Top Free WordPress Plugins 2021 + Themes, Optimization & more…

now building a website in wordpress can be pretty overwhelming with over 50 000 available add-ons and plugins on the official wordpress repository add to that the thousands of themes hosting optimization tools and everything else needed to build an effective website and you could easily be forgiven for simply closing your computer and starting a netflix binge now i certainly feel your pain with so many combinations it's easy to get frustrated or have technical issues when your theme doesn't play well with your security plug-in and your optimization tools make your site slower instead of faster now i aim to help alleviate many of those issues with this video on my top tools for fast loading great looking insecure websites these are all tools that i personally use and have tested extensively on various different websites while the majority of the tools here today are totally free there are premium versions available for lots of them should you need more features finally when it comes to using a content delivery network or cdn to optimize your website you will always get better end result when paying for this type of service thankfully the one i recommend will generally only cost you a few pennies or cents a week in most use cases when it comes to wordpress themes there are literally tens of thousands available and you can easily become overwhelmed with the choice my current theme of choice though is the bloxy theme why for two main reasons it's a very well coded and optimized theme in fact my own personal website is currently being built on bloxy and that scores well into the top 90s on google page speed website with a small amount of optimization this is great for improved rankings with google and that is something that we all want secondly it packs a hell of a lot of features into the free version and should have everything you need to build an awesome looking website or online shop with minimal effort and absolutely no coding experience needed now some of the standout features include the fully featured header and footer builder this makes it a perfect choice should you also want to use a free page builder like brizzy or elementor free it also includes a range of great optimization features full global styling provide a consistent look and feel to your website alongside support for custom post types and custom fonts if you need more integration with tools like advanced custom fields then the premium version has you covered now add to that the free extensions on offer for newsletter sign ups reviews cookie consent and much more and you have a great theme to use as the basis for your next wordpress-based website now a couple of honorable mentions go out to the astra theme generate press and cadence all three offer free versions of their themes and all three include varying degrees of features however i don't think they come close to what you can get with bloxy3 now if you want to see a great example of how fully featured bloxy is check out this video on building a full ecommerce website using nothing but free tools many of which are covered in this video next on our list is seo or search engine optimization while there are several great free options out there for me seo press just simply gets the nod why because i like the business model as well as the feature set that it includes in the free version now speaking of the free version of seo press it contains all the main tools you need to help rank your website so tools like titles and meta tags xml sitemaps google business data google analytics and much more if you need any of the premium features you can upgrade to the pro version for only 39 per year and that is for unlimited websites that's a pretty crazy deal and one i've been happily using for myself for the last couple of years now check out this link on screen to get a comparison of all the free and pro features in one simple to use table now a great alternative is ranked math which also offers a pretty compelling free version alongside a premium version should you need the additional features that it offers now forms on a website ranging complexity from simple contact forms up to surveys and all manner of things in between however a good form plug-in can set you back a hefty chunk of change thankfully there's been a couple of four plugins released that contained a large number of features that up until recently were exclusive to those expensive paid plugins step up forminator now only recently stumbled upon formulator and was immediately impressed by what was included in the free version plus it comes from wpmu dev team the team behind some well respected wordpress plugins and add-ons some of which i've covered on this channel previously now there's some incredibly useful features built in including the ability to make your own custom login and signup form for wordpress alongside those features you could also have access to an extensive collection of conditional logic features to customize your forms with relative ease i recently released a tutorial on getting started with formulator covering how to build your own custom login and registration forms and you can check that out in the link in the description below now if you prefer something that integrates directly into the gutenberg editor and also works flawlessly with the likes of elementor you can take a look at jet form builder from croco block this powerful form builder has so many options included it's pretty crazy now the main reason i feel formulated takes the top position here is it is more user friendly and less intimidating for those new to the world of building forms in wordpress but either one of these will open up loads of possibilities and cost you zero investment it's a win-win in my books for sure now whether you're in the page builder camp or camp gutenberg i've got something for both parties so let's start off with the page builders let's kick things off with the current top option elemento now elementor free offers a lot of really useful features and combine this with the bloxy theme to manage your headers and footers and you have a pretty solid combination for building websites yes it's true that page builders will have an impact on your overall page speed but elementor are making strides into better optimization and i suspect that the speed impact will become less significant in the future and the ease of use it offers may be a compromise that you're happy to make now all the main features are included in elementor free so widgets like the text widget images separators google maps accordions etc all included and should be more than enough for all but the most complex of websites if you need more you can step up to the elementor pro and take advantage of over 90 widgets along with a pop-up builder built-in forms and much much more if you want to learn more about how to use elementor check out my in-depth tutorial that will take you from newton ninja in a few hours you can check that out here now less of an honorable mention and more of an alternative is brizzy free another great page builder for wordpress that offers the majority of the features that elementor free offers with some notable additions you have access to the templates feature in brizzyfree so you can easily build your own single and archive templates now much like elemento if you want to access some of the more advanced features like dynamic data etc then you'll need to upgrade to the pro however at the time of this video there's still access to the lifetime deal as opposed to elementor pro which has never run a lifetime deal so if you're paying annually for that should you need the pro version now if you want to see a comparison of the free versus pro features in brizzy you can use the link that's on screen right now to check that out now if you're not a fan of page builders or you just want to keep your new site as lean as possible then you may prefer to use gutenberg and take advantage of some of the great free block add-ons you can use now my current preference for free gutenberg add-ons is stackable again there's a great premium version available but i've used the free version on several websites with great success you get an awful lot of core features in the free version including the likes of global styling and containers alongside post widget video pop-up and many more really useful tools if you want to see the type of designs you can create you can take a look at this video that i released on building a full ecommerce website using only free tools in fact it's the same tutorial i mentioned right back at the beginning of this video because it contains so many useful and free tools now if you want even more great free choices i'd highly recommend taking a look at cadence blocks this free gutenberg blog add-on has lots of very similar core features to those funny stackable so things like managing global colors font style as well as containers columns and much more now if that isn't enough i'd also suggest generate blocks free and take that for spin well at first it may seem like it doesn't have a lot of features it is a solid add-on for gutenberg and it's from the same talent that brought you generate press wordpress theme between those three options you should have more than enough to create amazing looking fast loaded and responsive designs with relative ease [Music] now once you've built your website using the tools i've included here you're going to want to add a level of security to help protect your website from dodgy hackers try to get in and cause all manner of problems for this i'd suggest taking a look at itheme security now i've been using item security for many years across lots of websites and have generally found it to be relatively straightforward to install and configure even if you're new to setting up wordpress security it comes with a straightforward wizard to check your website and set up the basics to help avoid common security issues and once you've done that you can dig deeper and tweak your security even further to tailor make your perfect setup now before you go ahead and start messing around with item security i'd advise you to take a full backup of your website in case you make a mistake and accidentally lock yourself out now again a tool i've been using for years and one that has always worked really well in my experience is wp vivid backup well i have the pro version that comes with some incredibly useful additional features like automated backups backup before updates and several other super useful features i do still highly recommend the free version it packs a heck of a lot in for no cost whatsoever now while some of those more automated processes are not included in the free version it is a simple one-click backup process on-site or off-site backups easy site migration and way more this should provide enough features to help you feel safe in the knowledge that you can make a backup at any time with minimal effort if you want to learn more you can take a look at this video released showing you how to back up your website if you want to see if the pro version is for you well you can check out this video where i show you how to backup and migrate your site in a matter of minutes now if you're looking for an alternative to handle site migration i suggest taking a look at duplicator another great free alternative that makes moving your site from one server to another relatively painless if you want to see how it works you can check out this video that i released covering that very topic now by this point you should have the main tools to build your website run backups migrate your website and optimize your seo efforts so what's left well how about optimization now for most sites there are two forms of optimization the first is on-site optimization so optimizing and minifying your css and javascript code to reduce load times the second is to use a cdn or content delivery network for more global based traffic now i know there are many more steps to optimizing your website but it's always best to do things like image optimization before you upload files to your server so we'll consider that step as a given if you want some great free tools then check out tiny png tiny jpeg and also the free option in short pixel now my main choice for on-site optimization for free would be auto optimize this free plugin has some great tools and is relatively easy to use and can certainly help get you even better load times and scores on the likes of google pagespeed but do remember though it's not a good idea to rely on tools like auto optimize it's better to spend the time building and testing your website during the build phase itself to make sure it's fully optimized so use tools like these covered here and you'll be off to a great start but why do i recommend auto optimize well apart from it being free it's also a relatively lightweight and fairly simple plug-in to set up if you'd like to see a comparison between some of the top free and paid options to help speed up your website you can take a look at this comparison video once you've finished watching this now you can quickly and easily manage minification settings lazy load images but be sure not to set this in both your caching plugin and your theme or you may end up with some very strange results you can also do things like manage how google fonts are handled on your website and much more now i briefly mentioned the use of cdns or content delivery networks in the last part but let's talk about them in a little bit more detail right now first if you're new to the term cdn it is a relatively simple concept when you build a website your site is located on a server supplied by your hosting company and that server is located somewhere in the world so say for example in my case is located in london that means that when someone is in the uk and visiting my site all the files on my host servers are relatively close to the viewer and should only take milliseconds to be delivered that leads to an awesome experience from a uk-based visitor however let's say i also have a visitor from the u.s that means that when they visit my uk hosted website they have to wait longer as the files have further to travel from the uk server to the us visitor that means the load time is longer as the files have farther to travel now when you use a cdn like bunnycdn or cloudflare copies of your website files are located on multiple servers around the world that's fair to say that a good cdn is going to have at least one server based in the us now when my us visitor accesses my page they're going to get a copied version of my website files stored on the cdn servers in the us and they'll have a faster experience that in a nutshell is what a cdn does now to break the tradition in this list i'm actually going to recommend going with a paid solution in this instance i'd highly recommend bunnycdn but why bunnycdn because they're fast reliable and above all generally cost several pennies or cents a month it's dirt cheap reliable and worth every penny when you want to get a great experience for your site visitors no matter where they're located in the world now if you can't afford to shout out for bunnycdn though you can take a look at using cloudflay now cloudflare offers a free tier and it comes with a lot of really useful features the one downside to using cloudflare though is that you will need to change the name servers on your domain to those supplied by cloudflare now this generally isn't a big deal for many users but may be a deal breaker for others so personally i suggest comparing both services to see which suits your needs better if you're not too sure try cloudflare first if you're happy with the results stick with it if not then take bunnycdn for a spin i've had great results using both services you now have all the tools you need to be able to build a great looking fast loading and well optimized wordpress website without having to spend a single penny well unless you opted for bunnycdn over cloudflare that is if you do well i think it's money well spent for sure now if you'd like to see me build a complete website using the tools outlined in this video let me know in the comment section and if enough people are interested i'll do a tutorial covering the process now as always if you found value in this video please give it a thumbs up if not though well feel free to hit the thumbs down button twice as that seems to work pretty well too my name is paul c this is wp tets until next time take care

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