There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins available to site owners, all of which aim to provide key functions and features that WordPress’ standalone offering does not. But with so many plugins out there offering everything from Search Engine Optimisation to improved page load speed, how can you whittle your options to the best plugins for your site?
That’s where we come in. As a specialist web design and development agency, we’re constantly trying and testing all sorts of WordPress plugins, to recommend only the very best to our clients. In this guide, we’ve highlighted the top 5 plugins that we are constantly recommending to WordPress website owners – 5 plugins that your own website shouldn’t be without.
1. Yoast SEO
The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is used by the vast majority of WordPress site admins, and it’s no wonder why.
This nifty tool helps you to easily optimise your website’s content and improve its chances of ranking on search engines for relevant search terms. Simply scroll down towards the bottom of your page or blog post editor, find Yoast SEO and enter your meta title, meta description and keywords you’re trying to target with that specific content.
Not only that, it can also help you to improve the readability of your content by offering tips and tricks for bettering the layout and structure of your pages’ content.
Yoast SEO is completely free for using its main features, so it’s absolutely worth trying it out to see the benefits it offers your website. If you grow to really love it, you could opt in for the premium version of the plugin which offers additional features such as the redirect manager and social media previews.
2. Contact Form 7
A website isn’t complete without giving your visitors a way of getting in touch with you. Sure, a mention of your email address here and there would suffice, but built-in contact forms are so much more advanced and can deliver a more efficient way of building communications between you and your visitors.
Contact Form 7 is hands down one of the best contact form plugins available, as well as being one of the simplest to navigate. With this plugin installed into your own WordPress site, you’ll be able to create multiple contact forms, each of which can be customised to meet certain criteria.
Contact Form 7 is free to use and its features can be extended even further by installing add-ons and extensions to the basic package.
3. Advanced Custom Fields
If you need to include additional information on certain pages of your website, but your standard WordPress page layout won’t do the trick, then the Advanced Custom Fields plugin can certainly help.
For example, maybe you want to make 3 blocks on the page easily customisable outside of the standard text area? Or maybe you want to make one post related to another? Advanced Custom Fields can help you to do just that.
Even those who are relatively new to this area of web development will be able to make use of the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. It makes what would naturally be a rather confusing area of development, quite simple and easy to carry out. (You might need a small amount of PHP knowledge to pull through the fields onto your templates though!)
The plugin provides over 30 types of custom fields, as well as a wealth of resources and team support to help you make use of it. Advanced Custom Fields is available as a free version or as a paid for pro version – it’s well worth trying out the free version and its features before deciding whether you need to premium version.
4. Litespeed Cache
In a nutshell, the Litespeed Cache plugin for WordPress can help to improve your website’s performance, by having their own web server cache your site’s pages. In turn, this will speed up the time it takes for each of your pages to load, which can benefit the overall user experience as well as your SEO performance.
The plugin makes use of its own technology which is built into its own server, which drastically reduces overheads and makes the process much more efficient than standard PHP-based plugins for caching.
It’s incredibly simple to install Litespeed Cache and you’ll find that the standard settings will most likely be suitable for your site – no complicated changes needed! However, if you did want to make some alterations to the settings, then that’s completely doable as well.
5. EWWW Image Optimizer
Images are crucial for providing a greater website experience for your users. However, poorly optimised images can often slow down a website, leading to frustrated visitors and a poor overall performance. Not to worry, as all of this can be avoided with the use of a image optimisation plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer.
This helpful WordPress plugin will not only optimise any images you add onto your site after installation, it will also optimise any existing images in your uploads. Better yet, the plugin will always choose to best file format for your images.
During the resizing and compressing process, you will not lose any of the quality of your images, and you’ll also receive 30 days of free image backups for your original images.
As with the other plugins in our recommendations, EWWW Image Optimizer is completely free to use – simply install the plugin onto your WordPress site and you’re good to go!
There are all kinds of different plugins out there that are bound to offer some benefits for your WordPress site, but these 5 recommendations are a fantastic place to start. If you would like to discuss WordPress plugins with our knowledgeable team, or if you would like to enquire about our design and web development services, please do get in touch.