11 Time Saving WordPress Plugins You Need in 2020

Time saving plugins are one of the advantages of using WordPress. At time of writing there are 51,998 WordPress plugins that extend the functionality of WordPress. And most of them are absolutely free!

Here are 17  time saving WordPress plugins I couldn’t do without. And they're all free.

For each plugin I explain what it does and why it’s a timesaving plugin that I couldn't do without.

time saving wordpress plugins

1. SEO Yoast

SEO Yoast is a free one-stop shop for optimizing your blog post for the search engines.

When you install this free plugin you get a module on the edit page of every post you write where you can see how your post measures up against the key SEO criteria.

Each SEO criteria is marked with a button that turns green when you meet that particular benchmark:

timesaving wordpress plugins

Having this module built into the edit page of every post you write changes SEO from something in the too hard basket to something that’s doable with about 15 minutes on each post.

What’s particularly useful is you can see at a glance whether a post has been optimized for SEO:

If you address each of Yoast’s SEO criteria every time you publish, your blog posts will be better optimized than the vast majority of blog posts out there.

Why?

Because most bloggers don’t optimize their posts for SEO.

2. Simply Exclude

This plugin excludes pages and posts from the four areas where pages and posts normally appear once you press publish: Archives, Feeds, Front Page, and Searches:

timesaving WordPress plugins

When I’m adding a new post I don’t want people to see the half-finished post.

So I need to be able to hide it until it’s ready.

That’s what this plugin does. Just check the four boxes and the post you’re working won’t be visible until you uncheck them.

Couldn’t do without it!

3. Pretty Link

Pretty Link takes those long, ugly affiliate links and changes them to something like: www.yourdomain.com/product.

timesaving WordPress plugins

Pretty Link is super-easy to use and tidies up your affiliate links.

It also provides analytics so you can see which of your affiliate links are getting the clicks:

timesaving WordPress plugins

4. Blank Slate

Blank Slate strips away all the usual WordPress elements from your page so there’s nothing to distract your visitor.

Perfect for a landing page!

In fact ‘Landing Page’ is one of the four options Blank Slate offers:

timesaving WordPress plugins
timesaving WordPress plugins

I use this a lot when setting up 2-step content upgrades in my guest posts.

The visitor clicks on a link in my bio and gets taken to a ‘Blank Slate’ page containing a Thrive Leads optin link. 

This plugin is very useful anytime you want a blank page with nothing to distract your visitor.

5. Insert Headers and Footers

Insert Headers and Footers doesn’t insert headers and footers (as you might think from the name).

It inserts snippets of code (such as Google Analytics tracking code) into the header or footer of your WP site:

timesaving WordPress plugins

There’s nothing flash about this plugin but it’s indispensable if you don’t feel comfortable messing around with your header.php and footer.php files.

6. Genesis Title Toggle

This is a plugin that works on any Genesis Framework theme.

It simply removes the title from a particular page (note: it only works on pages, not on posts).

When would you need this?

Let’s say you have a Landing Page with a Heading.

By default WordPress adds a title, but this title will duplicate your heading.

The Title Toggle module appears at the foot of Edit Screen of every page:

timesaving WordPress plugins

There’s nothing in WordPress that allows you to  turn off titles on individual pages, so this plugin is indispensable!

If you’re not using a Genesis Framework theme, there’s another plugin that does the same thing and works in any WP theme: Hide Title. This plugin lets you hide the title on both pages and posts.

7. Open External Links in a New Window

This plugin does exactly what it says: it changes the default setting so that all your external links open in a new window (instead of changing the content in the existing window).

When I’m adding links to a blog post I nearly always want them to open in a new window (I find it really annoying when I click on a link and then get taken away from the article I’m reading).

Before I installed this plugin, this is what I used to do every time I inserted an external link in a blog post:

Step One:

Click on the Settings cog for the link:

timesaving WordPress plugins

Step Two:

In ‘Settings’, check the box for ‘Open link in a new tab’:

timesaving WordPress plugins

This plugin is a huge timesaver:

It removes two unnecessary steps in the workflow for publishing a new blog post.

8. Redirection

This plugin simply re-directs your visitor from one URL to another.

It’s very simple to use: just insert the previous URL on the top line and the new URL on the line below, and press ‘Add Redirect’:

timesaving WordPress plugins

I often have to change the URLs of my blog posts, either because they’re too long or because they don’t include my exact keyword.

With this plugin I simply change the ‘slug’ in the WP Edit screen for that particular post, and then add a redirection so that the old URL points to the new URL.

By the way:

Did you know that short URLs have a strong SEO advantage? Google much prefers shorter URLs over longer URLs and will reward shorter URLs with higher rankings.

9. BackWPup

This plugin is pretty straightforward – it allows you to schedule automatic backups of your WP database and files:

timesaving WordPress plugins

I have it set up to do a partial backup (DB backup, files, and plugins) every day and a complete backup (DB Check, DB Backup, Files, XML export, Plugins) once a week.

It hasn’t happened to me yet, but it does happen – people lose their entire website.

Sometimes you can rely on your web host to keep a backup of your database and files but it’s a good idea to make your own copy.

10. Posts in Sidebar

This plugin is a widget that allows you to add a list of posts to the sidebar:

timesaving WordPress plugins

Just drag and drop the widget into your sidebar:

timesaving WordPress plugins

This plugin offers some quite advanced options for choosing which posts to pull into your sidebar:

timesaving WordPress plugins

Displaying your recent posts in the sidebar of every page of your site gives them much more exposure.

Depending on what theme you’re using, you may already have a widget that does this.

But this one is better than most.

11. Table of Contents Plus

Table of Contents Plus creates a ‘Wikipedia-style’ table of contents for a blog post:

Since writing this article, I have started using Thrive Architect to build my Pages. Thrive Architect comes with its own Table of Contents module, so I no longer use Table of Contents Plus.

Conclusion

Here again are the 11 time-saving WordPress plugins:

1. SEO Yoast
2. Simply Exclude
3. Pretty Link
4. Blank Slate
5. Insert Headers and Footers
6. Genesis Title Toggle
7. Open External Links in a New Window
8. Redirection
9. BackWPup
10. Posts in Sidebar
11. Table of Contents Plus

This post was most recently updated on July 6th, 2020

Rob Powell
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4 thoughts on “11 Time Saving WordPress Plugins You Need in 2020”

  1. Hi Rob,

    Awesome post!
    I had no idea there are about 51,998 WordPress plugins! Wow!!
    I couldn’t do without SEO Yoast. In fact I have the premium version, which includes redirection. Also, for security, I use the All In One WordPress Security and Firewall Plugin, which to me is the ultimate security plugin that will take your WordPress site’s security to a whole new level. It’s locked me out a few times, but I love it!
    I’ve heard a lot about Pretty Link but had no idea its a free plugin. Also, I have always wondered how to do a table of contents for really epic posts. Now I know, thanks to you 🙂 I will definitely give Pretty Link and Table of Contents Plus a try.

    Thanks again! Off to share on Twitter.

    Best regards,

    Pedro

  2. Hi Pedro, thanks for your comment. I haven’t tried All In One WP Security and Firewall Plugin, it sounds good, i’ll have a look at it. Table of Contents Plus is great – I love it. After reading your comment I realized I could have used it in my plugins post, so I just added a Table of Contents 🙂

  3. Hello Rob, You have done a great job!
    You should try User Activity Log Pro WordPress plugin. One of the most essential plugin for WordPress site security. It monitors and tracks all the activities of users from admin side. It’s very easy user interface manage site’s user roles and informs about WordPress core updates, post updates, user activities etc. Check out demo here: https://codecanyon.net/item/user-activity-log-pro-for-wordpress/18201203?ref=solwin
    I hope that this worthy WordPress plugin will help you.

  4. Hey, thanks Danial – it looks lie a very useful plugin for WP sites with multiple users. Thanks!

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