WordPress is a powerful Content Management System with a huge community developing plugins to extend its core functionality and help you customize your website to your needs. Here’s a few plugins that I personally use in pretty much every situation.
1. Ithemes Security (starting at $80)
One of the most important thing when it comes to building a new site is security. WordPress has been known for its many security issues over the years and even though there’s regular updates to address these issues, protecting your website is very important. Using strong passwords, protecting your admin panel, etc, are one of the few things you can do to avoid any problem. And that’s exactly what Ithemes Security Pro does. Ithemes allows to add a layer of security to your site, including notifications when a file is modified, blocking users trying to access your admin panel, hiding important files and directories… This is my very first install when I start on a new project or update an existing one.
No matter how much you secure your site, there’s always a time when your site might be broken because of a mistake you made or a plugin that didn’t update properly, or worse, you just got hacked and you lost everything. If you don’t have any backup, you pretty much back to square one. BackupWordpress will back up your entire site including your database and all your files on a schedule that suits you.
The benefit of BackupWordpress is that it’s completely free and very easy to use. If you want more features like backing up all your files off-site, it’s a great option. Starting at $80.
3. Yoast SEO
Probably the most downloaded and used SEO plugin.With its snippet preview, you can see a rendering of what your page will look like in a search result and immediately know if your title is too long or too short, if your description is irrelevant, etc. Yoast will analyze your page and will tell you if your content is not long enough, if your page title and description contain any of your focus keyword, etc.
The best part, it’s free. if you want to be able to optimize your page for multiple focus keywords along with other features, they also offer a Premium option starting at $69. Highly recommended!
4. W3 Total Cache
Speed is important…including in your SEO efforts. Google offers you a tool to check your site performance. If your site is too slow it might impact your traffic and conversion. W3 Total Cache help you improve your SEO and overall user experience by increasing your website’s performance: compressing files, caching content, even allowing you to use CDN management.
5. Gravity Forms (starting at $39)
There’s a lot of contact form plugins out there but nobody did it as good as Gravity Forms. With Gravity Forms you can simply build any form you need, from simple to very complex…and all visually with their drag and drop feature. Gravity Forms is not free, but starting at $39 for a single site, it’s a definite must have! It integrates with any website, any design and you can customize pretty much everything. Some of its features include: multiple page forms, scheduling forms, exporting entries, creating order forms, etc…
Simply the best ecommerce plugin! With Woocommerce you can now build a full, robust ecommerce platform. There’s really not a whole lot to say about Woocommerce. There’s simply no competition when you look at all the features and plugins available.
Disqus is the web’s most popular commenting system trusted by millions of publishers to increase reader engagement, grow audience and traffic, and monetize content. If you have a blog, the built in comment system doesn’t offer a lot of features or options. I highly suggest using Disqus. It integrates in one click, adapt to your website pretty smoothly, keep spam out, and can potentially help your SEO. It also integrates analytics so you can measure your engagement.
8. Disable comments
9. WP Mail SMTP
WP Mail SMTP reconfigures the way WordPress sends email to use SMTP. The goal being to fix the well known WordPress issue not being able to send emails. using your own email server settings will fix the issue.
There’s plenty of plugins to do exactly what you need. I’m not a big fan of installing a lot of plugins as they can slow down your site and you can also run into update issues. Those are the main ones I use in pretty much every single project. For everything else, like Google Maps, Google Analytics, social media sharing, to name a few features often often used on websites, I tend to choose the custom code option or implementing themes that are already offering all those common features. One of my favorite being Enfold from Themeforest packed with all the features you might need for your website.
If you have any question about plugins, including building your own custom plugin, feel free to contact us.