Here are the top 7 plugins that I use on every WordPress website that I develop.
One of the best features of WordPress is the ability to ‘tack on’ third party plugins to add additional functionality and subsequently reducing a developers workload. The old saying with a programming twist goes: “The standard library saves programmers from having to reinvent the wheel.” – Bjarne Stroustrup. If you can utilise the tools that have been made available to you to save time and money, why wouldn’t you? Here are my top 7 picks for the plugins that I use on every WordPress website I develop.
Plugin #1: Advanced Custom Fields Pro
Advanced Custom Fields Pro, or ACF, is an absolute lifesaver! ACF allows a developer to create custom fields that do not come standard with plain old WordPress. These can include but are not limited to:
- Text and Text Area
- Images and Galleries
- Numbers, Emails, and Passwords
- Files, Selects, and Checkboxes
- Pages, Objects, Taxonomies, and Repeaters
Together, these fields allow full customisation with WordPress pages and posts. For example, I can set a Gallery to allow my client to add in as many images to a page or post type as they require. Say I want them to them be able to create more galleries, all I need to do is put that Gallery inside a Repeater. It is just so simple and powerful!
You can check out the ACF plugin here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/advanced-custom-fields/.
Alternatively, you can check out the PRO version here: https://www.advancedcustomfields.com/pro/.
The PRO version for one site will set you back only $25 AUD. You have the choice to extend that licence to unlimited sites for an extra $75 AUD.
Plugin #2: Akismet Anti-Spam
Most WordPress websites are based around the idea of a blog or community. As such, the majority of sites include the ability to comment on posts and subsequently add something else for the developer to think about: SPAM. In order to combat harmful language and behaviour on your site, you need to monitor the comments. This is where Akismet Anti-Spam comes in.
Akismet runs every comment made on your site through their global database of spam to help combat malicious content. If anything seems suspicious, Akismet flags it for your review. It is quite a basic setup and does not really require any technical knowledge or development but is essential for any site with commenting systems.
You can find Akismet here: https://en-au.wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/.
The Akismet team provides free keys for personal blogs and paid keys for businesses and corporations.
Plugin #3: Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is a premium WordPress plugin that many freelance developers use for their client’s websites. The plugin allows you to create feature packed forms by using a drag and drop interface. The plugin also allows integration with a number of other services such as PayPal, Stripe and MailChimp, therefore, allowing you to extend its built-in capabilities.
You can purchase Gravity Forms here: http://www.gravityforms.com/purchase-gravity-forms/.
The cost ranges from $39 USD for a personal licence to $199 USD for a developer licence.
Plugin #4: WordFence
With over 22 million downloads, WordFence is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins available. The plugin includes a firewall, real-time blocking features, login security and monitoring features. What I like most about WordFence is it’s access to lists of known attackers and malicious networks. By having this information, the plugin can help prevent access to these entities 24 hours a day.
You can download WordFence from here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/.
Plugin #5: Custom Post Type UI
Sometimes, developing a custom WordPress website for a client requires more than the standard post type and that is where Custom Post Type UI comes in. CPT UI allows developers to create more post types so that clients can have more ways to post content on their website.
For example, on my own website, I use the standard post type for my blog and have a custom post type (CPT UI) for my portfolio. This allows me to easily separate the two types of posts.
Now, you can do this by writing some code in the functions.php file, but that gets messy and can cause some problems. CPT UI allows me to create custom post types on the back end of WordPress with minimal effort and errors.
You can download CPT UI from here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-post-type-ui/.
Plugin #6: Yoast SEO
Yoast is a fully fledged SEO plugin for WordPress and is probably the most commonly used among the WordPress community. The plugin manages page analysis, meta and link elements, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs, social integration and much more. I would vouch for it being the “be all and end all” plugin for SEO on WordPress, but that is just me.
You can download Yoast from here: https://en-au.wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/.
Yoast also provides a premium version for $69 USD for a single site all the way up to $6500 USD for 200 sites.
Plugin #7: Compress JPEG & PNG Images
Now, this final plugin is one that has recently saved me a load of storage space on one of my client’s websites. It approximately turned 835mbs of images into 450mbs. Those are fantastic numbers. Mind you, the images were a little big and not all were compressed prior to upload but for post upload savings that is fantastic. If the numbers won’t convince you, I’m not sure anything will.
You can download the compression plugin here: https://en-au.wordpress.org/plugins/tiny-compress-images/.
The plugin does have a limit of roughly up to 100 images per month but you can pay for more if you require.
“835mbs of images into 450mbs… If the numbers won’t convince you, I’m not sure anything will.”
I hope I have been able to shed some light into the plugins that I use for almost every WordPress website that I develop. These plugins are not exhaustive and generally, I pair these up with other plugins that suit the project I am working on at the time.
Definitely, take a more extensive look into these plugins if you would like to learn more about them. Feel free to comment or send a message through our contact page to get some more information on WordPress plugins.