One of the many reasons why WordPress is Firefly’s content management system (CMS) of choice is because it is flexible and adaptable. Part of this flexibility is the wide array of plugins that can be added to a WordPress site. Think of these plugins as accessories to your website that provide additional capabilities and customizations to help your site suit your nonprofit’s needs perfectly. Choosing which plugins are best for your organization depends on your goals and audiences, but with thousands to choose from it can be hard to know where to start. With that in mind, we’ve selected a few of our favorite plugins that we recommend to clients, and some of which we use ourselves.
If you want your organization’s site and content to show up in internet searches, you’ll need to follow best practices for search engine optimization (SEO). One of the many steps in that process is to make sure each page of your site has a search-friendly description. The Yoast SEO plugin makes this simple and requires no knowledge of HTML. You just type your desired text into a box and Yoast tells the search engine to use what you’ve written, instead of the search engine deciding what text to pull from the content on the page. Yoast also offers the ability to write custom text and titles for social media platforms and gives you the option to upload properly sized photos that will automatically appear on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. when your link is shared.
Who hasn’t reached peak levels of frustration when trying to remember website administrator user names and passwords? KEYY simplifies this process for users who have access to a website’s back end. After installing the KEYY plugin on your site, users download the app on their phones. Instead of requiring a user name and password, KEYY shows a series of animated lines, similar to a QR code. A simple scan of the lines with the phone app completes the log in process. KEYY also helps with website security because it protects your site against those trying to log in using brute force – a technique in which hackers try a variety of user names and passwords until they hit on the right combination.
Comments on blog posts and other resources on your nonprofit’s website allow people in your community to give you feedback and interact with each other. But if you provide the option to leave comments, you’ve probably had to manually delete spam comments left by bots. The wpDiscuz plugin filters spam comments so you’re left only with those posted by real people. Additionally, this plugin provides the option for people to log into your site via their social media profiles, so they don’t have to create a new account to join the conversation.
The more people who see your website, the more supporters you’re likely to bring in. Social media is an important tool that allows your existing community to broadcast your work, content, and resources. AddThis is a plugin that makes social sharing easy by adding convenient buttons on the side of each page. All someone has to do is click the icon for the platform they prefer and AddThis opens a new tab or pop-up window with the social media content populated and ready to be shared. A print button also makes it simple for someone to print your content and take it on the go. With your AddThis account you can also track how many times, and via which platforms, an individual page has been shared.
Load times for a website are critical. If your site takes too long to load, people are more likely to give up and go elsewhere for information. A major contributor to slow sites are large images that take extra seconds to load. That’s why it’s important to use smaller file sizes, also known as optimized images. WP Smush is a plugin that automatically optimizes images to allow for faster load times. This will help you avoid web page abandonment and it is a boost for SEO because search engines prioritize sites that load faster.
The possibilities are nearly endless as far as WordPress plugins go. This list is a great place to start, but you’re not limited to these. The right plugins for your organization should be based on the goals you’ve set, the data you need, and the capabilities of your team. If you’re looking to build a new website, or improve your current one, consider how plugins can take you to the next level.