This blog is based on WordPress as you may know. In my last post I wrote about the theme I use. This time around I want to tackle WordPress plugins 2020. More precisely my favorite plugins this year. To be honest right away: Nothing much has changed here in the last few years for me. I use plugins I know and like.
Okay, I first want to start with the why because I am actually a proponent of using as little plugins as possible. I talked about digital minimalism a few times. For me this is also part of it.
Plugins always add weight to a website. So please consider carefully what plugins you really need. And how they’re optimized. So always ask yourself why you need a certain plugin?
If you’re a little code-savy… maybe there’s an easy way you could implement similar features of a plugin with a small code modification so that you don’t need the plugin.
Now, of course, this is just a small blog. So I don’t need many plugins, add-ons, and so on. For other sites, bigger sites, online shops, etc. this might be very different.
But let’s continue… What I focused on this year were 3 main things:
- Image optimization
3 WordPress plugins 2020
Starting with SEO… You might be familiar with the top dog of the SEO WordPress plugins. That is Yoast SEO. And I used Yoast for previous sites a lot in past years. But this year I actually switched things up.
I started using RankMath. It is a newer SEO WordPress plugin and it is free. Two important things. It also has a lot more features than the free version of Yoast SEO does. And that is a huge plus.
In my opinion it’s also easier to use, it has a nice set-up-wizard. The design is clean and straight-forward and most importantly it does everything a good SEO tool should be doing. And all for free. Until now I haven’t had any problems with RankMath.
They update the plugin regularly as well.
2. W3 Total Cache & WP Rocket
Okay, this is a no-brainer. If you haven’t heard of W3 Total Cache until now, you’ve been living under a rock… (or have never had a WordPress site before).
You probably need a good cache plugin. And the free version of W3 Total Cache offers a lot of good value. There are however a few great caching plugins. So dig around if you like. More in a bit.
Now, not to be confused: You could actually easily do most of the optimization that W3 offers by yourself with a little code within the .htaccess file, etc.
But if you can’t or don’t want to it is great to have this plugin installed.
I also use W3 to lazy-load images on my sites. You could use a separate plugin for that, of course. But in a lot of cases W3 Total Cache’s option for lazy-loading images is totally fine.
Apart from this I use W3 Total Cache for the usual: post and page caching, html, css, js minimizing, database caching, object cache and more.
I would in this case also (since page speed is one of the if not the most important thing for any websites) highly consider paying an adequate amount of money to get a really great optimizing plugin here. Especially if you’re website is already a business or will become a business soon. For that I recommend the plugin WP Rocket. This is in my opinion the best available WordPress plugin for caching and general page speed optimization. It includes way more features than free plugins and a lot of paid plugins as well. So check it out if you need a really great speed boost.
3. EWWW Image Optimizer
Another plugin I’ve been using for years: EWWW Image Optimizer.
If your blog or site is image-heavy, you need a good image optimization plugin. You could do that manually with code as well, but in my opinion you don’t have to because these plugins are usually lightweight and unproblematic.
EWWW is great to compress images. You can also convert images to better, or more useful, smaller formats. And most of the stuff is just done in the background while you upload images to your WordPress media library. So you don’t really interact with the plugin much. Which is a good things. It just works… in the background.
You can also use lazy-load for images with this plugin instead of doing it with W3 Total Cache. I’ve been meaning to do a comparison between the two lazy-load components to see which one works better. But I haven’t had the time to do that so far. When I do, I tell you.
So, there you have it. These are the three WordPress plugins 2020 I install on pretty much every site and project I work on right from the start.
Of course, sometimes you need more. I, for examples, use Ad Inserter on a few different sites for ads from Google Adsense.
But for now I mainly use three. And I really think less is more when it comes to plugins and add-ons for your site, especially smaller sites like blogs. You don’t want too much overload.
Okay, let’s close here. Check my last posts to find some awesome free WordPress themes for your next project.