It seems like there are a lot of plugins for WordPress. If you know which seven are most important for UX, resources, and SEO, you can step up your game.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, but because it is open-source, it can be used, coded, and built for websites in many different ways.
Because there are so many themes, page builders, plugins, and hosting plans, even a beginner can make a site pretty quickly.
It also lets you make your own themes, use and integrate your own code, and make some pretty advanced apps.
Even though it can be set up and used in many different ways, there are some plugins that work well for both new and experienced WordPress admins and developers.
When it comes to plugins and codebases made by other people, trust is a big part of an open-source environment.
I really think you should try to limit how many plugins you use.
The more plugins you have, the more important it is to keep them up to date to reduce security risks and the amount of time you have to spend testing after each update to make sure nothing breaks.
Plus, you can avoid some unintended results that can happen when plugins don’t work well together.
Even though this list isn’t complete and people will have different ideas and approaches, I’ve put together a list of the most important plugins I recommend for WordPress websites, from blogs to business sites.
- Custom Fields Advanced
People have different ideas about how to build WordPress sites and how to use themes and page builders.
I’m not going to talk about that here because I want to talk about plugins that my team has used successfully and trusts.
One thing I will say, though, is that if you choose to use a custom theme, Advanced Custom Fields is a must-have.
It is a key plugin for us because it works well with our custom page builder and gives users a lot of options without being too much or giving them too much information.
ACF is well-supported and made to be as flexible as possible in terms of where you can add fields and change taxonomies in WordPress. It makes it easy to change content.
Developers can choose between a free version and a pro version that costs money.
- WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a plugin that does most of its work with caching. By caching your site’s content, it will load faster, which is good for both your users and your SEO.
It goes beyond what WordPress does by default and gives you more control over caching and content loading so you can find the right balance for your goals and needs.
This plugin does have a small annual fee that depends on how many sites you want to use it on and how many or what kinds of updates you want to get.
There are many popular plugins for WordPress that can be used to build forms. Gravity Forms is probably the most popular. It is also very powerful and easy to use.
It’s important for users to be able to quickly and easily make forms that they can put on any page.
On top of that, it’s my go-to form builder plugin because it’s reliable, you can integrate it with a wide range of email marketing platforms and CRMs, and you can get notifications.
Like many other form builders, Gravity Forms has different pricing and licensing tiers based on the features you want or need.
It lets you try out paid features for free, which helps you decide if you want to pay for them.
- Search and replace is better
If you ever work on a project or make an update that needs migration, you need this plugin. It fills in gaps and automates work that would be tedious and take a long time to do by hand.
It can help you find broken links quickly, do a find and replace, or move a database.
This plugin does need some human logic because it is so powerful. It needs your input and understanding of what needs to be moved, updated, and fixed. It does, however, save a lot of time and work.
Better Search Replace has both free and paid versions with different prices based on the features you need.
As was said in the WP Rocket section above, caching is important. Aside from that, images are one of the worst things for how fast a page loads.
Imagify is a tool for making images smaller.
It lets you automate the process of reducing the size of images without lowering their quality.
This time-saving plugin can help if you can’t stop users from uploading big images and can’t change WordPress’ default settings for uploading.
Imagify has a small monthly fee and different plans based on how many images your website has.
I can’t say much about Yoast here without breaking down all the power it gives SEOs.
Yoast gives you control over a lot of SEO-related things, from indexing files to certain on-page factors.
It can be hard to figure out at first, and because Yoast is so powerful, it can sometimes cause problems with other apps.
Some SEOs have stopped using the site because of security problems or bugs that took a long time to find out about. They have since moved on to other sites.
Even so, it is still the SEO plugin for WordPress that everyone uses.
There are both free and paid versions of Yoast.
- Change of plans
Even if you’re not in the process of moving or migrating to a new website, you may need to use 301 redirects from time to time.
When a page disappears, moves, or has its content updated and republished, you’ll want to be able to quickly and easily redirect the old URL to the new one.
Redirection is a simple tool that lets a WordPress user choose an old and a new URL for a piece of content, then click “Save.”
The redirect happens right away and doesn’t need a developer, IT, or any confusion about 301s vs. 302s, etc. You can do more than just basic 301s. You can also do conditional redirects.
The John Godley Redirection plugin is paid for by donations.
As was already said, this isn’t the only list of plugins that exists. I’m sure there are many good alternatives to the ones I’ve listed.
But I did want to share what’s in my team’s toolbox based on years of developing custom WordPress sites and working with pre-built themes.
We trust these plugins, their developers, and how stable, secure, and up-to-date they have been in the past.
There are some exceptions, but we still use these as part of our standard set of important plugins for WordPress sites we build and manage.