First of all, congratulations. Creating a WordPress website means that you’re taking your first steps towards being a successful website owner and/or developer! The CMS du jour, WordPress makes creating a site (fairly) easy, and means that you’re primed for SEO goodness. You may have already chosen a theme, but what’s next? Getting the right plugins to work some magic.
The fact that you’ve chosen WordPress as your website CMS is already a plus, of course. But, you need to know how to navigate through the system to fully understand its capacity, what you’re able to implement and most importantly, what you’ll ultimately need. This is why knowing which plugins best suit your website needs is crucial.
There are so many to choose from, the vast selection can be somewhat overwhelming. Hence the need to narrow down the useful ones to the ones you can actually do without. Editor-in-Chief at NoDepositDaily, Mervyn Davids can relate to this:
‘Having a great domain name and an easy-to-use CMS is great and all, but it’s also important to differentiate between what’s necessary and superfluous. Sure, there are nice, fancy add-ons, but the real question is, how will this add value to our site? Will our team members benefit from its addition and implementation?’
So let’s take a look at the essentials for web success.
<H2> Advanced Custom Fields </H2>
Advanced Custom Fields allows you to – surprise, surprise – control custom fields on your website. This means that you can easily add custom field values to your template and anywhere in WordPress. Since WordPress vanilla flavor doesn’t come with a lot of custom types, you’ll need to create them yourself, which is where a custom fields plugin is needed. While there are others out there, Advanced Custom Fields is highly rated and updated often.
<H2> The SEO Framework </H2>
Sure, Yoast used to be the SEO plugin that everyone was talking about. But these days, The SEO Framework is a much better bet, with less overheads than Yoast. Plus, props to the developers of this particular plugin for picking such an authoritative name for their product! The SEO Framework allows you to manage all the SEO elements you need in your WordPress site, plus it is free to use. It’s a professional plugin that will help you to look like a professional and climb those search engine results pages, too. If you’re looking for an alternative to SEO Framework, you can also check out Rankmath instead.
<H2> Gravity Forms </H2>
Every website these days needs to have forms to capture data. Whether you want to use your forms for visitor feedback, to get visitor details to send them an eBook, or even start the purchasing process, you’ll need some nifty forms.
Gravity Forms is a custom forms plugin that can really work some magic. With this plugin, you’re able to create automated workflows, collect actual payments, get users to upload files, and more. If it’s good enough for Nike and NASA, well, you know that’s saying something!
<H2> UpdraftPlus </H2>
DO NOT USE WORDPRESS WITHOUT CREATING BACKUPS! This is the most fundamental lesson to learn when creating a website. It is extremely easy to lose your whole site in just one hit if you do not back it up. Like any good backup process, this should be often, and not stored in the same place. (whitejasmine.com)
UpdraftPlus is a fairly simple to use plugin that allows you to backup, restore, and clone your site. Things do go wrong, like accidental deletions, server destruction, ransomware and more. Using a plugin like UpdraftPlus is your insurance when they do, so you can get your site back up and running again quickly.
<H2> Wordfence </H2>
Wordfence is another WordPress plugin that keeps your website more secure. This plugin is designed to keep your website sage from malware and other malicious traffic. When you’re developing a website, security often isn’t top of mind at the beginning – but it should be. If you bake in the right security practices and plugins from the get go then you’re less likely to run into problems in the future. Remember: many a novice developer has given up after a security problem overran their site. Protect yourself from the outset!
<H2> And more! </H2>
These plugins are just some very basic additions that will be an asset to every WordPress site. There are thousands and thousands of other plugins to do other niche things. When assessing whether to use a plugin, make sure to read reviews and check that the plugin itself is updated frequently. When plugin development is abandoned, it can lead to broken plugins which will also affect your website. Make sure to update when new releases are put out and stable. Also remember that the more plugins your site uses, the greater chance of things going wrong – so keep it as minimalistic as possible.