Essential WordPress Plugins
When it comes to quality, not all plugins are the same – and when it comes to WordPress, there are literally tens of thousands to choose from.
WordPress offers a great foundation, but in order to stay competitive, there are a least a few bases that you need to cover with the help of plugins.
So let’s get down to the bare bones. These are three main points that every new site should be running a plugin for.
1. Search Engine Optimisation – Yoast SEO
WP is known for being a fantastically flexible platform. But the thing that WordPress isn’t great at it native SEO support, which means that an SEO Optimisation Plugin is a smart idea when it comes to simplifying the process of SEO and giving a new site a competitive edge.
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins available for WP for a reason. It comes loaded with features, and is hands-down the most comprehensive WordPress SEO Plugin available.
Yoast’s standard features allow users to access SEO scores, sitemaps, and even analyze a site’s readability to ensure that more people will check out the site and stay there for longer. It also features an incredibly handy and powerful redirect tool.
2. Image Compression and Optimisation – WPMU Smush
On average, images take up a whopping 65% percent of a page’s size. This means that having a good image compression and optimization plugin is an easy way to dramatically increase the running speed of any WordPress page.
WPMU Smush is a totally free image optimization tool that will effectively reduce the file size of all PNG, JPG and GIF files.
Other handy features include image resizing, lossless compression and a nifty bulk optimization tool.
On the internet, security is always an issue, and every new WordPress site should have an extra security plugin installed. While WordPress does have some basic security measures in place, keep in mind that it is still an open source platform and that new or small WP sites are especially vulnerable to hackers.
This means that it is always prudent to invest some extra security measures into any new site to ensure that your valuable investment is kept safe and sound.
WPMU Defender is one of the best WP security plugins available. It allows users to run regular scans and even gives safety suggestions, all done through a beautiful and intuitive interface.
The main issue is that it is a lot of the features only available to holders of a WPMUDev premium membership. If you just want to purchase the pro version of this product on its own, you are out of luck.
Sucuri is a highly reputable plugin that offers one the best web application firewalls available. Even better, Sucuri runs the firewall through their site, not yours, so it will actually improve your performance to run the plugin.
The downside is that this plugin is really only suitable to users who already have a strong understanding of file systems. Most small and medium-sized business owners do not have the budget to hire a developer or the time to learn about the ins and outs of a file system security infrastructure. In addition, the premium firewall security will have to be paid for and it comes at a pretty hefty price tag.
Wordfence is one of WordPress’s most popular security plugins because it offers the best range of features. It is easy to use, open source, provides firewall protection, and allows users to protect multiple sites with one plugin.
One of the biggest downsides is the extra bandwidth will slow down your site. In addition, it detects leaks – but doesn’t fix them. While they do offer extensive documentation to help users fix issues themselves, do expect a learning curve. For those looking for out of the box functionality, this may not be the best option.
The Plugins Conundrum
Are you struggling to implement some of these security plugins? What about your SEO plugins – is it all making sense to you?
The steep learning curve with plugins poses a challenge for most small and medium-sized business owners. Often there is not enough available cash to hire a full-time developer, nor the time to learn how to optimize powerful plugins on your own; site owners often wind up in limbo, getting some plugins up and running but unable actually optimizing them. This is a plugin conundrum that I see all the time – and it can be real time and energy suck.
If this describes your situation, then we can help! At Climbing Trees, we offer a full suite of digital marketing services – from SEO to paid search and web design – to help your business perform better on the web. We know how to optimize plugins in these crucial areas of site performance and align them with performance goals to strengthen your online presence.
Start with a free website analysis to see what areas of your site are lacking and learn what type of marketing strategies (including plugins!) we recommend to help you perform better.