After years of installing websites I have a great list of standard plugins I install on every website. Remember that every plugin takes memory to load. Stay mindful of memory and program conflicts that can result when you install plugins. For that reason I stay with a standard set of plugins which work well together.
Here are my choices.
- Akismet will help keep your website free from spam comments. It requires that you have a WordPress.com account, which is easy to setup. Akismet will give you a key that you need to add to the setup on your website. Choose the free personal website account and slide the bar over to the left when faced with a payment option.
- Google Analytics for WordPress will add basic Google Analytics right onto the website dashboard. It also is a quick and easy way to connect your Analytic account with your website.
- Gravity Forms is not free (A developers license for $199 per year). But when you have the developers license you can do all kinds of things with it. I install it on every website, then import a form I designed that lets clients post a blog to their website. Blogging is important for website health and few people blog because they don’t want to login. You can also use forms with Paypal, connect your newsletter signup, allow users to create accounts, etc.
- One Click Child Theme is a great plugin that takes the guess work and trouble out of creating a child theme. A child theme is important, because it allows you to style a website differently than the original theme. Creating a child theme allows your changes to stay even after a theme update.
- Optimize Database after deleting revisions allows you to schedule the deletion of stored revisions. It will then optimize the database after purging the revisions. This keeps your website humming at its optimum size.
- Use Google Libraries cuts down on the I/O (Input/Output) to your local install using the Google Libraries.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast does many things. It lets you connect to Google Analytics, Bing and other search engines. It also allows you to customize your keywords. It also helps you improve the use of keywords on your posts and pages.
- Jet Pack Social Share has a TON of features. It is impossible to list them all here. But, I use the sharing option here to auto post to Twitter and Google+ accounts. I do not connect with Facebook as I don’t like the way Jet Pack formats Facebook postings.
- Birds Custom Login is so easy to set up and it makes the login screen look professional. You can add custom background images, change the color of the text, links, buttons, etc. The preview is great too because it will give you an idea of what the login screen will look like before you launch it. As a web designer I like to add a custom login screen to every website, even if the client won’t access the admin panel.
- 404 to 301 is a plugin that will notify visitors if they have stumbled onto a page that doesn’t exist. I like this plugin because it doesn’t leave your visitors hanging, wondering what happened. I style a 404 page with a funny image and add a statement to say that we’re sorry and we will fix problem quickly. The administrator will also receive a notification.
There are lots of great plugins out there and I’m always looking for the next best thing. Watch for a future post on plugins for the admin of a website.