Jim and Don Chat about Neil Patel's WP Plugin Advice
WordPress pros and cons
A recent email sent by digital marketing guru Neil Patel prompted a question asking what WordPress plugins Sprocket Websites uses. So Jim and Don reviewed Neil’s review.
Jetpack for WordPress
This module has been around for more than a decade, although it has been updated, of course. Jetpack provides lots of features including social sharing, site maps, and more – and it’s free, to boot. That makes Jetpack very popular for cash-strapped entrepreneurs. “We have used Jetpack for some websites,” Jim said, “but often we use other modules instead to do specific things that JetPack does.”
Don noted that Sprocket uses this module on all of our WordPress websites and Jim added that he recommends it for all of our SEO customers. “It doesn’t do anything by itself really, we use this module to assist with monitoring and improvements when we are optimizing a client’s site for Search Engine Optimization. What I am saying,” Jim said, “is without someone updating and monitoring the SEO for your website, then the module itself isn’t going to be of added benefit.”
No business has patience for spam and we definitely recommend using a module to prevent being bombarded. Akismet is pre-installed on WordPress but requires activation. Jim pointed out that at activation, you’ll find the free version is only for personal usage, with a fee for commercial websites. “We often replace Akismet with WordPress Zero Spam,” Don said. “We like the features at Zero Spam and it’s free for business use.”
WP Super Cache
The reason for caching a website is to improve the viewers’ experience by making the site load faster. Instead of re-loading the entire site the next time the viewer goes there, the cached site is ready to view immediately and only has to add the latest changes. “Sprocket servers are optimized with the LightSpeed hosting and caching provider,” Jim said. “Our client’s sites already have all the caching advantages available, so we do not recommend or use this module.”
Google XML Sitemaps
“When we install the Yoast plugin, it already has an XML site map, so that covers it,” Don said. Jim added, “Your site has to be crawled appropriately for SEO purposes, so this is good to have if you aren’t using Yoast.”
Smush Image Compress and Optimization
People prefer websites with images, but graphics are huge files that take forever to load. Compressing images speeds up a website’s load time, which improves the customer experience as well as the site’s SEO, so of course, Sprocket recommends image optimization. “But we do not use this particular module,” Jim said. “We use other image compression services like Imagick for dynamic compression of images and documents.”
Don loves using the Divi theme when creating websites, which comes with a standard contact form already. “Anything beyond a simple contact form,” Jim said, “we create using Ninja Forms which is a competitor to WP-Forms.”
Elementor Page Builder
Page builders like Elementor make creating a website so much easier than in the old code-by-hand days, but as mentioned above, Sprocket Websites is partial to Divi from Elegant Themes. “Don chose a different tool to standardize on that provides similar results,” Jim said. “We think Divi is superior to Elementor for all front-end work.”
Monster Insights is just the same Google Analytics information summarized in a different format on your WordPress website. It’s convenient, but it’s one more third party that has access to your data. “It’s just the same basic information that you can find other places,” Jim added. “There is a premium version with some specific features for additional tracking, but I don’t think this is a needed module since we have other reporting tools.”
Don wanted to mention this module that Neil didn’t list in his post. Sprocket finds it extremely important for organizations that are redoing their websites because that typically entails new page names which can be a big problem. For instance, links on social media and other websites that refer back to your blog pages will no longer work, which also hurts your Search Engine Optimization. This module redirects the old page name to the new one to preserve your search engine index.
Bringing up the Neil Patel post inspired Jim and Don to verbalize why Sprocket builds WordPress websites the way we do and they appreciated the opportunity to discuss it. If you are looking to build or rebuild your WP site, we hope this helps explain our process, but of course, you are welcome to contact us if you’d like to talk more.