Five Free Plugins Every WordPress Website Should Have
One of the top reasons to be using the WordPress platform for your website is their collection of plugins. Most of the best plugins for your website actually come with a free version as well; some only have a free version and others have both a free and paid version. If you’re just getting started, the 55,000+ plugins might seem overwhelming but here are five of the plugins that I think every website should install.
Most people, if you ask them what’s important on their website after their launch, they will tell you that the SEO they do and the rankings of their website are most important. You want to make sure that you have the best tools to help you out with your SEO. The best plugin for SEO has to be Yoast SEO. You can create XML Sitemaps which is basically what allows Google and other search engines to navigate your website. It also reads your content while you’re typing it and tells you what improvements you can make to make sure that your content is SEO optimized. The best thing about this plugin is the ability to preview and make changes to the snippet that will appear on the search engine’s results for your pages. This is good because you can see what searchers will see and you can change up the snippet to make it more enticing to click on. It also comes with a lot more features like adding meta tags and integrating with Google Search Console to help fix any errors.
The next plugin is Pretty Links which will help you out with your link organization. If you’re going to have affiliate links or links to external websites sprinkled throughout your website, Pretty Links is the plugin to use. When you get these links to other websites, you may get some long URLs. What this plugin does is allows you to change that URL into a URL with your website address. For example, if you are linking to “example.com/affiliate-links-for-you-because-its-good”, it can become “technasite.com/affiliate-2” where you will be able to customise the link.This makes your links look good which means that they are more likely to get clicked on. This also means they’ll be better to send in emails and you can make them shorter to fit in things like tweets.
One of the other reasons I love this plugin is the tracking feature. Every link you create will be tracked and you will know the number of clicks the link gets. This is useful if you advertise products using text links as you can track the individual performance of the links. There is a reporting section in the plugin and you can filter it to see all-time or the last seven days or any time period you prefer. You can also see the location for where the clicks are coming from.
You probably already know this but once you are running a website, you’re more likely to be focused on preventing certain internet “attacks”. Wordfence security helps out more than two million sites by having a firewall and malware scanner. There isn’t much to set up with this app as you basically just install and activate it and it just runs in the background. Lots of people stand by it and this is just one of those cases where you’d rather be safe than sorry.
When it comes to your website’s speed, one of the most demanding things on the processing power are the images on your site. They take up so much more bandwidth than the text on the page that one picture usually takes longer than load than all your text. A great way to counteract this is by installing an image compression and optimization plugin like Smush. Smush uses lossless compression, which basically means they shrink your file size to the point where you don’t lose quality in the picture. They shrink it to make the file size smaller for your site. For example, if you upload an image that is 20MB, the plugin might be able to reduce the size of it to 16MB to save you that bandwidth without losing quality, it doesn’t make sense not to use it right? Once you activate Smush, it will be optimizing your images that you upload from then onwards but they also have options to go back and optimize the images that are already on your website which is really helpful.
Insert Headers and Footers
Most of wants to keep track of data that will benefit our businesses. We want to have the power to have analytics by our side when we need it. That’s why things like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels are available to us. The thing is that some WordPress themes make it difficult to find a place to put these lines of code. You may be a “techy” who can do things like this yourself. However, if you are not, that’s where the Insert Headers and Footers plugin comes in.
This is just a simple plugin that you can activate and then there will be an option on the left-hand side to open it. It then has options to input code for your header, body, and footer which is exactly what we need for things like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and Facebook Pixels. This would also be the spot where you put in things like special fonts to use on your website or any kind of ad code. Some paid themes have features like this coded in so you can do this without the plugin but most free ones don’t have this option.
No two websites online are the exact same but most WordPress websites you can find have similar plugins. Even if websites don’t have these exact plugins installed, they have ones that have the same functions and you should too. Do you have any of these plugins on your website? Also if you have any questions, leave us a comment below and we would be happy to help you out.