Wordpress, website platforms, plugins – terms that can make your head spin if this is not your arena. So how do you know what to consider for your website? We’re here to help demystify this topic and provide a few basics around WordPress plugins.
WordPress is considered one of the top website development platforms for building your custom website. It offers flexibility in look and feel layouts, provides for easy editing options for the non-programmer, and a myriad of plugins to add functionality to your website. It is frequently improving, providing companies with a trust that the latest in technology can be provided for their customers. Ultimately, it can save you time and money by going the route of a WordPress website.
There are over 55,0001 WordPress plugins available to ensure you have the latest security measures, forms to easily connect prospects, analytics, and eCommerce solutions. Some of the top questions we often hear are:
Why should I buy a plugin versus use the free one?
How do I ensure the quality of the plugin?
Is it going to be supported and updated?
These are great questions and reveal a few things to research to ensure that what you are getting for your website is quality and will stand the test of time. We love this checklist from Winning WP. In it, they outline understanding the following:
When was the plugin last updated? Check the plugin’s changelog for the updates made.
How many people are using it and what is the user rating? Take a look at what other developers are saying about the functionality.
How clearly is the functionality described? You are looking for detail here. Case studies and working models show a commitment to continued improvements.
Doing your research always pays off to ensure you get the right plugin for your WordPress website.
It is also important to take a step back and list out the functionality needed for your website prior to diving into plugin research. This will help to ensure that you can clearly communicate to your chosen partner what you want the end product to be.
Coming in with a clear picture of not only how you want the website to look, but key pieces that are important for your brand will only help to create stronger recommendations from your provider such as; do you want social media streams, an eCommerce piece, forms for visitors to easily interact with you, video displays or the latest in analytics monitoring. The proper plugin can then be researched to ensure the best solution.
Here are our top picks for WordPress plugins to start 2020:
This WordPress plugin suite represents our top 6 picks and is offered to our website maintenance clients. With a website maintenance plan your website and plugins are kept up to date with a focus on site speed, security, and optimized for SEO. It also allows us to grow your email marketing lists, which is important to client and prospect management.
Smush Pro bulk optimizes every image you’ve ever added to your site with one-click and fixes your Google PageSpeed, making it the best image optimizer WordPress has ever known.
Automate optimization with the Hummingbird utility belt packed with file compression, asset optimization, a complete caching suite, Cloudflare integration and performance monitoring that really gets your site flying!
Keep your site safe from hackers. Brute force attacks and malicious bots are no match for Defender’s mighty WordPress security shields and cloaking technology.
Hustle is the only plugin you’ll need to turn your visitors into loyal subscribers, leads and customers. Use email opt-ins, slide-ins, pop-ups and social sharing to grow your business.
SmartCrawl is everything you need for fast, powerful WordPress SEO. It’s jam-packed with industry-leading features like One-click setup, keyword auto-linking, sitemap generator, content analyzer, improved social media sharing, and much more.
Branda Pro is the smoothest WordPress branding plugin for white labeling your CMS including features like maintenance mode, coming soon landing pages, and all the rebranding WordPress can handle.
Additional plugins that we recommend:
Some are available for free and others for a fee.
- SeedProd: best ‘coming soon’ page plugin
- WPML: multi-language offering
- WP Smush: optimize images
- Redirection: easily control site redirects
- Broken link checking: check your site for any broken or missing links
- The SEO Framework: the fastest full-featured SEO plugin
- Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed: embed your instagram feed
- Gravity Forms: the best for custom form creation
- Give WP: great for fundraising efforts and accepting donations
- Code Snippets: clean and simply way to run PHP snippets
- Slider Revolution: build rich and dynamic content
- Akismet: stop comment spam
- Classic Editor: restores the ‘classic’ WP editor and Edit Post screen
- Fusebox: podcasting toolbox
- WP Mail: fix email deliverability
- Sucuri: website security