At the time of writing, there are over 50,000+ plugins in the WordPress.org Plugin Repository. That’s an enormous amount to choose from and picking the right ones can be a challenge. Every WordPress site is unique; there isn’t a true “one size fits all” configuration or set of plugins to use. We’ve put together a list of some solid choices that we’ve seen many customers use and some others that I have personal experience with.
1. SEO: Yoast SEO
WordPress is a very SEO friendly platform out of the box. However, WordPress doesn’t include easy options for adding meta tags, social sharing settings (i.e. open graph or twitter sharing), or other such tweaks that are commonly made to improve SEO performance. Additionally, Yoast can analyze your site content and recommend ways to improve the readability of your content. Yoast SEO has been one of the top SEO plugins for WordPress going back several years now and has a wide user base (which means it will be easier to find other users who can share advice or answer questions).
My personal favorite feature of Yoast SEO is the configuration wizard. The wizard takes you through the main settings you’ll want to configure and really makes the whole setup process easy. There is also a premium version of the plugin that includes extra features, such as a Video Sitemap and built in 301-redirect management.
2. Webforms: Gravity Forms
Almost every single website features a contact form of some kind, whether its to send a note to the site owner, make a payment, or submit a support request. WordPress has several form plugins available for free on the plugin repository, but Gravity Forms is a premium plugin that requires the purchase of a license to use.
So why are you recommending it? Frankly, because it works. Gravity Forms has been a solid and reliable plugin for several years and remains a strong favorite amongst many developers and agencies. Its super flexible but also very easy to use, making it a great choice for either users or developers. The interface is especially intuitive and easy to navigate compared to many other form plugins available for WordPress. Licenses start at only $40 and the time/headaches you’ll save is worth the price alone.
Additionally, since this is a premium plugin, you can submit support tickets to get answers to your questions, instead of having to rely on a community support forum with responses from volunteers.
3. Caching/Performance: WP-Rocket
There are numerous plugins designed to help improve your WordPress site’s performance and many of them are free. However, WP-Rocket is a premium plugin (like Gravity Forms above), so why are we recommending it?
WP-Rocket has earned a reputation for being stable, flexible, and incredibly powerful. Your WordPress site should see a performance increase, even if you only install the plugin and change no other options. WP-Rocket also provides support so you can chat or email them with any questions you have about the plugin.
4. Security/Anti-Spam: Shield Security
When running a WordPress site, many site owners forget to think about the security of their website. Part of maintaining a secure website involves using a secure host (such as TitanHost). However, there are still some site-specific things that can be done to combat spam and enhance your site’s overall security.
Shield Security can not only handle comment spam but can also help keep your WordPress site safe by obscuring certain details about your site from the outside world (such as your installed version number for WordPress). Shield features a plethora of useful settings for tuning your site’s security. Most importantly of all, Shield is one of the few security plugins we’ve used that doesn’t slow down your site or bog you down with half a million email notifications. Shield is a strong favorite in this category and has been vetted to be 100% compatible with the TitanHost platform.
Special Mention: Advanced Custom Fields
For developers, Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is a must have. ACF makes it easy to setup custom “fields” of data in your WordPress dashboard and then use the data in the fields throughout your site. For instance, you can use ACF to create a special text input for each of your blog posts, or use it to help power a Google Map value for a custom post type.
Its worth noting that using ACF will most likely involve working with PHP. This means its likely need a developer will need to set it up at the beginning. Any user (even non-developers) can benefit from the simplicity ACF offers once it has been setup.
Additionally, ACF Pro is available for 1 site or unlimited sites. ACF Pro provides some extra features such as the incredibly useful “Repeater” field. The Repeater field allows you to enter a dynamic amount of data for a given field. For example: a list with a variable number of items in it. The best part: ACF licenses are lifetime (instead of per year) so you can purchase once and never have to worry about paying again!
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