Let’s start with a little basic info about WordPress plugins. What are they? Why do you need them? And what do they do?
WordPress Plugins - The Basics
WordPress plugins are add-ons to your WordPress site that allow you to add functionality to the site. Examples of this are…
- Visual Site Builders (drag and drop)
- Payment Processing
- Photo & Video Galleries
Some plugins are free and available in the WordPress repository. You can download these straight from inside your WordPress website. Some plugins are “freemium” — meaning that you get limited use of features for the plugins until you upgrade to a premium version to unlock all the features. These too can be downloaded from the WordPress repository. Some plugins are premium only and can be downloaded from the plugin developer’s website or market places like www.codecanyon.net
Here are the plugins we are using on every new WordPress site we design right now.
Elementor is a page builder for WordPress.
We’ve tried several WordPress page builders of the past 10 years, Right now, we believe Elementor to be the best.
Elemetor does have a FREE version. But, it is limited. We recommend the paid version.
The pre-built templates to get you started are great. We don’t use them “as-is” but it helps you get a layout started really quickly. We pick a layout we like and then Elementor allows us to customize that layout to our heart’s desire.
Once you have customized your pages with Elementor, the sites load much faster than Divi or other comparable builders. Its front end-designer is also very powerful and loads fast.
The only other builder that we find loads faster is WP Bakery but it hasn’t been as powerful for us – not quite as much control over the design. And, we can’t stand WP Bakery’s Visual Builder. It works fine in the back-end, but it is slow and clunky on the front end.
You can check out Elementor here… https://elementor.com/
Pricing (as of Feb., 2022)
Note: We are actually using WP Bakery on this site. We might change that in the near future.
2.) Gravity Forms
GravityForms is by far the most powerful form plugin available for WordPress.
As with everything WordPress, we have tried just about everything. Over the past 10+ years, we have tried tons of different form plugins — including Contact Form 7 (difficult but free), Ninja Forms (not bad), Forminator (good but not great), and a ton of others. Nothing holds a candle to GravityForms and it is worth the price of admission.
We love how fast and easy it is to set up forms. We also love how powerful they are. You can create forms to do all kinds of things — even take payments (with paid add-ons for GravityForms)!
Here are some of the features:
Imsanity helps you skip Photoshop to save space on your hosting account and speed up page load speeds.
Man… I wish we had known about Imsanity YEARS ago! A lot of my clients want to update their site on their own. But they upload images that are HUGE and slow down the website and take up a ton of space on the server. Imsanity helps you manage that — all directly on the server. No need to edit your photo sizes and compression in Photoshop! Just set the parameters for image uploads (however you want) and Imsanity does all the work when you upload the image to your site.
Here are some of the features (look at the reviews!):
This plugin is free in the WordPress repository. But they do have some premium options. https://wordpress.org/plugins/imsanity/
4.) Duplicate Page
Duplicate Page allows you to duplicate just about anything on your site – Pages, posts, products… etc.
This plugin is a HUGE time saver and it is FREE! Let’s say you are creating a series of pages that you want to have the same format and you’re just going to be changing the text and photos. Duplicate Page will help you do that quickly! The same goes for posts, products, and several other things that you might be wanting to duplicate, It is well worth the $0 you will spend on it!
Huge time saver!
WPMU is actually a suite of plugins that allows you to do many things.
Our primary need for WPMU is to manage all the WordPress plugin updates on all the websites we manage. We can log into one central source and see what sites need updates and then update them right there – instead of logging into each site individually and updating them one by one.
However, WPMU offers NUMEROUS plugins for one subscription. You can get 11 plugins starting at $15.83 per month.
These plugins allow you to do things such as…
- Compress Image Sizes
- Manage WordPress Plugin Updates
- Speed up page load times
- Protect your website’
- Automate marketing
- Create forms
- Replace WordPress branding on the backend with your own branding
- Create backups of your website
- Migrate from one host to another
- Offer video tutorials (WordPress related and already created for you)
- Add Google Analytics to your WordPress dashboard
- And much more!
We have you covered!
All of these plugins are included with each new WordPress web design project!
All the plugins mentioned in this article are included with every web design and hosting & management plan with us.
If you have us design your next website and have us host & manage it for you, everything we have discussed is covered and won’t cost you an extra dime. Give us a call if you are ready to get started!