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8 Must Have WordPress Plugins to Improve Your Website’s Security and Performance

WordPress Plugins

WordPress is one of the most common platforms for building websites. Whether you’re in need of a personal blog or you’re looking to build an eCommerce empire, WordPress hosting is of great benefit. What makes the system so versatile is the sheer number of plugins that are available.

Plugins add more functionality to a WordPress website. It’s like adding the fancy bells and whistles to an already stable system. These additions can do everything from securing the site from hackers to improving the development of content.

Here are eight must-have WordPress plugins that every site should have installed.

1. Jetpack

Most WordPress installations already come with Jetpack. This plugin comes with separate modules to improve the overall functionality of the content management system. While some of the features will work when Jetpack is installed, more is possible by registering an account with WordPress.com to gain access to the rest of the platform.

Here are just a few of the highlights of the Jetpack plugin:

  • Site Stats: Shows the number of organic visitors and how many pages are viewed.
  • Publicize: Instantly updates social profiles with new posts as soon as the Publish button is clicked.
  • Spelling and Grammar: Helps tighten up content for better reading.

2. Yoast SEO

Search engine optimization is an ever-changing process. The developers of Yoast SEO implement the most current practices. It also comes with the ability to connect to Webmaster tools for both Google and Bing. Not only does this plugin help optimize the website, but it will guide users to develop stronger content as well.

Yoast comes with a variety of tools such as creating sitemaps, meta descriptions and keyword use. It also uses the Flesch Reading Ease assessment to determine if the content is too difficult to read. As a result, posts within WordPress are easier to skim through and possibly more engaging to the average visitor.

3. W3 Total Cache

One of the most important parts of developing a website with WordPress is speed. Not only is a fast site important to engage the visitor, but search engines hold speed in high regard as well. W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular plugins to deliver this boost in performance.

This plugin works with many content delivery networks, provides caching for browsers and objects and is capable of minifying third-party JavaScript to make the site faster. As a result, the website is at peak performance while offering a more streamlined experience for visitors.

In some instances, websites were ten times faster with W3 Total Cache than without. Of course, strong WordPress hosting will also play a role in speed and performance. However, W3 Total Cache can make a world of difference on virtually any WordPress website.

4. TinyMCE Advanced

Although the editing system in WordPress works well with the basics it comes with, TinyMCE Advanced takes the experience up a notch. It includes some of the most common tools for word processors as well as adding extra tool bars for organization purposes.

TinyMCE Advanced uses a drag-and-drop interface that lets users pick and choose which tools to keep in the visual editor of WordPress. Just simply drag the icon onto the tool bar and save the setting. This interface can also be used to rearrange the tools to fit the user’s preference.

5. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most used applications for tracking visitor activity on websites. It’s a free service offered by Google and is easily added to WordPress by using the plugin of the same name. The insights it offers can help develop future content and marketing strategies.

From the WordPress dashboard, admins have access to a limited scope of what Analytics can offer. Number of sessions, referring sites, visitor duration and more can be seen by selecting the metric from the drop down list. Accessing Google Analytics directly from its website opens the user up to far more metrics that are ultimately useful.

6. Broken Link Checker

Broken links from the website not only look bad to visitors, but they can hurt SEO as well. It’s important to make sure all links are working correctly, and Broken Link Checker is the right tool to do this. From the WordPress dashboard, admins can see when a link is broken immediately.

One of the highlights of this tool is that links are altered or removed directly from the tool itself. There is no need to go into the post and fix a problem as users can modify the link directly.

WARNING: This plugin can cause high CPU usage.

7. Wordfence Security

Safety and security are always a concern when operating any kind of website. Wordfence Security is one of the most popular methods for protecting WordPress from attacks. With more than one million active installs, it’s a widely used platform that does its job well.

Wordfence delivers a strong firewall, real-time blocking features, login security measures, security scanning of files, active monitoring and supports a multi-site environment. For those who use the IPv6 protocol, Wordfence is fully compatible. This plugin also supports eCommerce functions such as those from WooCommerce. As this system is absolutely free, users get full protection without worrying about licensing or subscription plans.

WARNING: This plugin can cause high CPU usage.  Here’s what you can do:

If you want to use Wordfence Security plugin, make sure you disable the Live Traffic tracking feature as it can cause performance issues.

  1. Log in to your WordPress site as the administrator.
  2. In the left-side pane, click Wordfence, and then click Options. The Wordfence Options page appears.
  3. Under Basic Options, clear the Enable Live Traffic View check box.
  4. Scroll to the end of the page, click Save Changes, and then click Reload page. Wordfence Security is now optimized for your site.

8. UpdraftPlus

No system is complete without a decent backup solution. UpdraftPlus delivers a way to save copies of the WordPress website on a myriad of storage platforms. For instance, a user can quickly save a backup copy to Dropbox or Rackspace Cloud with a click of the mouse. The integration capabilities of UpdraftPlus are one of its most endearing features.

This plugin allows for separate scheduling of file and database backups, downloading archives from the WordPress dashboard, quickly restoring a website and much more. Another feature that admins may appreciate is the ability to migrate WordPress from one host to another. UpdraftPlus can also retrieve backup files from other supported backup systems.

While good WordPress hosting is important for a stable website, plugins are used to give the content more appeal. Image galleries, calendars and even sports scores can all be delivered through these various additions. Find the plugins that work best and accentuate the site. That perfect addition may just improve the popularity of the content.

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