With almost 40,000 plugins, WordPress offer site admins to customize their websites as per their products’ niche, and as per their customers’ requirements. However, too many plugins can lower down the speed of a website, which eventually affects the oncoming traffic. So, how should one choose the right one? While each plugin seems important, here is a list of five plugins that can help take a website from good to great:
Let’s get started with securing online business. The two basic steps toward securing a site are; 1) Getting a good WordPress Backup Solution, and 2) Start using Sucuri.
Irrespective of how big or small a business is, the website it operates on get attacked many times a week—sometimes in a day also—like feed attacks, brute force attacks, DDoS, and various other spam. Most of the companies already have a real-time WP backup solution for their websites, have a password-protected directory; have disabled the PHP execution, and have followed every security ‘hardening’ technique; however they don’t have a reliable and an efficient firewall system which causes the vulnerabilities in a website.
Because the traffic has to go through the cloudproxy firewall of Sucuri before coming to a hosting server, it blocks all the possible attacks and allows only legitimate visitors to reach the website. Here’s a list of attacks blocked by Sucuri; below that is the illustration of the system:
- Blacklisted IP addresses
- Fake or Bad Bots access
- Backdoor location access
- DDOS attempts
- Evasion attempts
- Spam requests
- Scanning tool
Now, let us go through the simple process of setting up Sucuri security system on a website:
Go to the WordPress plugins search page from the admin page, and type in the search box, “Sucuri”. Click “install now” and then activate the plugin. As soon as the plugin is activated, it will start showing up on the admin page. See the left bottom side of the image. There are number of options from ‘Dashboard’ to ‘Malware’ and ‘Site Info’ to ‘Last Logins’ available if you can see. Right there, “Sucuri Security” can be spotted. In order to make the most out of this plugin, generate KPI and API for your website as shown below:
Disclosure: We didn’t get paid to write about Sucuri, or for that matter of fact, any plugin mentioned in this post. We believe in recommending services that are beneficial for us and our users.
2) Smush WP Image Optimization Plugin
I often emphasise on Web image optimization because non-optimized images are the main cause of slow websites, which in turn drive away the users. Here’s an infographic clearly showing the impact of a slow-loading website.
The problem is that most of the business owners don’t feel comfortable in using image optimization tools because these tools require a little bit more efforts and time. Nevertheless, WP Smush has something for people who aren’t technically skilled or consider image optimization a daunting task. It is probably the easiest, fastest, and user-friendliest image compression plugin ever produced by WordPress which helps in:
- Compressing GIF, JPEG and PNG images up to 32 MB in bulk or individually.
- Setting up automated smushing to optimize each image uploaded on the website.
- Stripping colors that are not used from indexed images.
- Displaying high quality images with as small file size as possible.
- Optimizing images with almost no loss in the quality.
Here’s the Process of Installing Smush WP.
Install it from the admin page, and activate it. Now, go to the setting area. Click on the images needed to be optimized or just upload the new ones. Below, under the ‘Settings’ tab, number of options are available to change the images’ size. Option of preserving the image area is also available right under the ‘Settings” tab. After making significant changes, update the settings. All the optimized images get stored in the Library. To check the sizes, click on ‘Smush stats(+)’ in front of the images like the illustration below:
Premium version of Smush WP is required for the full size. Any theme can be fitted properly by using this plugin. It’s an amazing plugin; pretty much like set-it-and-forget-it. Set it for the first time, put in the proper settings for specific to the website, and every time a new image is uploaded, it will automatically optimize the image for the website. Not only it speeds up the website but also improves ranking on search engine!
3) WordPress Broken Link Checker
The moment someone clicks on a website, and if it doesn’t take that user to the intended destination, frustration is what most likely to occur. It harms the credibility of a website. Not only it hurts the ranking and SEO of a webpage but also a business’ conversion. But, why does this happen; what causes 404 pages to occur on customers’ desktops?
The internet is built on hyperlinks, in where linking between web pages is a basic feature. At times, a page gets deleted or an image might not load, or a resource goes missing. Sometimes, admins forget to update the link after moving a post from one location to another. In all such cases, it’ll show you the users 404 page, or may be a little better, a customized 404 page.
Installing Broken Link Checker And Setting It Up Rightly!
Install the plugin from your admin dashboard, and activate it. The moment Broken Link Checker is added into an account, it does two things at the back; under Settings, it adds an entry called ‘link checker’, and in your dashboard, it also adds a little metabox (added in the bottom) where it shows the broken links information.
Now, go to the Settings>Link Checker to configure the plugin in a desired, required way. In this page, one can set up how many hours between link check. By default, it is 72 hours, which works for all kinds of website. If a website receives too much of the traffic, then 24 hours would be fine. However, keep in mind that the less number of hours in here, the more server resources are going to be used to check the links because finding a broken link after every 12 or 24 hours is not an easy task.
Other sections are to be filled and check boxes to be ticked as desired by the users. The next tab is to set up where a user wants Broken Link Checker to look for the broken links. In the next tab, a user can set up the links that needed to be checked like HTML links, plaintext URLs, Smart Youtube https;//URLs, etc., and can also add the links that don’t need to be checked. In the PRotocols and APIs tab, keeping the links as it is works best unless user is aware of the options on advanced level. In the last tab, multiple options are there to choose and check. For example; a user can choose the amount of time required by the plugin to check if the link is valid or not. The other options are quite easy to figure out, and should be filled as per the requirement.
4) Google Sitemaps
This plugin might look a bit confusing. But don’t worry; it really isn’t. This plugin generates XML sitemaps, which means it helps search engine like Google index your website much better, and for the information on your site to be retrieved, more efficiently, which results in traffic and higher ranking in search engines. Who doesn’t want that? This plugin does exactly that. The XML Sitemap page looks really ugly, but it is not for the website visitors. It is for the robots sent to a website by search engines to find out the information or the content pertinent to a user’s search. It ‘s extremely important when a website starts getting bigger and it has a lot of content, a Google sitemap is installed to help a user find newly published post easily. Plus, it makes the life of robots quite easily.
Installing Google XML Sitemaps
It can be installed from the admin board. As soon as it is installed, an option ‘XML sitemaps’ will automatically appear on the settings tab. In the ‘Basic Options’ tab, all the questions are based on the understanding of the users like whether to notify Google about the blog update or to add sitemap URL to the virtual robots, or to automatically compress the sitemap when a client requests, etc.
The additional pages’ options are also as basic as the other options available to the users. However, there are already a plenty of videos on installing Google XML sitemaps on Youtube. Instead of focusing on this part, it’ll be better if certain tips are shared for better indexing of a website:
1) As a few robots can read only a few web-pages, it is better to have the sitemap in multiple coding languages.
2) There is no difference in Yoast SEO and Google XML sitemaps except it is a search engine optimizer too.
3) More the frequency set in the ‘Advanced Options’ tab, better the indexing of a website.
5) Mailpoet Newsletters:
With over 6 million downloads, Mailpoet is probably the number one choice for every business owner looking to start collecting email addresses and managing emails, all within WordPress. Companies like Aweber and Mailchimp also offer such services but Mailpoet offers free services too. Because Mailpoet sends out emails to subscribers each time a post, an offer or the similar is updated, taking care of customers become much simple and painless. Here are some of the features that I loved about this plugin:
- Create autoresponders and newsletters
- Maintain numerous lists of subscribers
- Create your email templates and style them as per users’ likability
- Responsive Templates
- Maintain Statistics
- Drag & Drop your content
- Newsletter Scheduler
- Look good in iPhone, Outlook, Gmail, Android, Yahoo, etc.
- Track with Google Analytics
- Import all the subscribers in just 2 steps
- Detailed statistics for each newsletter
Install it from the user dashboard, and then activate. As soon as the plugin is installed, either ‘Wysija’ or ‘Mailpoet’ could be spotted in the menu. Click on it, and then click on settings. There are few things that needs to be set up in this page. First is company’s address, in where the official email address of the business is required. Then, there are options like when to send notification emails to the users, and other basic options that a user can set according to his/her desire.
Ranjit Singh is the founder of RV Technologies, a Software Development & Digital Transformation organisation. He, at times, authors in-depth guides that teach marketing managers to manage, grow and scale their marketing techniques.