The fewer plugins you have on your blog, the faster it’ll be. And page speed is critical for SEO.
Page speed is just one ranking factor in Google’s ever-changing algorithm.
If you’re a smaller blog and you’re trying to compete in the SERPs with the big players, what advantages do you have other them? I would bet that you could build a faster site than them giving you a competitive advantage.
You can run a high-traffic blog with just a handful of plugins. The key is having a minimal theme (*cough* Carbonate) with simple goals.
For example, the goal of MoneyLab.co is to build a strong relationship with my readers by sharing my business-building experiences in an honest and transparent way. That means I don’t need plugins to make it easy for people to share my posts on social media.
Less is more.
That said, there are a few plugins I recommend for very specific reasons which I’ll layout below. Some of them are free and others are paid. For the paid ones, I believe you should pay for products that are 100% worth it.
1. Yoast SEO (Free)
YOU MUST INSTALL THIS PLUGIN TO USE THIS THEME.
All of the post descriptions that appear on the homepage and category pages under the post title come from the Yoast SEO meta description. I built it this way because Yoast tells you when your description is too long.
Plus, when you write a meta description for your posts, the goal is to convince someone to click in the SERPs (search engine results pages). So the same description you craft for Google will also appear under every post. That should help keep readers engaged and lower your bounce rate.
Plus, Yoast SEO is free, you can’t beat that. They are the most trusted SEO WordPress plugin out there.
2. Redirection (Free)
It’s wise to have a way to redirect URLs. For example, if you delete a post that’s getting traffic, you should redirect that traffic to a better, live post.
Redirection is a free plugin that lets you do that. And it’s the best FREE plugin I’ve found.
I also use this plugin with Google Search Console. If Google finds pages linking to bad pages on my site, I redirect them to good pages using this plugin.
3. Cloudflare (Free)
Cloudflare is a CDN and DNS manager. But to the laymen, it’ll make your site load faster.
This is technically a free service that you need to sign up for and connect your domain to. Once that’s done, you can download the free plugin to manage everything from within WordPress.
4. Safe SVG (FREE)
Wanna make your website crazy fast? Then upload all your images as SVGs. SVGs are way smaller files than PNGs, JPEGs, and GIFs.
Sure, you could use lazy loading and compression for non-vector images like photos, but if you can, use SVGs.
WordPress doesn’t let you upload SVGs, but if you install this plugin, then you’ll be able to.
5. WP Rocket (Paid)
6. Imagify (Paid)
This plugin is made by WP Rocket and it’s for image compression. Not only should you lazy load your images to increase page speed, but the image file size you upload should be as low as possible.
This plugin compresses and optimizes your images as you upload them to WordPress.
7. Admin Columns Pro (Paid)
This plugin is optional. It allows you to customize the post and page columns in WordPress.
I like it because it allows me to quickly update crucial post details without going into each and every post.
For example, on the main posts screen within WordPress, Admin Columns lets me view and edit the featured image, tags, categories, author, Yoast SEO keyword/description, and more.
It also lets me sort and search really easily. Highly recommended.
8. WP Link Status Pro (Paid)
You want to make sure all the links on your site are working. This is good for SEO, but more importantly, good for your readers.
The only good way I found to do this is to use this plugin. There’s a free version, but I recommend getting the paid version so you can make quick changes and never have a bad link on your site ever again.
9. LASSO (Paid)
Full disclosure: I’m a co-founder of this plugin.
It’s for affiliate marketers. It lets you manage all of your affiliate links from one place. And lets you display those affiliate links in customizable display boxes to help you increase your click conversion rates.
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