WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world and there’s a reason why: It’s reliability and customizability. Out of the box, WordPress can build basic websites. With some knowledge and expertise, you can build about anything! A big factor behind WordPress’s customizability are the plugins.
Many plugins have free versions that do the trick but an upgrade is often your best bet. It’s important to remember a few things when looking for WordPress plugins, including:
Do you REALLY need this plugin?
Plugins can add a lot of bloat to a website. If it’s not necessary for the functionality of your website, I would skip it.
When was the plugin last updated?
Plugins can open the door for hackers, so making sure you’re only using plugins with regular updates and compatibility checks with WordPress is key. I personally like to see plugin updates released every 3 months or more.
What kind of reviews does the plugin have?
As with shopping in general, it’s always good to check out the reviews. Read through some of the highest and lowest ratings to see what you’re dealing with.
Over the years, I’ve used the same plugins on almost all websites I build. Of course, each website has its own needs but these plugins are my staples:
Ninja Forms (or Gravity Forms, depending on needs)
I like Ninja Forms because, well, it’s free for the basic version. I’ve used Ninja Forms on many of my client’s websites and it’s worked great. Ninja Forms does offer add-ons for different functionality. If more functionality is needed, though, I like to look into a Gravity Forms subscription. In my opinion, if you’re going to upgrade, you get a little more bang-for-your-buck with Gravity Forms.
With WordPress, security is key. Wordfence helps me keep tabs on my own and my client’s websites. I use the free version but there is an upgrade available for added security features.
All in One SEO
I’ve tried out a few other SEO plugins and this one is the easiest to navigate. While I believe SEO is heavily weighted in good content, having an SEO plugin to help guide the process is helpful!
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new mandate that’s intended to protect EU citizens’ right to data privacy. Even though my clients (and most of their clients) are based in the United States, adding a cookie notice only provides transparency to ALL website visitors.
It’s always smart to have website backups. ManageWP is a subscription service (there’s also a free version!) that helps keep updates on all the websites you manage. This is especially helpful when you manage a crap-ton of websites like I do.
I’ve tested many different WordPress speed and caching plugins and this one is, hands down, the best. Not only does it work flawlessly with the Divi theme, it also speeds sites better than any other plugin. This is a paid plugin but well worth the money if your website is feeling a bit bloated.
Do you have questions about these plugins or any others? I’ve built hundreds of websites, using different combinations of the above (and then some). If you ever need help with your WordPress website, don’t hesitate to get in touch!