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If you caught our blog last week, you’ll remember that using too many WordPress plugins can hurt your website. Because of this, we want to quickly show you some great options to consider that improve your site’s performance and maximise your efforts. Rather than rummage through reviews and screening different options, save time by checking out 8 of the best WordPress plugins that’ll supercharge your website.
These tools are widely considered to be at the forefront of plugin technology:
1. Yoast SEO
SEO as a process is one of the most difficult to manage without extensive experience in the digital realm. In this regard, WordPress developers have no bigger friend than this fantastic plugin by Yoast. It has received over three million downloads, and we use it regularly ourselves. We consider it to be one of the best WordPress plugins out there.
There isn’t a more dynamic tool that offers such simple solutions to maximise your SEO. This comprehensive system offers a diverse range of functions including:
- SEO title and meta description editing on per individual posting.
- Title and meta description support for taxonomies.
- Google search result snippet previews.
- Focus keyword testing.
- Meta Robots configuration.
- Meta tag management.
- Improved canonical support, adding canonical to taxonomy archives, single posts and pages and the front page.
- RSS footer / header configuration.
- Permalink clean ups, while still allowing for Google Custom Search.
- Breadcrumbs support, with configurable breadcrumbs titles.
Its utility extends beyond the above but as you can see, it massively empowers creators in their SEO efforts. We can’t recommend this one enough.
2. BulletProof Security
According to the Huffington Post, security breaches are extremely detrimental and the biggest threat to eCommerce websites in 2017. It is more important than ever as intruders become more skilled that you have sufficient protection in place.
BulletProof Security is a great option to consider to protect your online content. For beginner users it offers an easy one-click setup wizard to get you started. From this point, developers can use this plugin to manage some great features like:
- Login security and monitoring.
- Idle session logout.
- DB backup logging.
- Security logging.
- HTTP error logging.
- Frontend and backend maintenance mode.
- UI theme skin changer (3 theme skins).
- Extensive system info.
Trust us, the last thing you want is to lose control of your website or waste time trying to fight away unwanted attention. A pro-active approach to your website security will ensure that this doesn’t happen.
3. W3 Total Cache
For those who don’t know, caching is one of the best ways to improve website performance. It works by storing data temporarily in a cache so loading is faster the next time a user opens the same page. For a site where customers will be jumping around page to page, this is an excellent feature.
Caching plugins will save your posts and pages as static HTML files which users can quickly re-access. This reduces page loading time drastically and greatly enhances user experience. Long term, high site-speed will significantly improve overall SEO.
We recommend W3 Total Cache to manage this handy tool. It’s definitely the most popular option for caching on WordPress websites and won’t disappoint. It’s main features include page, database, object and browser caching.
It also lets you integrate CDN services to reduce page load time, with options to minimise HTTP compression that can save bandwidth up to 80%.
This is a tricky one to be honest. Membership sites work well but plugins can differ greatly relative to the desired outcome of signing up. Creators need to decide how they wish to engage with users, manage them on their site and use a plugin that best fits their needs.
However for most creators and keeping it applicable to the majority of readers, we find generally that MemberPress is the best plugin to consider. It’s without doubt one of the most popular WordPress membership plugins, but is also the easiest to use and the most robust when it comes to features.
As a tool it offers benefits including:
- Simple installation – MemberPress is easy to setup and utilise on your site. Pricing, login, account, and thank you pages can be created automatically, and adding membership plans is also straight forward.
- Member Content Control – Manage what members and non-members can access including posts, pages, categories, tags, files, etc.
- Content Dripping -Release content periodically to members rather than full access instantly. Increase engagement with regular content.
- Integrations –Use other plugins and tools to maximise member experience with diverse integrated functionality.
As we said, of all the plugins we’ll recommend we do advise that you research your own specific needs first when it comes to membership management. However for the majority of users, we reckon that MemberPress will be more than capable of keeping you happy.
Backups can in some cases come as part of a security plugin. We strongly advise though that you have a specific and regular backup setup though to make sure you don’t lose anything valuable – as again last weeks’ blog pointed out many developers regret ignoring at some point.
You know that you can’t afford to lose business or customer data in case of factors beyond your control. An attack on servers, hardware malfunctions and so on will only hurt one group of people – those without a backup.
There’s no sales pitch on this one, just make sure you have one. We’ve found that BackupBuddy is one of the most reliable and easiest ways to secure, backup and restore your content, should anything go wrong.
6. WP Smush
We’ve touched on the importance of images within your website before – it’s absolutely imperative that your content is eye catching and engages customers. However the mismanagement of such will destroy loading speed and overall performance of your site.
Images are the great assets for your posts/pages and should easily grab the users’ attention. Although helpful they do require lots of storage space and slow your website. You can’t ignore the slow site speed if you want users to have an enjoyable experience. Fortunately, you can manage and compress this type of content.
Compress and optimise images without reducing quality using the WP Smush plugin. It optimises all of your image files in JPEG, GIF and PNG formats and saves lots of space. It can do this automatically to everything you upload or manually in the media library.
7. Social Warfare
Social media is one of the newest but biggest platforms by which we can access customers. It has unequivocal outreach potential but it can be hard to both manage and transition people from these mediums to your own content.
Use Social Warfare and make it easy to add eye catching sharing functions to your posts in a variety of locations. You can add share buttons above/below your posts, via shortcodes and even floating icons.
It’s power extends far beyond social media links though. This plugin also offers the ability to gain substantial boosts in social activity. Blogging Wizard reports that users experienced up to a 300% increase in social shares when using this plugin.
Other fantastic features include:
- “Click to tweet” functionality within your content.
- Add custom tweet text for individual posts.
- Display popular posts widget organized by share counts.
- Upload Pinterest specific images and descriptions to your posts.
- Tracks social shares with UTM tracking code (see exactly how much traffic this plugin is sending your way).
- Fully mobile responsive.
If you have ambition when it comes to improving your social media strategy, Social Warfare is a great option to integrate your own content and build your brand.
This plugin makes the list because it’s quite different to everything we’ve discussed so far. Considered “Best WordPress Plugin 2017” by Theme Grill, Jetpack has been developed by the creators of WordPress (Automattic). Interestingly, rather than serve one purpose as most plugins do, this tool offers a diverse range of ways to improve your website.
Jetpack takes care of your site security, website performance, traffic growth, image optimisation, appearance and more. It offers a comprehensive system that constantly works to improve your website performance overall.
Because the developers are themselves, deeply familiar with WordPress, it’s widely trusted and updated constantly. It currently sits at over three million downloads and consistently receives positive reviews.
We want to give you information on different plugins that will operate for specific functions you need, which is why the previous 7 options were selected. However, if you want to generally improve your site and enhance multiple aspects of your site, Jetpack might just be a perfect fit.
So what are the best wordpress plugins that’ll work for you?
There are endless options to consider when it comes to the perfect balance of the best WordPress plugins. Everybody has different experiences and ambitions when it comes to their website, so it’s really important to find a strategy that’s right for you.
Compare prices and functions, read reviews and find a balance. We’re constantly testing new tools and would love to hear about what you’ve tried out.