A quick Google search or (gasp!) real-life chat with a web geek will get you a seemingly endless list of “must have” WordPress plugins. Everybody’s got their favourites – some of those may be great for your purposes; some not so much. It really depends on the needs of your website (and you, as an administrator of the site).
Following are some of our favourites that we end up installing on most, if not all, WordPress sites we put together:
1. Contact Form 7
A “simple but flexible” form manager. Contact Form 7 lets you easily create forms your site visitors can use to get in touch with you, register for a workshop, apply for a job, etc. It validates field input, prompting the user to enter missed “required” fields and, upon successful completion, automatically sends you, the administrator, an email with the submitted info. Highly customizable.
2. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
The Google Analytics Dashboard for WP allows you to track traffic to your site via Google Analytics. You can see the real-time number of visitors, acquisition channels, and traffic sources. You can get reports on sessions, organic searches, page views, locations, referrers, keywords, browsers, and much more. A great way to see how your site is performing in terms of traffic and results.
3. TinyMCE Advanced
This plugin enables the advanced features of WordPress’s WYSIWYG editor. TinyMCE Advanced allows you to create and edit tables, gives you additional options for lists, provides search/replace functionality, lets you set font family and size, plus much more.
4. UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration
UpdraftPlus gives you peace of mind by making site back-up and restoration easy. You can opt to automatically back-up to the cloud (e.g., Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) or via email, on a regular schedule.
5. Widget Logic
This plugin might be considered a bit more advanced, but if you’re willing and able to “get your hands a bit dirty” it allows you to control which widgets appear on which pages, using fairly basic code.
6. Wordfence Security
Wordfence protects your website from hacks and malware. It alerts you quickly in the event your site is compromised. The live traffic view gives you a real-time look into traffic and hack attempts on your website. Highly recommended in order to keep your site secure.
7. WP Social Sharing
One of many similar plugins, WP Social Sharing allows you to add responsive social share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Xing, Google+ and Pinterest to your posts, pages, and media.
Of course this list is far from exhaustive, even of just the ones we like. But we’re sure you’ll find most – if not all – of these valuable on your WordPress site. Just remember to keep them up-to-date so that your site runs as smoothly and securely as possible!