WordPress is a great system whether you’re building a basic blog or need something for your online business. I fell in love with the platform almost immediately. One of the most engaging aspects of this system is the ability to add a wide variety of functions to create the perfect site. These are my favorite WordPress tools that get installed on almost every website I help create.
WordPress Tools Every Site Owner Should Consider
Back in 2008, I was a strong supporter of using Joomla to build a website. That was before I came across WordPress. Don’t get me wrong, Joomla has a lot of potential. However, WordPress just seems to be easier and more rich when it comes to featurs. This is a short list of the WordPress tools I use and promote to clients who I help design their sites.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is probably one of my most favorite of plugins. Not only does it help you create content centered around search engine optimization, it also helps you write better material. For instance, Yoast SEO will:
- Measure your text against the Flesh Reading Ease test, which determines how difficult your content is to read.
- Calculate passive voice tense of the content, which also contributes to reading ease.
- Inform you if your text has too many keywords, which helps prevent saturation and SEO penalties.
- Help you develop sitemaps for search engine registration.
This list is only some of my favorite features. The PRO version does more for developing better content, but I’ve found the free version of Yoast SEO to be very effective.
The developers of the Yoast SEO plugin use the most current practices for optimization. Since installing the plugin, I’ve seen several updates and additions. If you want WordPress tools that can help improve your content, witness for yourself what Yoast can offer. It’s easy to use and installs a monitor directly under your text window in WordPress while scanning the content in real-time.
2. Broken Link Checker
How often do you link to a website that is relevant to your blog post? Now, how often do you check those links to make sure they still work? Not everyone likes their website linked on the pages of others, especially if you don’t have an authoritative site yourself. Sometimes, websites will also shut down completely making those links useless.
When links break, it makes your site look unprofessional while hurting your search engine optimization. Plugins like Broken Link Checker can be invaluable when making sure your links are still working.
This plugin adds a function to the dashboard to inform you when a link is broke. You can then go into the system and change the URL of the link without actually opening the blog post. This can save a great deal of time looking through those older pieces of content. This is how I found out USNews doesn’t like links to its pages and will often toss up the “403 Forbidden” screen when blocking you.
You don’t really have to change any settings in this plugin. It will run in the background without taking a lot of resources from the site. What I like is the ability to alter links or even remove them directly from within Broken Link Checker without having to sift through blog posts.
3. TinyMCE Advanced
The text editor in WordPress is useful, but it often lacks a lot of the features of a full-fledged word processor. TinyMCE Advanced not only adds greater functionality to the editor, but you can also drag and drop other tools you may want to use. The system will also install additional tool bars in the editor if you want to keep things separated.
This plugin includes things like code, superscript, horizontal lines or even emoticons to add to your blog post. It uses a drag-and-drop platform allowing you to easily add or remove any tools you want from the editor. You can easily change font sizes, font families and indent your content with just a few clicks of the mouse. 😈 10:00:59 AM
Note: You have to be in the “Visual” tab of your editor to take advantage of these additions.
4. W3 Total Cache
For those who want to deliver a faster website, W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular plugins to use. Speed is a major contributor when it comes to both SEO practices and keeping an audience engaged. In fact, studies show that most people will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. While the technology of your hosting company will contribute to this speed, the efficiency of your site plays a dominant role.
Essentially, W3 Total Cache allows your website to be more efficient when it comes to delivering content. This is especially true for those who have return visitors. It also works great with a Content Delivery Network, which vastly increases the speed of a site. Out of all WordPress tools, this one may be more valuable than others depending on whether or not visitor engagement is important. For instance, eCommerce sites want to be as fast as possible.
From my perspective, I haven’t really noticed much of a difference. Then again, I wasn’t really paying attention to my site when it came to speed. The Internet I use most of the time is ultra-slow anyway. So, I have a poor experience no matter what I do. I have noticed a longer average visit duration in Analytics since I’ve installed the plugin, though.
5. Page Builder by Site Origin
Page Builder is an incredibly useful plugin, especially if you want to use a theme that doesn’t have a lot of options available. This plugin gives you full control of pages and posts while allowing you to insert widgets almost anywhere. For instance, if you want to put a widget within a post itself, Page Builder is what you would want to use.
I’ve spent a great deal of time looking for a plugin that can break up a homepage to provide columns for articles. Page Builder gives you that ability as well as control over the actual layout of a lot of the site. One of the things I like most about the plugin is that it will work with almost any theme. This means you can use those themes that you love while having far more options for customizing how they look.
Another aspect I like is that Page Builder is completely free. There is no “Pro” version that offers more functionality, because you get everything with the one plugin. The developers state, “It’s free, and always will be.” However, I’ve seen developers change their mind. Remember when Net Zero offered free dial-up, unlimited Internet? I do. Hopefully, SiteOrigin stays true to their word.
These are only a handful of the plugins that I found to be incredibly useful when developing a website. There are thousands of WordPress tools that can help you create anything from an eCommerce site to a car rental business. Why not add a bit of life to your site and look for something that could accentuate the content? It may separate you from the millions of other blogs out there on the Internet.