I say it all the time – the internet is a tool. But how often do you see ways to actually utilize it to make life easier? To prove my point, I decided to assemble a list of kick-ass WordPress Plugins that help you automate tasks, manage your website, and save yourself hours of work. Best of all? All these plugins have a version that is 100% FREE.
So let’s dive in and see how you can put your website to work with you. May I present 5 Time Saving WordPress Plugins:
Great For: Everyone
I’ve talked about Jetpack in the past, but in the years since the plugin has changed dramatically. The plugin adds 30+ features to WordPress, but here are some of my favorites:
- Mobile Posting: Technically, you can always post from your phone to your website, either via the app or by just logging into your website on your mobile browser. However, the mobile interface isn’t fantastic, and the app is a pain to set up on self-hosted sites. Jetpack streamlines the process considerably, making it easier to log in, create, and publish posts on the fly with the mobile app.
- Publicize: Connect your website with your social media accounts, and WordPress will automatically post when you hit “Publish”! It supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and more. Plus, it pulls your featured image to create visually-appealing posts.
- Manage: Great for people who run multiple websites, Manage allows you to update plugins, themes, and menus for all of your WordPress websites on a single, centralized dashboard. No more bouncing from site to site – everything is in one place!
- Widget Visibility: Instead of wasting time creating multiple sidebars (whether via code or additional plugins), Jetpack allows you to control where & when widgets show up with ease. Notice how “Categories” only shows up on my blog pages? Jetpack in action!
Jetpack is built to be powerful, but user-friendly. The interface is dead simple, anyone from WordPress Beginners to Pros can use it to quickly and easily beef up their site. And it’s fairly set-it-and-forget-it; once you have it configured the way you want, it’ll keep on trucking to provide you with awesome features.
Great For: Everyone
Post Duplicator is one of those WordPress plugins that you don’t think you need, but once you use it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. It does one thing, and it does it incredibly well: it lets you clone/duplicate existing posts.
The practical applications (and time-saving benefits) for this are too many to count. Instead of starting from scratch, you can create a few “template” posts – i.e. for taxonomies – and duplicate them.
It’s great if you use themes with visual editors (so every page has consistent formatting without having to do it manually) or have meta data you want shared across posts.
Post Duplicator works flawlessly with posts, pages, custom post types, and taxonomies.
Pardon my French, but SEO is a total bitch. The rules change all the time, and keeping up with what you need to have “good” SEO is a full-time job in itself. This is where Yoast comes in.
Yoast works on a per-post basis. You go in and fill in your focus keyword for each post or page, and it will analyze your content, ranking it as Red (bad), Yellow, or Green (good to go!)
It even offers helpful, time-tested suggestions on how to improve your content for the best-possible SEO score. You can even use it to directly edit how your posts will appear on Google!
Yoast SEO lays the framework for SEO. It takes what you’ve put in for each post and adds it into the pages with no code, and no fuss. It handles all the code for you, generates your sitemaps, and helps you validate your site with services like Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Set it up once, and your SEO will be a breeze.
Revive Old Post is one of the most useful WordPress plugins on this list. It saves you countless hours in social media scheduling by putting your website to work automatically sharing your blog posts.
You simply connect your social media accounts, configure your posts, and let the plugin do the rest! You can customize the settings, adding hashtags, using custom text, or omitting posts (or categories) from sharing.
Once set up, it will automatically share your posts on a rotating schedule – i.e. every 8 hours – so you can sit back and focus on more important things, like generating killer content!
Great For: Developers
Advanced Custom Fields is bae. 😍
Creating custom meta boxes in WordPress was never hard, but it requires a lot of code. And then, you need even more code in order to utilize the meta data. Advanced Custom Fields takes all the headache out of managing meta boxes.
Set up is super simple, using an interface on the WordPress Dashboard. Simple create your field groups, add your fields, and you’re good to go! Utilizing the data collected in the custom meta boxes is super easy, and the plugin documentation is amazing.
I’ve used it to set up complex systems (such as a new way to sort WooCommerce products), special integrations for custom post types, and everything in between. It’s saved me countless hours of coding (and eventual debugging), and given me the tools to focus on what matters – creating custom, dynamic, powerful websites that work.
Out of all the WordPress plugins on this list, ACF is by far my favorite. I would marry this plugin if I could.
These are just examples of the thousands of WordPress plugins that can help you get more from your website. Do you have any plugins that make your life easier? Share them in the comments!