powerful features and near-unlimited possibilities. This eCommerce platform is used by entrepreneurs worldwide and goes beyond the traditional confines of the industry to deliver incredible results. With WooCommerce, you can sell anything--from physical products to digital downloads and subscriptions, content and even appointments. WooCommerce is also an open source, which means you can customize and have complete control, operating as you see fit.

Participants Database

Participants Database offers all the functionality you need to build and maintain an eCommerce platform for pretty much anything. The database is configurable, allowing you to define it for yourself. Initially developed for an organization with the intent of educating and empowering voters, this plugin can quickly build a database for you, and optimize the way you use information.

All In One Security

All In One Security is a security plugin that is sure to give you that warm cuddly feeling, allowing you to better sleep at night knowing this comprehensive plugin is working for you. Extra security and firewall is provided, along with reducing security risk by checking for vulnerabilities and enforcing the latest recommended WordPress security practices and techniques.

Rank Math

Rank Math has one major intention: to help you optimize your content for search engines, and outrank your competitors. This determined little plugin is a classic David-meets-Goliath, turning your website into a powerful, competitive entity. Its step by step installation is so simple and easy to use, it practically configures itself. Rank Math will recommend ideal settings for best performance, then tackles your SEO, social profiles, and other competitive settings to ensure you come out on top online.

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R11 Guilty Pleasures
Free WordPress Plugins

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