Our team at assisted.by specialise in WordPress development. This means we spend a lot of time with WordPress plugins, when we can’t find what we need we’ll build our own.

When setting out to develop your own Virtual Assistant website you want to ensure you are using well coded, efficient, secure and maintained plugins. Over the next five weeks we’re going to give you an overview of 25 plugins and services that we use regularly in our development cycles.  We’re calling it our list of Essential Plugins for Virtual Assistants although it is relevant for most WordPress websites that have a business focus.

We’ve broken the list down into five key areas of any Virtual Assistant Business. Here is the full list of plugins we’ll cover:

Getting Started

– Everyone has to start somewhere.

  1. Yoast SEO
  2. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
  3. Redirection
  4. Autoptimize
  5. Loginizer

Marketing

– Now you need to start generating those all important customers.

  1. Swifty Bar
  2. MailChimp
  3. LeadIn
  4. Broken Link Checker
  5. Better Click to Tweet

Lead Generation

– Now you have some potential customers, let’s ensure you engage with them.

  1. Popover Maker
  2. LeadIn
  3. Gravity Forms
  4. Gravity Forms Zapier Add-On
  5. SumoMe

WooCommerce Extensions

– Now is the time to sell your services.

  1. WooCommerce Customizer
  2. WooCommerce Zapier
  3. Payment Gateways
  4. Follow Up Emails
  5. WooCommerce Bookings

Payment Gateways

– Finally we want to ensure we’re paid for all that hard work we’ve put in.

  1. PayPal
  2. Stripe
  3. Authorize.net
  4. SagePay
  5. GoCardless

Let’s get started.

Yoast SEO

VA Life - WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants - Yoast SEO
WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants – Yoast SEO

WordPress is known for being well designed for SEO right out of the box. All of its features and functions have been built to guide search engines through every post, page and category of your VA site.

Though search engines have no difficulty dealing with WordPress sites, users who are serious about SEO and having their Virtual Assistant website found often turn to popular, highly-rated plugins in an effort to boost their results.

With over one million active installs, Yoast SEO is the leading plugin on the market.

#WordPress is known for being well designed for #SEO right out of the box Click To Tweet

Yoast SEO is a comprehensive solution for all your on-site SEO needs. It allows you to add SEO title, meta description, and meta keywords to each post and page of your site.

You can also write a custom title for your main site, archives, category and tag pages. It adds Open Graph meta data, Twitter Cards, Sitemaps and will ping search engines whenever you update your site.

The list of features for Yoast’s WordPress SEO is extremely long. Simply installing the plugin and activating it will go some way to improving your sites SEO but we recommend you take some time to get to grips with the settings. The time dedicated to optimising your posts and pages, is time very well spent.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

VA Life - WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants - Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants – Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Knowing how your audience interacts with your VA website is crucial for your business success. The best way to know your audience is through your traffic stats and this is what Google Analytics provide for free.

Google analytics allow you to keep track of:

  • Who visits your site
  • What they do when they are on your website
  • When they visit your website
  • Where did they arrive on your website from
  • How they interact with your site’s content

By seeing the user interactivity, you can work your content around your users. By seeing the answers to the questions above, you can focus on the strategies that work for your site and eliminate the strategies that don’t work.

The Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics reports in your WordPress install.

Redirection

VA Life - WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants - Redirection
WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants – Redirection

As your VA services grow and your skill-sets evolve you may find yourself wanting to change pages on your site, adjusting categories, or even affiliate yourself with other services.

WordPress allows your to easily make adjustments to the page URLs or delete categories, etc. This is great, until you realise that the category you just deleted has been indexed by search engines and now returns a ‘404 page not found’ error, whenever someone clicks on the link.

This is bad from both a user and an SEO perspective. But there is a solution; Redirection. Redirection is one of the most popular redirect tools for WordPress. It’s primary features are easy-to-manage 301 redirections and 404 error tracking. It also offers more advanced tools to help you keep track of loose ends on your site, like broken links and orphan pages.

A great use of the plugin relates to affiliate links. We love FreshBooks for accounting here at VA Life so we are happy to affiliate ourselves with them. However we’re not big fans of having to remember long affiliate links like: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=610226&u=1248389&m=52946&urllink=&afftrack= so we use Redirection and set https://www.valife.co/freshbooks to redirect automatically. Now that’s much easier to remember!

Autoptimize

VA Life - WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants - Autoptimize
WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants – Autoptimize

If you didn’t know already, site speed is an important ranking factor with Google. For sites that run on WordPress it’s possible to improve their loading time by using a performance optimisation plugin.

Autoptimize concatenates all scripts and styles, minifies and compresses them, adds expires headers, and caches them. It also moves styles to the page head and scripts to the footer.

This #WordPress plugin even minifies the #HTML code itself, making your page extremely lightweight Click To Tweet

This WordPress plugin even minifies the HTML code itself, making your page extremely lightweight. Also, there are advanced options available that allow you to tailor Autoptimize to your website’s specific needs.

Loginizer

VA Life - WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants - Loginizer
WordPress Plugins for Virtual Assistants – Loginizer

Because you have your Google Analytics installed you can now see that you seem to get a lot of traffic to www.mysite.com/wp-admin

Weird right? Not really. The /wp-admin/ URL is the default for all WordPress installs. So where’s the first place a brute force bot is going to look to try and hack it’s way into your VA site? You guessed it; /wp-admin/

So we want to stop those nasty bots but let our genuine users through. This is where the Loginizer plugin comes in.

It helps you fight against bruteforce attack by blocking login for the IP after it reaches maximum retries allowed. You can blacklist or whitelist IPs for login using Loginizer. You can also use various other features like Two Factor Auth, reCAPTCHA, PasswordLess Login, etc. to improve security of your website.


See an essential plugin you think we need to add to the list?  Let us know in the comments below 🙂

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  • Great list! I’m definitely going to give Autoptimize a try. 🙂 I’ve actually wanted to something just like that.

    • Thanks @rosabosma:disqus 🙂 glad you liked the list. Autoptimize really is a great plugin, just be a little carful with the JavaScript options. If you notice odd things happening on the site it will usually be because of the JavaScript optimisation. Simply turning it off will restore the previous functionality, so it really doesn’t hurt to try it.

      • You’re welcome! Yes, I just noticed that the JavaScript option doesn’t mesh with the Patternizer background (JavaScript-based) on my food blog, but when I turned JavaScript optimisation off it was fine again.

        • If you know which .js file is causing the issue there is an option that will allow you to exclude it from the optimisation process.