There are so many amazing plugins available for WordPress that selecting just six essential plugins for every WordPress website was actually quite difficult, but the six plugins we picked below really enhance the system and elevate it from being a good CMS to one of the best – if not the best – content management system around.
Along with our very own Scoop CMS, WordPress is one of the best CMS platforms around from an SEO perspective. However, there are some inherent technical issues with the system that could prevent your site from reaching its full ranking potential – the main issue being the plethora of duplicate content that WordPress automatically generates.
The Yoast SEO plugin allows you to decide which pages should be excluded from a search engine’s index, which gives you the ability to completely eradicate the duplicate content issue. The plugin also includes a lot of extra functionality that can really boost your SEO, such as dynamic breadcrumbs, an XML sitemap and social media integration. In short, if you have a WordPress website, you need Yoast SEO.
Page speed became a ranking factor way back in April 2010, and the speed at which your website loads is set to become even more important with the announcement that Google is considering updating its mobile friendly ranking algorithm to include mobile page speed.
WordPress, like any database-driven CMS, has to constantly retrieve information from its database whenever it is requested. On busy sites this can have a dramatic effect on page load times and your search engine rankings. Enter W3 Total Cache, an extremely powerful plugin that caches and minifies pages and files to reduce the time it takes for your visitors to get the information they need.
The popularity of responsive frameworks such as Bootstrap and Foundation have made building a responsive website a relatively simple task. However, there’s a difference between having a responsive website and having a truly responsive website, and the AMP plugin for WordPress aims to make your content easier and quicker for mobile users to access than ever before.
The plugin automatically creates Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) from your existing content (which can be accessed by adding “/amp/” to the end of your URLs. AMP content is simply a stripped-down version of your web pages, with the emphasis on delivering content to mobile users as quickly as possible. And with Google pushing AMP so strongly, installing the plugin is almost a no-brainer.
Note: while installing the AMP plugin is easy, customising your AMP pages requires some technical knowledge as you’ll need to edit the functions.php file in WordPress. If you would like one of our talent web developers to carry out the work for you, contact us for a free quote.
Here at Reflect we love open source software. Many open source projects are constantly evolving in real time as developers modify and improve the source code; most are extremely flexible and can be extended with plugins and extensions; and the huge amount of information available online means even less technical users can often fix bugs and make improvements themselves.
However, although having an open source system such as WordPress means there are many people identifying bugs and fixing them, it also means that malicious users can potentially exploit those same vulnerabilities before they are patched. Because of that, installing a security plugin is strongly recommended. And of all the quality security plugins available, we think Wordfence is the best.
Wordfence includes a huge range of features to help you keep your WordPress installation secure, and we can’t recommend it highly enough. From virus scanning and plugin updates to IP blocking and a built-in firewall, Wordfence does it all. If you have a WordPress website, you need to install Wordfence.
Redirection is a WordPress plugin that makes it ridiculously easy to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. The Redirection plugin is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
Last but not least is BackupBuddy, the only paid-for plugin on our list. Although BackupBuddy isn’t free, its powerful features and easy-to-use interface make the plugin worth every penny. It makes backing up your WordPress website ridiculously easy and includes a range of features that allow you to control how and when your site is backed up.
BackupBuddy also includes a feature to move your entire site to a different server with the click of a button, and this functionality alone makes it worth the price of admission in our opinion.
So there you have it: the six WordPress plugins just about every WordPress website needs. If there are any other WordPress plugins you can’t do without, please do let us know in the comments below.