Supercharge your WordPress website with a little help from these great plugins.
As the content management system underpinning a significant percentage of the world’s websites and ecommerce platforms, WordPress needs no introduction. However, the basic site-building service represents just one part of this hugely powerful resource. The ability to create dedicated plugins has transformed WordPress into an endlessly flexible website construction and development tool, with plugins that deliver everything from jigsaw puzzles to random Darth Vader quotes.
Some plugins are clearly more useful than others; a handful deserve universal recognition for the ingenuity of their coding and the functionality they provide to blogs, eCommerce platforms and everything in between. From the available stockpile of over 42,000 individual programs, here are five WordPress plugins every site could benefit from deploying:
- W3 Total Cache. In an age of short attention spans and search engine rankings that take page loading times into account, caching content is crucial to ensuring websites load as rapidly as possible. W3 Total Cache is widely admired for its content delivery network support, using GZIP compression and file minification. It can be extensively customized to suit individual sites, with a one-click option for beginners.
- Wordfence Security. Given the volume of threats orbiting cyberspace, website protection is clearly of paramount importance. Wordfence is a free security plugin with a paid premium version, providing enterprise-grade resistance by filtering live traffic and adjusting firewall behaviour to identify malicious code, backdoor attacks, MySQL injections and more. Many companies who suffer a hacked website go out of business soon afterwards; even if the brand survives, the damage caused to customer trust and search engine rankings can be impossible to repair.
- WPtouch Mobile Plugin. With the majority of internet traffic now being channelled through mobile devices, people tend to view websites away from the desktop platforms they were designed on (and probably optimised for). WPtouch can turn any WordPress theme into a mobile-friendly layout in a few clicks, without altering the source code or URL. That’s particularly significant now mobile compatibility is a key criteria in determining which sites are ranked highest in search engine results.
- Yoast SEO. Although WordPress is SEO-friendly by design, there are good reasons why Yoast has become one of the most popular plugins ever created. It suggests ways content can be improved, provides straightforward help-driven guidance on how to use meta tags, and protects against content-thieving scraper websites. A premium version of Yoast incorporates everything from social previews to a redirect manager, though most small businesses will be quite content with the free package.
- SEMrush. A competitor to the acclaimed Google Analytics, SEMrush is a keyword research tool that examines how competitor sites perform in search engine results. Data is broken down geographically and over time, which enables companies to learn from rivals’ mistakes and identify areas to focus on (like back links or valuable keywords). SEO remains pivotal to achieving optimal ranking results, while SEMrush is beneficial to anyone wanting to boost their own website’s performance. There are also free webinars and tutorials to help new users understand its full potential.
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