Web Wednesdays: 8 WordPress Plugins Every Website Needs

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Are you looking to enhance and personalise your WordPress powered website? Good news! We’ve gathered an assortment of amazingly resourceful WordPress plugins which will certainly revolutionise and transform your website.

Since WordPress was released in 2003, gifted developers have been busy crafting staggeringly powerful plugins which offer customised functions and features to tailor any website to the owner’s specific needs. There are remarkably over 50,000 fantastic plugins available just on the WordPress Plugin Directory alone (most of which are entirely free!), but determining which plugins are worth exploring can be an untimely and frustrating journey. To help our readers out, we have assembled a convenient list of essential plugins we recommend any WordPress website needs to be successful. So, let’s put it in gear and get started!

 

The Essential Plugins:

We have devised below a short summary of the plugins we encourage you to explore. We also continue further below in this article by explaining the key reasons why these plugins are so exceptional.

  1. Advanced Custom Fields (Free) by Elliot Condon
  2. Gravity Forms (Paid) by RocketGenius
  3. Responsive Lightbox & Gallery (Free) by dFactory
  4. Regenerate Thumbnails (Free) by Alex Mills
  5. Autoptimize (Free) by Frank Goossens
  6. Yoast SEO (Free) by Team Yoast
  7. Duplicate Post (Free) by Enrico Battocchi
  8. iThemes Security (Free) by iThemes

 

Plugins

 

An In-Depth Look At The Plugins:

 

1. Advanced Custom Fields

Advanced Custom Fields is an astonishing plugin which unlocks an incalculable number of exceptional tools which every WordPress developer needs. This plugin enables novice and proficient website builders to easily add bespoke fields into almost any part of WordPress, including posts, pages and custom post types. This is ideal for anyone who needs to produce a fully customisable bespoke page or simply introduce a single custom element (such as a button) on a page; the possibilities are limitless. They have also released a Pro version which unlocks even more custom features, such as repeater fields and options pages to comprehensively help customise your website. We thoroughly recommend investigating this plugin to discover the full list of features available.

 

2. Gravity Forms

If you’re looking for a dependable and spectacular form builder, then we unquestionably recommend utilising Gravity Forms. Gravity Forms is a powerful form builder which lets you create detailed forms and offers an astounding experience by offering countless amounts of field types, incredible configuration choices and an effortlessly straightforward method of embedding forms onto any page or post. But what makes Gravity Forms stand out from the crowd? It includes conditional logic functions, works flawlessly with Google ReCaptcha, offers convenient file upload features and incorporates advanced calculations. Contrastingly, we also feel it’s definitely worth mentioning Contact Form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi, which also offers an incredible form building experience and is free.

 

3. Responsive Lightbox & Gallery

While there are many exceptional lightbox plugins readily accessible for WordPress, the Responsive Lightbox & Gallery plugin by dFactory offers an incredibly simplistic and convenient experience, while being favourably reviewed by many WordPress users. If you require images or videos to be beautifully enlarged after being clicked, then this plugin is perfect for you. It empowers WordPress websites to employ many different types of lightbox designs and allows users to produce custom galleries for posts and pages.

 

4. Regenerate Thumbnails

Occasionally, when constructing a new website or performing modifications to an existing website, the thumbnail sizes specified for the items in your media library can be updated or brand new sizes defined. Although this will influence new images being uploaded, unfortunately it won’t affect your existing images. Regenerate Thumbnails enables users to effortlessly reprocess your media library (or individual items) to successfully regenerate the thumbnail sizes so that the thumbnail sizes for your images are identical.

 

5. Autoptimize

It’s imperative for all websites to be truly optimised to enhance the loading speeds and develop visitor experience, this ensures your website is competitive. Autoptimize accomplishes this wonderfully by minifying and caching scripts, styles and HTML on your website, conveniently making your pages exceeding lightweight. This reduces the size of your website, which ensures each page is accessible by visitors as quickly as possible.

 

6. Yoast SEO

Every website owner should be focused on optimising the website for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) so that it’s easily discovered in search engines. Released in 2008, Yoast SEO is an extraordinary plugin which has over 5 million active installs and is a powerful SEO tool utilised by millions of websites. By installing this plugin, you will receive an astounding combination of SEO tools and features designed to help make your website search engine ready. This includes advanced XML sitemaps, breadcrumb controls, custom title and meta description templating and much more.

 

7. Duplicate Post

The default WordPress functionality unfortunately doesn’t incorporate an immediate solution which enables users to duplicate parts of a website. However, Duplicate Post is an unbelievable plugin which conveniently enables WordPress users to clone posts, pages and custom post types. This makes copying particular items immediately convenient by importing the data and details of each item you clone. Duplicate Post has over 3 million active installs and is also currently tested up to the very latest version of WordPress (5.2.2).

 

8. iThemes Security

WordPress is utilised by over 30% of websites on the web, but unfortunately, this remarkable fact makes it a prime target for hackers because of plugin vulnerabilities and weak passwords. The iThemes Security plugin is essential to keeping your website safe and secure by offering a variety of security tools to help reduce security risks. This includes fixes for common security breaches and offering valuable support to help fight against automated attacks. Regardless of how new or small your WordPress website may be, you should definitely consider installing this plugin.

 

WordPress

 

Installing Plugins:

 

Adding plugins onto a WordPress website has never been more accessible. There are numerous methods available which anyone can utilise to accomplish this, and we have provided the most convenient method below. You can also download plugins and install them manually via the Upload Plugin button on the Plugins > Add New page.

Additionally, you should be aware that some plugins may only be compatible with specific versions of WordPress, so it’s valuable to check this to ensure a smooth installation. WordPress will often tell you whether a plugin is compatible when using the method presented underneath. If you’re unsure or do not have a backup of your website, we recommend performing a backup of your website files and database should any problems arise.

  1. From your Dashboard, proceed to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Using the search form, find a plugin you would like to add and click Install Now.
  3. Once installed, this button will automatically adjust to say Activate. Simply click this and your new plugin will be fully installed and ready to use.

 

Summary:

 

Hopefully, by reading this article you’ve obtained, or further acquired, a valuable insight into some of the incredible plugins available to help personalise your WordPress website. If you have any questions or if you have discovered any plugins not mentioned in this article but are worth sharing please feel free to get in touch.

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