Among the many reasons I love WordPress so much is that I can almost always find a plugin to fulfill any just about any website need I have. Of course, you’ve got the ‘super star’ plugins such as WooCommerce for online selling, Bookly for the making of appointments and WP Super Cache for overall website performance.
However, in among these big ticket plugins are a range of others that perform very useful, almost indispensable tasks for me day-in and day-out, and it’s this Top 7 list of utility type plugins that I want to share with you today.
1 Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is without doubt one of the most trusted and used WordPress plugins out there. In addition to greatly enhancing the technical SEO of your WordPress website, it also provides awesome editing features that help you write content Google will view favourably and rank highly.
In particular, Yoast SEO requires you to nominate a specific keyword for any page or blog article you have written, and then guides you in using this keyword in all critical areas such as the Page Title, Page Description, Page Heading and so on.
Yoast SEO is definitely a must-have plugin for any business WordPress website, and what’s great about it as well is that the free version does everything you need it to do. Although there is an awesome pro version as well, it really isn’t necessary for most small business SEO purposes in my view.
2 Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights allows you to integrate your Google Analytics account directly into your WordPress website. This means that you do not have to log in to Google Analytics every time you want to see how your site is performing, which can be a time-consuming and tedious procedure.
MonsterInsights uses the universal tracking code provided to you by Google to create two-way communication between your website and Google Analytics, and presents performance data in a range of easy-to-use visual metrics dashboards including sessions, bounce rates, traffic sources, popular pages and even custom dimension reports.
It’s this functionality that makes Google Analytics by MonsterInsights an essential plugin for any WordPress website, because knowing how your website is performing is a key ingredient to business success. Although there is an awesome pro version of the plugin, the free version is more than adequate for most small business performance tracking purposes.
3 Header and Footer
One of the primary uses of Header and Footer is to allow people to place CSS code into the HEAD area of a WordPress install for site-wide formatting purposes. This is definitely what I use it for most of the time. The advantage of this is that you avoid having to access and edit the site’s core style.css file, which is a tricky and risky practice, because if you mess that file up, it can be difficult to resolve.
Overall, Header and Footer is a very simple, reliable and lightweight plugin that I’ve found indispensable to get CSS formatting tasks done quickly and easily.
4 AddFunc Head & Footer Code
The AddFunc Head & Footer Code plugin operates very similarly to the Header and Footer discussed above, but with one key difference; it allows you to add code to the HEAD and/or footer of an individual post or page, as opposed to site-wide.
5 Duplicate Post
The Duplicate Post plugin does exactly what the name suggests, and make as exact duplicate of any existing page or post, ready for editing as a new draft. This functionality makes the plugin incredibly useful because it allows you to save time and easily maintain site-wide consistency.
For example, all of the posts on my various websites follow a similar structure, with a mailing list panel and about the author panel common to all. So once I have a post template set up with these elements positioned as required, all I need to do is clone it using Duplicate Post, and simply change the article content.
6 Site Offline or Coming Soon
The Site Offline or Coming Soon plugin is very useful if you want to make your WordPress website unavilable to the general public quickly and easily. For example, your site may be under development, and you want people to know this when they arrive at your domain name. Or perhaps your doing maintenace work, and you don’t want people accessing your site until this is done.
The Site Offline or Coming Soon is easy to activate and allows you to craft your own message complete with images, video, whatever. However, as long as you are logged-in as an administrator, you’re able to see both the backend and front-end of your site while you are working. Just don’t forget to turn it off once you’re done!
4 TinyMCE Advanced
TinyMCE Advanced allows you add, remove and rearrange the buttons that are shown on the WordPress visual editor toolbar. I really like the fact that I can create up to four rows of buttons that povide me with immediate access to functions that I use most often, including those relating to fonts, background colors and tables.
Some of the really useful features of the TinyMCE Advanced plugin that I favour include the above mentioned support for creating and editing tables, the availability of more options when inserting lists, and of course, the Search and Replace tool, which I find indispensable.