There are millions of WordPress plugins for just about every function and need out there. But how do you know which ones are the best? I struggled with this question when I first started building WordPress websites. I wanted plugins that worked not only for me as a designer but were also easy for my clients to use in the long run. With trial and error, I’ve finally gathered a solid list of WordPress plugins that your site should never go without.
If you’re a designer like me, then the standard WordPress body content area is not enough to make a site design flexible, unique looking and easy for your client to use. Advanced Custom Fields is the perfect solution for any WordPress website that needs more flexible data. It’s as simple as selecting from a variety of input types and assigning the fields to pages based on a set of location rules. Once your fields are set up and you’ve styled the content areas, your client or you as a designer can easily upload full width hero images and add custom WYSIWYG editors for call to actions or other content without having to deal with any code.
Not only is it important for your site to look good but it also needs to be SEO friendly. With Yoast, you can simply add your page titles, add keywords, update meta descriptions and see exactly how it will look in Google. Then the plugin will automatically test the important areas of your content for usage of the focus keyword, so you can truly optimize your page for the term you need.
99% of all websites need a contact form. Contact Form 7 is one of the easiest form builders I’ve used, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. Once the form is created, the plugin will generate a short-code that you can place anywhere on your site. There’s no need to struggle with any code when using Contact Form 7.
Help your visitors promote your site with AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget. This Plugin connects directly with your blog and allows you to determine how it should look and where it should be located. This tool is great for allowing users to quickly tweet and share blog and other news posts on various social media platforms, as well as, through email and quick printing options.
Track your website data without needing access to the backend code. With Google Universal Analytics, all you need to do is create a Google Analytics account and then add the property ID to the plugin interface. You’ll be analyzing your website traffic in no time.
There are a lot of great MailChimp plugins for WordPress. But MailChimp for WordPress has been the best tool I’ve used thus far. This plugin allows you to create unlimited forms that are highly customizable, and you can display them wherever you want with a simple short code, widget or template function. You can also add sign-up checkboxes to other forms throughout your site.
Whether your new to WordPress or looking for some great plugins, I hope my list will help save you time and headaches in the future. Feel free to share your favorite plugins! I’m always looking for more WordPress plugins.