If I am redesigning my site, setting up a new site for a client, or inheriting a site from a new client for ongoing management, there are a select few WordPress Plugins that are my go-to for performance, security and functionality.
No matter the size of website, if you have multiple pages and multiple menus, it can get a little confusing to remember which page is a part of which menu and where. And if you have a lot of posts, it’s even more of a pain to remember which posts have featured images assigned, which has SEO keywords assigned, etc.
The Admin Columns plugin handles all of this for you by providing options for your Posts and Pages list within the WordPress Admin. You can add columns to those pages to show more Post and Page data, such as showing a thumbnail of a featured image for a post or what menu the Page has been assigned to. This plugin makes managing WordPress based websites so much easier.
Akismet should need no introduction, as it is the must-install plugin to manage and deal with the onslaught of SPAM your Posts will eventually receive. Enough said.
I have ditched a lot of the custom theme code repositories I’ve used in the past in favor of the Beaver Builder page builder plugin. The Pro version is worth every penny and in my opinion the best page builder on the market. You can create any type of custom layout for your site and various pages. It works with Custom Post Types, and if you ever decide to stop using it, revert your pages back to default without all the shortcake bloat that you see with other pages builders.
I know there are lots of options for Email Campaign services out there, but I have adopted Drip for all outreach campaigns. It’s single list tagging scheme and automation workflows make it super easy to segment your list and tailor content. Integrating it’s functionality with WordPress is made easy with the Email Marketing by Drip plugin. Install it, drop in your API code and you’re done.
You’d be crazy to have a website and not track visitor statistics using Google Analytics. Once you have your website property set up within Google Analytics, you can view al relative stats right within your WordPress Admin using the Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights plugin. You grant permission for MonsterInsights to get access to your GA data and boom, all your stats are there for viewing.
If your website is in need of any sort of form, be it a contact form, order form, registration form, etc then the best on the market is Gravity Forms. This powerful (premium) plugin is the one that I have used the longest. I was part of their first developers release and continue to promote it. There are many imitators out there but the styling options, integrations with other services, SPAM protection, etc make this the best forms plugin available.
One of the things that makes Gravity Forms so powerful is the Add-ons. Since I use Freshbooks for all customer billing, there’s a Freshbooks Add-On that allows me to create invoices for customers using a form I created on my website. Since I use Drip for email marketing, I can create or update a subscriber and their information using forms I create on my website. There are other add-ons for any sort of commerce functionality you’d need.
Similar to Akismet, the JetPack plugin should need no introduction. It handles all aspects of social media integration for your blog by promoting content to your social accounts. It can handle backups and single sign-on among other advanced functionality provided by WordPress. It’s a must install for every website.
Performance is a huge factor in your SEO rankings, and just as importantly a fast loading website makes for a better user experience. The WP Rocket caching plugin is the best on the market to make your website optimized, load fast, and score high in any webpage speed test.
You should take security for your website very seriously. Every day thousands of sites get hacked, and with WordPress powering close to 30% of ALL websites on the Internet, it’s a prime target. Don’t be a victim, and install the best security plugin available. That is the iThemes Security plugin. It will harden your site and prevent hacks, tell you of any file changes, and even create website backups for you if the worst happens.
Lastly, if you need help getting your posts (and website in general) to rank higher in search results, then the Yoast SEO plugin is your tool. Use it to research keywords for your posts, set meta data for your site, integrate with social media, all the things. At a glance you can see which posts need SEO attention, it makes managing search ranking easier.
Anyway, those are my go-to plugins for my site and most sites that I set up and manage. What about you? Which are your favorites?