First lets define what a plugin is. A plugin is an add-on that you can use on your WordPress site or blog to give you more ability to do showcase things and/or add more features. You can search and filter through the different WordPress plugins through your dashboard, or the WordPress directory. In this post, for the WordPress for Beginners series, I am going over my top five favorite plugins that I believe everyone WordPress user should have install on their site.
Top Favorite WordPress Plugins For Beginners
When you are working on creating your WordPress site or once it up and you need to make some changes, then you may need what is called a maintenance mode sign. This is a one page or landing page that you can put up to hide your site. I’ve used tons of different plugins in the past to achieve this. The problem with them was they were so bland (could be because they were free). However, when I discover the IgniteUp plugin…I never look at back.
With this plugin you can create a coming soon page for your site with the option to capture emails because you should always start building your email list before you need it. You can also create a maintenance mode page, letting your visitors know you are down for a few and will be back. What I most love about it is that you can have the plugin turn on and still access and preview your site in so you can see the changes while you make them.
AdRotate Banner Manager
If you are running ads on your site – either Google AdSense or selling ad space then you need a way to manage all of that. As you can see there are some ads running here and I use the plugin called AdRotate Banner Manager. Its really simple to use, you can copy and past the affiliate link or code and use a widget to add the ad where you want it. You also have the ability to set the time in which you want the ad to be shown, this is beneficial for those of you selling ad space. You can also set up ads to rotate by adding them to a group, then copying and pasting the code into a widget area; therefore you can have multiple ads running in one space.
Resource: AdRotate Banner Manager
Once you have been using WordPress for a while, we may want to change your theme but first you need to know that not all themes are created the same. One area in which they are different is that they have different thumbnail size settings. So when you make the switch your current images may look a little off or blurry. So I was super excited to learn about this plugin. It was a part of tutorial of a Genesis child theme I was using on my first site and it been very useful. It can recreate all of your thumbnails without you having to reload the image to create new thumbnails. I love that you can also select a single image instead of doing your whole media library, which may take a while depending on how much you have there.
Resource: Regenerate Thumbnails
If you been around social media long enough you have click on or use short links to be able to share something that has a very long URL. One of the most popular ones is Bit.ly and there’s also a Google URL Shortener. If you are getting into affiliate marketing you are going to need to shorten your links and what better way to do that is have one that is customized to you and your site. You can create custom URLs using the plugin called Pretty Links. You just copy and past the long URL and then come up with a short term or phase to add to the end of your domain. Pretty links has both a free and paid version.
WP Author Slug
Security is one of the most important things when it come to managing your website. Although WordPress has been around for sometime they haven’t made anything changes to this one particular thing. Go to your site and mouse over your name in the byline (typically under the blog post title), look at the bottom of your browser window and you will see the link in which will have your username (yes the same username that you use to login to your WordPress site with). Hacker can use this to gain access to your stuff. So one way to fix this is to remove your byline all together, which you will need to know how to edit the PHP code. If you use the Genesis Framework you hide this (more on this in the next post) or use the plugin WP Author Slug. This plugin changes the link from your username to your display name, which is way better.