Yeah, yeah, yeah, we hear you…don’t go crazy with the plugins! And we don’t. But, plugins are one of the awesome things about WordPress and you should certainly take advantage of them in moderation.
As we have become more familiar with what all the WP Plugins do and how they interact with the WordPress CMS (Content Management System), we have replaced some of the plugins we used to use with code. The reason you would want to do this is to reduce the size of your website’s files, which will improve load times and site speed which is becoming an important thing to consider with the mobile first movement. But this article is not aimed at more advanced WordPress users who have some basic coding knowledge. Some of these plugins are simply amazing!
We put our top 5 plugins in order below and the rest are pretty nifty but not as important in our opinion. The plugins we selected are the best WordPress plugins for agencies, but anyone with a WP website would benefit from using these plugins.
5 Nifty WordPress Plugins
The Yoast SEO Plugin makes it super easy to get your on-page SEO correct, along with making your XML sitemap creation a breeze. We also love how easy it makes it to populate custom page title and meta descriptions to appear in the search results.
We still use Yoast SEO in 2020.
Compressing images used to add a step and a little time to properly get images onto our client’s websites. Not anymore! Imagify optimizes images after you have uploaded them into your media library. Genius!
We still use Imagify in 2020 but once our credit runs out we will use the WP-Optimize plugin to compress our images for free.
WP SEO Structured Data Schema
WordPress makes it hard to implement schema markup without the use of a plugin. WP SEO is the best we have found for our needs and there is a great chance it will serve you well too. You can set site-wide schema for every page and add additional schema to each individual page as appropriate. You need a basic understanding of schema’s language to get it right, but it is nothing a little Googling can’t resolve!
In 2020 we have begun writing all schema markup by hand to allow us to markup absolutely everything we possibly can.
Call Now Button
Well, it is exactly what it sounds like! For mobile only, the Call Now Button plugin makes it a breeze, like almost no computer skills needed, to stick a sticky call now button at the bottom of the screen on mobile devices. Talk about making it easy to contact you!
We have replaced this plugin in 2020 by creating this element by code to allow for other CTA options such as click to text, quote and/or email.
Before After Image Slider Module for Divi
So, this plugin is specific to Divi (To use you must be using the Divi Theme or Divi Builder) but why don’t you have a Divi site anyway? With this plugin you can make stunning, attention-grabbing interactive images sure to amuse your audience. See the example below!
We are still using the before and after image slider when appropriate because of how easy the plugin make creating this cool effect.
More Great WP Plugins
The remaining plugins are in no particular order and we use these on the majority of our sites. We don’t think they are quite as cool or beneficial as the top 5, but still definitely worth a mention!
Easy WP SMTP
If you are having issues with emails not going through from forms on your WordPress website, Easy WP SMTP could be your solution. We say could, because it turned out on one of our sites that this plugin was the reason emails were not sent. Still not sure what the deal was there… But, 90% of the time if you have your DNS configured properly and the emails are still not sending, this is your fix.
Really Simple SSL
So, you just set up your secure site with your host, you go to check out your website, and it’s still not secure. Bummer! Just kidding, simply install the Really Simple SSL plugin and follow the instructions. It is just a couple clicks with no technical knowledge needed at all. It will remind you too, but don’t forget to update your Google and Bing properties as well as anywhere else you have your website listed as not secure online.
If you haven’t already, check out Neil Patel’s YouTube channel. The guy is super successful, I want to say he started 4 million dollar companies by age 29, and he shares all of his knowledge with us on his YouTube channel. But, this is about his Subscribers plugin which allows you to push notifications to your website visitors after they leave your site, assuming they accepted notifications from your site when prompted.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
Updraft has a suite of plugins that you may find value in. We really like the ease of use of their backup feature. We probably need to become a little more regimented with our backups, but with this plugin, you can do it quickly and easily whenever you would like.
We usually don’t leave this plugin installed and just use it as we need it. Every time you revise a page on your website the previous version leaves a skeleton. If you make a lot of revisions to your pages this is definitely worth running from time to time. The skeletons are not big or bulky but in quantity, they add up. We also run this before handing a completed website off to a client.
WPS Hide Login
The final plugin on our list is really somewhat useless! I bet you didn’t see that coming. We still think it is pretty clever and use this on our own websites. What it does is it allows you to change the URL you visit to log in to your WordPress site. Hackers don’t sleep, and they know most WordPress sites can be accessed by visiting DomainName.com/wp-admin. FYI DomainName.com/admin works the same! This plugin allows you to change the slug to whatever you would like.
WP Rocket (BONUS)
Site speed is super important with more people surfing the web on mobile devices. We have seen great improvements on some website’s speed by using the WP Rocket plugin. It is a paid plugin, but may be worth it if you are unable to get your site speed down using other free plugins or by tweaking your website’s code.
That’s it! Not too bad. We did leave the Divi Builder plugin off our list simply because we build using the Divi Theme and there is no need to install the Divi Builder if using the Divi Theme. These plugins make it easier to make a really cool WordPress site and Divi makes it super easy to make a stunning WordPress site. With anything, it does have a learning curve, but once past that, it is smooth sailing and the sky is the limit on how you can make your site look and what you can make it do.
We’d love to build your site if you are looking for a web developer. We also update existing websites and specialize in local SEO. Since we know some business owners are going to take these tasks on themselves we try to offer our best advice.
Check out our other blog posts for more helpful tips and tricks to get your website found online and how to look great after a hot lead finds you! We also created a free tool that will generate a direct link for someone to leave you a Google review. All you do is input your business name or address, and copy the link it generates. As long as Google recognizes your business, our tool will work for you. We also have a workaround if our tool doesn’t work.