After a career in investment banking I quit my company 1 year ago to go travel around the world with my girlfriend. Because we were interested in (super)food and nutrition and because we wanted to be able to work from anywhere we started a website dedicated to nutrition. With our team of dietitian nutritionist professionals we help people to get a better life thanks to what they eat (for now we are happy because we have a +30% to +50% rise in traffic every month :).
But 1 year ago I did not know anything in WordPress, and one of my biggest pain points was to find the right plugins suitable for my project, SEO efficient and technically safe for my platform. After days of research and testing I am happy to share with you below my essential WordPress plugins.
Please not that :
- the less plugins you have, the better it is (website speed, bug risks..), that is why my list is short
- our website is very SEO performance oriented, so this list is SEO performance oriented
- I always use plugins with a lot of downloads and users (it means they are useful), and which are regularly updated (it means it is safe for my WP installation)
- trust me I don’t take risks and always want the best value (and I am not affiliated with anyone)
The Yoast extension is one of the most valuable tools to use when you start your website. With almost 8 million installs, Yoast is the most popular SEO WP extensions.
It is basically a checklist to optimize each of your pages and articles. The extension guides you step by step to optimize the on-page SEO performance of your website. For me and many people it is the most complete extension dedicated to SEO. And it is free!
Elementor is one of the most famous WordPress design platform (or “page builder”). I have a business degree only, and so only clues of knowledge in HTML and PHP – but I wanted to design my website exactly as I wanted : Elementor is the solution to that.
This is one of the rare plugins I pay for. 49$/year is cheap for what you get in terms of capabilities and power.
reSmush.it Image Optimizer
Because your pages need to be as light as possible, and because you don’t want to compress all your images by hand, you need an image compression plugin.
This one is free, easy to use, and has 4.5 stars as a rating – and it is the best one from what I read.
Easy Table of Content
I wanted to have tables of content on every article we publish because we publish very long piece of content. Tables of content are good for SEO, and/because they are good for your audience.
Easy Table of Content let your personalize your summaries, choose where and when to place it. As indicated by its name it is very easy to use, and very light. This extension is also free.
Structured data (founded and managed by a collaborative project/association called Schema.org) is semantic code put in your pages that is read by Google, and used to understand the content of your website. This data is more and more important for Google, and thus for SEO, and often displayed in Google SERPS. Rating stars, or concert dates are examples of structured data.
This extension is the lightest and easiest way to integrate structured data into your pages, without mastering any piece of HTML code.
As you may know speed is a criteria which is essential to be in the first page for your targeted keywords. You will find many plugins dedicated to speed optimization, but there is a consensus in WP communities regarding WP Rocket.
This plugin is particularly powerful and comprehensive. To get the same features you would have to download many different other plugins : cache optimization, CSS optimization, lazy load for images and video, GZIP compression etc..
With Elementor, it is the only plugin I pay for (49$/year)
Ad Inserter is a plugin first published in 2016, but well updated and probably the best to insert ads in your website (because you will need to monetize this trafic at the end of the day :).
You can fully personalized the automatic integration of ads. For example you will use it to insert an ad on all articles of a certain category, except 2 articles, placed just after the 6th paragraph. And you will do that in 30 seconds.
Ad Inserter is free, even if there is a pro paid version.
I hope this list will help you to gain time and optimize your SEO. Now you can stop endlessly comparing plugins and start focusing on your project and content 🙂