14th May, 2013

The Top WordPress Plugins from Experience…

wordpress content management systems

After sitting at my desk and wading through plugin after plugin for clients that have preferred the WordPress platform for their website, I have only come across a few that I install for SEO for WordPress purposes before I begin any web build. I have spent hours using each of them, and reading through articles to try and find the best that cover every requirement. As we all know there is nothing more frustrating than installing a plugin and beginning work to find that what you originally thought it would cover… it actually doesn’t at all!

So to save anyone who reads this article the time I have spent searching and searching, below I have outlined my favourite plugins that I have within my documents ready and waiting to install as soon as a WordPress project commences and they all are really easy to use so passing them on to clients is never a headache.

Yoast SEO

yoast seo wordpress plugin

I have used the ‘Yoast SEO‘ from the very beginning after finding it being reviewed highly across the web, and it is the one stop setup to all your SEO needs. As soon as you install this plugin it requires you to update relevant parts within your WordPress settings to ensure you are set up right from the off.

One of the most vital amendments it requires you to action is changing the post permalinks to the post name by editing the settings within WordPress and placing ” %postname% ” into the custom field. This enables all your latest posts to have the perfect page title based upon the title of your article having a dramatic effect on the performance within search engine listings.

Along with all the other fantastic ‘Yoast SEO‘ features, it also has a great SEO rating score for your posts based against the keyword you want your article to be focused on. Ensuring that you optimise the page to highest capability to gives it the best chance of ranking within the listings. It also provides you with a snippet of how the article will show in search listings, ensuring you are selling yourself through your meta descriptions which you can edit alongside the SEO page title.

Inside the page editing section at the bottom, while your writing your new article in WordPress, it also provides you with a page analysis covering areas such as keyword density, keyword phrases used in key areas, outbound links, Flesch Reading score and many other useful stats. You can also edit your Facebook description for the page alongside Google+, and create advanced settings to whether you would like the page to be indexed and so on.

All in all Yoast SEO is an essential WordPress plugin for any business or web design agency and should be highly considered when searching the plugin jungle.

Google Sitemap Generator

google xml sitemap wordpress plugin

One big problem when you are adding content to your website is that your sitemap never reflects all the hard work that you have put in unless you update it manually, and when you do update it manually not many people, unless you are an expert, understands all the different elements and which URL should have which metrics.

The ‘Google Sitemap Generator‘ covers all these area for you. As long as you have a sitemap.xml on your server and you have the correct permissions set on it to allow the plugin the write to it the script, it will update your sitemap with the brand new posts and notify search engines without even having to click a button. This is such a fantastic tool as the sitemap is one of the last things that any web designer ever remembers to update.

Within the ‘Google Sitemap Generator‘ plugin you can also specify the change frequency of your pages and which ones should take priority within your sitemap. This allows you to set up everything at the very start and also amend your focus in the future to whatever you desire.

As a Web Designer I would recommend this to anyone, as we are sometimes ‘less focused’ on the practical side of websites and more focused on how it looks. Definitely get this plugin installed and activated to stop you forgetting the most important part of the website, getting it found!


sharebar wordpress plugin

Creating social sharing buttons for a web designer is always a process, so why not make the job 1000 times faster and install a great plugin, with all the functionality built within it already and then style it to your needs? Sound good to you, it does to me!

The ‘Sharebar‘ gives you all the above and more.  Within your WordPress dashboard you can edit the order, the background colour and, if you are more experienced with the WordPress files, then you can go in and customise to suit all of you social sharing needs. It also comes with some great shortcodes for you to enable a vertical or horizontal share bar anywhere within your website.

As Essential Marketer keep advising, SEO & Social are becoming blurred in the middle and along with high quality content added to your website regularly you can create an online presence that is up and above all your competitors. Ensuring you have a fantastic social sharing plugin on your website is more important than ever, and will help your content reach a wider audience through other peoples’ connections, it seems like a silly choice not to have it installed, and ‘Sharebar‘ is certainly one of the best solutions I have come across.

SEO Friendly Images

seo friendly images wordpress plugin

Going through all your uploaded images and giving them titles and alt tags is always a time consuming exercise for any web designer or even user and something that is necessary to get W3C/xHTML validation as well.

So one of the kind developers on the WordPress database has created a plugin that will go through and add all your title and alt tags for you. When I came across this I couldn’t believe my luck and installed it as soon as possible. ‘SEO Friendly Images‘ is extremely easy to setup as it only has a few options (unless you upgrade to the paid version) but with these minimal options you can cover yourself and make sure that all your images are SEO friendly.

Although this plugin is extremely useful, if you are working on a project that requires images to be found in search engines I would spend the time to make sure that you go through all your images and give them the desired SEO target titles and alt text rather than relying on a plugin as it doesn’t always come back with the best results.

This plugin has saved me alot of time in the past and I would definitely advise you to place it in your armoury of plugins that you use across your projects.

Not Just Another List of General Plugins…

The whole point of this article was to save any web designer precious time, and write something that is actually worthwhile for a user and not just another list of general SEO plugins that someone has just searched for and written about. These are actual plugins that I use on every project, and will continue to use until I find something that can replace them or something that I can add to my artillery.

SEO For WordPress, Do You Know Of Any More Plugins…

If you know of any other plugins then please let me know as I would be more than happy to try out other plugins that are available and ones that will help me with my day to day workflow, get searching!


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