WordPress Plugins should not be your first go-to way to tackle an issue. Generally, if the functionality you are looking for is somewhat simple it’s way more legitimate to tackle it in the code on your own. That being said I’ve found that the Plugins below have saved me a lot of time, and are ones that I keep coming back to. I will profile some that are a bit more well known, and some lesser known ones as well.
For non-developers and developers
1. JetPack: This is a Plugin that is provided by the WordPress.com people, and I appreciate it’s functionality for Dashboard stats, and a very easy way to add Custom CSS without messing with your primary style sheet. After you’ve installed Jetpack just click appearance and then Edit Css. Check out Jetpack
2. Yoast SEO: Highly recommended by many, Yoast helps you install the necessary markup for different social networks, and meta tags to make your site that much more Google friendly. If you are saying ‘Please get me on Google,’ Yoast has your back and will increase your websites value 100% just by installing it and providing it with your broader information, and social links. It’s plugins like Yoast, that make WordPress worth it x1000. Check out Yoast SEO
3. Simple Post Type Ordering: Now for something a little more obscure. This plugin allows you to re-order your posts just by dragging them up or down on your list. This can be highly useful, and allows for greater ease and functionality for developers, but also a better user experience for a client with only a light understanding of WordPress as well. Sometimes I think this functionality should just be built into WordPress, but alas it is not, so this is a very nice Plugin to have.
5. W3 Total Cache: This plugin will help you when it comes to page speed. How much probably depends on a lot of things; for one, how bloated is your website? I’ve slapped this bad boy on a slow site and toggled with some settings that made sense for the client, and gotten 20-30% increase in page speed, perhaps because their site was inherently a bit more bloated and could therefore benefit from caching. (A bloated site, in my opinion, is often one that has a crazy amount of functionality on the back end, i.e. super visual themes, with thousands of options that load a lot of things dynamically and/or weigh down your sitespeed.) On the other hand, when I build sites from scratch, the W3TC plugin may only increase my site speed 3%. I’ve done side by sides with this and a comparable Supercache plugin and found that W3TC was doing a significantly better job, but compare on your site and test with Google’s Pagespeed. Check out W3 Total Cache
6. Akismet: Many of these you’ve probably seen quite a bit if you’ve looked at these kinds of lists before, but Akismet is a spam protection mechanism. It helps you have less comments that aren’t legit, which you’ll notice there a lot of without some kind of spam protection. It’s one of the most respected of it’s type and it works. Check out Akismet
7. WP Smush-it: For quick image compression that can really help you if your images are not as optimized you’d like them to be. Check out WP Smush-it
8. Contact Form 7: Create various contact forms to use anywhere on your site. Can be set up with a lot of variables, and connects with other plugins well. Check out Contact Form 7
More specific to developers
9. Advanced Custom Fields: This one is more for developers, but wow is this a powerful and epic plugin. Create ‘custom fields’ to give your clients the most control over their website as possible. You can create certain fields for the client to fill out in WordPress on particular post or page types that better correspond to how the site is laid out on the actual layout of the site. Check out my post on using Advanced Custom fields with Custom Post Types. Check out ACF
10. WP Unformatted: Also a bit more for developers, this little beauty allows you to remove the automatic formatting of
paragraph tags on posts and pages for a single post or page. Incredibly useful in a pinch, since the automatic paragraph tags can mess with formatting in certain cases. Check out WP Unformatted
Please leave a comment if there’s anything you’d like me to write about! Thanks for reading.