My top 12 WordPress Plugins and why I wouldn't be without them
Last week I wrote all about which website platform to use for your website. Of the 3 I recommended, WordPress.org is the one I choose to use for my business and the majority of client website builds that we do as a company, for those that want the flexibility of a website that can grow with them as a business. So, I thought it would be useful to share with you my favourite WordPress plugins.
(PS Before I begin; some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. I am recommending them because I know they are good and I use them in my own business (unless otherwise stated))
Here are my top 12 WordPress Plugins:
WP Maintenance mode
As soon as I install WordPress, this is the very first plugin I install. It allows me to set up a message to say “we’re sorry, this website is in maintenance mode” or something along those lines, while I do the build. It’s also good for times when you want to update the plugins, or change something, and you want to take your website offline for a little while.
I would not recommend doing this a lot. But, Google reportedly does not like error messages. So, when you’re updating, or making changes to your account, it’s better that people can see it’s in maintenance mode than to have an error message and appear broken (or see something crazy & half finished).
Every good website needs good SEO. Yoast makes SEO planning easy, so you’ll be definitely wanting to install Yoast (or another comparable product).
There is a free version of Yoast, and a paid premium plan. I personally have the paid version and think it's well worth it for the small annual fee.
Broken Link Checker
One thing that Google and your website browsers both have in common, is that they both hate broken links and 404 pages. Broken links can happen for all kinds of reasons - maybe you delete a page or blog post or an image and there's a link to that thing somewhere else on your site. This creates an error.
Broken Link Checker is a free plugin that checks your website daily for any broken links. It tells you where the broken link exists so that you can go back to the source and either fix or delete the link.
Another simple, but useful, free plugin!
AddToAny Share Buttons
These are sticky buttons that sit along the left of your website and make it super easy for people to share your content. Definitely, a smart move if you want to encourage people to share your content.
Thrive Leads is my favourite way to collect leads on your website. It connects with all major mail automation providers such as MailChimp, Mailerlite, Active Campaign, Convertkit etc. Thrive Leads is a paid plugin. But, if you use Thrive Themes (my favourite website builder) then Thrive Leads and all their other plugins come with your subscription.
Installing Thrive Leads on my website, and creating an exit-intent popup, helped me take my newsletter signups from 1-3 per month to approx 150 per month. So it was totally worth.it!
Thrive clever widgets
Thrive Clever Widgets is another paid plugin that comes with a Thrive Themes membership and can add a lot of value to your website. It enables you to set up widgets that will only show on certain pages or posts. Valuable in situations where you want to advertise a similar/complementary service or product to one that they are viewing. Or an upsell.
I also use it to have different widget bars for my logged in members than my general readers, to offer them short links to their courses and members-only Facebook groups.
Another great free plugin. This one does what it says on the tin and makes it easy to duplicate things in your website.
Once installed you can quickly use a button to duplicate pages, blog posts and product listings. This makes it easy to set up a template to use for multiple things.
Tracking Code manager
A super easy way to install things like your Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics and more.
Although, if you have a lot of code to install on your website, it's usually best practice to start a free Google Tag Manager account, install a Google Tag, and use that to fire all the other codes. This makes your website work faster.
Both Tracking Code Manager and Google Tag Manager are free to use.
One thing Google doesn’t like is 404 and 301 redirects. They can really harm your ranking. With the redirection plugin, it will tell you of any broken pages and you can set up redirects for them. It's free and very useful.
If you are wanting to set up an online shop, Woo Commerce is FREE and really easy to setup and use. There are many additional plugins that can optimise the experience of your users and your administration too.
Securi WordPress Security Plugin
In the 10 years I've had a WordPress website, I've had two malware attacks. Which shows that hacking and website attacks can happen to the best of us. That's why I wouldn't be without a security plugin!
Both times I've had my website cleaned up by Securi. So, these days I wouldn't be without their website monitoring service and firewall. They also make this great free security plugin, which does daily scans of your site and alerts you of anything you should be concerned about.
Whatever you do, if you have a WordPress website, please make sure you secure it properly and always keep your plugins and themes up to date so that your site is not vulnerable to attack. Because trust me - it's expensive, time consuming and very frustrating, to have your website infected!
Last but not least is a free plugin that I LOVE if you have any kind of login facility on your WordPress website, called User Menus by Code Atlantic.
This is great for you if you are a course creator with a membership login, or a shop owner with a customer or wholesale login, for example.
User menus allows you to go into your Appearance > menus settings and create separate menus for logged in and logged out users. Having custom menus for logged in users really helps streamline your customer pathway and make it easier for users to find the content they are looking for.
I use this on all my membership sites.
There are loads more plugins that I love, but these are the main ones that I’d recommend for almost all sites, that you may find useful to investigate.
Let me know in the comments what your favourite plugins are
About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).
Great post! I’m going to double check that we have the pixel and redirect plugins installed, I’m not sure off the top of my head and they sound brilliant!
I’ve always found wordpresses maintenance mode to be disgraceful! Will be checking out that plugin thanks for the tip Kat!
Great post thanks Kat. I have a few of these plugins already and will be checking out the others. Thanks!
Wonderful sharing! Thank you very much for this amazing article.
I also want to suggest one more WordPress plugin related to Google ranking called Trash Duplicate And 301 Redirect. This plugin helps to get better SEO ranking by way of deleting duplicate content on your website and thus many you safe from Google’s penalized for duplicate content.