7 Of Our favourite WordPress Plugins
There are (at the time of writing this) 58,864 plugins available for WordPress.
In many cases we prefer to custom develop plugins and functionality for WordPress, but there are a few plugins which are so well built, and do what they do so well, that it would be pointless to create our own. It would be like reinventing the wheel.
The sheer number of available plugins can seem overwhelming, and depending on what features you require and what your website is designed to achieve, will dictate which you might need.
Then you have to ensure you are using supported and trusted plugins that receive regular updates to maintain their security and functionality.
But regardless of your website’s purpose, there are some plugins that perform key roles that nearly every WordPress website should be making use of.
Those roles are:
There are multiple plugins to choose from for each of these roles, but in this post, I’m going to talk about the ones we use on the majority of websites we develop. I’ll discuss what they do in more detail, and why we favour them in most cases.
If you’ve ever had a WordPress site, then you’ve probably heard of Yoast.
Yoast is an SEO plugin for WordPress, and is the most popular one out there.
This is for good reason. It is easy to use, integrates with WordPress, and many additional plugins very well, and makes light work of many on-page optimisation tasks.
Some of the key features include:
Yoast is free, but they do offer a premium ad free version, with a few additional features:
As you can see, you get a lot of great features, even with the free version. The plugin makes it easy for even those without a great deal of SEO experience to optimise their WordPress website.
Image optimisation and compression is a must. Now even more than ever, with page load speeds becoming even more of an important ranking factor, on top of slow page speeds being a major usability issue.
A 2018 Google study found that 53% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Slow loading times can also hurt your organic search performance. In 2018, Google rolled out an algorithm update to use speed as a ranking factor, which they are building on with the introduction of Core Web Vitals..
One of the biggest page load speed killers is big and uncompressed images.
Shortpixel can automatically compress your uploaded images up to 90%. The image size is smaller without any obvious loss in quality, which means they load far quicker.
It supports numerous image file formats, including jpg, Png, gif, pdf and WebP.
It is free for up to 100 images a month, or you can pay for a premium version if you need more images compressed and priority support.
It offers 3 compression options to suit your needs and preference, which denote the level of compression – Lossy, Glossy and Lossless.
There are other image compression plugins available, but we tend to use Shortpixel, as it is the most cost effective, without compromising quality.
We all know how important backups are. Hackings, user error, or your server dying can mean disaster for your website. In turn, this can lead to lost revenue or leads, which can be crippling for a digital critical business.
Updraft is a plugin that manages your website backups, allowing you to automate and schedule them at a frequency that suits you. It also allows you to restore those files if the need arises, with ease.
It is a highly regarded plugin with over 3 million users, including many large brands.
The free version is really good, but they do have a premium version with extra features, including:
We love Updraft for its ease of use, and the automation of a vital task.
We’ve talked before about caching and how important it can be for performance.
WP Rocket is a caching plugin, which can greatly improve site speed and performance. It automatically applies a great deal of performance best practice.
Even better, no coding skills are required, so it’s great for those with no in-house development team. It’s easy to use and they have great support available.
We really rate WP Rocket for its ease of use, and the impressive level of performance optimisation that it can achieve right out of the box.
One thing that WordPress won’t do, is allow you to clone posts and pages. So if you want to, you’ll need a plugin. There are a few options, but we like Yoast’s offering.
It’s free and you can clone a page with one simple click.
It has a variety of potential uses which will save you lots of time:
It’s a simple thing, but it can make life a lot easier.
If you have multiple users making changes on your site, Stream can be invaluable. It can monitor and log all changes made on your site, including through WooCommerce, Yoast, Gravity Forms, Advanced Custom Fields, and so on.
It will tell you what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them.
You can configure email alerts and Slack notifications, among others, to let you know when certain changes have been made, or something has gone awry.
We love Stream for the visibility it gives site managers.
A great little workhorse plugin, Redirection makes simple work of managing and implementing your redirects, and monitoring for 404’s.
Whether adding in single 301’s, or bulk uploading hundreds, Redirection is simple and easy to use, and gives you easy access to pause or delete redirects if you need to update them.
Redirection offers bulk import/export, Apache and Nginx support, Regex compatible, extensive logs and much more. It’s a definite must for your SEO team.
We really appreciate how simple this tool makes the task of redirect management for SEOs.
These are 7 of our favourite plugins, but of course there are many more we use, and those we custom build for our clients’ websites. If you need custom functionality or a custom integration for your WordPress website, get in touch. We love creating bespoke solutions to solve unique challenges.
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