Hi there! To get our more current insights on WordPress plugins, read 9 Best WordPress Plugins for Business Websites.
WordPress is a beautiful beast in the world of website design. It’s popular with bloggers, international companies, and everyone in between. Most are familiar with WordPress themes because the concept is easy to grasp: they’re like swatches for decorating your house. WordPress plugins, on the other hand, are a major component in the WordPress experience, yet most non-developers can’t name one.
If you want a responsive website that keeps up with the growing demands of your audience, it’s time to get smart about the power of plugins.
What’s a WordPress plugin?
These tools, also known as extensions, allow administrators to add functionality to a WordPress website — in a seemingly infinite number of ways. They add custom features, enhance existing features, and take your site to a whole new level. Plugins are like secret elves that can add a window, door, lighting fixture, swimming pool, alarm system, or pet unicorn to your life.
Our team of web developers have a few favourite WordPress plugins that we highly recommend.
Akismet is comment spam’s worst nightmare. Blog comment sections are a tantalizing space for spammers and spambots to drop phishing links and wreak havoc on your page. The Akismet plugin checks every comment against its database and lets your blog know “whether it’s ham or spam”. This plugin comes with all WordPress installations, operating as both a free service for personal blogs and a seriously cheap service for businesses.
This tool allows developers to create complex, highly customizable conversion forms for your website — but the fun doesn’t stop there. Because the resulting forms aren’t rigidly hard-coded, the friendly Gravity Forms user interface makes it easy for even those with no web development background to modify the forms post-launch. As an added bonus, Gravity Forms acts as a reliable data backup in case your email system crashes or messages sent form the forms are lost on the server. This is a premium WordPress product that Forge and Smith includes in all of our custom sites.
Advanced Custom Fields is a developer tool that facilitates the custom build of your site’s dashboard. If that sounds like it might be the heart and soul of your site, you’ve got it. All custom fields — text, number, password, image, drop-down, radio buttons, and more — are a hybrid of administrative management and custom coding. ACF is the core fundamental tool of the Forge and Smith custom-crafted experience.
WordPress is the #1 website platform, making it a prime target for hackers. LoginLockdown works out-of-box to prevent brute force and dictionary-style attacks. These repeated attempts are thwarted by Login Lockdown’s administrative settings, which by default ban all login requests from an IP range after three failed attempts in five minutes.
This handy plugin gives you the ability to bulk customize the size of images across your entire site. Say you’ve uploaded 40 landscape-oriented photos to various pages. Now your site style has changed, and you want all images to be square or a custom size. Regenerate Thumbnails saves countless hours of work resizing those images by harnessing the ability to bulk regenerate them.
This tool is a time-saver for testing sites with different prices or access levels depending on a membership. For example, if your eCommerce site has prices for the public and for members, those pages appear differently depending on how someone is logged in. User Switching allows administrators to view the site as a different user at the click of a button, without repeatedly logging in and out.
This is a premium realtime backup WordPress service that we highly recommend to clients. While support for site rollbacks is on a decline, VaultPress backs up every post, comment, media file, revision, and your dashboard settings, while providing accessible rollback options.
There are over 40,000 other WordPress plugins that can be added to your site. Your content and desired user experience should help you choose the right ones.