Once you’ve set up your first WordPress.org site, you’ll want to install a few plugins to make your life a bit easier. Here are a couple of plugins that I recommend installing which you will most likely use across all websites you ever have.
Google Analytics. Not so much a plug-in, but it is the most comprehensive free analytics tool there is, hence why it is on the list. There are 3 ways to get Analytics on your site:
- With a plugin (there are plenty of free ones, I personally prefer Google Analytics Dashboard for WP).
- Directly pasting the code, this is done by copying the code from analytics into your themes header.php
- The Functions.php way, which is not recommended unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
I suggest installing the above plugin as it’s the easiest and safest way of doing things. You can always copy your header.php to a word document and save it as a backup if you do want to try your luck at manually installing.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) – it allows webpages to load literally INSTANTLY. It basically strips your page of all the extra stuff and loads the essentials. While this sounds amazing, it does have a down side. Certain analytics won’t work and certain ads won’t work either. Despite this, you NEED to have Accelerated Mobile Pages because Google is ranking sites with AMP a lot higher than pages that don’t. Google are pushing the mobile revolution and falling behind here could be detrimental with lower rankings and less traffic. There are a few plugins around, I suggest using the one linked above, easy to setup and great page speeds.
BackupBuddy – it’s the simplest way to back up and restore your website. This comes in handy for two reasons, mainly security (having a complete back-up of your site is a must in-case something goes wrong security wise), and the second is when migrating hosts. BackupBuddy is simple to use, and very reliable.
Yoast SEO – In the simplest of terms, it optimises your site for search engines. It’s easy to use, and allows you to see how each of your pages/posts is doing in terms of meta tags, length, readability…a live all round SEO checker really. It also integrates with your Facebook and Twitter, adding support for Twitter Cards and allowing you to use a different image on Facebook as to the feature image of your post. Just to name a few small things. It is a must have plug-in!
W3 Total Cache – This plugin doesn’t only speed up your website, it also helps with your SEO, as speed is an important factor in SEO ranking. W3 Total Cache reduces load times by compressing and caching files. That simple.
And that’s what I believe to be the 5 most important plugins to start with – they may not make your site look visually appealing but they will make things that much easier for you.
Feel that I missed out on something? Please feel free to contct me on Twitter @tylbrand.