30 Mar Our top 15 essential WordPress plugins that we just love
The following is a list of the 15 most loved by us WordPress plugins that we use everyday on our own projects and for our clients. They cover all aspects of web design using WordPress from helping to make a site secure, making a website load and run faster, to increasing a websites position on Google SEO and helping you to market your products or services to your visitors and of coarse making a website look great.
Contact Form 7
You can already guess what this plugin does just by its name, but Contact Form 7 allows you to manage multiple contact forms on your WordPress site. It’s simple and flexible, and you can customise the form and mail contents to your taste and preference just by using basic markup. It supports the likes of CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and Ajax-powered submitting and also has a number of add-ons which aim to make Contact Form 7 perform even better.
It’s current active installs has reached over 1 million, and all together this plug-in has had over 35 million downloads. These stats just go to show that its not just loved by us, but by millions of others. And what’s even better… it’s completely free. So not only is it easy to configure, easy to use, simple, super customisable and offers great support, it also won’t cost you a penny to use. Get installing!
If you are wanting to improve your site’s SEO, then look no further as Yoast SEO does this all for you! To begin with, Yoast SEO helps you to write better content for your site- it will force you to choose a focus keyword when writing your articles and then makes sure that this keyword is used everywhere. Not only that, but the page analysis function will analysis your page’s content and check to see for example whether you have included images in your posts, and if so whether these images have alt tags containing the focus keyword of your post. It will also check to see if you have written a meta description for your posts containing your focus keyword (so what we mean by used everywhere) and whether your posts are too short or not.
If all that wasn’t enough, this plugin is also advanced in the way it automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies search engines such as Google and Bing of the sitemaps existence. These sitemaps will include all your images on your pages and in your posts, meaning your images can also be found better in search engines too.
We love Yoast SEO because it uses real time analysis, it’s easy to access and it also have a friendly user interface. There is also plenty of tutorials online which are helpful to anyone that is new to using Yoast SEO and needs help getting to grips with the plug in.
This is definitely one of our favourite WordPress plugins as it allows us to be creative in the way we display content on our sites. It is fully responsive, be it desktop computers, smartphones or tablets and optimised for both Apple and Android devices and with its visual drag and drop editor it is also very simple to use. So whether you are wanting to create a slider for your front page or simply build a one-page website (with no coding required), then Slider Revolution is the one for you!
Oh and did we mention that Slider Revolution loads super super fast and is also 100% secure meaning there is no threat towards the security of your WordPress site if you were to use it. If you haven’t installed this plugin by now, then we suggest you go and do it!
Again, you can probably already work out what this plugin is designed to do, but Disable Comments allows you to disable the commenting feature in WordPress; disabling comments on your site all together. It removes comment-related fields from your edit screens and comment-related items from your Dashboard, Admin Menu, Admin Bar and Widgets in the backend of WordPress.
This plugin is useful if you don’t want comments at all on your site, but if you just want to disable comments on individual posts, then WordPress will do this for you anyway.
The best thing about this plugin is that its multisite friendly, meaning on a multisite installation it can disable comments across the entire network. We love Disable Comments because it is clean, simple and does exactly what it says on the tin.
Advanced Custom Fields
This plugin gives you the ability to customise your WordPress website with more professional and flexible fields. You can visually create and custom post types by choosing between the wide range of field types that come with this plugin or customising your own. Some of the field types available are: text, password, checkbox, select dropdown, true/false tick box, and file upload.
ACF has over 1 million active installs and all together has had over 4 million downloads- as you can see it is very popular! This is another plugin we love to use since it has great functionality, it makes WordPress pages and posts easily customisable and it’s simple in use. There is a both a free and pro version of this plugin, but either one you pick won’t leave you disappointed.
Take full control of your website by using Visual Composer, a plugin which allows you to design and build responsive webpages and easily manage your content without having any programming knowledge at all. Like Slider Revolution, it uses a drag and drop editor making it a completely easy to use plugin that even beginners can grasp from the get go.
To name a few of its best aspects, Visual Composer can work with any WordPress theme of your choice, it is fully responsive and compatible with most popular plugins, it is extendable with API making it user and developer friendly, it offers professional online support and last but not least it comes with an advanced gird builder where you can display your media or post types in grid or masonry gird form- to keep things nice and neat.
Visual Composer does come at a price however, but we believe it is worth every penny. To purchase the regular pack, it will cost $34 for use on a single site with free updates and premium support included. We can’t get enough of Visual Composer, but if you’re a little unsure whether it’s right for you why not test it for free by visiting the online demo site at http://vcpreview.com.
All in One WP Security & Firewall
Even though WordPress is already a very secure platform, it doesn’t harm to install extra security and firewall to your site to ensure it is as secure as it possibly can be. This WordPress security plugin does exactly that- it checks for vulnerabilities and implements the latest recommended WordPress security practices to reduce all security risks. It is also very clever in the way it measures how well you are protecting your site based on the security features you have currently activated using a security points grading system.
This plugin promises to not slow down your site and it’s also completely free and won’t cost you anything to install- you’d be silly not to.
The most trusted WordPress backup plugin, with UpdraftPlus you can create automated backup schedules: hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, its up to you! With this plug in you can also automatically backup before you make any big changes to your site, such as updating a plugin or changing your theme- meaning if any problems occur or you want to revert back to how it was before, you’re covered!
UpdraftPlus supports multiple cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, Rackspace, Amazon S3, etc. It has an interface which is easy to use, allowing you to backup and restore with just a single click of a button. You can also feel secure when backing up with UpdraftPlus since multiple layers of the plugin are encrypted. Meanwhile, with the migrator feature you can also clone your website and transfer it to a new domain if you needed to, normally for testing or development purposes.
This plugin is fairly new to us, but we are loving how easy it is to make backups and move websites to a new domain- definitely worth an install.
Wordfence is another security plugin for WordPress, designed to protect your website from potential hackers and malware threats. This plugin is entirely free to install and use, and is open source. Once installed, the very first thing it will do is check to see if your site is already infected (which we all hope it isn’t), it will then secure your site and make it run much much faster.
Wordfence offers a premium API key that provides you with support, country blocking, password auditing and scheduled scans and this plugin even has the power to check to see if your websites IP address is being used for spam advertising. It is fully compatible with IPv6 and also supports other major plugins such as WooCommerce.
An all rounder great plugin that has left many people (including us) feeling very happy and secure knowing our sites are protected constantly.
Kraken is a WordPress plugin designed to optimise and compress your images to help save you storage and bandwidth space and also improve the load up time of your website, with little loss of quality to your images. Not only will Kraken optimise new images that you upload onto your website after install, but it will also optimise existing images already stored in your Media Library.
We are big fans of Kraken, and here’s our reasons why: the API is developer-friendly, it offers great user support, it will allow you to store your optimised images directly in a number of remote cloud files and it also offers first class compression so we can be sure that only a little amount of the image quality is loss whilst our WordPress site runs at the speed of lightning… if only!
Seeing when your posts are scheduled for isn’t very easy in WordPress, but this is where Editorial Calendar comes in and saves the day. It provides us users with a clear overview of our blog, detailing when each blog post is scheduled to be published. You are able to simply drag and drop any post if you wish to move it to a different day, week or month, edit posts within the calendar and ultimately manage your blog entirely all with this just this one plugin.
It currently only has 50,000+ active installs, so not as widely used and well-known compared to over WordPress plugins, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not as good. After all, it’s made it into our top 15, so take our word for it.
Sucuri offers a complete website security package for your site, including security features such as professional malware cleanup, continuous detection and enterprise protection. Sucuri supports the WordPress platform, and its product is also used globally by many other platforms. Some other key features of Sucuri’s comprehensive security package includes providing every customer with an SSL certificate for their website, advanced website protection, DDoS protection and service level response.
Sucuri has designed a very secure and professional product that offers ultimate protection against harmful threats to your website, so we’d be silly not be include this on our top 15 since protecting our websites means a huge deal to us.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
YARPP gives you the ability to display additional pages, posts and custom post types related to the current entry so you can introduce other relevant content to your audience. It is very customisable and easy to use, and more importantly encourages your audience to read more of your blog posts and what you have to say. We like it because it is clean and simple, and works exactly as its expected too.
If you are wanting to gain more email subscribers, then opt for Bloom’s Email Opt-In plugin. This plugin allows you to display unique forms on specific posts or pages which are configured to interact on your screen. For example, you can create automatic opt-in pop ups which can be triggered either when a user reaches the bottom of a page/post or by timed delays. Other triggers include after scrolling, after inactivity and after leaving a comment on a post.
Bloom has many different design settings, so you can design and create the whole look of your form yourself. Managing your Bloom settings is also very easy, since it comes with a custom panel on the dashboard in the backend of WordPress. If all that wasn’t enough, these opt-in forms are fully responsive and look great across even the largest and smallest screens.
We absolutely adore Bloom’s Email Opt-In for WordPress as we love the idea of designing our very own unique forms and configuring how and when they will interact on the screen. We really believe they are great for turning your website’s visitors into loyal customers and followers.
Putting it simply, this plugin will boost your website- you’ll find it will run faster, more efficiently and become a better working website altogether. This is because it includes a number of great features which all aim to improve the load up time of your site: page caching, cache preloading, static file compression and images on request; meaning images on your webpages are only loaded once your visitor scrolls down the page. It requires minimal configuration, and once installed you’ll see immediate results.
We love WP Rocket because it is also developer friendly, so developers can do what they do best and make advanced customisations quickly and easily. WP Rocket does come at a price of $39 for use on a single site which includes a whole year of updates and support- and we feel its worth every penny! At the end of the day who doesn’t want a website that runs efficiently and has a fast load up time.
We hope you like our Essential WordPress Plugins in coming blog posts we will go into more detail on each one and look at others as well but in the mean time please tell us about your experience with the ones we have chosen or tell us your top WordPress plugin you can love with out.