Best WordPress optimization tools
There is an absolute plethora of WordPress tools on the market to help with just about everything.
From web design to contact forms, WordPress speed tests, and accessibility controls, millions of plugins and external tools help your WordPress site reach its goals. But they’re not all the same.
Some are very specific – like plugins that will read the entire copy on the website aloud so a visually impaired user can read – or listen.
Other’s are pretty generic, like adding an H1 tag to your site.
But there are some tried-and-tested WordPress optimization tools that, no matter what, will help your website rank higher, satisfy a user quicker, and achieve your desired outcome.
In this blog, we’re going to briefly go over some of our favorite optimization tools for the Internet’s most used CMS, WordPress.
What’s it used for? On-page SEO
On-page SEO is the most critical step in making your website rank high in Google. On-page SEO is where your keyword search comes out onto the page, and it’s also where some technical SEO aspects meet.
For that reason, Yoast is one of the most common and relied upon WordPress tools for on-page SEO.
It’s a simple WordPress plugin, you just enter your focus keyword, and then Yoast assesses the blog to see how many times you’ve used that keyword, whether you’re using it too much and if you’re using it in the right places.
Yoast also lets you control your meta title and meta description tags, which are essential to get your page to rank in Google and make users click and visit your site.
Yoast also tells you information about keyword density and internal links, and gives you control over no-index and canonical tags.
Once all the lights on the plugin are green, your blog is as optimized as it can be, and it’s time to hit publish!
What’s it used for? Site security
A safe website is a website that will rank well in Google. And Wordfence is a fantastic tool to keep your site and your user’s data secure. Security breaches aren’t just going to hurt your site’s trustworthiness (and therefore your rankings), but they can also have serious legal consequences. Luckily, Wordfence is a powerful WordPress tool that can increase your site security and minimize the chances of getting hacked.
You’re able to add specific IP addresses to a whitelist so that only these IPs can log in to your WordPress account. Any other IP that isn’t on that list and tries to log in is banned. This significantly lowers the chances of brute force hacking. Similarly, you can deny an IP address after too many failed login attempts.
There’s also a WordPress performance test that can show if your site is faster or slower than your competitors. From here, it can also suggest how to speed your site up.
Other safety features include regular scans of your code to ensure that there are no malware or backdoor hacking attempts and clear and detailed reporting – which accounts have been logged in to and from where. You can also enable two-factor authentication, meaning that users have to enter a code sent to their mobile device to log into their WordPress account.
Headers & Footers
What’s it used for? Inserting basic code
Many of the best WordPress tools need your site to send signals back to the tool’s own servers. These signals are sent back by code that you place onto your website’s header (top part) or footer (bottom part). To manually add that code to each and every page would be grueling. So there’s a basic but convenient WordPress plugin called ‘headers and footers’ to help you out. In your WordPress dashboard, you open this plugin and simply paste in the code from your WordPress speed test tool or similar, and that code is copied onto every single page on your website. This ensures that the tool is sent all the relevant signals and that you can see the complete picture when it comes to using them.
What’s it used for? Session analysis
You’ve spent a lot of time designing the website, researching and creating content, and doing the SEO work to get your WordPress site to rank high in Google.
But what do people do when they actually land on your site?
While it’s great that your website gets traffic, that traffic doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t take the desired action. Be that adding a product to the cart, clicking on an ad, or sending a contact form.
Hotjar is one of the best WordPress tools for analyzing what people do once they land on your site.
The tool is connected to your WordPress page by adding some simple code in the header, and you can then add heatmaps, click maps and session recordings, as well as contact forms and more.
These features help you assess what a user does once they’re on your site. You can measure a certain number of sessions, say, 1000, and then analyze the average scroll length, where people click most frequently, and even record random individual sessions to assess a user’s behavior.
From here, you can then work with copywriters, designers, and other specialists to ensure that people take the desired action when they land on your site.
And, after all, when Google sees that people stay on your site for longer and get what they want, they reward you by making you rank higher!
On the other hand, software like Hotjar or Yandex slows down a website so using it all the time may decrease your site’s performance – it results in lowering Core Web Vitals’ scores, which negatively influences the site’s position in the search engines.
Google Analytics & Google Search Console
What’s it used for? Traffic analysis
These two tools need no introduction for any experienced webmaster.
Google is the most-used search engine online. Many of the best WordPress optimization tools in this list help you get your website to rank high in Google. Still, interestingly, it’s the tools made by Google themselves that are best for measuring and assessing how your site actually ranks and performs in Google. And, when you think about it, it makes sense to trust the reporting of the search engine that you’re trying to grow more of a presence in.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two of those WordPress tools.
While both show traffic that’s come to your website, both do them a little differently.
In short, Google Analytics (GA) shows you traffic from all sources, whereas Google Search Console (GSC) shows you organic traffic from Google itself.
GA allows you to look at the number of people that have come to your site and other metrics like time on page, pages per session, and average conversion rates. You can set up ‘goals’, such as an ecommerce sale or contact form so that you’re able to track the performance of those goals and how well they convert from each source.
It’s also important to mention that Google Analytics shows you traffic from many sources – social media, PPC ads, organic, direct, and everything else. On the other hand, Google Search Console shows you exactly that. Search traffic.
GSC takes a granular look at search traffic. However, it doesn’t look at individual sessions like GA, so you can’t see information like pages per session, time on page, and so on. But GSC’s power lays in the ‘search’ part – you can see the exact keywords that people have used to get to your website from Google, where you rank, and how well you are converting for those search terms.
GA and GSC are two powerful and some of the best WordPress optimization tools out there, thanks to the fact that Google itself operates them.
What’s it used for? Checking site speed
A fast-loading website is vital to rank high and get organic traffic from Google – we all know that.
But there’s more to a fast-loading site than first meets the eye. In early 2021, Google announced that its Core Web Vitals would start becoming a ranking factor. Understanding what Core Web Vitals are can help you understand the finer details of how Google assesses your site’s load time.
Largest Content Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift are the Core Web Vital metrics that now influence your rankings. Luckily, Google provides its own tool within search console to show you how your CWV is performing.
WordPress tools like Lighthouse can help you take a little extra control over your site’s speed and get the edge over your competitors. This open-source WordPress speed test tool can show you many various metrics about the load time of your site. From there, you can take the recommended advice and help lower the time it takes for your site to load and speed up all of the over CWVs that influence your Google rankings. You can also assess your website’s usability from within the Chrome DevTool. It’s one of the best WordPress optimization tools for improving the overall speed of your website.
What’s it used for? Off-page and On-page SEO
ScreamingFrog is unique because it’s technically not a part of WordPress or any other CMS – it’s actual, standalone, and paid software that you download onto your computer. This software then uses an internet connection to crawl your website and create text lists and visual representations of your site structure, page hierarchy, and much more. From here, you can fine-tune many different elements to ensure that Google’s bots crawl your site efficiently and as quickly as possible.
Screaming Frog is a critical software for any webmasters wanting to improve their SEO and a great performance test tool not only for WordPress but also for different websites. There’s a built-in WordPress speed test tool and micro-analysis of how fast each page on your site loads, as well as what loads first.
There you have some of our favorite WordPress Optimization tools. Design, SEO, security, and data analysis all play vital roles in creating a website that reaches specific goals. If you need help getting your website to achieve those goals, reach out to our team and make the most of our dedicated and experienced SEO services.