Top WordPress Plugins You Need To Be Using
WordPress is one of the world’s most popular web platforms and our tool of choice for developing powerful, feature-rich, easy-to-update websites. To help ourselves along the way, we use a range of useful WordPress plugins on a daily basis and we’d like to share some insider tips on which ones we know are worth downloading.
So, to save you the time and effort of sifting through the thousands of options on the market, we’ve put together a list of top tried and tested plugins we use day in, day out!
So here we go, in no particular order, these are the best WordPress plugins we recommend:
1. Advanced Custom Fields
Some types of web and e-commerce sites require more advanced fields and data input options than are provided with the native version. This is where downloading the Advanced Custom Fields plugin will vastly improve your website building experience.
This plugin allows you to create fields with a choice of over 20 input types from text, images, and passwords to maps check boxes, colour pickers and calendars. You can also create custom fields, location rules and field groups to fully customise your edit pages. You’ll end up with a fully functioning, interactive and user-friendly website and it’s so easy to use; just check out the reviews
2. Advanced Custom Fields – Repeater Field (Add-On)
The Advanced Custom Fields plugin is incredibly useful on it’s own, but we wanted to let you know about the powerful Repeater Field Add-On which greatly improves the capabilities of the original plugin. The Repeater allows you to create even more flexible templates by creating tables of data with infinite, customised columns and rows; perfect if you need to collect more complex and varied data on your website.
3. Contact Form 7
You can have the shiniest, most efficient website around, but if you don’t provide an easy way for your visitors to get in touch with you then your website and business will struggle.
Of course, you can simply publish your email address and leave it at that, however if you’d rather keep that information private (which is good for preventing spam bots contacting you) it is a great idea to invest in a good contact form plugin. Enter Contact Form 7 a plugin which gives you the option to add multiple types of contact form to your site and customise them to suit your needs. This plugin also supports CAPTCHA codes, Akismet spam filtering (which we’ll come to next) and AJAX-powered submission.
As you’ll no doubt be aware, having a website unfortunately exposes you to a whole world of comment spammers. Sigh.
However, downloading the Akismet plugin for WordPress will help protect you against these unwelcome visitors by analysing each comment made on your posts and filtering out the suspicious ones. You will then be able to moderate these comments and remove the bad ones. In order to use this plugin you’ll need the Akismet API Key which is free for personal blogs or available to subscribe to for businesses.
5. W3 Total Cache
How efficiently your site performs in terms of speed and user experience is incredibly important for both SEO and visitor retention. Downloading the WordPress W3 Total Cache plugin for your site will improve the performance of your server which will, in turn, increase download and page load speed. Your site will be able to handle heavier traffic in peak periods and, most importantly, keep all of your visitors happy.
If your site thrives on quality content and visitor comments, it’s certainly worth swapping out your standard WordPress comment system for Disqus. Using a third party commenting system such as this means that your server won’t need to handle comments and thus your site speed won’t be affected. It also makes commenting more interactive for your users and comes equipped with anti-spam filters so you don’t get any unwelcome ones!
8. Yoast SEO
SEO is a wilderness and can be difficult to navigate if you’re unfamiliar with it. Luckily, there’s the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast which we highly recommend to help you along the way. This covers all the essentials for your site including generating page titles, meta descriptions and keywords, XML Sitemaps, social integration and a whole load more. Most importantly it’s incredibly easy to use and will help make sure Google will continue to give your site the proverbial thumbs up.
9. Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
If your site is e-commerce, conversions or goals driven then, chances are, you’ll be familiar with analytics software such as Google Analytics. This Google Analytics Dashboard plugin for WordPress displays all your vital data and allows you to effortlessly apply Google tracking codes to all new pages you create. Now you can see all your sessions, page views, transactions and traffic data in one place when you log into WordPress, so there will be less need to switch between programs.
10. Gravity Forms
We know we’ve already mentioned a contact form plugin, however there is one more plugin of this type which is worthy of your attention. Gravity Forms is similar to Contact Form 7 in the sense that you can use it to add almost any type of contact form to your site and it’s extremely easy to use. However, with Gravity forms, you can also run surveys, quizzes and even collect data to improve lead generation with the help of just a few simple add-ons.
If you have an eCommerce or community-based site then you’ll love the WooCommerce plugin. We use it all the time for it’s excellent ability to help you sell almost anything, whether it be digital or physical products. With its huge range of useful extensions you can manage product variations, downloads, bookings, memberships and even affiliate sales. Not to mention shipping and payments, which also become a total breeze with this essential plugin, and you’ll be in full control; woo!
12. Buddy Press
We all know that social media rules the world now, so why not create your own? With the BuddyPress plugin you can run any kind of social network on your own site using all the common components you’d find on the mainstream networks. You can run member profiles, manage activity streams and even allow your users to set up their own mini communities. What’s more, it’s all really easy to set up and comes with the option to add loads of extensions if you want to; so follow our lead and get social!
Do you use any other WordPress plugins you absolutely swear by? Share them with us in the comments below.