We regularly build WordPress websites for small to medium-sized businesses. Something that always comes into play is choosing the right WordPress plugins to make sites more secure, efficient and productive. Choosing the right WordPress plugins for your website can help make your life easier and deliver a better customer experience. Not every website needs every plugin — as a matter of fact, be judicious — but here are some key ones we regularly deploy.
BASIC WORDPRESS PLUGINS
Contact Form 7
I don’t think we’ve built a website yet that didn’t have Contact Form 7. It’s the workhorse for building decent forms (and hiding email addresses).
Contact Form DB
We like to store data (just in case), and here’s the natural bolt-on for Contact Form 7. It makes it easy to build & import mailing lists.
Google XML Sitemaps
One of the required steps in launching a site is making sure the search engines can find you. Fast forward…
When it comes to SEO, one of the challenges we face is page load times. Trim the fat in your images (hint: PhotoShop web images are not optimized).
WP Super Cache
Faster! Faster! If you want your WordPress site to be more efficient, caching helps. Big time. You have numerous options for cache plugins – this one is good.
SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING WORDPRESS PLUGINS
AddThis Sharing Buttons
If you’re content marketing, you want readers sharing your articles. Although there are infinite choices in this plugin category, I like the visual of this one the best. I’m still in quest of The Best Sharing Plugin, one that is lightweight, has great setting capabilities and looks good, but this is my favorite for now.
SELF DEFENSE (SECURITY) WORDPRESS PLUGINS
I had a WordPress site hacked years ago. I always suspected it came from the ISP rather than a brute force hack or anything of that type, but I’ve been vigilent since then in using Wordfence to keep the lid on tighter. Wordfence is like a sentry and an alarm – it stops the obvious stuff and tells you about the potential stuff…
As with Wordfence, Sucuri is a great option for keeping the bad guys away. The free version is OK, and the paid version is far more serious.
Blog spam sucks. Don’t let it happen to you. This plugin is easy and essentially transparent. See ya, weight loss peddlers!
EMAIL SIGN-UP WORDPRESS PLUGINS
Sumo probably irritates some people, but it’s generally effective for nudging visitors who missed the Subscribe button. I like the popup controls, which make it less annoying than it could be to ask…
MailChimp for WordPress
MailChimp is our email provider of choice. The plugin makes populating data from website to MailChimp seamless. It’s fairly configurable (I wish it went a little further), so you can dovetail it with your site without heavy lifting.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
In 5 minutes, you can have statistics for your site. It’s really a “must have” plugin for WordPress.
f you’re new to SEO, Yoast leads you through through a step by step process for each post or page. We use it religiously to make sure each article reaches our goal.
Broken Link Checker
If you rely on external pages (e.g., a link directory), beware the broken link – it can hurt your page ranking. We use this occasionally to make sure those third-party dependencies are less of a risk.
If you require a shareable calendar, Google Calendar is a ubiquitous choice. Embedding the Google Calendar in your WordPress site couldn’t be easier than with this plugin.