WordPress is a great CMS (Content Management System) out of the box. It comes with a user-friendly editor, comment system, search system, free themes, and more – all the basics you need to get a website up and running quickly. But as a site grows, it will likely require more functionality and more maintenance.
There are many free and paid plugins that can help you ramp up your site so it’s faster, more secure, optimized for SEO, and more.
Here is a hand-picked list of our favorite and well-tested plugins – from over twelve years of using WordPress.
Our favorite WordPress SEO plugin – Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is hands-down the most comprehensive WordPress SEO plugin and we are long-time loyal users here at Strattic. Features include:
- Easy control over your XML Sitemaps
- Snippet preview for title and meta description that gives you control over how your content displays in the search results.
- SEO analysis of content
- Open-graph support
Our favorite WordPress Contact Form Plugin – Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is a premium form plugin that is well worth the money. It makes creating and managing forms a pleasure. With its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, tons of add-ons, and developer-friendly hooks and functions, it’s hard to use anything else once you’ve used Gravity Forms. It’s well worth the money. Features include:
- Drag-and-drop fields
- Easy integration with Mailchimp and PayPal, and more services for extended functionality
- Conditional logic for more complex forms
Our favorite WordPress Page Builder Plugin – Elementor
Elementor is the fastest-growing page builder plugin and rightly so. It’s user-friendly drag-and-drop interface makes building WordPress pages accessible to everyone. Also, their newly released right-click copy-paste functions make copying styles from one element to another super simple. They also have a paid/PRO version that gives you global widgets, a very handy feature. Features include:
- Easy to use drag-and-drop front-end page builder
- Template gallery
- Easy responsive design
Our favorite WordPress SMTP plugin – POST SMTP/Email Log
If you’ve ever had trouble receiving email notifications from your website, the problem is often related to sending and receiving emails from the same domain. The easiest way to resolve this is with a SMTP plugin. However, there are many SMTP plugins out there, but only one has managed to consistently work properly over the years.
Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log lets you authenticate your Gmail or Gsuite email account using OAuth2.0 and replaces the default WP mail function so that your email notifications actually get to your inbox.
Our favorite WordPress Developer plugins
In this category, we have two faves:
Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom Fields is a robust plugin that gives developers an easy way to create custom fields and present the fields in a user-friendly way to content managers. It is perfect for developers creating custom sites.
Query Monitor is a debugging tool that lets you see all the queries your site is making to help you get a better picture of which plugins, themes, or functionality might be causing performance issues. It will also show you PHP errors so you can see all the issues in one place.
Quick note: Strattic users are typically unaffected by slow queries since Strattic serves a static version of your site to visitors, so your site no longer needs to query the database.
Our favorite WordPress image compression plugin – ShortPixel
ShortPixel lets you bulk optimize existing images and automatically optimize all new images. It has really high compression rates when compared against other image optimization plugins. ShortPixel comes with 100 free credits/month.
Quick note: Strattic is working on an integrated image compression system so that you won’t need to use any image compression plugins.
Our favorite WordPress redirection plugin – Redirection
Redirection does just what it says – lets you add redirects. What we love about it is the bulk upload functionality which lets you upload a CSV file. Just watch out for the log files which might need to be cleared out or disabled to remove bloat in the database.
Our favorite WordPress post duplicator plugin – Duplicate Post
Duplicate Post makes it super easy to make a copy of any post, page or custom post type. This is extremely helpful if you have all the settings and layouts finalized on a page and want to copy them over to a new post/page/custom post type. It’s an obvious one but nevertheless one that we couldn’t live without.
Our favorite Sidebar management plugin – WooSidebars
WooSidebars lets you easily create new sidebars that will override existing sidebars. You select a type of content (a specific page, a certain blog post, certain categories, or custom post types, or any combination of those) and decide what sidebar should show. They make what would otherwise be complex functionality super simple for the content manager.
Our favorite WordPress comment plugin – Disqus
Disqus is a third-party comments platform which integrates seamlessly into your WordPress site and handles all the spam protection for you. Features include:
- No coding required
- Automatically imports all your comments
- Social login support for Facebook, Twitter, and Google accounts
Why aren’t there any security or caching plugins on this list?
At Strattic, we’re all about making sites as fast and secure as possible by generating a static version of WordPress sites. Having a static site instantly removes the need for any security plugins, since there’s no database to hack. It also removes the need for a caching plugin since a static site is the ultimate cache.
There are lots (over 55,897!) WordPress plugins, and while we haven’t tried them all (though that would be a fun project), we have tried plenty and we wanted to highlight the plugins that have consistently helped us over the years.
Tags: plugins, WordPress