9 x Essential WordPress Plugins Built For Speed + Security
From the Desk of David O’Toole / copywriter
One of the powerful built-in set of tools you can use with WordPress on your Blog are called ‘Plugins’. Plugins give you total customizing control over your site. What it looks like, how it performs.
Using the essential plugins from this list below will help you to get your site running as fast as possible which Google absolutely loves. In fact, they punish slow sites (more info on that to follow). The list also includes plugins that will help protect your blog from spammers, target social media, and also keep you legally compliant.
Essential WordPress Blog Plugins
Your blog might be an eStore or just a place where you put down your daily thoughts for everyone to see and discuss, maybe even rant and rave a little.
Whatever the case, you’ll want it running smooth and fast. And you need it to simultaneously tell people AND the search engines, exactly what it’s about. You need it to communicate with the mighty Google, MSN and that gang, and also connect with people too. So your message needs to be written with both of those aims in mind. Always think ‘GooGLE and PeoPLE’ when you’re writing.
Put it this way. If you don’t optimize for the search engines, they won’t see you and subsequently they won’t list you. That means that nobody will ever get to read your wonderful work or visit your online shop. That’s a proverbial ‘Ghost Website’ situation as they say in the biz.
It’s pretty easy to get your Plugins in order when you know what to look for. So here’s a little list of the essential ones which you should set up and use.
Tip: One thing you should know is that there are free plugins and paid (Premium) ones. Most free plugins can be upgraded to Premium, but it is not always necessary to do that. Many times it is not a necessity.
So yeah, here’s a look at my own particular faves which I (and the industry) think are pretty much indispensable. In fact, I am using them on my website at copyglow.com
Personal experience tip: it’s best to keep the number of plugins you use to a minimum, it helps increase site speed. I know I’m always going on about site speed here, but you’ve got to think in ‘Google Mode’ at all times when it comes to your WP setup.
So although it can be tempting to install a multitude of excellent looking plugins, it’s best to keep those Plugin numbers down. I think they can become a bit addictive actually if you’re not careful.
My Recommended Plugins
Some great news is that these critical plugins listed below are all free. Basically their main purpose is to improve what they call ‘user experience’. Which just means making sure that your visitor’s visit is a good one. It’s important to keep in mind that as far as Google is concerned, a user’s ‘site experience’ is a MAJOR issue. Google tracks EVERYTHING.
So if your website/blog is as slow as a tortoise with a sprained ankle, it will affect your ratings in the search engines. Bear in mind that if someone clicks to visit a page on your site and it takes too long to load, they will just click off to somewhere else. Yup, think iRobot and iPerson at the same time. Oh, and don’t forget the iTortoise aspect too, he needs to be avoided at all costs.
Akismet is pretty much an industry standard that will protect your blog from spam comments. It blocks the spamming robots posting rubbish (and there are a lot of them at work, even while you sleep). You could wake up one morning to hundreds of spam comments if you don’t use a spam comment blocker.
Sitemap This plugin will build a Sitemap for your website. A sitemap tells the search engines what’s on your site in robot speak. Here’s the plugin description (from Google themselves surprise surprise – it’s mega-important):
This plugin will improve SEO by helping search engines better index your site using sitemaps.
Sitemap robot code looks something like the following example. Humans can safely ignore it, but the search engine robots gobble it up. It’s their food, so be a good netizen and feed them. Or in jargon style speak, “optimize interaction with bots”.
Allow: /wp-admin/*** -ajax.php
All in One SEO Pack
All-in-One-SEO-Pack basically tells both people and the search engines what your website is all about. It allows you to add in your main blog titles, descriptions, meta-tags (Search Engine food), and keywords. You can then use it on all your individual blog posts and pages. File under ‘an absolutely vital SEO plugin’.
Contact Form 7
This is a simple but flexible contact form, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It enables visitors and potential customers to reach out and contact you about your services, or just to start initial conversations. It’s pretty vital to have this for any business blog. Just putting your eMail address on your site is a big no-no, because spam robots will attack that too.
What better example can I give here than my own contact form on copyglow. Feel free to use it to get in touch with me, let’s talk.
GDPR Cookie Consent
GDPR Cookie Consent is compulsory to have on your blog nowadays, especially if you’re based in Europe. It’s a simple way to show that your website complies with the EU Cookie Law / GDPR. You’ve got to show a message something like the following and get an ‘ok’ from visitors.
The GDPR Cookie Consent WP Plugin does exactly that, it keeps everything legit.
LiteSpeed Cache: This essential plugin as the name suggests helps to dramatically speed up your site. Description: High-performance page caching and site optimization from LiteSpeed. Page caching is another method that can help you to improve the load time of your web pages and thus optimize your site for the search engines.
Smush Plugin: Once again we’re concerned with site speed and user-experience here. The Smush plugin reduces image file sizes, improves performance, and boosts your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’ve got to keep your image file sizes as small as possible, or they will completely drag down your site speed. And, as previously mentioned, Google will actually ‘punish’ slow sites in its search results. File under ‘absolutely must-have’.
Sassy Social Share
We all know how important Social Media is these days. I was looking for a plugin that would enable me to add Social Share buttons to any site I was building. I found that ‘Sassy Social Share’ was the best one for me. In their own words: “Slickest, Simplest, and Optimized Share buttons. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, WhatsApp and over 100 more”.
You’ll see ‘Sassy Social Share’ at work throughout this site. Oh, look there’s one there to the left of this Post. Go ahead and click on your fave social media platform to see how it works, and share the love with one of your blog-building-buddies. Appreciated friend.
Plugin Wrapup Roundup
Well there you have it, it’s a short enough list. But these really are the best of the most crucial plugins you need at a minimum. You can always build on and add more to your WP blog as and when required.
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- All in One SEO Pack
- Contact Form 7
- GDPR Cookie Consent
- LiteSpeed Cache
- Sassy Social Share
- Table of Contents (recommended for Skyscraper Pages)
These key ones will get you up and running fast. I think that they should be compulsory for every WP blog.
Vital Extra: Keep Your PHP Version Up to Date
Tip: Make sure that your WordPress blog has an up-to-date version of PHP. This really helps speed up your blog for starters. Using an outdated PHP version leaves your site vulnerable to hacker attacks. Let me know if you need help with that.
p.s. I also use and recommend (for long ‘Skyscraper Pages’), a plugin called ‘Table of Contents’. I think that it’s pretty crucial for this type of ‘Super-Page’. It adds a super-smooth scrolling effect to the page content list and helps aid navigation on it.
© 2019 https://copyglow.com
From the Desk of David O’Toole / copywriter