It is rare to find a WordPress website that doesn’t utilise plugins in some shape or form. They can be an essential tool in providing functionality in your unique business setup.
From eCommerce to Events, Subscriptions, Directories, blogs, marketing – the choice of WordPress plugins is vast.
As frequent users of WordPress, there are specific plugins we’ll often reach for when building business websites for clients, so we are sharing 5 plugins we find most useful – you might find them a great addition to your arsenal!
Ensuring websites are optimised for web performance and speed is such a hot topic right now, and rightly so.
Users are more likely to abandon a website after 3 seconds, so ensuring your website loads fast is imperative to retaining potential customers.
Smush helps you optimise your images – this happens when they are uploaded to your WordPress website, either via the Media Library or when you’re in the middle of writing a Post/page.
It can ensure images are not bigger than is required for the website and can load images lazily for performance.
All websites require Search Engine Optimisation whether they are on WordPress or not, but using this plugin can greatly improve your on-site SEO.
It scans the content on any given page and gives you tips on how to improve the content to better rank in search engines.
If you input a keyword, it will provide feedback and produce a traffic light system, so you can quickly identify pages that require attention and quickly and easily make improvements.
Google Tag Manager (duracelltomi)
Keeping track of how users are interacting on your website can be key to producing your Digital Marketing strategies and identify any issues early that users may experience.
Creating a Google Analytics account and Tag Manager is the first step to retrieving that data from your website.
In Tag Manager, you can also attach other scripts such as a Facebook Pixel. Adding this plugin to your website will enable the connection between your website and Google is setup correctly, and maintained, without the need of a Web Developer.
Oftentimes when creating a new website with new content, we need to ensure that old content redirects users to the new content.
Think of it as moving house and having your post redirected to your new address.
This plugin is also useful on existing websites – if you create a page a permalink (website address URL) is automatically created in WordPress for you, which is great.
However, if you decide to go back in and change the page title and/or the permalink, you want to ensure you don’t lose any user traffic from the original link – especially if other websites are linking to that page.
The redirection will capture these changes automatically for you, on-the-fly, without you having to think about it.
One aspect of owning a WordPress website is ensuring it is regularly backed up. But we are all busy running our businesses. We can’t always remember to do it!
This is where UpdraftPlus comes in. You set it once and it’ll continuously backup your website to a location you desire and the frequency.
For example, you can choose to backup only the database, or specific folders (e.g. media library), or everything, to somewhere else in the Cloud.
You can choose from services such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and more.
We would always recommend backing up elsewhere because if you save it in the same hosted location as your website, and you encounter issues, you can’t retrieve the backup.
Choosing the right plugin for the task can be challenging when there are so many options available in the WordPress directory.
Besides the plugins we’ve already mentioned, some tips you can use when looking for a plugin we’d suggest are;
- When was the plugin last updated?
- Is it compatible with your version of WordPress
- Is it from a reputable developer – do they have good ratings, a website, support system/tickets where you can get help?
Setting up a test website or clone of your business website is useful when testing out plugins, so they don’t affect the Live experience for your users.
If you’d need assistance with setting up a cloned website for testing plugins, or have questions about any particular plugins, do get in touch.
Caroline brings over 15 years as a Designer and Developer; featured in .NET magazine, the only woman in the UK accredited for Google Mobile Sites. A business mentor with Enterprise Nation, STEM Ambassador and Google Women Techmaker Ambassador Previous client projects include Blackberry, FIAT, Clark Shoes and Sky.