While there are many content management systems to choose from, our CMS of choice has always been WordPress. The diversity, the ease of management for our clients, and the variety of plugins make it our favorite. When you spend as much time developing websites as we do, you’re bound to learn a few things about plugins. We’ve put together our Top 5 WordPress plugins that should be included in every WordPress website.
Spam can quickly get out of control on any website. The best solution to eliminate spam on your comments is the Akismet plugin. This plugin checks your comments against the Akismet web service and determines whether or not they look like spam. It is created, managed, and owned by Automattic and includes low monthly fees (still free for personal bloggers). WordPress pre-loads Akismet with new WordPress installations, so it just needs to be activated!
WordPress is structured out-of-the-box to make your website search engine friendly, but doesn’t provide the ability to customize post and page meta tags. Meta tags give additional info about your website pages and are mainly read by search engine robots (like Google) and social media websites (like Facebook). If you wish your website could be ranked higher on Google or you want be able to edit the description text of your website that is shown when a fan shares your website. The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin will allow you to edit that information, and will guide you through how to write your content for best results. My favorite feature is the red light/green light design that lets you track if each page and post is fully SEO optimized. This plugin is a must-have.
Have you ever wondered why your WordPress website takes a while to load? A slow-loading website can hurt your business because website visitors don’t want to wait. The ideal website load time is three seconds or less, and anything over that could affect a number of metrics, including bounce rates and return visits. Higher bounce rates and lower return visits will affect your bottom line, but it’s an easy fix with the help of WP Super Cache plugin. It is a very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files. For all non-technical folks, that basically means your website loading time can be reduced by more than half the time it currently takes.
Responsive website design is the talk of the town, but is it right for every website? It’s essential that your website provide a great experience across all devices, but the catch with responsive design is that it adds resources for your mobile visitors to download. Too many resources mean mobile users are waiting and waiting for your website to load (especially when on 3G or less) and with mobile commerce amounting to $10 billion in 2012, that’s not a market you can afford to ignore. WordPress Mobile Pack is a great plugin that helps you create a mobile version of your website. It removes all unnecessary resources and delivers your content and nothing else, which is exactly what mobile surfers are looking for. If you don’t have the resources to create a complete mobile theme for your website, this plugin is the next best thing.
WordPress does not have a standard contact form feature, so we use Contact Form 7. It is stable, easy to install, and allows forms to be added to any page or post by simply copying & pasting a shortcode. Form results will be delivered directly to your email address, and the plugin even supports sending carbon copies to additional addresses. As with most WordPress plugins, the author provides plenty of documentation on setting up forms, from basic to advanced, if you need any help.
These are our faves. What are yours?