WordPress plugins are some of the easiest ways to enhance and customise your website. They allow you to make changes, add features and analyse data.
In today’s article, we’ll run through 5 of our favourite WordPress plugins:
- Yoast SEO
- WP Staging
- Broken Link Checker
- Contact Form 7
If you’d like to work with us to design a beautiful website, check out our WordPress service which offers website content, blog writing and help with themes, plugins & SEO.
1. Yoast SEO
The Yoast SEO plugin is a great tool for optimising your content. For every page or post on your website, Yoast provides an interactive checklist, reminding you to:
- Add internal and external links
- Set a custom title and meta description
- Keep your language clear and simple
- Use the appropriate amount of keywords
You don’t need to follow every suggestion religiously. Sometimes you might choose to write in a style which works for your blog (but which Yoast doesn’t like). In particular, if you write technical articles, Yoast will always say that you’re using too many long and difficult words.
But it’s a great way to make sure you haven’t missed anything obvious. And seeing the flags all go green is very satisfying!
2. WP Staging
Refreshing or revamping an existing website is tricky. You don’t want to make changes to the live site until everything is ready. But you’ve got to start somewhere.
You also have to be very careful with your hyperlinks. When you start making changes to page content or URLs, you’ll find a load a broken links building up. This can be a nightmare to hunt down and repair them all.
There’s a great plugin we’ve used in the past called WP Staging. It allows you to “clone” (copy) your existing website, leaving you with a practice site to play around with. You can make changes and see exactly what it will look like, without affecting your live website.
As soon as you’re happy with the new “staging” site, you can switch everything over there in one go.
Redirection is a plugin that we use on our clients’ websites to keep everything clean and tidy in the background. It’s really easy to use and is great for dealing with 404s, redirects etc.
Keeping on top of this stuff is important for a couple of reasons:
- Readers – It’s infuriating to land on a 404 or get redirected to the wrong page. Having a nice clean backend makes the user experience more pleasant.
- SEO – Google rewards sites with few errors, clean hierarchy and appropriate redirects. You’ll notice this in better SEO rankings.
Once you install Redirection, just go in and check every week or so and see if you need to add any manual redirects. It’s amazing how many redundant or out of date pages you can end up with after a few years.
4. Broken Link Checker
Continuing the theme of a clean and well-organised backend to your website… You should definitely consider adding the Broken Link Checker plugin to your WordPress website.
It has a really clear dashboard, which makes it very easy to spot any broken links. The plugin then allows you to remove the link, or to edit the target URL.
As with Redirection, schedule in a daily or weekly check of the plugin as part of your normal website audit checklist. Broken links are penalised by search engines (and they’re annoying for readers too).
5. Contact Form 7
If you want to use your website to capture the details of prospective customers (which we recommend), you’re going to need some sort of automated contact form. The one we advise is called Contact Form 7.
It has a bunch of nice features making it both powerful and incredibly easy to use:
- It stores your messages in an “inbox” system
- You can customise the message, destination inbox, form appearance etc
- It’s really easy to use and edit
There are plenty of other contacts forms out there, but this one seems to offer the best combination of features and usability.
If you’d like to discuss working with us on your WordPress website, please get in touch.