Five plugins which help me quickly deploy a new WordPress website

Whenever I start a new project in WordPress I seem to fall into the same setup pattern before adding any content. This is because I believe I have found a small handful of plugins which take minutes to setup, provide most of the useful tools I will need on my site, as well as leaving me in a place where I am set up to make a content-rich website.

I will talk about the first five plugins I tend to install on my WordPress websites, as they help me get started fast and with minimal effort:

Yoast

In common with many others, the first plugin I install on any new WordPress installation is Yoast SEO.

The plugin adds a wealth of tools to your website which help with getting indexed on search engines. There are tools to create a sitemap, analyse your site’s content quality and monitor your site’s page health.

WordPress is pretty SEO friendly out of the box in terms of the way it handles the metadata of your posts and pages, but Yoast gives you much more control over how your site appears on the web. It promotes good habits with things like 404 page alerts and feedback on the content you are writing. It’s a must have for many bloggers.

Yoast’s SEO analysis is added to the bottom of every post and page.

Jetpack

I’ve spoken frequently about how I think Jetpack is a great plugin for quick deployment.

Jetpack is best described as a plugin of plugins. You activate Jetpack and you immediately have access to a ton of features which are usually found separated into many different plugins.

For example, with a click of a few buttons Jetpack can add social media icons, contact forms, basic security features and visitor statistics to your website. It is, in my opinion, the ultimate plugin for quick deployment.

Jetpack is a huge plugin with lots of features, and as such some find it a little bulky. If you plan to use a lot of Jetpack’s modules, then it’s definitely worth installing. If however you only wish to add one or two features, then you might find it more convenient to install specific plugins that do those single jobs.

I love Jetpack and its ability to give me so many useful features for my site within minutes, so I’ll quickly talk about the features I always enable on my sites:

My must have Jetpack Modules

When I enable Jetpack here are the specific modules I make use of:

Contact Forms

Jetpack is my absolute favourite plugin for configuring contact forms on my website. I find it easier to use than most other plugins because it has a really nice, user-friendly drag and drop interface where I can make any kind of form my site needs.

Related Posts

Jetpack has a module which adds related post links to the bottom of your WordPress posts. There are many other plugins which do this, but Jetpack’s related posts look really nice with most themes I have used.

Social media sharing

Within Jetpack you can configure and add social media icons to the bottom of your posts, allowing readers to share them across social media. Again, they are really easy and quick to setup.

Comment management

Jetpack can replace WordPress’s default comment system with one that also allows comments from social media accounts, as well as allowing likes for your posts, adding that extra bit of functionality and usability for visitors.

Spam protection

Jetpack can manage spam protection for you. What it actually does is configure the Akismet plugin which typically comes with new WordPress installations, but it saves you the job of signing up and generating your own keys for it, making it quicker and easier to protect your site from spam comments.

A list of all Jetpack’s modules can be found in the plugin’s ‘Debug’ menu.

Simple Lightbox

I don’t particularly like the default way images in WordPress link to the attachment page, so like a lot of people who feel the same, I use a Lightbox plugin to change those links into a nice pop-up display of the image.

There are many plugins that can do this, my preferred choice is ‘Simple Lightbox‘ by Archetyped for no other reason than it really is as simple as activating the plugin and then the light boxes just work.

The plugin has additional settings if you want to edit the way your light boxes work and appear on your pages.

Duplicate Page

Creating content is time consuming, so to help with that I use the ‘Duplicate Page‘ plugin. This is a really simple plugin that does exactly what it says on the tin.

If I create a page on my site, this plugin adds an option to create an exact copy with a click of a button. It duplicates the entire page content, tags, categories and any other custom data, so if you have a bunch of pages with similar content, you can create the first page and duplicate it however many times you need ,just updating the odd bits that need it. It’s a simple but powerful time saving plugin.

Post and pages get an additional ‘Duplicate This’ option.

Internal Link Juicer

This plugin is a more recent must-have for me, because it replaces a similar plugin which was sadly no longer maintained and became incompatible with PHP 7 and above.

Internal Link Juicer lets you assign keywords or phrases to a post or page, and if another post or page has those keywords typed within them, it will link to the relevant page.

For example, you can set the keyword ‘Contact me’, and the plugin will make any post or page on your site with the words ‘Contact me’ on them automatically link to your contact form.

It’s a fantastic plugin for generating plenty of internal links quickly with minimal thought, which I find useful as it’s something I’m typically too lazy to go through and do manually.

With all my posts linking between each other in appropriate places, I can guide users through my site and help them find more articles which they might enjoy.

Keyword panel for internal linking appears on each post and page.
A test post showing how the assigned ‘Contact’ keyword automatically generates a link to the contact form page.

And that’s it! With these five plugins I feel like I am able to create content which is easy to share and interact with, as well as having some basic functionality I would always expect to have on my site. If you try any of these plugins out let me know what you think of them!

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