WordPress plugins add additional features and functionality to a website. We use a set of plugins across every dental website that we have tried and tested and we can rely on, however, each site will have additional plugins that are specific to that site. Here are five of the must have plugins we use.
Better Search Replace
Every so often something needs to be changed across the whole of a dental website. For instance, the URL for a page has changed and you need to update every button that links to that page. Or maybe an image that appears on every page needs to be changed for a new image. Rather than go digging through your whole website to find every instance of that link you can do what is called a find and replace.
There are several techniques to do this. You could get SSH access to your site and write a command using WP-CLI, you could access your sites phpMyAdmin and write an SQL query, you could see if your website host has the ability to do a find and replace through their dashboard or finally you could use a WordPress plugin.
Each find and replace technique has its uses depending on your circumstances but recently I have found that I use a plugin far more often than any other techniques. The Better Search Replace plugin takes seconds to install. Once installed it, it asks you what you’re searching for, what you want to replace it with and displays every table in your database, allowing you to select which tables you would like to apply the change to. There’s even a tick box to allow you to test out the find and replace before committing to the change. It couldn’t be any simpler and the whole process can be completed in a few minutes. REMEMBER: Always backup your site before you do a find and replace, just in case something goes wrong.
Insert Headers and Footers
Inserting scripts into the header, body or footer of a website is a common exercise when building or maintaining a website. The most common scripts used are for integrating Google Tag Manager and for using a 3rd party fonts or icons. This can be done by looking for the correct files in the theme and inserting the scripts into the right place. This will only work for custom themes or child themes though. If a script was added to the theme files of a theme that is regularly updated, as soon as the theme is next updated the scripts will be overwritten.
By installing the Insert Headers and Footers plugin it means that there is no need to create a child theme or dig around the theme files in order to add a script. It also means that every website has it’s scripts in the same place, saving time and decreases the risk of installing the same script twice.
Short Pixel Image Optimizer
Imagery is a fundamental part of a modern website. Without images, a website would look pretty boring. The issue is, images take a lot of storage space. In fact they make up around 21% of a website’s weight and videos make up around 60%. The more storage space an image takes up, the slower a website will take to load. A slow website has a detrimental effect on a websites search engine ranking performance (dental SEO) so it’s important to keep image size to a minimum.
Short Pixel Image Optimizer is a WordPress plugin that automatically compresses images as soon as they are uploaded to the site. It also comes with loads of other features, such as the option to serve your images in the faster WedP format and the ability to serve images from a CDN server.
Website security is a serious issue with thousands of websites being hacked every day. The first thing to do to prevent being hacked is to use a secure host. Secondly, it is important to use reputable themes and plugins and to make sure you stay on top of any updates. For added security we like to use Wordfence, which scans your website for any potential security vulnerabilities and it also has a firewall to block a variety of attacks from your website.
Yoast Duplicate Post
When somebody wants to create a new page on their site, more often than not they want to create it based on the same format as their pre-existing pages, not build a page from scratch. This is possible without a plugin, by opening an existing page, copying the contents, creating a new page, opening the new page and pasting the existing pages contents into the new page. That sounds easy enough, but it can be made even easier.
With the Yoast Duplicate Post plugin you can duplicate a post, page or any custom post type with the click of a button from the main pages screen. The main pages screen is where all the pages are displayed as a list so you are able to duplicate a page without opening any pages. Not only does this save quite a lot of time but it also avoids any human error that sometimes occurs when copying and pasting.
There’s a common trend with all of these plugins in that they are often simple and they don’t have loads of features but they do what they need to do well. It’s also worth mentioning that there are alternatives to a lot of these plugins that are just as good. If you would like us to review your dental website performance, get in contact and request a free digital audit.