With over 29,000 available plugins on WordPress’s database (to date), how do you know which ones will benefit you, your business and your website? We need to be a little more realistic about this figure! Out of these 29,000 I’m guessing a good 60% of those are even poor or completely forgotten about my the author, meaning they haven’t been updated for a long time.
Every new WordPress website design is built for a purpose. It can be a simple personal blog to a full blown eCommerce platform selling 1000’s of products. But which plugins are essential and should be included in ALL newly build WordPress websites?
We have researched and collaborated with SixtyMarketing who build 1000’s of WordPress website each year to get their opinion on what are the essential, top 5 plugins for any new WordPress website design for 2017 and why you should use them. Out of these top 5 plugins, 4/5 of them are free!
WP Rocket – $39
WP Rocket is a caching and performance based plugin to improve load speed and user experience on a WordPress website. With many caching plugins on the market, this one stands out a mile! For many years we used W3 Total Cache and kept finding multiple errors in performance and load speed.
We replaced WP Rocket on 10 clients websites as a trial to see what results we would get. All websites loaded quicker with most loading twice as fast. The Google Page Speed score increased to A, as did on Pingdom and on GT Metrix.
Over 3 weeks, websites saw and increase in search engine rankings. Especially on mobile searches.
There are many settings to choose from in WP Rocket with helpful tips for each individual setting. They provide excellent support if you are having problems choosing the right settings for your website.
It is important you remove any other caching plugin from your site when running this plugin. A lot of hosting companies advise you to use. WP Super Cache for a WordPress website, this is only because it makes life easier for the hosting company due to the lack of features, not because it is a better plugin.
For the price tag of $39 per year it is well worth the cost. If you consider it as part of your hosting outgoings, its a lot easier to accept paying for a performance related plugin.
Duplicate Post – FREE
Does exactly what it says on the tin! It duplicates pages, posts, testimonials and any other WordPress built section within your site. This plugin saves tons of design hours for every new WordPress website design.
On average, a 10 web page site has 4-5 different layouts for there web pages (eg, home, about us, services, testimonials and/or FAQs & contact us). Most websites today for SEO or user experience purposes need to have more content throughout the site. This means creating additional pages such as a sub section of a service. Instead of spending more development time creating a new layout for this page, you simply us the Duplicate Post plugin to clone one of your existing pages and hey presto, a template web page for you to drop new content and images in!
Imagify – FREE
From the people that bought you WP Rocket, say hello to Imagify. This plugin compresses images uploaded to a website, decreasing the data size, which allows web pages to load a lot faster.
Images are one of the main causes for slow load speed and if you are not aware of SEO, load speed and performance, your images could be the downfall of your WordPress website.
The typical reduction of per image (if you are unaware as mentioned above) is around 83%. This means that a single image you upload to a web page should be 83% smaller! What if you upload 8 of these images per web page? Thats a huge drain on your hosting resources and disk space, which will have a knock on effect for your entire website loading slowly!
Imagify is 100% and you receive 1GB a month worth of images to reduce. there are paid versions if you require over 1GB per month or $5 per GB on the free plan. You are required to create a free account through Imagify as you need an API to keep track of your monthly usage.
Yoast SEO – FREE
Yoast is the back bone for any WordPress websites onsite SEO. This plugin covers absolutely everything you need to have a website looked at properly by Google in order to rank for targeted keywords. Please note, that this is NOT the only factor to rank on the first page of Google! Using Yoast only sets the foundations down for your entire SEO campaign.
Using this plugin you can set the meta tags for each web page, easily set noindex to category, author and tag archives, review your targeted keywords per page with an easy to follow red, yellow and green light, create markup data, social media sharing and tons more.
There isnt much point of a WordPress website being built if nobody will be able to find it on the search engines. Yoast turbo charges your website to allow faster indexing and part of a balanced SEO diet.
Zendesk Chat Widget – FREE
Giving clients and users an outstanding support service is key to any successful business, online or not. Zendesk’s (formally Zopim) provides any WordPress website with a live chat function.
With a desktop and mobile apps (Android and iOS), you can stay in touch with your clients anytime of the day for free. Packed full of amazing features such as visitor location, referral location, browsing history, previous visits and chats, file sharing, automatic triggers, custom branding and tons more.
We have found that users tend to communicate via live chat prior to a phone call, or in some cases directly to a sale. Probably one of the most important support and sales tools you will find online for free.
Anything Else for A New WordPress Website Design?
Well yes of course there is! Every WordPress site is built to service a purpose and will require different functionality, which in return requires additional plugins. the above list should be the foundation for any new WordPress website design to improve load speed, performance, man hours, search engine rankings and users sales/support.
These are the building blocks for any successful online business.