5 WordPress Plugins To Optimise, Secure & Promote Your Site

WordPress now powers over 17.5% of all websites on the net, if you work in the online marketing industry, you’d be hard pressed not to have stumbled across a site that uses it as not just a blogging tool, but as a fully functional CMS.

“With great power comes great responsibility”

I personally run nearly all my websites on WordPress as a free platform it’s incredibly versatile and thanks to a very active development community, there are a number of mods, themes and plugins that can turn your site into a living breathing behemoth.

Unfortunately the barebones package of WordPress leaves something to be desired when it comes to optimisation, security and promotion. Fear not however as today I’m going to talk you through 5 WP plugins that your site shouldn’t be without!

Promotion & Optimisation

WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast

This plugin is an absolute godsend; it has multiple features that make multiple plugins redundant offering users the ability to customise post / category / tag titles and meta descriptions, robots meta configuration, canonical tags, breadcrumbs, cleaning up permalinks, generation of XML sitemaps + pinging and much more.

As a previous user of the “All in one SEO” plugin I can say that Yoast’s equivalent is vastly superior offering much more flexibility and it’s incredibly user friendly, meaning most users who aren’t familiar with WordPress should be able to use it without too much of a struggle.


Social Author Bio (or Equivalent)

Author Rank is hotly tipped to be an increasingly important ranking metric within the SERP’s. If you haven’t enabled the rel=author tag on your website, I’d highly recommend you do so immediately!

The Social Author Bio plugin is particularly helpful for wordpress sites that have multiple contributors and it ensures that each post is correctly attributed. I personally have a sitewide link pointing to my profile, but this isn’t always the best approach!

If you’re unfamiliar with Author Rank you can read up on the patent here or read more about it over at SEOmoz.

There are numerous benefits that come from implementing the rel=author tag including increased real estate within organic results.

The ability to see rough stats of your posts on external sites within Google Webmaster Tools:

I also believe there’s a cumulative effect on all of your content that has been published, so the more active you are and the more popular your posts are, the higher you’ll rank!


W3 Total Cache

Matt Cutts announced back in April 2010 that page speed incorporates page speed as a ranking factor. By default wordpress stores most of its data within a MySQL database, so every time you visit a page, it’ll make a call to that database and then output the data. For sites that have limited visitors this won’t have much of an effect on page load speeds, but when you’re on a server that’s being shared and start to see a significant uplift in traffic, page load times start to dwindle.

Thanks to the W3 Total Cache plugin you can reduce server load, increase page speed and ultimately increase user satisfaction as they don’t spend all day waiting for your page to load, which may result in a lower bounce rate and increased organic visibility!

All this from a plugin that takes just a few seconds to install.


Backup & Security

WordPress isn’t perfect and there have been many noted cases of security holes within many popular plugins and within WordPress itself. One of the most noted cases happened back in August 2011 where a serious vulnerability was discovered within TimThumb a popular image resizing script that was used by a number of theme developers.

Thankfully there are a few options available to WP users that can help you backup and safeguard your site from any hacking attempts and should the worst happen, at least you’ll have an up to date backup to restore!

WordPress Backup to Dropbox

I’m a big fan of cloud based backups, as the backups that you store on your personal computer have a tendency of getting lost, or people get lazy. With external backups you’ve got peace of mind, knowing that there will always be a copy available to you should you need it!


Better WP Security

Prevention is better than cure – however it usually takes a hacking attempt or a site loss before we realise this!

The better WP security plugin hides a number of known vulnerabilities within WordPress and offers users some basic tips and advice on how to prevent your login details from getting into the wrong hands.


Your Favourite Plugins

These are my top 5 recommended plugins; do you have a tweak or plugin that you just couldn’t live without? If so please let me know within the comments or let me know via G+ or Twitter!

Sebastian Cowie is the managing director and SEO consultant for SC Digital LTD. When he’s not exploring backlink profiles or increasing organic visibility and ROI for his clients he likes to unwind with a game of chess or by playing extreme death metal on his signature KKV BC Rich.

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