10 Useful Wordpress Plugins
By Brianna Deleasa on January 17, 2015
Wordpress is a great CMS that is simple to set up, and it's easy for non-tech users to make changes to their website content. As a web developer, I work with Wordpress a lot. I've noticed that on a majority of the Wordpress websites I create, I find myself using the same plugins over and over. I find that these plugins are extremely useful and I thought I would share them with you! Just note that these aren't in any particular order.
Simple Page Ordering
The Simple Page Ordering plugin allows you to drag and drop the rows of the admin table to change the order of the posts. This is much easier than fooling around with the Menu Order field for each post. You can also use this to re-order the pages on your website as well. I find that this plugin is perfect for websites with a lot of different post types that need to be in a specific order (other than ordered by date).
WP Better Emails
Plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-better-emails
I use the WP Better Emails plugin on every Wordpress website I create. This plugin wraps all emails sent by Wordpress in a very nice HTML template. The default template is fairly simple, but you can make changes to the template using a WYSIWYG editor on the settings page. I usually end up customizing the colors and adding the client logo to the template. Also, the authors of the plugin have done the dirty work of testing the base template on various email clients such as Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, and more. So, as long as you don't make too many major modifications, you can be sure the template will look good on every platform.
Plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/backupwordpress
It is very important to take regular backups of your website. The BackUpWordpress plugin lets you take a backup of either the database itself, or the website files and database. It also lets you schedule automatic backups as well, so you can have daily, weekly, and monthly backups of the database and files. Though this plugin works well, it saves all of the backups on your server. What if your website gets hacked and your files are deleted? Make sure you also have some off-site backups as well.
Wordpress SEO by Yoast
Plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo
Wordpress SEO by Yoast is a great plugin for editing the metadata on your website. I've used a few other plugins as well, but I have found that this one is my favorite. It's very easy to use.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
I primarily use this plugin to add the Google Analytics tracking code to the website. I've seen a lot of people just slap the code into the theme, which isn't ideal at all. What if you change themes in the future? Bye bye Google Analytics code! It's a better idea to have the code outputted via a plugin. There really isn't too much else to say about this plugin. It does have a lot of other options, but I personally haven't gotten around to using those options.
Safe Redirect Manager
Safe Redirect Manager is a great plugin for creating any type of URL redirect. There are a variety of ways to create redirects, such as using your .htaccess file, but why make things harder than they need to be? Safe Redirect Manager lets you easily create redirects on your domain from one URL to another. It also allows you to use regular expressions (if you want to be really fancy).
Plugin URL: http://gravityforms.com
Gravity Forms is one of my favorite plugins. Though it's not a free plugin, it is well worth the money. Gravity Forms makes creating any type of contact form extremely easy! The Developer License is awesome because you get all of the available add-ons. A few of my favorite are the Mailchimp and PayPal add-ons. Mailchimp makes it easy to link a signup form to your Mailchimp account. The PayPal add-ons are great for websites that don't need a full-blown eCommerce setup. You can easily create a standard form and add a payment form at the bottom. There are also a lot of great add-on plugins on Wordpress.org as well!
Simplified Social Share
I've been searching for a while to find a social sharing plugin that uses nice flat icons but doesn't require you to sign up at a third party website. I stumbled upon this plugin the other day and I fell in love! It is very easy to use, and you can choose from a variety of icon types. It also lets you choose where to output the icons (top or bottom of the content, whether or not to show the icons in post excerpts). Don't let some of the negative reviews of the plugin fool you; this latest version of the plugin doesn't require you to sign up for any third party website.
Post Thumbnail Editor
Have you ever had many thumbnail sizes on your website, and Wordpress's standard cropping just doesn't cut it for you? This plugin will let you edit all of the image sizes for any of the images uploaded in Wordpress.
Stop Spam Comments
Plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/stop-spam-comments
This plugin is great for Wordpress websites that allow users to comment on posts. The Stop Spam Comments plugin is very simple to set up: install it and you're good to go! It doesn't use any sort of CAPTCHA on the front end, so end users won't have to answer any silly math question or enter the text displayed on an image. The best thing about this plugin is that it work very well! It has stopped a majority of the spam comments that weren't being stopped by CAPTCHA plugins we had installed.
What are your favorite plugins?
There are plenty of other Wordpress plugins out there that are great and help add functionality to your website. These are just a few of the plugins I find most useful. Are there any plugins you use on a regular basis? Share them below!
On a side note, I've released my very first Wordpress plugin! It's called WP Random Post Thumbnails, and it's for showing random images for posts that don't have an image set as the featured image. It's useful if you want posts on the front end to always have an image. Or, if you don't want to manually select an image for each post, this would be useful as well. You can upload a variety of images on the settings page, and the plugin will output one of those images if the post doesn't have an image attached. The plugin can be found on Wordpress.org by clicking here.