Things were very different when I started using WordPress in 2007. In the decade I’ve been using this software, I’ve come to discover a lot of what it has to offer “out of box”, and what useful plugins I wish I’d known about or had access to from the beginning – some of which I regret not installing sooner.
Stop Generating Image Sizes
Did you know that every time you upload an image, WordPress creates several copies of it in various sizes and stores them in your database? This means that for every 1 image you upload, WordPress is actually storing up to 5 different copies of it – most of which, you’ll never use!
Fact is, most people are working with limited space, and all of those added images really eat up valuable assets. Preventing WordPress from creating additional sizes of your images that you don’t need will drastically cut back on how much space you’re using.
Pro Tip: Your theme may be generating even more sizes that you may not be using! Consult your theme developer for more information.
While you should always pay close attention to the sizes of the files you upload to your website, fact is we can all benefit from a little help in image optimization. This type of plugin will compress the file size of your image – some even let you choose just how significant the compression results will be.
Example: You can go as far as to tell some plugins to compress a high quality PNG to a lossless JPG – a type of JPG file with very little traces of pixelation or significant loss in visible quality.
The general idea is that by compressing our images, we reduce the size of the files a viewer has to load per page, thus speeding up overall page load time (sometimes drastically).
Post & Page Revision Control
Have you ever started and stopped a blog post or edited a page several times? Of course you have – we all do it. Did you know that every time you do that, WordPress stores a revision of that post or page on your server? Yikes. No one needs 10+ copies of the same page with minor changes.
WordPress saves these revisions with the idea in mind that you may want to compare them and choose between different drafts. It’s a great and valuable feature, but most people never need the dozens of copies they might end up with. That’s why I use a plugin that limits the number of revisions WordPress keeps to 3 per post/page. It discards older revisions and helps save space in my database.
Login & Website Security
You may think that there’s no reason for someone to try to hack into your website, but it happens every day and it’s a real problem. I personally trust Siteground to watch my website and report any suspicious activity to me, but I also like the added peace of mind that I’ve really done my part to keep things secure.
Install plugins that detect hacking and prevent repeat login attempts like WordFence – which is the most popular plugin for WordPress security. It has a built in firewall, malware scanner, login security, and more.
Search Engine Optimization
If you know basically nothing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you still should be using a plugin to help you get the most out of your website. These plugins were designed to give you a richer experience and to help get your website on the right track with search engines (I’m looking at you, Google!).
Even better, these plugins can actually guide you to better writing practices and allow you to showcase your links on social media in a visually appealing way.
What Plugins do you wish you’d known about?
There are so many amazing and useful plugins out there (seriously… thousands!). What plugins do you wish you’d known about from the very beginning? Comment below to share your favorites.
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