Few of Our Favorite Things
One of the many things we love about WordPress is it’s versatility. If you’re looking for our WordPress plugins top picks that play nice together, this post is for you.
An Eye on Security (At All Times)
Regardless of what content management system you use, hackers will inevitably try to get in. While we like the open-source community WordPress offers, you must also be mindful of security. When we build a site, we harden it by modifying common or standard elements of the software installation. In addition to those changes, we use these WordPress plugins for added security:
- Sucuri Security — it’s an auditing, malware scanner and hardening plugin. I like that it scans for changes and alerts you when they occur. For sites worried about malware, it has that scanning feature as well.
- WP Authenticator — 2-step authentication is a must-have. This plugin sets up a robust level protection from unauthorized access. Users will need a smartphone.
- BruteProtect — recently purchased by Automattic (co-creator of WordPress), it uses a community of websites to create a barrier to hackers. If one site is hit, the plugin communicates the offending IP address to all community members. Very cool.
I debated adding these WordPress plugins to the above security list… as maintaining your WordPress website is your best security defense. As you can see, I decided to group maintenance-related plugins:
- WP-DBManager — while it has some security functions, it mainly backs up and maintains your database automatically.
- Akismet — sadly, comment spam runs rampant on websites. Akismet uses the cloud to identify spammy comments. Similar to BruteProtect, it bands together WP websites to help fight spam.
- Broken Link Checker — broken hyperlinks offers a poor visitor experience. This plugin checks for broken links and has tools to fix them. It’s very handy. It’s also important to note that a bunch of broken links is a signal to search engines (Google) that your site isn’t well maintained and therefore can negatively affect your SEO.
- Jetpack — packages several functions together, things like contact forms, sidebar widgets, etc. While Jetpack has been a page speed hog, they have made huge strides with speed. Stay tuned to this blog for a series of speed experiments in 2015.
SEO & Back-End Use
- CMS Tree Page View — If you’re serious about building online visibility (SEO), you’re probably adding lots of pages and posts. To help you stay organized and navigate the back-end of your WordPress website, this plugin creates an easy to navigate tree view since it shows hierarchical relationships at a glance.
- Redirection — when you manage a website long enough, eventually pages will be retired/replaced with new ones. However, you don’t want to lose your hard-earned SEO equity. This redirection plugin is particularly useful when you redesign and reorganize your information architecture so 404 errors are minimized.
- WordPress SEO — I really like that this plugin helps you use SEO best practices for pages and posts. We recommend handcrafting title tags and meta descriptions to optimize what appears on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). You can edit these directly on the page and see a preview.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin — there’s a balance between usability and SEO. This plugin helps display related posts so visitors can view additional content (and ideally convert as a result of staying engaged on your website).
These are my top picks for WordPress plugins. I’m testing new ones all the time, as I’m a stickler for security as well as speed performance. What’s your favorite?
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