Pretty much most plugins from the past year 2017 will carry on to this year’s list of must-have plugins.
This might be true to other WordPress web developers but I have been getting more web-apps through WordPress. Primarily because WordPress contains so many useful plugins that it would be really handy to serve up a web-app.
Take for example what Google themselves have been experimenting on: WordPress Web Apps.
You can check out their Chrome Dev Summit video here:
This is a key insight that Google knows WordPress is a powerful platform.
Not only knowing that the CMS powers more than 27% of the internet, but also that the plugins found on WordPress are powerful and that so many companies now run their own plugins and offer pro features. But the best ones are free!
In line with this, I’ve collected common plugins I use for Web Apps:
What’s brilliant about WordPress is its plugins — no doubt about it. People do say ‘WordPress is slow because it’s still using a database and we’re supposed to be going JAMstack right now’, but it just makes it so easy to set up a WordPress site that works, and carry on to the next project.
- Maintainability: good
- Scalability: okay
- Speed: good
- Project cost: low
- Usefulness: very good (plugins)
I don’t see how you can err deeply with WordPress. It’s alright as it is. Not great, but good considering these factors.
I’ll be more than glad if you could let me know what’s the next thing to WordPress that will have an active plugin community of more than 40,000 plugins.
There’s got to be a plugin that could be of use to you.
If you don’t use WordPress, you lose those 40,000 plugins’ functionality.
Here are my top 7 plugins that I must have on most WordPress websites.
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is a hallmark SEO plugin because it’s following the standards set by SEO consultants worldwide — including Google’s advice to gain a top rank on the search engines.
I recommend to use Yoast SEO because of the functionality it provides just with 1 install. The most powerful of which is its metaboxes and its iconic ‘traffic lights’ system to indicate if your SEO score is good, bad, or needs improvement. It’s got a nice looking XML sitemap (not that these are supposed to look nice, but it helps when you see XML sitemaps all day in an agency).
Out of the box it’s got a great interface and doesn’t appear to break. I find that if a plugin’s interface is great, then there’s a higher chance that it’s more reliable compared to the next plugin. That’s because it’s been given its attention to detail.
2. All-in-One WP Migration
The All-in-One WP Migration plugin is primarily used for wrapping up WordPress websites into 1 file, so that they can be imported onto another domain.
This has been useful for when I had to move over websites from my development environment (on my computer working offline) and needing to add this website to a staging domain so that the client can see and make any necessary changes.
It’s quick to setup. Just export the file, install WordPress to the staging website, log into it, and import that very same file. Very few errors come about… and that’s mostly due to plugin conflicts.
Very handy WordPress file migration, without touching FTP/Control Panel/SSH.
The Redirection plugin solves all issues with 30x redirects. In dealing with SEO the standard way, you will have to redirect old URLs to new ones, so that you keep the link juice going… rather than cutting a dead page off thus losing the link juice.
Compared to similar plugins of this category, I find this specific Redirection plugin great and easy to use.
Especially that you can import your 301 redirects in bulk! Like make a list of redirections through an .htaccess file you simply create, and it’ll add all of them in! It’ll also support .csv files too, and you just follow it’s column layout mentioned.
4. WP Sitemap Page
The WP Sitemap Page plugin offers an html sitemap out of displaying 1 simple shortcode.
It is a necessity to have an HTML sitemap page, so that you can make sure that all your pages are being crawled. It isn’t a requirement, but it’s highly encouraged when you get the chance to do so. Since it will help your crawl budget find out all your pages rather than it having to go through many pages to find out where all your pages are.
A plus side too is that a Sitemap page will help any desperate users to finding a certain page. But of course this wouldn’t be the case if you are properly indexed because that’s probably where most people would search… on the search engines!
I find this specific HTML page plugin to be my go-to one because it’s simple to setup, got good reviews, and that you can exclude certain posts, post types or pages.
5. Easy Testimonials
The Easy Testimonials plugin is simply quick to configure. Not the cleanest nor the simplest testimonials plugin, but the setup is quick and easy.
The best part is that you can cycle the testimonials, and easily modify it to make it look good with a bit of CSS. For the meantime this is the plugin that I would recommend, until I stumble upon an even easier testimonials plugin. Easier in the sense to customise, to make it a part of the WordPress development toolbelt.
6. Better Search Replace
The Better Search Replace plugin by Delicious Brains is what I would install during a website migration.
Before the new website will go live, I will run this plugin through to make sure that all instances of ‘old.com’ are replaced with ’new.com’, just to make sure that if there were any missed out during a migration.
There might even be URLs carried over from my development environment ‘old.localhost’ for example. Might as well also run a Screaming Frog crawl to check for any external URLs that come from my staging site (if I might happen to reference it within the theme templates).
7. Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin, or I’d prefer to call it ‘Monster Insights’ is a Google Analytics plugin that used to be under the name of Yoast.
Now it’s got its own branding to offer analytics solutions for WordPress. The best part about this plugin is that it’s quick to setup. And that it automatically excludes administrators from being tracked as a page view. And that it has a very inviting user interface.
But I would be happy to see better Google Analytics plugins you guys might know of?
Bonus Plugin: Code Snippets
The Code Snippets plugin is great especially for WooCommerce snippets.
It is not advisable to place WooCommerce php snippets in your
functions.php file, because if you get a new theme, then you lose all the WooCommerce functionality! Why not just separate design from functionality, by placing your snippets in the Code Snippets plugin? You can activate/deactivate your snippets as you wish. Or you can activate them everywhere or just in the wp-admin area.
One of the handy plugins that will help all WordPress web developers!
Thank you for reading!
If you like this article you might also like to find how to setup your own plugin collection from WP Core.
It will make your WordPress web development projects start so quickly rather than downloading plugins one at a time or 1-by-1!