Our Guide to the Essential & Best WordPress Plugins for Every Website

With endless wordpress plugins to choose from for any given task, it is important to find reliable, lightweight and robust options to help you build and manage your wordpress site. When you find a the best wordpress plugins, you’ll find yourself always going back to them and installing them on every website you build. These are the top 5 plugins we use for wordpress forms, social sharing, speed / performance, search engine optimzation (SEO) and website backups.

Contact Form 7

Best WordPress Contact Form Plugin

With a plethora of wordpress contact form plugins to choose from, it can be hard to determine which one to go with. Contact Form 7 has quickly grown to be one the most popular contact form plugins, and for good reason. Contact Form 7 is flexible and powerful, yet incredibly simple and intuitive. Not to mention, it’s 100% free. It’s simplicity makes it great for wordpress newbies, while it’s robust features and easy to modify code make it a must have for custom theme developers. At Blennd, we love how we can create any kind of form for our various client needs from email capture forms to request a quote forms, surveys and more. Add a whole new level of power to your forms by easily integrating Contact Form 7 with other wordpress plugins.

Tips & Add-ons:

  • Add on the Contact Form DB plugin to view, organize and export form submissions in an easily accessible wordpress dashboard tab.
  • Use the Mailchimp for WordPress plugin add on to automatically add email address submissions to your mailchimp lists.

Monarch

Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugin

Monarch is a new WordPress social sharing plugin from one of our favorite theme developers over at Elegant Themes. We had been waiting years to find a legitimate social sharing plugin that lives up to it’s promises and worked in the flexible and professional way we needed it to. Since it’s release, we’ve been using Monarch social sharing plugin on every WordPress site we’ve launched. Monarch makes it easy to add social share buttons from any network on any page and in any location. With endless button styling options along with share counts and floating menu options, Monach allows you to easily integrate social sharing with any website. It’s also mobile responsive, so it’s easy for users to share your posts from anywhere. If you’re looking for a super sleek and professional wordpress social sharing plugin, look no further than Monarch.

W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache

Best WordPress Caching Plugin

With how web design and development is trending these days, it is a necessity to use a wordpress caching plugin to speed up your site and use the least amount of resources possible. Our favorite of the bunch is the W3 Total Cache plugin due to it’s incredibly robust options, features and performance. It works pretty well out of the box upon activation, but it’s worth it to spend some time researching the different options and features in order to fully optimize performance. For beginners, we’d recommend reading a quick tutorial like this one on how to properly set it up for the best results (hint: Under the ‘Browser Cache’ tab, be sure to check the ‘Set Expires Header’ box). Due to the nature of it being a caching plugin, we also recommend not installing this plugin when you’re building a site and only installing it when the site is ready to launch. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself needing to take the extra step of clearing the cache every time you update a file.

TIP: Check your site load time using Google’s page speed tool before installing your caching plugin and then check it again after you have to fully understand why this is an essential plugin for any wordpress site.

Yoast SEO

Best WordPress SEO Plugin

There are two major players in the wordpress SEO plugin space, Yoast SEO and All In One SEO. Quite honestly, they are both comparable in a lot of ways and either will give you tremendous power to control and optimize your search engine rankings. After installation, you’ll see a new section within every page editor that will allow you to control all of the meta data on that page. It also comes with lots of great tools and hints, which will help guide you to follow all of the best practices like including the keyword in headlines and writing enough copy for each page. These plugins are great tools, but at the end of the day, you’ll see that the real key to SEO is all in proper copy writing and following all of the SEO best practices, (which we’ll be blogging about soon).

BackWPUp

Best WordPress backup plugin

Any website developer can relate to this nightmare… you finish a shinny new website, spend weeks on development… and then something goes wrong. A file gets corrupted or your site is hacked. Rather than spending hours digging through lines of code trying to figure out what went wrong, wouldn’t it be nice to just restore a backup from the night before? WordPress backup plugins are key for that very reason. Even if nothing goes wrong, they are piece of mind in case anything does ever happen. There are lots of great paid wordpress backup plugins, but the best free version out there is by far and away BackWPUp. It’s robust automatic backup features allow you to set cron jobs to pull any amount of backups at any frequency you’d like. There are also endless options of where to store your backups from FTP, to dropbox, email or the cloud. Don’t risk anything happening to your site and not being able to get it back up by using a wordpress backup plugin like BackWPUp.

Honorable Mentions:

Open Graph Metabox

Customize how your site appears on all social media outlets with this plugin.
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Wordfence Security

Ensure your site is secure 24/7 with this great security and monitoring plugin.
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WP Smush

Use this plugin to Automatically optimize and resize images as you upload them to increase your sites load time
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Slider Revolution

Create stunning sliders with endless customizable options with one of our favorite wordpress slider plugins.
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Quick Page/Post Redirect

Easily create redirects when you change URLS or need to create more friendly ones.
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Ultimate Post Widget

Add more options to your sidebar recent posts widget like post thumbnails, category selection and more.
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Kiwi Logo Carousel

Create beautiful tickers to showcase client logos with this lightweight and simple plugin.
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We hope you’ve found this post helpful and you enjoy some of these great wordpress plugins as much as we do. If you are looking for a new website or monthly SEO, contact Blennd to discuss your project today.

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