Squarespace and Blogger have their perks, but in my mind, WordPress blows them both out of the water. My favorite thing about WordPress is how functional and customizable it’s made my website. And I owe it all to these amazing little things called “plugins”.
In the first post in this two-part series, I shared five of my tried and true, ride-til-we-die plugins. Today in Part 2, I’ve got 5 more amazing plugins to share with you! Ready?
In the first post in this series, I mentioned how important it is to back up your website before installing a new plugin. That way if something goes wrong, you can restore your website using the most recent backup.
With the nifty little UpDraftPlus plugin, you never have to worry about not having a recent backup to restore your site with.
UpdraftPlus performs automatic backups of your website, at regular intervals which you determine. Plus, you can sync these backups with any storage platform you like – I use Dropbox, and it works perfectly.
You can also change when you want the automatic backups to take place, and you can even manually start a backup at any point in time. This is definitely a big plus in my books!
If I had to name my top 3 plugins, UpDraftPlus would definitely be on that list. Automatic backup plugins are so, so important for your website! So whether you go with UpdraftPlus or something similar, make sure you have some kind of backup plugin installed (pretty please!)
If you use a lot of high-resolution images on your website, a Caching plugin will be your new best friend. When you use high-quality images, it can take a while for all the content and data on your website to load. This usually means losing out on page views and visitors, because people get tired of waiting and they click away before your site has finished loading.
If you’re using a lot of fancy gadgets and high-resolutions images on your site, I’d definitely suggest using a plugin to “cache” all of this content.
A caching plugin stores your website’s content and data in what’s called a “cache memory”. The cache memory then offers up this data whenever somebody visits your website – which is much, much3 seconds just by installing the WP Super Cache plugin. I’ve used other caching plugins in the past, but I found most of them were too complicated for my liking (and definitely not great for beginners!).
To see how fast your website currently loads, you can run a speed test at tools.pingdom.com. After you’ve ran that initial test, install the WP Super Cache plugin and test your website again. I guarantee you’ll have shaved off at least a second or two!
Keep in mind that after you’ve installed a caching plugin, you’ll need to delete your Cache every time you change something on your website. This essentially “refreshes” things, so that the next time someone visits your site, they’re viewing the most recent version of it.
When you install the WP Super Cache plugin, you’ll see a button in your top toolbar that says “Delete Cache”. All you have to do is click on that button to refresh your Cache Memory whenever you change something on your website!
Did you know that whenever you move an image, page, or post into the “Trash” on your WordPress dashboard, it actually stays in the trash until you go in and completely delete it?
I know I sometimes have up to 40 or 50 revisions on some blog posts (crazy, I know!). And do you know what those revisions are doing? They’re just sitting in my storage, taking up space!
To quickly eliminate revisions, images, and anything else you don’t need to keep on your website, you can install a plugin like WP-Optimize. With the click of a button (seriously, one click!), WP-Optimize permanently deletes all of these extra bits that are taking up unnecessary space on your website’s backend.
I’ve seriously become addicted to WP-Optimize. Hitting that little “Process” button and watching my revisions go from 50 down to 0 is such a good feeling (I’m weird, I know!)
A lot of bloggers don’t feel comfortable adding code directly to the Head or Footer section of their website, and I totally understand why. Messing with code and your Stylesheet can be scary!
However, for setting up things like Google Analytics and Rich Pins on Pinterest, you’ll need to add snippets of code to the header section of your website. This is where the Insert Headers and Footers plugin comes in handy!
Once you’ve installed the plugin, you’ll see a new section in your Settings tab called “Insert Headers and Footers”. When you click into that screen, you’ll see two text boxes called “Scripts in Header” and “Scripts in Footer”.
All you have to do is copy whatever code you need to add to your website, paste it into the appropriate box, and voila – the plugin adds that code to the header or footer section of your site!
Back when I knew next-to-nothing about HTML and CSS, this plugin was such a life-saver. If you’re not confident with coding, or if you have no clue what I’m even talking about when I say “header” and “footer”, I would highly suggest checking out the Insert Headers and Footers plugin.
I’ve saved one of the best for last!
SumoMe is the bomb.com for social media sharing AND email list-building. It comes with over a dozen built-in features – like pop-up boxes, smart bars, and scroll-down boxes – that you can use to get readers signing up for your email list.
It also comes with social media sharing buttons you can add to every page of your website. See that little green box over on the left-hand size of this page? That’s SumoMe!
I love that I can even change the color of those buttons to match my website’s branding. There’s nothing worse than having one thing on your website that sticks out like a sore thumb!
Now I know some people on free SumoMe accounts were a little upset with the recent changes to this plugin. In case you missed it, here’s the low-down: With the recent update, you can no longer directly sync your email list platform with your SumoMe widgets on a free SumoMe plan.
However, what you can do is set up all of your SumoMe widgets to function as “buttons”, instead of sign-up forms. When clicked on, these buttons will direct people to your sign-up forms or landing pages for your email list or opt-in freebies.
For example, have a look at the pink Smart Bar that’s going across the top of this page. Instead of having people enter their email addresses right within that bar, I have them click on the green button – which then takes them to one of my landing pages.
It’s an extra step, but if you’re determined to stay on a free SumoMe account, it works perfectly!
Even with the recent changes to SumoMe, I still think it’s an awesome plugin with a lot of amazing features. I recommend it to every single one of my clients!
What Are Your Top 10 WordPress Plugins?
I’m always looking for new plugins to test out, so let me know in the comments below which ones are your favorites! And if you’ve tried out any of the plugins in this post, let me know what you thought of them!
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