Like every year, you will be able to find on this page the updated list of essential WordPress plugins that I use on No Tuxedo in 2020. It evolves over the years, the opportunity to tell you a little more about these extensions which I could hardly do without… and maybe give you some ideas for your own blog!
This year, I abandoned the mythical anti-spam Akismet for another … and I also included in the article the WordPress extensions that I use on other blogs to widen your horizons!
THE WORDPRESS PLUGINS I HAVE USED SINCE THE BEGINNING
- Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker identifies any dead links on your blog, whether in the comments or in the content. You can then modify the link (if the page has simply changed its address) or delete it.
This extension helps to keep a blog as up to date as possible: no need to manually test all the links to find out if they are still valid, the plugin does it for you.
You can check out my tutorial dedicated to Broken Link Checker if you want to use it on your blog.
This detection of broken links is one of the many maintenance actions you can take to improve your blog.
- Google XML sitemaps
This plugin automatically creates a sitemap, that is, a sitemap for search engines. This sitemap updates itself and is customizable. You can for example choose if it includes archives, categories, external pages … It is a good way to help Google, Bing and others to do their job.
- Subscribe to Comments Reloaded
It allows readers to receive a notification reply to their comment or to be notified when there is a new comment on an article.
This plugin was taken back in hand in 2017, which made it possible to repair certain bugs, and was the subject of a more substantial overhaul thereafter. I dedicated a complete tutorial to it to configure it properly.
- Yoast SEO
This plugin makes your SEO task easier. I use it mainly to write descriptions and titles tailored for search engines but also to define in a very fine way what to reference or not (on the scale of tags, categories or articles). It is a benchmark plugin, which has long had only one competitor (All-in-One SEO Pack). Both are honestly very good and very used, I chose Yoast because I prefer its ergonomics but it is a purely subjective choice! I also keep an eye on SEOPress, which is becoming more and more popular and still as popular with its users.
It is especially important to configure Yoast SEO well if you use it, my tutorial can help you do it!
In addition to the “essentials” that I installed when I created the blog, here are some essential plugins for everyday use!
- Wordfence Security
Wordfence is one of the high-quality plugins designed to improve the security of a WordPress site. You can quickly be impressed by the riot of options it offers but it is a real Swiss army knife to block spammers, hackers and other unwanted visitors.
It also monitors updates, changes to suspicious files … enough to blog with peace of mind! I devoted a big tutorial to Wordfence to help you configure it.
- WP Fastest Cache
A good cache plugin often saves precious seconds of loading time. It remains to find the right plugin! It must be able to compress your code so that it loads faster, keep your pages in “memory” so that they appear faster to visitors … all without undesirable effects and bugs!
In the middle of this obstacle course, I tested WP Fastest Cache which convinced me by its simplicity of configuration by comparison with WP Super Cache, and by its immediate effectiveness.
The help of this plugin has been invaluable in making the site evolve towards compliance with good practices in terms of loading time! In 2019, I published a tutorial on WP Fastest Cache to help you tame this WordPress extension.
- CM Tooltip Glossary
This plugin allows you to display contextual definitions on the blog. I’ve been using it since 2016 to help beginners get to know certain terms, like nofollow or responsive.
- Comments Not Replied To
It is part of the WordPress plugins that some would call “gadget” but which saves time when you have a very active blog 🙂 It simply allows you to report comments to which we have not yet responded by grouping them in a tab dedicated.
We can thus instantly spot new messages and better organize our time (for example, respond later to comments that require more thought… without forgetting them!)
- Caldera Forms
This WordPress extension makes it easy to create contact forms. It is extremely powerful, with many options, I have devoted a detailed tutorial to it which will help you set up Caldera Forms if you want to use it.
- SEO Redirection
If you regularly move or delete articles, it is essential to create redirects to keep your SEO and traffic. This plugin allows you to do it quickly from the WordPress interface.
On No Tuxedo, I use the SEO Redirection plugin from Fakhri Alsadi, which works very well.
- MailChimp pour WordPress
This plugin makes it easy to use the MailChimp newsletter tool on your WordPress blog
- UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore
I have done my backups for a long time by hand … before I decided to automate them and regularly send a full backup of my blog to Google Drive. This is possible thanks to the UpdraftPlus plugin, which I had already mentioned in a tutorial on backup.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP for WP)
To offer AMP pages to my mobile visitors from search engines, I started by using the “official” WordPress plugin. It was causing incessant errors, my AMP pages were disappearing from Google … So I decided to replace it with the AMP for WP plugin from Ahmed and Mohammed Kaludi. It offers countless customization options!
The AMP pages offer a clean design and a very low loading time. They are therefore very popular. To give you an idea, over the past year, 35% of the page views on No Tuxedo are AMP pages, which I owe to this WordPress extension.
- Kiwi Social Share
I adopted this small plugin as part of a more general approach to optimizing the loading speed of my blog because it was quite light while perfectly meeting my need: add buttons for sharing articles on networks social.
In terms of functionality, it is less complete than Sassy Social Share that I used before … but it inserts less “useless” code on the pages.
- Advanced Ads
We agree: advertising is ugly, it shoots up loading time… except that it is also a way to make the most of the time spent on your blog.
I’m posting an ad on No Tuxedo, going through an ad specially designed for “small publishers” (sites from 10,000 visitors per month), called The Moneytizer. Banner ads are automatically inserted using the WordPress Advanced Ads extension.
- Insert PHP Code Snippet
A plugin for geeks who, like me, use PHP code on their blog. Insert PHP Code Snippet allows you to store bits of PHP code and then create a shortcode to easily use them on your blog in articles or widgets.
I use it for example to display the total number of comments posted on the blog in the sidebar.
- Cleantalk, my new favorite antispam
I fell in love with this antispam plugin, which is much more efficient than the Akismet extension I used before. I had a lot of false positives with Akismet (the extension sent many perfectly normal comments to spam!), Which is what prompted me to look for an alternative.
Cleantalk filters out a good number of spammers before they even reach your site, thanks to a huge database that lists IP addresses and e-mail addresses already accused of spam in the past.
On the other hand, the site allows you to become a player in your “fight against spam”: you can report spammers or trolls that are not yet listed by the system, we can control quite finely what is ” monitored “by the WordPress extension (comments, contact forms) which
avoids installing multiple plugins.
- Classic Editor, to keep the old WordPress editor
Nothing to do, I’m having trouble adopting the Gutenberg editor, a formatting tool for posts now offered by WordPress. It is based on a block system which allows you to “compose” your tailor-made article by adding the blocks which correspond to your needs.
For my part, I am used to writing my articles in “simple notepad” mode and Gutenberg therefore gives me the impression of having to perform many additional steps to achieve the same result. So I installed the Classic Editor extension, which allows you to return to the old WordPress editor while it is still possible.
SOME MORE WORDPRESS EXTENSIONS
which I sometimes use very useful extensions! The opportunity to touch on it because they could give you ideas.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
An extension like ShortPixel Image Optimizer allows you to optimize images effortlessly so that they load faster.
I invested in a PC software (JPEGMini) to compress my images but I nevertheless continue to use this WordPress extension on my travel blog because it offers a useful functionality: create WebP versions of the images, an extremely light format to optimize its time loading.
This WordPress extension allows you to display an insert to promote what you want. I use it to highlight my Facebook page on my travel blog in a slightly less intrusive way than a pop-up
Interactive World Maps
Again, this is an extension that I only use on my travel blog: it allows you to create personalized maps, to share your good addresses in a pleasant and visual form
We’re staying on my travel blog, with Shortcodes Ultimate, a very practical extension for working on formatting very long articles or sales pages: content where you need to guide the reader towards specific elements.
Shortcodes Ultimate makes it easy to create inserts, bulleted lists, accordions and other layouts.
External Links – nofollow, noopener & new window
I recovered last year the management of a “commercial” blog (which uses the WooCommerce extension of WordPress), which I have to entirely rework: it is a blog of advice… which generates income thanks to Amazon affiliation.
Google recommends that all these affiliate links be put in “nofollow”, that is to say that they are marked as being commercial links by a small piece of code (I explain everything on the subject in this article on nofollow).
There is a useful plugin for this use: External Links – nofollow, noopener & new window. The plugin allows you to easily manage the status of all external links.
The number of plugins you use is not the most important. It’s all about choosing WordPress extensions that perfectly meet your needs, without affecting the loading time of your blog excessively.