Many of my friends ask me for suggestions on what plugins they should install on their WordPress or what services he or she should use to make their website more efficient, so I decided to make a list.
The first one you should definitely get is google analytics. Even the professionals use this service and I personally think having one should be mandatory. This service will give you the bounce rates, sessions, durations, visitor’s information (demographics, where they’re coming from, what computers they’re using, how long they’re staying, behavior and much more), real time information, conversions and etc. You can use this information to optimize your site accordingly to improve traffic and your earnings, so it’s a number one must have on my list. When I sold my first website, the company asked for google analytics, so they can see all the information on it.
Next one you should get is email subscriber plugin or service. There is constant contact, optinmonster, email subscribers and newsletter, and much more plugins available if you use WordPress. Building a database of your visitors, so that you can notify them of a new content is a must. Visitors may love your website, but can forget about it (due to work and so on), so having an email is a good reminder for them.
Third item you should get are security plugins and services. Services like Sucuri, Akismet, and backup should be utilized. Getting attacked is inevitable, so having a good security plan will come in handy. Akismet will help filter spams, Sucuri will protect you from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and much more, and Backup can be used if you lose all your information. There are a lot more services out there besides these (defenders and itheme), but you get the gist of what kind of services/plugins you need.
Fourth item on the checklists are SEO optimizers. If you have WordPress, Yoast SEO is perfect for this (it’s currently #1 in WordPress plugin). This tool helps you add meta tags, index your page, XML site maps, RSS optimization, and much more. SEO tools are important because search engine is where most of your traffic/visitors will come from. Optimizing SEO will not only generate higher traffic, but will generate traffic that will stay because the visitors who come want your content. Another good SEO plugin is googling XML sitemaps. Having a good XML sitemap helps search engine better index your website. Not only that, search engine sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing will be notified every time you make a new content. There are a lot more optimizers like smartcrawl (tells web crawlers that your site has content that needs registering instead of waiting for it to come find you), so you should do further research.
Fifth item are speed optimizers. You would want plugins like W3 cache, WP smush, and cloudflare. Cloud flare will use CDN (content delivery network), which will increase your speed. How it works is, you point your website to their network, which then connects your website to different locations. This will allow the website to load faster for people in other countries because the server will be closer to them (cloudflare is free so don’t worry). Plugins like W3 cache will compress and cache files for your visitors. This will reduce the load on your server and your website will become faster. WP smush will compress all image file sizes, so it can load faster. There are many more plugins and services out there that can lower your website’s load time, so feel free to do your own research.
If you own an ecommerce site, I recommend market press ecommerce. Market press make it easy to manage your sales, shipping requirements, inventory, products and more. It’s easy to install and basically gives you everything you need to run an online store. VAT tax requirements, coupons, discounts, product variations, one-page checkout, PDF invoices and heck a lot more with a single install.
If you have a website that offers membership of any kind, use membership 2. It is a good plugin that offer free or paid memberships a particular content. It’s made to send free trials email, protect particular post and media content and much more.
If you run a community based website, I recommend vBulletin. However, this may cost you a bit if you are starting off. If you’d like to save money, I recommend phpbb, bbpress, and vanillapress. However, if you have money to spare, go with vBulletin.
Lastly, you need something to offer your visitors more contents. Plugins like related posts, social media widgets, and popular posts should be utilized to reduce bounce rate. Come up with ideas on what items should be offered to keep your visitors, and I can guarantee that there will probably be either a plugin or service out there that’s made to help you with that idea.