WordPress is powerful because of the available plugins. WordPress Plugins allow WordPress to do more than what it was originally designed to do Or they allows WordPress to do it more easily. All of the WordPress plugins below are free wordpress plugins, except for one, which I provide alternatives for. Here are 9 of the most essential WordPress plugins I recommend on every WordPress install:
This plugin greatly enhances the standard WordPress text editor. The standard wordpress text editor is pretty basic. The TinyMCE Advanced Editor provides tons more features, plus allows you to order all the buttons in an easy to use drag and drop order.
SEO is key to growing your website. I have tried many free and paid plugins to help with SEO. WordPress SEO by YOAST is the best. It also gives you a detailed check list of things to do in order to enhance the SEO on your website.
WP touch creates a quick and easy MOBILE web site for your WordPress web site. Simply install and activate. There are nothing else to do. It offers a very simple and easy to use interface. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself answering emails, researching, and surfing on my smart phone. Most business people seem to be doing this since we all need to be connected.
This tool will create a database back up of your wordpress site. You can schedule it to email you backups on a regular basis. It doesn’t back up EVERYTHING like your pictures and files… but it does back up your database.
A second back up I recommend. I’ve had multiple back up systems still fail on me. So I ALWAYS recommend at least 3 back up systems. (1 – your hosting company usually provides a free back up service, 2 – wp database back up above, and 3 – back up to drop box.) Back up to drop box backs up ALL your server files and creates a database back up to boot. These will be stored online on the dropbox servers. The files can also be stored on your computer if you have dropbox installed. So technically using dropbox can create an additional 2 or 3 back up copies of your web site.
This is cool. It allows you to turn widgets on and off by page. This really helps you to create a unique feel to every WordPress page. And using it in conjunction with text widgets allows you to easily change the entire look and feel of your website on a page by page basis.
This handy little wordpress widget creates nice “related posts” links at the bottom of your post pages AND includes images for nice visual effect. So this helps make your WordPress web site visually appealing, helps automate your web site, and helps interlink existing page or post content so site visitors might stay longer on your site.
This plugin changes the WordPress login page to look like one of your regular wordpress pages. It removes the basic standard wordpress login page and makes your login page integrate with your site.
Here are the final recommended plugins – WordPress contact forms. Wordpress doesn’t do much for contact forms, and having a nice contact form or survey form is… nice.
Contact form 7 is totally free. It is a robust contact form. It helps to know a LITTLE html. It only requires a little html, like knowing paragraph tags and line breaks. You can always reverse engineer your forms using the info the provide. This is seriously an easy plugin to use (and I hate code, even though I build web sites). And it is an AMAZINGLY powerful contact form plugin. This plugin has been around for a while so there is lots of documentation and support. Place the form on a page using a shortcode.
This is really a neat contact form plugin. I have only used it on a few sites as of writing this post. It’s very similar to the Gravity Forms plugin. There is also a paid version of the Visual Forms Builder plugin. No coding required. Place the form on a page using a shortcode.
Gravity Forms is pretty awesome. It’s been the premier contact form plugin for some time. I’ve used it on only a few sites, but it is very powerful and very easy to use. If you want to know how it works before buying, I recommend trying the Visual Form Builder above. Because this plugin has been around a while there is lots of documentation and support for it. Place the form on a page using a shortcode.
If you have any WordPress plugins you recommend, please mention them in the comments section!