For many of our customer facing websites, we use WordPress as the basis of their content management systems. This is mainly because of WordPress’ superior functionality but also due to its diverse nature.
With an extensive range of ‘plugins’ available, it is now possible to implement more advanced features within a website, without a developer having to always build them from scratch.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
A plugin is a piece of software that can be added to a WordPress website to expand the functions available to a visitor or a site administrator. Plugins are designed to integrate seamlessly with a website and can be installed directly from the admin area of a CMS.
With thousands available to download (the majority for free too) there is plugin for just about anything nowadays.
Whilst plugins are designed to be easy to add to a website, it’s important to understand that a lot of the time it is best to have your developer integrate or recommend which to use. Some are definitely better than others!
We’ve put together a list of our most used and suggested plugins for both standard websites or if you need some additional marketing functions:
WordPress Plugins for website developers and marketers:
Advanced Custom Fields –this plugin is usually installed during the development period and is a ‘go to’ for making sure the content of the website is able to be customised by the client.
Gravity Forms –this is the plugin we use whenever we want to build lead capture forms in a website. e.g. a ‘Contact Us’ form.
Akismet –a great overall anti-spam tool for websites if you want to avoid spam submissions via your lead capture forms or comments on your blog posts.
Redirection – useful if you have an old site and want to redirect your old URLS to the new site. It’s the best way to ensure Google can track the updates without affecting your search engine ranking.
Autoptimize –a useful plugin designed to optimise your websites technical performance by automatically compressing the code, images, fonts, etc
W3 Total Cache– similar to Autoptimize, this plugin will optimise a websites performance by caching the pages on the site.
WooCommerce –our ‘go to’ for creating websites with an e-commerce function. Woo-commerce is one of the best plugins to add the option of selling and making transactions online.
WPML –if your brand is multinational and has audiences who speak different languages, WordPress Multilingual (WPML) is a great plugin to help translate your content. It can even help you translate your SEO metadata and sitemaps to drive traffic to the right languages.
Yoast SEO –this is our most recommended plugin to help manage the SEO on your website. Its intuitive nature makes it a really user-friendly tool (even for beginners), whilst still being one of the most in-depth metadata functions around. It will even give you an SEO score before publishing to see where you can make improvements.
Live Chat –if great instant customer support is needed for your business, Live Chat is a valuable tool to help create a great user experience. This instant messaging software easily integrates with other tools you may be using for CRM, support software, email marketing etc.
OptinMonster – if one of your key objectives for your website is to build up your email or data lists, OptinMonster is a great plugin to get creative with your lead capture forms. This could include sidebar forms, pop-up forms, floating headers, scroll triggered boxes and welcome gates – all of which are fully mobile responsive.
Cookie Notice –since the data laws changed to be in line with new GDPR regulations, it is now more important than ever to ensure you have appropriate cookie consent policies in place to remain compliant.
WordPress Plugins for any website function
The sky really is the limit when it comes to website functionality nowadays so our plugins list is by no means exhaustive; it’s more of a whistle-stop tour of the kind of features that are easily available within WordPress and some we would suggest when creating a basic front end website.
Whilst it is important to map out the key functions you need your website to perform before you even begin the build, WordPress plugins make adding additional features a lot easier as your business develops. They can even inspire further ideas as to how you can improve your user experience!
Have you had a great new digital idea or looking to improve your website? Get in touch to find out how we can help.