Warning: Ignoring These 7 WordPress Plugins Could Seriously Damage Your Blog

Warning: Ignoring These 7 WordPress Plugins Could Seriously Damage Your Blog

Warning: Ignoring These 7 WordPress Plugins Could Seriously Damage Your Blog

No doubt you’ve seen them.

The fascinating posts that promise to show the five, or 10 or even 57 WordPress plugins you actually need to use for your weblog.

You click the headlines and scroll through the posts, your jaw striking open at the reputedly infinite possibilities to convert your weblog.

And necessarily, you discover your self installing each unmarried one.

But quickly after, you understand that maximum of these plugins don’t live up to the hype.

In different phrases, you’ve wasted a while.

Worse still, your website has grow to be extraordinarily slower. Your newly slow dashboard way responsibilities that used to take some seconds now take a complete minute. And your readers are getting a poor revel in too.

It’s a commonplace state of affairs – “bright item syndrome” is hard to keep away from.

But you ought to want some plugins installed on your blog, proper?

So the question remains:

Which ones do you really need?

And wouldn’t it be awesome if someone may want to simply tell you precisely what they’re?

The Seductive Myth of the “Essential” WordPress Plugin

Back in 2009, I become preparing to release my first WordPress self-hosted blog.

I knew there have been plugins that would assist, so I spread out Google and started out seeking out “ought to-have” and “vital” plugins.

And after studying via limitless weblog posts and weighing my web site down with some distance more plugins than my internet host ought to cope with, I got here to a surprising conclusion.

No plugin is honestly critical.

It’s a fable. Nothing extra.

No unmarried plugin is so essential that its very absence will damage your blog.

Here’s the real truth:

While specific plugins are not essential, precise sorts of plugins are.

For instance, you’ll actually need a plugin to speed up your web site. Is there a specific one I advocate? Yes. But lots of alternatives exist too, every with its own pros and cons.

But you’re never tied to at least one unique plugin.

That stated, if you don’t install a plugin from every of the subsequent classes then you’ll positioned the lengthy-time period achievement and cash-making capability of your blog in jeopardy.

Have You Installed Plugins from These 7 Essential Categories?

#1 Performance – Delight Your Readers with Quick-Loading Content

The time your blog takes to load is a massive deal.

If it feels slow, readers get frustrated and that they’re a ways much more likely to bounce away. Also, Google is known to penalize poorly acting sites, because of this decrease seek scores.

But with a faster-loading weblog, your readers get a higher enjoy and Google remains happy.

The reason that overall performance can be an trouble is that WordPress pages are dynamic. Every time a person visits your blog, a brand new request is made and the required content material is created in HTML. That means assembling individual elements like the header, the menus and the sidebar into the very last page brought to the reader’s browser.

Somewhat inefficient, right?

Not in case you installation the right sort of plugin.

A overall performance optimization plugin will “cache” your content material, which means that if every other vacationer requests the equal content (e.G., your brand new weblog submit), your blog will supply a latest reproduction in preference to growing it again from scratch.

The result – your web page load times improve dramatically.

What is the endorsed plugin?

W3 Total Cache is an efficient and popular plugin that’s unfastened to download.

It has the capability to apply numerous types of caching (now not just the page caching defined above) and is also highly customizable if you need to get into the nitty gritty information.

The plugin also integrates with numerous content transport networks (CDNs) which can improve performance and reliability by means of adding off-site caching. (This manner that even in case your whole website online is unavailable for some purpose, the CDN can deliver its personal reproduction of your content material so customers might not even word the problem.)

W3 Total Cache presents masses of additional options for superior customers, even though even a basic configuration can produce superb consequences.

What are the options?

WP Supercache is a outstanding opportunity as there’s less of a mastering curve involved within the preliminary setup.

WP Rocket is a paid alternative with a strong popularity. Pricing begins at $39 consistent with internet site.

Note: Certain web hosts, like SiteGround (affiliate link) or WP Engine, offer their own overall performance optimization plugins, so you received’t want to install one one at a time. Check together with your host in case you’re unsure.

Editor’s Note: Read our in-depth review of SiteGround here: SiteGround Review: Still the Best (Or Not-So-Good) in 2022?

#2 Security – Lock Down Your Blog to Keep the Hackers Out

As bloggers, we positioned our hearts and souls into our blogs.

Unfortunately some humans are hell-bent on trashing our difficult paintings.

Yes, I’m talking about hackers.

You see, one of the few negative aspects of selecting WordPress when you begin a weblog is that its vulnerabilities are well-known to hackers. And being so famous, WordPress gives them tens of millions of ability objectives.

Fortunately positive plugins can make minor changes in your WordPress set up a good way to protect in opposition to the most not unusual security threats.

And while this gained’t forestall the savviest hackers, you’ll rest less complicated knowing your website is greater steady.

What is the endorsed plugin?

IThemes Security has a loose model that offers you a great amount of safety and peace of thoughts proper out of the box. (It changed into previously called “Better WP Security,” however has in view that been offered by means of iThemes which has accelerated development.)

Upon installation, you’ll be prompted to run a “one-click” setup wizard with a purpose to take care of the maximum basic tweaks. You will then see prompts to your dashboard showing you what you still need to repair (at the press of a button) and how important it is to the general safety of your website online.

IThemes also has its personal “Brute Force Protection Network,” meaning customers who have attempted to hack other sites might be blocked from accessing yours. But you do want to prompt this within the settings.

Go to Settings > Brute Force Protection, input your electronic mail deal with (unclick the signup below if you don’t need updates) and click “Save All Changes.”

The plugin also lets in you to create backups, however it will only returned up your database (not your entire blog). However, I recommend the usage of a consultant plugin to address backups – but more on that during a second.

There’s a premium version of this plugin as a way to give you get admission to to extra functions including two-component authentication, which requires you to enter a security code despatched by way of SMS whilst logging into your website.

Another helpful seasoned function is the ability to present a person temporary administrator or editor access – this can be useful when you have to give get entry to to a developer, as an example, however don’t want to hand over your important login credentials.

What are the options?

BulletProof Security is a popular opportunity.

It has over 100,000 lively installations. What I mainly like about this plugin, apart from its accessible protection features, is that almost all of the support threads were resolved in the beyond two months.

There is a paid version of BulletProof Security that adds a protracted list of features and fees $59.Ninety five.

In addition to a safety plugin, I’d recommend adding a “captcha” for your login web page the usage of a plugin like Captcha on Login to help ensure your site visitors are actual human beings and now not bots.

Once mounted, your login form will appearance something like this:

Captcha on Login is loose, and due to the fact maximum hacking tries are carried out on a large scale through bots (maximum of that are easily thwarted by using this easy visual test), I’ve observed a number of hack tries forestall completely after putting in this.

As an delivered layer of safety, I have a top class account with Sucuri which video display units my web page for malware and ability troubles. You can think of this as an anti-virus software on your internet site.

Last 12 months one among my websites become hacked due to the fact I forgot to replace a plugin I sold from Codecanyon.Internet – Sucuri consists of malware removal and had my website online cleaned up a few hours later.

#three Backups – Insure Your Blog Against Mistakes and Disasters

Backups are your protection internet while matters move wrong.

If your web site gets hacked, your internet host by hook or by crook loses all of your information otherwise you by chance delete your personal weblog (sure, it happens), a current backup will save the day.

Now I recognise what you might be thinking – your web host plays backups for you.

And even as that may be real in lots of instances, maximum internet hosts provide no ensures and you’ve little or no manipulate over what’s subsidized up and how regularly.

Here’s a cautionary story that would convince you that you need your very own backups.

A buddy of mine hired a freelance developer to migrate his website to a new host.

When they’d completed the migration, they instructed the old hosting company to shut their account.

Soon in a while they realized their WordPress database hadn’t migrated over with the alternative files.

But it changed into too overdue.

The website hosting corporation wiped all of the backups and they needed to resurrect the blog the usage of vintage emails and Word documents – ouch!

That’s a lesson you don’t need to should research the tough way.

What is the encouraged plugin?

UpdraftPlus is a effective plugin which boasts over 600,000 active installs – and it’s unfastened.

The plugin has a score of four.9 out of five stars on the WordPress plugin repository and is actively supported by its developers – which is exceptional thinking about it doesn’t cost anything.

Backups can be stored within the cloud the use of services consisting of Google Drive, Dropbox and Amazon Cloud in addition to being transferred via e mail and FTP.

Importantly, UpdraftPlus will now not simply again up your WordPress database (i.E., your posts, comments, configuration, etc.) but all your files too (i.E., your theme, plugins, photographs, and so forth.).

There’s additionally a top class version which provides some of extra features, which include:

1GB Updraft Vault (opportunity to Dropbox/Google Drive)

Site migration/cloning

Additional backup options for Copy.Com, Microsoft OneDrive and greater

Option to ship backups to multiple locations

Multisite support

Pricing for the top rate model starts offevolved at $70 for two sites.

What are the alternatives?

BackWPup is any other popular loose plugin you may locate inside the WordPress plugin repository. Its ratings aren’t pretty as stellar as UpdraftPlus, but with over four hundred,000 energetic installs it absolutely works nicely for plenty.

BackupBuddy is a every other famous paid option with expenses beginning at $eighty. I’ve used this on numerous blogs over time and have located it to be very dependable.

However, the fine alternative plugin is not really a plugin at all.

Because here’s the thing:

The greater plugins you upload in your website, the slower it’s going to be.

When you first start your weblog, using a plugin in your backups is the great way to move, specially considering the reality that it won’t fee you a penny.

But as your weblog grows in size, your backups will take longer to run. Also, your web page will come under extra load from elevated traffic which places further stress at the WordPress platform and your web host.

At this point an off-web site system works quality. This manner the usage of a gadget external in your WordPress installation to do maximum of the “heavy lifting” of making regular backups.

As it happens, WordPress has its own solution called VaultPress which starts at $five/month.

VaultPress is simple to set up and additionally offers you the choice to repair your weblog with the click of a button. You do need to install a light-weight plugin to attach your blog to VaultPress, however the backups run on their servers to make certain your weblog isn’t slowed down.

#4 Broken Links – Seamlessly Redirect Your Readers When Content Moves

Don’t you simply hate broken links?

Sometimes as a blogger you want to trade the URL of one among your posts or pages – as an instance, to optimize your content for search engine optimization.

But what takes place to individuals who nevertheless have the antique hyperlink?

Usually they get sent to an unfriendly errors page:

This not best reasons a terrible reader revel in, however it may additionally stop engines like google from fully crawling your blog, which means that Google may additionally penalize your typical ranking. (After all, humans could lose self belief in Google’s effects in the event that they encountered too many broken links on its effects pages.)

So what need to you do?

You want to make sure that your weblog automatically redirects everyone who tries to get entry to the antique URL to the brand new URL. This may be finished with a plugin or by using delving into some code (we’ll communicate approximately this in a second too).

Deciding which method to use is a exchange-off. Using a plugin is quicker and easier however makes your web server work harder. On the alternative hand, not everyone is snug delving into code – mainly whilst creating a tiny error in the report you need to edit ought to convey down your entire blog!

Don’t worry although – we’ll cover both alternatives for you so that you can go with what you’re maximum snug with.

What is the endorsed plugin?

I advise Redirection, that’s free to down load from the WordPress plugin repository.

This plugin permits you to manually add “redirects” for pages whose URLs have permanently modified. The mechanism is definitely search engine-friendly so that you dispose of the risk of being penalized.

There’s additionally a useful feature which robotically adds redirects for you every time you exchange a permalink. Of path, that only works for hyperlinks you convert after putting in the plugin.

But there’s always a chance your weblog has different damaged hyperlinks that you don’t understand approximately, and you can locate these the usage of Google Search Console or Xenu’s Link Sleuth. Once determined, you could add the appropriate redirects.

There are plugins so as to discover damaged hyperlinks for you, but I endorse in no way the use of them as they can severely effect the overall performance of your weblog (and others in case you’re on a shared website hosting platform).

The Redirection plugin additionally helps “404 monitoring,” which means it tracks requests for URLs that don’t exist. While this will be useful facts, it is able to additionally purpose performance problems on shared platforms, so I endorsed disabling the logging as follows:

What are the opportunity options?

You should strive the Quick Page/Post Redirect plugin, which does maximum of what the Redirection plugin does.

But as cited in advance, the fine exercise is to feature redirects manually.

This may be performed via the .Htaccess document which controls get right of entry to to your internet site. The method is defined by means of Ana Lynn Amelio on this post. But be cautious – one individual out of area should convey your internet site down.

For further studying on redirects, I’d suggest finding out this helpful article through the group at Moz.Com.

#5 SEO – Make Tweaks to Guarantee that Google Loves Your Blog

Out of the box, WordPress is already well-optimized for search engines, but in exercise it doesn’t come up with the kind of excellent-grained manipulate that you need.

A purpose-built plugin will enable you to customise on-web page elements which include web page titles and meta descriptions, so as to have an effect on how your content material seems in search consequences (and which could have a large impact on click on-throughs).

It may also take care of sitemaps (which make it easier for search engines like google and yahoo to move slowly your content material) and provide you with particular control over which posts and pages can be indexed by means of Google.

For example, you wouldn’t need Google to index the hidden page in which new subscribers can download your “bribe to subscribe” – in any other case people may want to discover it with out subscribing.

An search engine marketing plugin will do all of these items and more.

What is the encouraged plugin?

My pass-to search engine marketing plugin is Yoast SEO and at the same time as Yoast does have a top rate version, you may do nearly everything you need with the free version.

In fact it does everything described above and has extra functions, as an example making it clean to feature social metadata for Facebook and Twitter. This manner you can set network-specific titles, descriptions and featured pix, selected to attraction to that particular target audience.

What are the opportunity options?

All in One SEO Pack is some other popular option for dealing with SEO – it has a amazing rating and is actively being kept up to date.

You can deploy the plugin totally free or improve to the top class version. Prices start at $79.

#6 Social Sharing – Give Readers the Tools to Spread Your Content

You want to get extra visitors and grow your target market, right?

One of the perfect methods to do this is to make your content material easy for readers to proportion. And of route that means including social sharing buttons.

Certain WordPress issues include this option built in, however they are able to hardly ever compete with a committed plugin.

A best plugin will generally be lots extra configurable in terms of both conduct and appearance.

What is the recommended plugin?

My favored plugin for adding social sharing buttons is Social Warfare.

Not most effective do its sharing buttons appearance brilliant-slick, but it’s built with performance in thoughts so its conduct is slick too.

The plugin lets in you to feature “Click to Tweet” boxes to your content material – every other manner to encourage social sharing.

And you may also add Pinterest-specific pix to maximise engagement on that platform. This is beneficial because taller pix perform higher on Pinterest but you don’t want to should change the dimensions of your featured image.

And it receives higher . . .

You can avoid poor social proof (human beings wondering that content material with few stocks is low great) with the aid of hiding your share counts until you reach a first rate variety.

The most effective drawback to this plugin is that it isn’t unfastened, however it most effective prices round $25/12 months.

What are the alternatives?

Social media is a crowded plugin class, however of all of the possible options, two alternative sharing plugins come to mind, and they’re each unfastened:

SumoMe Share – SumoMe has a suite of apps centered on supporting you force greater site visitors for your blog. The suite is to be had as a WordPress plugin, however you could use it on any blog that makes use of HTML. Customization options are ample and you can eliminate the “powered by using” emblem by means of upgrading to the premium version.

Simple Share Buttons Adder – Simplicity is at the coronary heart of this plugin. It has some helpful customization alternatives but they’re not overwhelming. Step through the settings to get the buttons looking the way you need them, and also you’re geared up to head!

#7 List-Building – Turn Casual Visitors into Loyal Subscribers

Regardless of your topic, if you want to grow your weblog, you want to construct an electronic mail list.

Social media allow you to construct an target audience, but not anything draws people lower back for your blog pretty like an e-mail listing. It’s successfully traffic on demand.

So how do you get commenced?

There are lots of listing-constructing tactics you may use, but they all require one element – an decide-in shape.

That’s why you need a tool that makes it easy to add opt-in bureaucracy on your website, optimize them the use of cut up testing and generate reviews that display your progress.

What is the endorsed plugin?

From a function angle, nothing else comes near Thrive Leads.

You get get admission to to a large variety of opt-in form templates and an in depth visible editor, so you can customise current templates or create your own forms from scratch.

It helps diverse choose-in form types together with sidebars, popovers, widgets, in-content material, notification bars, scroll bins, scroll mats and greater.

And you may make links or snap shots that show a popover after they’re clicked – this works exceptional for adding content improvements.

But I’ve observed a problem with many list-constructing plugins. They appear to vow all kinds of updates and characteristic improvements that in no way truely materialize.

It’s been a exclusive story with Thrive Leads.

I first reviewed them lower back in February, and when you consider that then they’ve continued to update the plugin, in conjunction with rolling out new features, such as:

New decide-in shape kinds together with the Scroll Mat

Asset delivery, making it easy to ship decide-in bribes on your subscribers

Thrive Smart Links which permits you to show a exceptional call to motion to subscribers

Multi-kingdom forms such as yes/no popovers

Thrive Leads is a premium plugin with fees starting from $67. For that price you get three hundred and sixty five days of help and limitless updates.

What are the options?

Many plugins come up with the potential to add unique opt-in form types, however the problem is that if you need multiple type (which you possibly will), you’ll turn out to be putting in increasingly plugins.

Several other plugins make accurate all-spherical alternatives:

SumoMe – Aside from its Share app, the SumoMe plugin also has a few apps associated with listing-constructing:

List Builder does popovers,

Scroll Box adds a shape that appears as customers scroll down the page and

Smart Bar adds a notification bar above or beneath your content.

Most lately, Welcome Mat became brought which presentations a complete-display screen call to motion.

SumoMe is free, despite the fact that upgrading to a pro account will do away with its branding and upload features together with break up checking out.

OptinMonster – OptinMonster is a hosted app that integrates with your blog via its very own WordPress plugin (affiliate hyperlink). You can upload widgets, header notifications, popovers, full-screen popovers, scroll containers and greater. Split checking out comes constructed in, and the MonsterLinks characteristic permits you to display popovers while your readers click on particular links. Prices begin at $9 per month, however that most effective consists of popovers.

Ask These Crucial Questions before Installing Any New Plugin

This listing isn’t exhaustive and also you’ll continually encounter new plugins. Chances are a number of them can be really worth putting in. Some can also even rival the plugins on this list.

But before you go beforehand and install yet any other plugin, right here are a few questions to do not forget:

Is the plugin virtually treasured? Many plugins serve as distractions, presenting little cost. Before you put in a plugin, make sure that its functions will definitely benefit your weblog. Plugins that merely seem cool or exciting probably received’t justify your time and effort.

Is the plugin regularly up to date? When a plugin hasn’t seen an replace for several months or even longer, it is probably a sign that the developer has given up on it. You may also discover it’s no longer compatible with the cutting-edge model of WordPress. On the other hand, common updates and help threads that are fast resolved are a sign you may accept as true with  the plugin and the team behind it.

Is the pricing version sustainable? Most completely free plugins (i.E., the ones with out premium options) are not sustainable in the long time. After all, you can’t expect the developer to devote hours to improving and troubleshooting software and not using a praise. Even paid plugins can be unsustainable if they’re too reasonably-priced. For instance, $49 for lifetime updates probably isn’t going to fly from a enterprise attitude.

Where will you take a look at the plugin? ­Some plugins can also reason issues together with your weblog subject matter, conflict with other plugins or not work at all. It’s a lot more secure to put in a new plugin on a website that isn’t your primary weblog and take a look at it out first.

Strike the Perfect Balance with Your WordPress Plugins

Plugins are one of the best benefits of using WordPress on your blog – and the opportunities are almost countless.

But they can also reason you critical headaches.

Install too many plugins, and you run the threat of hitting technical glitches and slowing your weblog down, that’s awful news for you and your readers.

On the alternative hand, ignoring certain plugins method lacking out on features that would seriously accelerate the success of your blog.

Finding the precise stability is the important thing to creating WordPress give you the results you want.

So handiest set up plugins that remedy real issues for you or your readers and try to face up to passing developments.

Start with plugins from the types above and make sure you’ve covered the essentials.

Then you can finally stop worrying about plugins and cognizance on what subjects maximum – your readers.

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