WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS) for websites offers a wealth of add-ons, known as plugins. Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of WordPress and provide a better experience for your visitors.
If you have ever looked at the Add Plugins menu within your WordPress admin panel, you might be caught off guard by the sheer number available. In this post, I will cover my five personal favorite plugins that Webolutions uses for nearly every client site.
I’ll start off by saying that “I know — this plugin is on everybody’s list.” The short answer is “Yes — because it is awesome.” Yoast has been around for years and provides top-shelf SEO enhancements including: automatic XML sitemap creation, easy title, meta description changes and content analysis.
Not all of us can be photography nerds and wrap our minds around the crazy world of dimensions, file size and image compression. Luckily, there are a number of WordPress plugins that allow users to upload images to their site that won’t take minutes to load.
Imagify does this by intercepting images that are uploaded to your media gallery and resizes and compresses them automagically. For example, I could upload a 9MB JPG image that is 5616px by 5616px, and Imagify compresses the image to 600KB with dimensions of 2048px by 2048px. Results may vary, but overall image compression can benefit for your site-load speed, thus making users and search engines happy. Imagify is free for 25MB (about 250 images) of uploads per month, as of this writing.
Redirection is a simple plugin, but it’s super handy. It allows you to create search-engine friendly redirections for users and bots that visit your site. For example, if you build a new site and your URL structure changes, you will want to set up redirections for every page that changes. By doing this, users navigate to the correct page — not a 404). Speaking of 404s and broken links: Redirection includes a log of 404 pages that you can review and redirect.
This plugin lists a multitude of activity — from user logins to 404s, password changes, database updates, page creation, plugin updates, theme changes and more. (Seriously it’s a lot of stuff!)
Personally, I use it mostly to see what changes are happening to the database when something is updated — but I’m weird like that.
UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin is ideal for our clients who use professional WordPress hosting solution that includes daily and on-demand backups. With that being said, this plugin rocks!
There are many services available for storing your backups (Amazon S3 is my go-to). With this plugin, you can create re-occurring backup jobs, keep fantastic logs and — my personal favorite — execute smart backup prompts. For example, before updating a WordPress plugin, there is an option to create a backup of the database and plugins folder prior to the update. That way if something goes awry, you can easily roll your site to the previous update to before the plugin files and database were changed.
That’s my short list. There are tons of other great plugins out there for almost every need. When it comes to finding a quality plugin, read the reviews and check how often they update their code. Regardless of which plugin you use, always back up your site files and database before adding a plugin.
Cover Photo: Flickr User Adriano Gasparri
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