How do you pick?
Sometimes it's easy to forget how many new people are checking out WordPress for the first time. But today I had a brief conversation online that revolved around the question I've heard a hundred times before. “How do you know which plugins to use on your site?”
I normally like to tell people it depends on their site. It depends on their objectives. It depends on how much money they have. And that's true. I also tell them to take the advice of people they know and trust.
So today I want to share with you the plugins I think are so essential that I install them on every site I touch.
Small Print (that's huge)
Now, to be up front, a few of the links below are affiliate links, which means I make a small amount of money if you buy it after clicking on the links below. That said, there is no additional cost to you, and I'm not suggesting them because I make money (after all, if I was going to do that, this list would be huge). Trust me when I tell you, every linked plugin below has been tried and true for me.
The Free Ones
- WordPress SEO by Yoast – If there's one plugin for SEO you just have to install, it's this one. It takes the place of all the other ones you used to have to install.
- Related Posts for WordPress – I'm normally against related posts because of the performance hit that happens, but this one is manual – letting you curate your old posts and place the right ones on a list below your post. It's pure awesome.
- Recently Popular – I love this plugin because it gives you just the right amount of configuration options to create a list like the one in my sidebar. Highlight the popular ones based on traffic over a particular time period.
- WP Mail SMTP – I don't like sending email from servers that host my site. So this plugin let's me use Google Apps for outbound email, or SendGrid, or even MailChimp's new service – ;Mandrill.
- WooCommerce – I love a lot of the newer e-commerce solutions out there like Easy Digital Downloads, but the platform I'm still most comfortable with for now is the free one by WooThemes. But while it's free, the extensions cost money.
- Advanced Custom Fields – If I'm not using Types & Views (see below), I'm using ACF. It's free. But the add-ons aren't free. Each one is $25 – but honestly, that's a bargain. You can find them here.
The “Buy These” Ones
- Formidable Pro – I love GravityForms. Let me start there. And I still have a lifetime dev license. But I've been really enjoying Formidable Pro a lot and have started using them everywhere. You'll be impressed. Try them. ;Every form you ever wanted to build is easy – even the complicated ones.
- Types & Views (now Toolset) – You could use ACF (see above) for metaboxes, but you often want to do more. Toolset lets you create custom post types, meta boxes, front-end editing forms, and more. It's a “tool set” that lets you build anything you want out of WordPress – which is why I bought that early lifetime license. But you can still get a deal before the year ends (a higher priced but still lifetime license).
So there you go. Eight WordPress plugins every site should have. Does your site have them? Which ones would you add to the list?