I usually don’t like news sites with complicated design and traditional news tickers and over-design. I would always recommend to go for simple design. This way, we will use only a bunch of important plugins to enhance our site. Let us have a look on the plugins which I believe would be ideal for any news website.
Rank Math for SEO
I’m not a fan of Yoast and even RankMath Pro plugins. I believe that the Free Version of RankMath is more than enough for any news website. You can install and get the site going using the basic settings of RankMath. Here is a video on the complete integration of RankMath.
AMP for WP
Most of us begin with a very little investment and usually go for shared hosting (also known as cloud hosting). Though it is cheap, it is slow and often it takes around 5-10 seconds to load a page. With this speed, we can lose more than 90% of our users. How do we fix that?
Using AMP for WP plugin. This is a free plugin. It makes the site load from Google’s end which means your site’s speed will increase upto 500% using this plugin. We have covered AMP in another lesson (in this course).
The cache is like a PA (personal assistant). For the layman, it creates a copy of your site in the browser of the user (when he visits your site for the first time). When he visits the site next time, most of the things load from his browser. Thus there will be less load on your site server and it will load quite faster. For beginners, LiteSpeed Cache is one of the best plugins for cache and other speed optimizations. Here is a quick guide on the settings of LiteSpeed Cache.
JetPack is a must-have plugin for any website and news website is no exception. It connects your site with wordpress.com. Using this plugin, we get speed optimisation, site analytics (clicks, top pages, outbound clicks etc). Here is a quick guide on JetPack settings.
PWA for WP
Getting traffic is not an achievement, retaining it, is. Our news content can go viral anytime and we may get more than 10k traffic at a time but that audience won’t return the next time. Right? We also don’t have enough budget to develop an android/iOS app for our news site. So, how do we retain the users?
PWA (Progressive Web Application). Simply install PWA for AMP and WP plugin and make the simple settings that you will find in its dashboard. It will add the feature of “Add to Home Screen” which is available for Android, iOS, and Desktop devices. So, if we manage to get 100 users a day, we will have 3000 in a month. These users will visit our site often which will increase our brand authority.
Easy Table of Contents
This plugin adds a Table of Content section to our articles. If you have 3 or more subheadings in the content, it will automatically add a box with anchor links to those headings (as you see in Wikipedia).
There are two benefits of this plugin. First, a user can easily navigate to any section of your content. Second, you will get sitelinks feature in Search Engines.
Simply install Table of Contents plugin and do the basic settings.
We have default comment section below each article. However it is traditional and not that engaging. Another downside of default comment section is that it does not have any proper spam detection system. Here comes Disqus to solve all such problems.
This plugin adds a modern, minimalistic and engaging comment section. And the best thing about this plugin is its strong anti-spam detection. We are using Disqus for Explore Keywords
Here is a quick guide on how to install Disqus on WordPress.
This plugin also comment with reactions feature and it also shows related articles below the content.
Images are vital part of news website. However they are usually big in size which can eventually cause issues on our site (e.g. they will make our database size big). We can use Smush plugin to optimise the images and compress them to load faster on our site. Install this plugin and do the basic settings.
For beginners, these plugins are more than enough. When we grow, we can go for other plugins like Ad Inserter Pro, WP Rocket, Fixed Widget etc.