Once you set up a few WordPress websites you tend to become comfortable with a specific set of plugins, so much so that one of the first steps will be installing and setting up this ‘pack’ of plugins. Everything I recommend has a free option that is worth using! You will get benefits from them all without paying a cent, although most do have the option to upgrade to a premium service (they have to make money somehow).
WP – Smush:
This plugin can rapidly decrease your websites loading time by automatically optimising your image content. For those without image-editing software who cannot optimise from web themselves – this is a must. For those who can do it themselves, save yourself some time!
WP – Optimise:
Wp-Optimise is essentially a background cleaner. You don’t have to muck around with any settings – it knows what to do. If your website is extensive or you enjoy doing 100 revisions of each and every blog post then trust me, you need this plugin. It removes the build up that WordPress automatically stores and you can set it to run periodically without worrying about it.
In my opinion the #1 plugin to work with when planning a long-term climb to googles first page. Yoast analyses the content you develop for each page, matches it against keywords you aim to rank for and gives detailed advice on how to optimise your page for those keywords. The Red, Orange and Green lights are also a great reminder as you can see the SEO quality of your entire website at a glance.
BBQ Block Bad Queries:
This is another set and forget plugin. It was a great help to me a couple years ago when I site I had built became the target of malicious attacks. It’s simple, easy to use and will protect your website from a large number of online threats. Don’t mistake it for proper site security however, we’ll get to that.
If you choose the base package (which is simply anti-spam) you can create an account and register this plugin on your site free of charge. I highly recommend installing Akismet if you plan on integrating a blog or allowing users to comment in any area on your site. It will automatically scan and trash those comments that it believes to be spam. You can check the trash folder periodically to see what it has removed.
There are two quite simple functions that I love Cerber for and to be quite honest I’m sure that I don’t come anywhere near maximising it’s potential.
The first is they give you a the simple option of modifying your websites login url yoursite.com/wp-login can become yoursite.com/anything_you_like, which is your first line of defence against intrusions. If someone nasty manages to find your login screen then they are up against Cerber’s login attempt limiter that you can set up any way you like (you can set it to 1 attempt before being blocked!). I recommend giving yourself 3 tries, because you are very likely to forget the password at least once or twice. Cerber will always notify you via e-mail if someone has been unsuccessful at gaining access.