WordPress is made up of a combination of both themes and plugins working together to create a website. Some themes come pre-installed with plugins, and some plugins are made to work for certain themes.
Usually, a plugin is chosen to achieve or expand upon a function of your theme. This function could be a pop-up, contact form, an ecommerce shop, or anything else you may imagine.
WordPress has literally thousands of plugins to choose from but not all plugins are compatible with all themes. In order to really find the plugins that ‘fit’ the business strategy for your website and your theme, a lot of research time is necessary.
It’s important to choose the correct plugins to compliment your theme. As any WordPress developer knows, efficiency with research and testing to find the right plugins is usually more attractive than customizing a plugin to fit your website strategy. There is most likely a plugin out there that achieves exactly what you need, with very little customization required.
So how do we choose the right plugins?
Developers go through a quality assurance process to find the plugin most suited for your marketing direction. One way this is done is by installing and testing many different plugins to see if they do what you want. You can imagine how time consuming this can be, so this method is not the most efficient way to find plugins. Instead, we recommend that you thoroughly read plugin reviews and articles on the web, make a selection, and then install it and test it with your theme.
To save you some time in your quest for plugins, below we have listed the 5 essential plugins we recommend for almost all WordPress websites. These plugins are extremely robust, and compatible with almost any theme.
The WordPress framework is already somewhat secure, but it does leave some gaping chasms in terms of security, so adding a firewall to your website is highly recommended. Enter WordFence, a firewall plugin that adds an extra layer of security to your WordPress website.
This plugin also keeps track of all users who visit your website, their location, what pages they visited, various blocking features against malicious attacks, and much more. Wordfence is one of the highest rated security plugins out there, has a huge user base, and also has a great support team to assist with any issues you may run into.
Updraft Plus allows you to efficiently create multiple backups of your plugins, themes, databases, uploads, and other relevant website files. These backups can be created and restored right from your dashboard. This makes WordPress rollbacks and potential restores much more efficient.
Your backups can be scheduled to run automatically, and you may also set how many backups you would prefer to retain in order to save storage space. These backups are natively stored within your website’s file directory, and can be saved onto any remote servers of your choosing. This plugin has saved us countless times, and due to its usage simplicity, it’s essential for any WordPress website.
W3 Total Cache:
All websites should strive to meet WC3 compliance standards in order to load quicker and receive better exposure in search engines. W3 Total Cache helps ‘minify’ all website files, which lowers the memory storage size of each relevant website file. This increases the load speed of your website so we believe this plugin is also essential for any commercial website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is necessary for any website to drive high value traffic and create conversions for businesses. Yoast SEO drastically reduces the development time it takes to optimize your website for search engines. This plugin adds meta tags to all your pages, posts, and images, making the SEO process much more efficient. There are many other SEO plugins out there but as of 2016 Yoast SEO is the highest recommended and used among the WordPress community.
Contact Form 7:
Every website needs at least a single contact form for people to get in touch with your business. Contact Form 7 does this and more; this plugin has built-in features which makes building contact forms very easy. Instead of developing each form and its components from scratch, with Contact Form 7 a developer can create complex forms and autoresponders in mere minutes. Along with a huge user base, this plugin is among the most popular free plugins available for WordPress.
While there are many other plugins out there, these are the 5 we recommend for absolutely any WordPress website out there. No matter what WordPress theme your website is built on, these plugins are compatible with most themes available, both premium and free.
If you need assistance with expanding or maintaining your WordPress website, contact us! Our team has extensive experience working with WordPress. We offer maintenance packages, security packages, one-time assistance or consulting, and training to support you with your WordPress business website.
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