The WordPress plugin library can be a pretty overwhelming place to be – plugins for this, plugins for that, plugins for EVERYTHING. It can be so hard to tell the difference between a good plugin, an average plugin and a really bad “steer clear or else” plugin.
Over many years, and lots (and I mean LOTS) of trial and error I have narrowed down my list of preferred plugins and consider these six to be absolutely essential (so essential in fact that they feature on at least 95% of all websites that we build).
And the top 6 plugins are (drumroll please!)…..
Do you hate spam? I hate spam. We all hate spam!
If the idea of an inbox full of hundreds of spam comments doesn’t sound appealing to you, then you need Akismet.
Akismet will check all new comments on your posts and identify and delete anything that looks spammy, sending you only those that appear genuine. Akismet does the leg work for you so that you can spend your time replying to genuine comments on your blog instead of spending hours combing through comments trying to sell you dodgy replica watches…
2. Yoast SEO
One of the most popular and widely used SEO plugins would have to be Yoast SEO. Yoast makes it simple to add key words, meta descriptions and custom titles to every single page and post, as well as automatically generating a sitemap for you.
I particularly love the traffic light system on the dashboard which enables you to see at a glance which of your pages have been adequately optimised and which need more work.
There are stacks of social media sharing plugins around, but I really like the styling and range of options that Shareholic provides.
Shareaholic has a huge range of features and options, including having your social sharing buttons displayed above or below the post content, a variety of built-in theme choices, the ability to customise everything to suit your particular look and feel, and the ability to display a range of related posts. This plugin gives you everything to get your readers sharing your posts all over a wide range of social networks.
When it comes to contact forms, there are hundreds of plugins available, but unfortunately all plugins are not created equal…
Gravity Forms is one of the most popular and widely used form plugins. It’s easy to set up and customise with its drag and drop field placement and has the ability to have multiple forms on your website, all completely customisable.
One of the most important elements of your website is displaying an easy way for customers to contact you and for this reason a contact form is a MUST for all websites. You can achieve this quickly and easily with Gravity Forms.
5. Backup Buddy
After all the time, effort and expense you’ve put into creating your new website how devastating would it be to lose it!? The thought is pretty terrifying, right? For this reason it is so, so important to have a reliable way of backing up your site.
Backup Buddy is reliable and will back up your entire database and website files on a set schedule, enabling you to restore your site quickly and easily should the unthinkable ever happen.
This fun little plugin, from the makers of Lead Pages, allows you to quickly and easily create gorgeous opt-in forms for use anywhere you need (including within your pages, widgets or as popups) with a great array of customisation options.
Rapidology also integrates well with most of the big email marketing systems, including MailChimp, Infusionsoft, AWeber, Constant Contact and Campaign Monitor.
There you have it! Those are my top six absolute “must have” plugins for all WordPress websites. It was so hard to narrow this down to only 6. I could quite easily have brought you my top 30!
Do you have a favourite plugin that didn’t make my top 6? Comment below and let me know about it – I’m always on the hunt for more to add to my list!