Best Plugins for WordPress

Best Plugins for WordPress

WordPress is one of the more popular Content Management Systems and it’s estimated that approx. 30% of the world’s websites are using the platform.

You can add additional functionality to your website by using Plugins. At the time of writing it’s estimated that WordPress has over 29,000 plugins, so getting started can be tricky.

This blog post will help you find out about some of the best plugins for WordPress which are available for your website.


Akismet is one of the default plugins of WordPress that comes with every new core installation. It is basically an anti-spam plugin which checks all comments and filters out the spam comments.

The plugin is free for the personal site and blogs, for commercial sites, there is a monthly plan which offers more features.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugins and it’s certainly the number one Search Engine Optimisation plugin for WordPress. No matter what type of site you are running on WordPress, Yoast is a powerful tool that can help you make your site as search-engine-friendly as possible.

Again, the plugin is free, although you can pay for a premium version, which offers more features.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your website by increasing website performance, reducing load times via features like content delivery network (CDN) integration and the latest best practices.

The only web host agnostic Web Performance Optimisation (WPO) framework for WordPress trusted by millions of publishers, web developers, and web hosts worldwide for more than a decade.

WP Smush

Resize, optimize, optimise, lazy load, and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful and 100% free WordPress image smusher.

Some image compression tools destroy images with as much as a 30% loss in quality. WP Smush servers strip hidden bulky information from your images and reduce file size without affecting the appearance.

Wordfence Security

Wordfence includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner that were built from the ground up to protect WordPress.

Wordfence has the newest firewall rules, malware signatures and malicious IP addresses it needs to keep your website safe. Rounded out by 2FA and a suite of additional features, Wordfence is the most comprehensive WordPress security solution available.

Broken Link Checker

Auditing website content

Auditing website content

Content is one of the key elements which will drive traffic to your website. Content can be classed as many different forms, from blogs, infographics, images, videos, pdf’s and much more.

When it comes to the quality of website content, there are many factors that need to be considered.

This can include trustworthiness, authority, and legitimacy of the content. Most of the time, writing or creating content will be fine just as long as you ensure that your content intends to provide users with useful and informative information.

However, there are some cases in which websites distribute low-quality content, which results in lower traffic, and may even cause more negative implications for your website, such as lowering search engine rankings.

Identifying Low-Quality Content

Looking for low-quality content on a website can start off as easily as reading it. However, the more content that you have to go through on a website, the harder it is to find low-quality content.

Recently, Google has submitted an updated set of guidelines that help users identify low-quality content. Here are the newly-revised guidelines that determine a low rating for your content:

  • An inadequate level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness
  • The quality of the main content is low
  • There is an unsatisfying amount of main content for the purpose of the page
  • The title of the main content is exaggerated or shocking
  • The Ads or Supplementary Content distract from the main content
  • There is an unsatisfying amount of website information or information about the creator of the main content for the purpose of the page

To make things simpler, your content will be considered low quality if the information contains factual errors, along with poorly-explained sections that do not satisfy the reader.

Titles that are clickbait are also a red flag, as it means that you are misleading the users into reading your article, instead of having them access it organically.

With the right tools and knowledge, you will be able to avoid creating low quality with ease. In the next section, we’ll show you the most important factors that determine high-quality content.

Creating high-quality content

Creating high-quality content requires a good amount of time and effort to ensure that what you publish to the rest of the world will be something beneficial and relevant for your intended users.

Like most things, putting the effort in to create high-quality content, will drive more traffic to your website.

Here are some of these key ingredients of good content that will help you avoid bad and poorly-made content:


Creating lengthy and detailed content means that you will be writing blogs that are over 800 words long, sometimes longer for some topics. This is not a bad thing, as it provides detailed content that is very useful.

However, your content needs to be pleasing to the eye. You might have a well-worded and detailed article, but if it does not contain relevant images or a structured layout then you are in danger of a visitor skimming through rather than reading.

Adding relevant, detailed, or informative images help make the reading experience much more interesting, as you are giving the reader something that helps them visualise your idea.

Blogs containing charts, infographics, and images help to keep readers invested in the content that you have created. Visual quality is just as important as quality writing and should not be overlooked.


When it comes to the question of whether your content should be timely or timeless, there are often opportunities to do both.

You CAN create content that is not only relevant today, but also something that will be useful for future reference. For example, a blog post about website hosting was not only relevant at that time, but it is still relevant to people who want to understand the website hosting today.

Timeless and timely content are best when they address some of the most important needs and concerns of the users and creating something that is evergreen will help to ensure that you will continually be receiving traffic to your website.

Engagement / Conversion

Content must not only contain useful and relevant information, but there must be a reason why you have created it. You would normally want your content to bring in conversions and engagement from the users who are reading it.

This means that your content must be in line with what your website is all about. While it might feel that this can limit the content that you would be able to write about (which it naturally does), but this actually brings a familiarity that your users would know what to expect when they engage with your website. You wouldn’t expect to find an article about politics on a football website.

When it comes to engagement, social media is key. This platform is where you will find most of your followers. Social media allows you to interact with your users instantly, allowing you to share content which in turn will drive users to your website.

Some of the more viral posts on social media begin with relevant and timely content, but this is also a mark that the content quality is high. Ultimately, content that generates engagement is of good quality.

In Summary

Quality content can come in many forms but contains a similar set of factors that help drive more traffic and conversions.

By identifying the factors that identify what is low-quality content, you can ensure that you will be able to avoid these and create your own quality content that will be relevant and useful for your users and create engagement and conversions for your website.

The need for speed

The need for speed

Website loading speed is commonly overlooked, but it’s a significant factor in the user experience, the search engine rankings, and conversions.

It has become a basic expectation that people expect a website to load quickly, whether that be on mobile or desktop.

Search engines place so much importance on providing users with a great experience, so if your website is slow, your search engine rankings are going to be low.

Page loading speed is one of the more than 200 ranking factors that Google uses. With the number of mobile users eclipsing desktop users, Google has refined its index to a mobile-first index, making page loading speeds even more important.

Looking at the numbers we know that:

  • 85% of mobile internet users expect the same site to load as fast or faster on their desktops.
  • 75% of internet users will not revisit a site if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load, according to a study by Akamai.
  • 47% of website visitors expect a web page to load in lesser than 2 seconds.
  • 40% of visitors will move on to the next site after waiting for 3 seconds.
  • For e-commerce sites, a one second delay in page loading can impact revenue by 7%.

Checking your Website’s loading speed

There are some easy to use online tools which you can use to check your page load speed.

PageSpeed Insights is a tool provided by Google that not only gives you a page speed score but also lets you know where your website stands compared to other sites.

There are other tools available to test your website loading speeds, such as Pingdom, GTmetrix and Webpagetest.

Improving a slow loading website

If you have identified that your website is loading slowly, then there are 3 things you should focus on to improve the speed.

1. Optimise your images

The majority of your page downloads are probably images. Optimising the size of your images by using a smaller size and a compressed image format (.jpg) will significantly decrease your page load time.

2. Efficient Code

A website can use different types of code, such as HTML for structure, CSS for the visual look and feel, and JavaScript for the front-end interaction. Compress and optimize your code (remove unnecessary characters and spacing) to reduce file size. You might also consider using a caching solution in order to store the latest versions of your website locally so that they don’t have to be loaded from scratch each time. This will have a significant effect on reducing page load times.

3. Hosting and Content Delivery Network

Where (and which company you use) to host your website has a big impact on your page loading speed. If you’re on a shared server solution, the chances are that it will have a negative impact on your speed. If you have a high traffic website you really need to be on a dedicated server, but if that’s out of your budget, shop around for a good shared hosting service. Have a read of our blog post on hosting (LINK)

Another way to improve your page loading speed is to invest in a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Basically, a CDN is a network of servers that delivers content. More specifically, it’s a bunch of servers geographically positioned between the origin server, and the user requesting it, all with the purpose of delivering the content faster by reducing latency.

In Summary

The speed at which your website loads is probably as important as the content and the design of your website. But yet it’s often overlooked, the tips provided above can help you achieve better search engine rankings and a better experience for visitors to your website.

Auditing social media

Auditing social media

Audit your social media

Conducting a social media audit is a key part of developing (or updating) an effective social media marketing plan.

Before you can think strategically about your social media use, you need to document and review your current state.

This will allow you to work out what’s working and what’s not, it will also help you to identify impostor accounts, outdated profiles, and new opportunities.

Put all of that together and you’ll be well on your way to developing a social media strategy which will help you maximise your return on investment.

What is a social media audit?

Auditing is simply the process of tracking down all of your company’s social channels, as well as any impostor accounts, and documenting key information about each account, all in one place.

As you build your audit document, you’ll be able to think about your goals for each account and evaluate whether your existing strategy is working. This allows you to see how each social account functions within your social strategy.

Once you’ve identified these you can remove the unnecessary ones and add new ones that will help take your social efforts to new heights.

No matter where you are with your social media presence, an audit will present a clear picture of your current efforts and help you think clearly about the best way forward.

It will also leave you with a single strategy document that lists all of your social accounts as well as the goals for each – all at your fingertips.

How to conduct a social media audit in X easy steps

  • Create a document for your audit
    • An audit begins with some detective work, and it’s important to have somewhere to put your findings.
    • The best way to keep track of all the information you’ll find during the audit is to use a spreadsheet.
    • Things you’ll want to record are:
      • the link to your profile (for example,
      • your social handle (for example, @grow_digital)
      • the internal person or team responsible for managing the account
      • the mission statement for the account (for example, to promote services using customer case studies)
      • the top three posts in terms of engagement
      • three important metrics
      • key demographic information
      • You could also include a column for any relevant notes about the account.

Track down all your social media accounts

Now that you’ve got a template to track your accounts, it’s time to go and find them. Start by listing all of the accounts that your business uses regularly. But don’t assume that covers all your bases.

For example, there might be old profiles created before your company had a social strategy. Maybe these were abandoned at some point. It’s time to bring them back into the fold.

If you are a large organisation Or maybe various departments within your company are using social media, but there’s no unified system or list of accounts.

This is also a good time to identify networks where you don’t yet have a social presence, so you can start thinking about whether you should add them to your social strategy, or at least create profiles to reserve your handle for the future.

Search the web

Google your company name and the name of your products to see what social accounts come up. If you find accounts you don’t recognize, do some investigating to determine whether they’re actually connected to your company, or if they’re impostor accounts run by someone not affiliated with your brand.

Search social networks

After your Google search, it’s worth visiting each of the main social networks and searching directly for your brand and product names to see if you uncover any unexpected accounts.

Once you’re sure you’ve tracked down all the relevant accounts, set up a social media monitoring program to keep an eye out for any new impostor accounts that might pop up in the future.

Log your findings

Record all the relevant accounts you find in your audit document. Use the notes column to indicate any accounts that require further research—for instance, if you can’t tell whether the account was created by someone at your company or by an impostor.

Use the “Unowned accounts” tab to record imposter accounts and make notes about the steps taken to have these accounts shut down. Start by contacting each account holder directly, since it could be a simple misunderstanding or a case of a passionate fan taking things too far. But be prepared to escalate matters to the social networks for help if you can’t resolve things yourself.

3. Make sure each account is complete and on brand

Once you’ve logged all of your accounts, take the time to look at each one thoroughly to make sure it’s consistent with your current brand image and standards. In general, you should check the following:

Profile and cover images

Make sure these incorporate your current brand logo and imagery.

Profile/bio text

You have limited space to work with when creating a social media bio, so it’s important to make the most of it. Make sure all fields are filled in completely and accurately with current brand messaging.


Are you using the same handle across all social channels? In general, it’s a good idea to do so if you can.

Of course, you might need different handles if your accounts serve different purposes. (For example, Hootsuite has Twitter accounts @Hootsuite and @Hootsuite_Help.) Take a look at your handles and record in the notes if you want to make changes for consistency across social platforms.


Make sure you link to your homepage, an appropriate landing page, or a current campaign.

Pinned posts

Evaluate your pinned posts to ensure they’re still appropriate.

Feel a little overwhelmed? This video summarizes what you should look for when analyzing your accounts to make sure they’re optimized and on brand:

4. Identify your best posts

For each social account, look for the three posts that had the most engagement. Record links to these top-performing posts in your spreadsheet.

Once you’ve recorded all of these posts, go through all of them and look for patterns. Do you tend to get the most response when you post photos? Videos? Do people respond to the same kinds of posts on your Facebook Page as they do on your Instagram account?

Use the notes column of your spreadsheet to record your thoughts about any patterns you find here. If you think you’ve identified a winning type of post for a particular account, try using that format more often. As you go, be sure to test your theories and record your results.

Bonus: Get the free social media audit template to see what’s working in your current strategy, what’s not, and what to do next.

Get the free template now!

5. Evaluate performance

For this step, you’ll use analytics to gather some key insights about each social account. Not sure how to use analytics? Check out our beginners guide to social media analytics for an overview of the tools you’ll need.

If you haven’t yet created a mission statement for each social account, now is the time to do so. After all, it’s impossible to evaluate your performance when you don’t know what kind of performance you’re trying to achieve. For example, you could not use the same criteria to evaluate the performance of a Twitter account used primarily for customer service and an Instagram account aiming to drive follower engagement.

Your mission statement should help you identify the key metrics to evaluate for each social channel. If you’re trying to foster engagement, you’ll want to track likes and comments. If you want to drive traffic, you’ll track website visits.

Our guide to social media metrics will help you identify the most important metrics to track for each business goal, and how to track them. Choose one or two key metrics for each account and make notes about their performance in your audit spreadsheet.

As part of your evaluation, you might find that some of your social accounts are much more effective than others. For the accounts that don’t perform as well, you need to decide whether to adjust your strategy, invest more time and resources, or discontinue the account. We’ll talk about how to make that decision in step 7.

6. Understand the audience for each network

As you evaluate how each social account helps support your brand, it’s important to understand who you can reach through each channel.

Audience demographics are a good starting point. For example, Snapchat users tend to be much younger than Facebook users, and LinkedIn users tend to have relatively high incomes. We’ve compiled all the top statistics you need to know about who uses each social network in a series of demographics guides:

Facebook demographics

Twitter demographics

Instagram demographics

LinkedIn demographics

Snapchat demographics

Pinterest demographics

YouTube demographics

You can also dive deeper to learn more about the demographics of your specific followers on social media using analytics and tools like Facebook Audience Insights.

You can incorporate your findings about who you’re reaching with each network into your mission statement, in a separate column, or in the notes field.

7. Decide which channels are right for you

You’ve gathered enough information now to make some strategic decisions about where to focus your social media marketing efforts.

Looking at how each channel is currently performing, along with who you can each through each platform, look for ways to tie each social account back to your social media marketing strategy. If you can’t see a clear connection, or if it looks like the results do not justify your investment of time and resources, you may want to consider pulling back on certain channels so you can focus your energy on the ones that provide the best return on investment.

These decisions don’t have to be forever. For example, you might decide to focus more of your energy on Facebook for a while, but you can always look at picking up your Twitter efforts again the next time you go through the social media audit process. The important thing is to make these decisions based on research about which channels best serve your business.

8. Centralize channel ownership and passwords

Each social account should be “owned” by one person, or maybe a team, within your company. That person is responsible for ensuring the account is on brand, up-to-date and performing well.

This person will also be in charge of necessary approvals on the account, and will guide its strategic direction. They’ll decide who should have access to the account and what level of access each person should have.

Rather than giving various team members the password to your social accounts, it’s important to centralize the passwords in one place. This means you don’t need to change the password every time someone leaves your team or moves to a new role, and it helps protect the security of your social accounts. Tools like LastPass and Hootsuite are great for ensuring only the right people have the right access.

On your social audit spreadsheet, indicate the channel owners, and whether you’ve set each account up using a tool to control passwords. Work towards having all accounts set up with centralized password control by the time you do your next social audit.

9. Do it all again

On that note, it’s important to say that a social audit is not a one-off process. You should conduct regular audits to ensure everything is on track, and look for changes in the way your accounts are performing.

A quarterly social audit is a great way to keep your social accounts producing the best ROI, and ensures you regularly circle back to compare the work you do day-to-day with the goals outlined in your social media strategy.

Use the information you’ve discovered through your social media marketing audit to build a more robust social media strategy. Then, put it to work using Hootsuite to schedule posts, engage with followers, and monitor your efforts. 

How to use Open Graph

How to use Open Graph

You might have heard about something called Open Graph and wondered what it was, well read on, this is the blog post for you.


Essentially, the Open Graph protocol is a collection of tags which display certain text and images when you share a link across social media platforms or blog posts.

An example of this working can be seen below by embedding a link from this website.

The Protocol is very similar to title and meta description tags which are built into websites and are used to index search results.

It was written specifically to deliver content previews within social media platforms, which means it relies on the metadata being configured as part of your website setup. When you think about it, what makes you click on a social media post? The photo, the headline, the description?

Configuring it can easily be overlooked when setting up a website, but putting the effort into setting up can really make a difference in increasing referral traffic from social media platforms.

There are a lot of Open Graph properties, but the four basics from the protocol are:

  • og:title – The title of your content as it should appear within the graph, e.g., “Free Stock Photo Sites?”
  • og:type – The type of your object, e.g., “”. Depending on the type you specify, other properties may also be required.
  • og:image – The URL of a representative image which represents the content.
  • og:url – The canonical URL of the object e.g., ““.

Benefits of Open Graph

So why would you go to the trouble of setting up and configuring Open Graph tags into your content?

Search results and social media previews should be different

Search results and social media posts are both essential to marketing products or services. Open Graph tags solve the problem that search engine optimisation can create: titles and descriptions that were written for search results pulled into social post previews.

By separating out the page title and meta tags from your Open Graph title, description, URL and image tags, you can get the best of both worlds by creating metadata which has been optimised for search engine results pages and social media listings.

It lets you control how your content is seen on Social Media

Configuration allows you to stay in control of how your content is seen when it’s being shared. Taking time to Optimise your tags means that anytime someone shares your content, your Open Graph data will always be displayed, giving you control and consistency.

All of the popular social media platforms use it

The fact that it’s supported by most of the popular Social Media platforms is a great reason to use it. This means you can create specific titles, descriptions, and images for different content.

Getting started

Here are some websites which can help you to get started with Open Graph tags.

  • Open Graph Check displays your Open Graph data, allowing you to check the data to look for errors ahead of sharing on social media networks.
  • iframely allows you to preview how your content will look when it’s shared either via an embed on a website or shared across a social media platform.
A Quick guide to web hosting

A Quick guide to web hosting

Choosing the right Web hosting supplier for your website can be a little daunting, especially if you have never done it before.

There are so many different factors to take into account, to help you our blog post will give you guidance on what is web hosting and what kinds of web hosting are available.

What is Web Hosting?

It’s pretty simple. When you view a website in a browser, what’s happening is that your browser has downloaded a number of files (HTML) and converted the markup into something you can see and read.

Just like on your computer, these files were stored somewhere so you could access them. However, instead of your local hard drive, they were on another computer, a server.

Servers are more powerful than your computer (so they can manage multiple visitors accessing your website at the same time). Servers are usually made up of things such as a CPU, memory and other components. Servers usually have their own operating system.

Web Hosting companies rent out server space to the person who owns the website. They often provide other services like server management, support, and backups. The process of providing this infrastructure is called web hosting.

What are the different types of Web Hosting?

Web hosting packages are usually offered as more than one thing. These packages will vary a lot in terms of price and what you get for your money.

The first and easiest thing to decide on is what type of hosting package is right for you and your business. You can do this by looking at what technology is used for the server.

The three common types of hosting are Shared, Dedicated and Cloud hosting.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is exactly what it says it is, you share a server with other websites.

Blog Post - Web Server

The biggest advantage of this option is that you will be sharing the cost of the server space with other people.

Shared hosting is definitely the most affordable. You can get it for as little as £3 per month. This is a great option for businesses who have a limited budget or are just starting out.

Usually, with a shared hosting account, the setup is taken care of for you, so you can focus on building your website.

Since all websites on a shared server, this puts a demand on the server’s resources, you can run into performance issues if one of them is using all the processing power. This could leave everyone else to compete for the rest, leading to downtime (meaning your website is not reachable) or slow loading time.

Dedicated Hosting

Unlike Shared hosting, and as the name suggests, Dedicated hosting means you have a server all to yourself.

One of the big advantages of dedicated hosting is that it solves all the problems of resource issues, which shared hosting can have.

Since you get your own server, many companies allow extensive customisation, for example, you may be able to choose things like the Operating System or the amount of memory. This gives you a lot of flexibility.

This option for website hosting comes with a cost as renting a dedicated server isn’t cheap. Prices can start at $200 per month

However when your business is at the stage when a dedicated server is a requirement then you should probably be able to cover the costs. You might also need to factor in that fact whilst there are managed dedicated hosting solutions you’ll still need to do a lot on your own. Hiring your own dedicated server administrator could be an option to explore.

Dedicated hosting is really only for those businesses who really need specialised/specific hardware needs.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting means your website is running on a virtual machine in the cloud. This means that instead of one physical server, your website is part of a whole network of computers, dynamically utilising resources.

Blog Post - Cloud Server

One of the biggest advantages of cloud hosting is scalability as it combines several computers into a powerful virtual server that can then provide resources on a demand basis.

You are usually only billed for the resources you actually end up using which means it’s a better solution than paying a fixed price.

Cloud servers are more resilient when it comes to things like DDoS attacks. Usually, In those types of hacks, the server is overwhelmed by a large number of parallel requests until it crashes. In a cloud network, the requests are spread among many different computers which mitigates their effect much better than on any single-server system.

Cloud systems are great if you want to be able to scale your website a lot further than traditional systems. Well known operators in this space or Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

In Summary…

Choosing a hosting package for your website can be pretty overwhelming and takes a lot of consideration.

If you’re just starting out, then go with shared hosting as it’s always possible to transfer to a more powerful setup later. In short, Cloud hosting will give you scalability and Dedicated hosting is really for businesses with specific needs.

Once you have made a decision, take a look at different companies, look at what’s on offer and compare the packages.

Narrow your selection down to two or three providers at this stage it will probably come down to personal preference. However don’t overlook the support which is offered, think about what you would want if you need to contact someone when your website is down.