As an agency that works in WordPress for most of our clients’ websites, we’ve encountered many different site configurations, plugin combinations and custom dashboard setups – for better or for worse. But there are a handful of plugins that we find installed on most sites or use ourselves every time.
Here are our top 3 WordPress plugins to make WordPress site management easier and help create a better on-page experience for your visitors.
What does it do?
Redirecting URLs is the practice of resolving an existing URL to a different one. They have several uses but are primarily to inform visitors and search engines that a page has moved or has been removed from the site.
Google provides lengthy documentation on how to implement redirect policies on your website. To implement a simple redirect manually, you need to edit the header.php file for the page you want to redirect, and insert the following code snippet:
header('HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently'); header('Location: http://www.your-website/your-new-url'); exit();
For those who are less tech-savvy, short on time, or have limited editing permissions, this might not always be an option. And if you have a lot of redirects across your site, it can be difficult to keep track of them without third-party tools.
Redirection is a completely free plugin that allows you to implement your redirect policies from the WordPress dashboard with just a few clicks, and without editing your site’s PHP files directly.
To set up a redirect using the Redirection tool, simply enter the URL you want to redirect, along with your new URL.
To edit or remove the redirect, simply click “edit” or “delete” when in the dashboard.
Why use it?
Your redirection policies can have a huge impact on your SEO – they ensure that you maintain your rankings and avoid sending your visitors to pages that no longer exist, even if search engines haven’t had a chance to index the new versions yet.
Redirects are best practice if you are making changes to your website that affect URL structures, such as:
- Rebuilding your website
- Rebranding your business
- Adding and removing products
- Consolidating unnecessary pages
As well as making implementing your redirect policies easier, Redirection allows you to easily manage and keep track of them from your dashboard to avoid redirect loops, which can harm your SEO and user experience.
You can even use the plugin to adjust how your redirects behave for your visitors based on different conditions, such as their WordPress login status, the browser they use, and the cookies they have set. These types of adjustments are far more complex to implement manually without the plugin.
Yoast Duplicate Post
What does it do?
The Yoast Duplicate Post plugin is a page cloning tool from the makers of the popular Yoast SEO plugin.
The plugin allows you to duplicate pages, blog posts and custom post types on your site, along with any elements you want to copy over, such as excerpts and featured images.
Whilst there are several great duplication plugins available for WordPress, this is our preferred option as it is well supported and generally kept up to date with the latest version of WordPress.
Why use it?
This plugin can make building your websites and landing pages much quicker and much more consistent.
Here are just a few examples of where Yoast Duplicate Post has helped speed things up during some of our recent digital projects:
- Creating drafts of existing pages for testing new custom field types
- Presenting different page layout options to a client
- Building a large inventory of e-commerce products with similar attributes
- Setting up alternative landing pages for A/B testing a PPC campaign
- Building event pages for a webinar series
- Populating a website following a full rebrand
With Yoast Duplicate Post, you never have to edit a live page on your site. All your changes can be made and tested in the copy, and any issues can be troubleshot and fixed without the need to create a development site, and without impacting your visitors.
What does it do?
Siteground Optimizer is a popular all-in-one WordPress Optimisation plugin from the hosting provider Siteground.
Why use it?
Website speed and performance are more important than ever. Your visitors are unlikely to stick around if they’re faced with a site that doesn’t load quickly, and the search engines favour better-performing sites in their results.
Siteground Optimizer is a feature-rich optimisation plugin, it’s straightforward to use and the performance improvements it makes are often instantly noticeable when it’s active.
Managing your website’s image sizes and formats through the plugin can save you a lot of time manually editing and resaving your images, especially if you have a large site with products or image galleries. In just a few clicks, you can reduce the size of all images on your site by up to 80%.
Whilst hosting on Siteground will unlock some additional features, the plugin is fully compatible with any of the main WordPress hosting providers and can work alongside other optimisation plugins you may have already installed on your site.
A final note on WordPress plugins
Plugins can be a great way to add extra features and options to your WordPress site, without needing to be a website developer. However, relying too heavily on plugins can cause instability and issues with your site.
When installing and configuring any new plugin on your WordPress site, make sure that it is compatible with your current version of WordPress, and any existing plugins installed on your site. Check its support forum and user ratings for any reported issues and ensure you have a backup of your site ready in case you need to roll back your WordPress installation.
Need help with your WordPress site? If you require assistance configuring plugins, implementing improvements or conducting an audit of your site, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 850 5555.