The wonderful world of Plugins, eh! There are thousands of them to choose from (and play with!) to make our WordPress websites that little bit easier to work with. But how do you come the decision of which ones are actually useful? I’m an affiliate marketer for my sins and plugins save me an awful lot of time, so I find them indispensable.
I’ve listed just 5 WordPress plugins here that won’t cost you a penny and they’re ever present on all of my blogs and websites…I’d be lost without them!
Needless to say I have other WordPress plugins chugging away in the background, such as SEO, Contact, Cache, Sitemap and Security plugins, but these 5 are always on my list when making new websites…they’re the ever present old friends I would hate to not include.
1 – Black Studio TinyMCE Widget
This truly is an exceptional plugin and I’ve been using it for many years. The Black Studio TinyMCE Widget is a visual editor that sits in the widget area of your WordPress dashboard and is ready to be dragged and dropped into your sidebar. It’s like having the functionality of the main post and page editor in WordPress…only smaller!
It’s the same WYSIWYG type editor where you can do all the same stuff as you can in your main editor. This is great because the default WordPress text widget is very limited and you have to use HTML to do anything that looks normal! You can link, highlight, insert images, change text styles…well, all the things you can do in your main WordPress editor you can do with this little beauty. You can even switch to HTML if you really want to.
I use the Black Studio TinyMCE Widget just the same as I would when writing a post. It’s a brilliant time-saver with no coding to align that awkward image or insert that valuable link.
You can get this essential WordPress Plugin by either clicking on the image above or the link below or you can install it from your Plugin page in WordPress by simply searching for Black Studio TinyMCE Widget and go from there. https://wordpress.org/plugins/black-studio-tinymce-widget/
2 – Pretty Link Lite
If you’re an Affiliate Marketer like me, you will know all about this essential Worpdress plugin. Pretty Link Lite cloaks your ugly link by removing the original link URL to a link that looks clean and professional. Take something like this https://99c3ckun2doy2r3xo57513ry2f.hop.clickbank.net/ – now that’s pretty ugly! But with a couple of clicks and a bit of text inside the Pretty Link dashboard, that link can look like this https://moralblogger.com/KWResearcher – Much better! The first link is just a bunch of letters and numbers and the visitor has no idea where it might lead, but with the new Pretty Link, they can see your website and the product.
There is a Pro version, but I’ve never gone on to buy it…the Lite version does all I need it to do. Again, you can download it by clicking the image above to go to the WordPress Plugin page for Pretty Link Lite, or click the link here for the same result https://wordpress.org/plugins/pretty-link/ or search for it on your plugins dashboard as with all the 5 essential WordPress plugins I mention here.
3 – All In One Favicon
If you don’t know what a Favicon is then just look at the tab bar in your browser above. You should see a tiny image of me…that’s a Favicon. (note to self: UPDATE PIC!!) I think it gives your websites a little bit more character and it’s really easy to do. The All In One Favicon plugin lets you upload images, even moving .gif ones, and places them in the tab for you. The sizes can vary, but typically I use a 16px x 16px image which you can either make inside the Plugin or import one from your computer or URL. Favicons can be any shapes and colours and even ugly mugs like mine!
A lot of new themes, especially premium themes, include this favicon utility, but if they don’t, this is the perfect answer to that problem. Also note that some favicon plugins haven’t been updated for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.
Again, if you want the look at any of my 5 essential WordPress plugins, click the image above or the link here or simply search for them in your WordPress plugin dashboard.
4 – WP Copy Protect
Have you ever seen you hard work appear on someone else’s website, but didn’t get the credit? There are thousands of Copy & Paste scoundrels out there who will happily steal your content and whack it up on their website without even an inch of guilt. This could devalue your content and may be ignored if picked up by Google, which is not nice having spent many hours of writing and research…not only that, the thing that really grinds the gears is that they have stolen your hard work and enterprise! Evil!
The WP Copy Protect plugin is a certain entry into my 5 essential Worpress plugins list. A simple click of a button protects your content from copy and paste merchants. Go ahead and try it on this page. Highlight an area of text, right click and….nothing!
A very helpful addition to my plugin list. https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-copy-protect/
5 – Wordfence Security
Securing your website from hackers is essential these days, but it can prove expensive. This fantastic wordpress plugin is free and I’m amazed as to why they don’t charge for it! There is a pro version available but the one featured here costs nothing and does a tremendous job of keeping your WP site free of nasty bots and hackers. There are several features built in that eliminate a possible break-and-entry from some unscrupulous cyberidiots.
It alerts you when your blog or website has had an attempted hack, but not before shutting them out with a ‘too many log-in attempts‘ notice. Wordfence will then give you the area where the hack came from as well as a bunch of other details. It will email you even when you, yourself, has logged in and keeps you up to date when your installed plugins need to be updated Also, importantly, the plugin gives you a heads-up when new security threats are out and about on the Internet.
A great plugin that everyone who’s serious about keeping their content and WordPress sites safe. https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/
More Essential WordPress Plugins
These are just 5 essential Worpress plugins I use on every website or blog I produce. There are others such as Google XML Sitemaps, Contact Page, All in One SEO by Yoast, WP Super Cache as well as paid for plugins such as Elementor Pro (Page Builder) and GeneratePress (Theme) but I thought I would point out some of the under-the-radar essential WordPress plugins that you may not of heard of or could find a use for.
Of course these are only personal preferences and perhaps you use something entirely different, if so, leave a comment below…there are so many WordPress plugins out there that it can become a bit overwhelming. So if you have a favourite, let me know…I may need it!
To find the latest and featured WordPress plugins available, go the the official WordPress website where you can also find their latest themes. Not sure how to install WordPress plugins? Go here to see just how simple it is.