the SerpWorx SEO blog
search engine optimisation strategies & tips
search engine optimisation strategies & tips
Great backlinks are completely wasted if your onsite SEO or site speed is dragging you down. Following is a list of plugins I regularly use when setting up a new site from scratch or taking over a new client’s site.
Let’s start with the absolute ‘must have’ plugins and go through to the more obscure ones.
All in One SEO Plugin
There’s a lot of contenders in the meta title and description market. Yet I still find this one to be best. I use the pro version and I love the fact you can just edit the meta titles & descriptions straight in the page menu without having to navigate to the page editor.
This plug-in also has a great site map generator and a lot of other handy little performance features like a robots.txt editor, a bad bot blocker and a built-in performance upgrade that allows you to raise the memory limit and execution time of your WordPress set up.
EWWW Image Optimizer Plugin
You definitely can’t have a completely optimized site without this plug-in. Virtually every high-quality premium WordPress theme has unoptimized images throughout the theme’s image folders and files. This is the only plug-in that allows you to dig deep into those folders and optimize theme and plugin images that aren’t stored in the standard WordPress image library.
The compression engines that it uses are also fabulous for both PNG images and JPEGs. I’ve benchmarked the final image file sizes against other popular image compression plug-ins and it always wins hands down! That’s my personal tests, by no means comprehensive, but I still favour it over all the compression plugins. (There’s a huge benchmark test here from Darren) There is also an API version which takes care of all image compression offsite so there’s no load or timeouts on your server.
WP Rocket Caching Plugin
Hands down the easiest and most robust caching plug-in out there. It’s a premium plug-in but it’s well worth it. Very easy to configure so you don’t have to worry about your site breaking when you switch it on. There are also plenty of options too if you need to disable certain options because you have a plug-in or a theme that isn’t playing nicely with caching.
In my personal comparison tests, it always seems to make my sites faster than all of the other caching plugins out there. My bias towards this plug-in is that it is so easy to set up and so quick to get going. The dev team behind it are also really proactive and always making improvements and adding feature sets. There’s a great caching benchmark test from Rafay here too.
Broken Link Checker Plugin
This gem of a plugin is a ‘must install’ if you’re taking over a new client’s site. Although I do audits on clients using a variety of software, installing this plug-in in the backend is also a great way the find broken links throughout sites.
It’s especially useful if you’ve got other editors that are contributing to the site’s content as they can sometimes create broken links that go unnoticed. It has a setting in the backend which allows you to rescan the site every ‘x’ hours for broken links. If you have a lot of contributors to the site, I set that to 72hrs. If it’s just a small site with one owner, then you can just adjust the scan frequency to once every 500hrs if the content doesn’t get updated very often.
The WordPress Security Plug-Ins I Use
iThemes Security Plugin
This plug-in is pretty much a standard install on all sites I manage. It’s an easy out-of-the-box solution to tighten up a site security. I also hide the WordPress admin login using this plug-in. Security plug-ins can really mess up your site if you choose the wrong one, but iThemes Security plug-in is a really stable and robust security plug-in.
Here’s Some Other Handy Plug-Ins
Visual Composer Clipboard Plugin
Virtually every modern theme these days uses the visual composer plugin in the backend. But if you develop a lot of sites, you know the headache of copying certain elements from one page to another.
That’s where this great little ‘visual composer clipboard’ plug-in comes into play. You can just copy entire rows or elements to your clipboard, then navigate to another page, and paste in the visual composer element into that page. Super handy if you develop a lot of sites using visual composer.
This plug-in is a lifesaver when you’re taking on a new client that has lots of images that are the wrong sizes and crippling their speed test scores. With this plugin, you can just upload the new image to replace the old image without affecting anything else or changing any links.
So that’s my list of plug-ins that I use on a consistent basis. Would love to hear some of the other plugins that you’re using if you have some great ones.