5 Free Must Have WordPress Plugins For Any Website

In my opinion, WordPress is the most versatile platform for any website design. You have literally 1000’s of themes to choose from that will deliver any look you require and a vast library of free plugins that will allow you to execute any functionality you require.

Here you can find the top 5 free WordPress website plugins you must have on your site. These free plugins help improve performance, user experience, SEO and producing content a lot easier and quicker.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache (download) is by far the best caching and performance plugin available for your WordPress website. With load speed and performance being a ranking factor on Google, this plugin is a must have to ensure your rankings don’t get held up.

Before we dive into what W3 Total Cache can do, there are a lot of settings that require an advanced knowledge of WordPress, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If you are unsure on any of these aspects its worth getting in touch with a company that provides website maintenance for WordPress websites so they can apply the correct settings for you. If you apply the wrong settings, your site may not function correctly or even load at all!

Now lets jump into what W3 Total Cache can do for your website! This plugin allows your WordPress website to function efficiently, load quickly and perform at its optimal standards. This will give your Google PageSpeed Score a boost, which will help your rankings jump up. Here is a list of all elements W3 Total Cache covers:

  • Page Cache
  • Minify
  • Database Cache
  • Object Cache
  • Browser Cache
  • CDN Link Up

There are a lot of caching plugins out there but non of them have the level of options as W3 Total Cache does. The main option i like is the Minify settings. You maybe aware that most WordPress themes have problems deferring parsing of JavaScript. Here you can fix this problem but it does require some knowledge and experience with website maintenance to achieve the correct settings, as mentioned above.

WP Smush

WP Smush (download) automatically reduces the data size of your images allowing your WordPress web pages to load a lot faster. For example, if you upload an image to your page or post and the image size is 750kb, WP Smush automatically strips out all unnecessary data, without losing image quality, and leaves you with an image usually under 100kb.

This will help your load speed as images are usually the main causes for web pages loading slowly. Most websites have 4-5 images per website, WP Smush could save you up to 1MB per web page! That’s a huge improvement for your website maintenance from just one plugin!

There is a premium version of this plugin available that states it will decrease your image twice as much as the free plugin but to be honest we have never had the need to use it. If anyone has used the premium version, please comment below to let us know if its worth the money or not?

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO (download) is currently the top SEO plugin around due to more features available other than just adding a meta title and description! We used to use the Ultimate SEO plugin for many years and was a huge decision to switch over to Yoast. We glad we did!

If you have used Yoast you will probably be aware of the green lights on each web page. This is just a gimmick in my opinion! There is so much more to Yoast and these little green lights don’t really mean a thing. If anything, you could probably end up over optimising each web page if you focus on the green light.

Here is a full list of settings that come with Yoast:

  • OnPage.org
  • Webmaster Tools Intergration
  • Meta Robots (important)
  • Social Media Data
  • Automatic XML Sitemaps
  • Meta Titles & Description
  • Facebook & Twitter Titles, Descriptions & Image
  • Schema Data

The biggest feature in my opinion with Yoast is the Meta Robots settings. With WordPress websites they do through out a lot of irrelevant and duplicate pages that causes Google index bloat. These duplicate/irrelevant pages are using category, tags and filtering pages. Depending on the size of your website, WordPress can chuck out 1000’s of these duplicate pages that will cause ranking issues. It is important to apply the correct Meta Robots settings to avoid these pages being indexed by Google and to give your rankings a real boost.

Eggplant 301 Redirects

Eggplant 301 Redirects (download) is a great plugin to have in your WordPress website maintenance and SEO arsenal! You are able to redirect dead or old pages to a new web page with ease.

Redirects are important with Google and your search engine optimisation as indexed pages that show a 404 error is a huge problem for your rankings. If you login to your Google Search Console you will be able to view all the indexing errors and 404 pages Google have picked up while crawling your site.

All you need to do is download the CSV file containing these errors from your Search Console, edit the columns to show where you want the 404 page to redirect to, then simply upload the CSV to Eggplant 301 Redirects. Problem fixed!

Duplicate Post

Duplicate Post (download) does nothing for your Google rankings or WordPress website performance but it does help adding a new page 10 times faster so i thought i would include it in my top 5 WordPress plugins list!

This plugin is great when your building a new WordPress website design as you can build 1 great template for your web page, click the ‘duplicate’ button then you have a new duplicate page ready to edit with new text and images! Very straight forward plugin but higher useful. This plugin has cut our website design process in half and is a must have for any website.

WordPress Plugin Round Up

These 5 plugins are a must have for EVERY WordPress website, no matter on your industry! These plugins will improve load speed, performance, Google rankings and design time. Best of all… they are all FREE!

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