When I set up a new installation of WordPress, there are a lots and lots of plugins about that offer a whole myriad of features and functionality. Thats what makes WordPress so flexible and offers many opportunities for web development.
But with all these choices – how do you know which ones to use?
First of all, you must use plugins that are regularly updated and widely used. This way you can ensure the likelihood of them being compatible with most themes and other plugins. And if they are premium (paid for) plugins then you should get good support as well. Always keep the plugins, as well as the core WordPress files, up to date. And don’t add lots just for the sake of it. Conduct your research and find those that are most appropriate for your needs.
So here are my top 10 WordPress plugins that I use most often:
- ITHEMES SECURITY
The first plugin I add after a new installation. Protects against brute force logins and records attempts to access the website via a daily digest email. Free version is sufficient for the standard level of website
- YOAST SEO
The basis for any website that requires search engine optimisation. It has a user friendly admin section that allows you to visually see what the snippet of code (meta description) looks like in Google as you type
- CONTACT FORM 7
For basic enquiry forms, this is my form plugin of choice. For any forms that need additional levels of complexity or conditional fields then I choose…
- GRAVITY FORMS
This offers a higher level of integration with websites and can connect to Paypal etc
This is the basic free plugin that I use as the starting point for any ecommerce websites. It powers 28% of all online stores and has great documentation. Then you need to be prepared to pay for any additional shop features that are not part of the basic plugin as this is where there are lots of options to add to your store. Best to use ones as promoted on the Woocommerce website as these are most likely to be compatible and supported
- SIMPLE 301 REDIRECTS
This will allow you to re-direct your website from an old domain address to a new one, or if you have installed a SSL and changed from http to https, then you’ll need to be able to redirect your old page addresses to new ones and this plugin will take care of that easily for you.
- VELVET BLUES UPDATE URLS – Similarly, once you’ve changed domains, or if you’ve been working on a development url, you’ll need to re-assign all the unique page addresses from the old to the new and this plugin will take care of that for you.
- SIMPLE SHARE ICONS – this will provide some simple and clean icons to link to your social media accounts. Although designed for the Genesis based theme system, it does work on most WordPress websites. It is easy to set up and allows you to pick any colour for the icons to add via a widget to your website
- NEXTGEN GALLERY – this is the most widely used Gallery plugin. I find that sometimes its a bit limited in its styling and you have to pay for add-ons to get the visual look I’m after.
- VISUAL COMPOSER– this is a very popular plugin to allow greater flexibility for page layouts and often ships as part of a lot of larger themes.
And as I wrote this there were lots more I have used but I’ll save that for another article in the future! If you have any questions about the above or would like to add some more functionality to your WordPress website then talk to me!