All of my websites are powered by WordPress. I truly believe it to be the best and easiest platform on which to build just about any type of site, and with its vibrant community of plugin developers, it’s only getting better. While I experiment with my fair share of WordPress plugins, there are a few (five to be exact) that I simply can’t live without. In this article I’ll discuss the plugins I use on a daily basis and give you links to where you can download/purchase them.
I. WordPress SEO
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not always been a fan of SEO. Mostly because of the onslaught of people who claim to be “SEO Ninjas” or whatever they’re calling themselves these days. However, there’s no denying the benefit of making your site as SEO friendly as possible. This plugin does exactly that. While setup and configuration can be tedious and somewhat frustrating, the developer does provide a very good tutorial on how to do it properly. This plugin isn’t sexy, but it’s useful and gets the job done!
II. Advanced Custom Fields
Extending the functionality of WordPress is one of the things that makes it such a fun platform to use for web development. The hard part for most people is learning how to extend the core functionality. That’s where a plugin like Advanced Custom Fields comes in. ACF is one of the first plugins I install on all my new WordPress installs and I rely on it to add functionality to my themes on a regular basis. Think of this as a point-and-click way of making WordPress do what you wish it did out of the box.
If you’ve ever run a WordPress website, you know that comment spam is a serious problem. Akismet has all but eliminated spam on my blogs, and best of all, it’s free! As long as you’re using it for personal reasons you can actually use the plugin free of charge, however, if you’re a business or going to use it on more than one site, I highly recommend you pay for an API key and support the devs that work so hard on this awesome little plugin. Akismet is usually a standard part of the WordPress install, but in case you don’t have it or accidentally deleted it, the download link is below.
IV. Backup Buddy
This is the only paid plugin that I have on my list, but it’s worth its weight in gold if you ask me. A quick disclaimer, I used to work for the company that develops Backup Buddy, but this is in no way a paid ad or sponsored post. Backup Buddy is the best backup solution for WordPress websites. Not only does it allow for database and full backups of your website data, but it also allows you to send those backups to offsite locations like Dropbox, Amazon S3, and it comes with 1GB of free storage on Backup Buddy Stash. The plugin costs $80 for a two site license, but that’s a drop in the bucket when you consider how important a tool like this is for you and your business.
V. WP Super Cache
Having a website that loads fast is an essential that most people overlook. We live in a society where people don’t want to wait for anything, so they’re definitely not interested in waiting for your page to load. They’ll just go elsewhere, and that’s never a good thing. Caching basically takes a snapshot of your website and stores it in such a way that it can be served up quickly and easily to your visitors. While there are a bunch of other technical considerations, and far more advanced plugins for this type of functionality, WP Super Cache is the easiest one to get you started. If you’re having problems with your site loading in a timely manner, check out this plugin and see if it doesn’t help.
These are the plugins I use most often, but certainly aren’t the only plugins that I use regularly. I’m sure you have plugins that you use on your website(s) as well. Share those with me in the comments and I’ll give you my thoughts. Thanks for reading!