WordPress at it’s core is a simple blogging content management system that is free to use. If you want capabilities beyond the initial online journal functionality, you need to use plugins.
There are tens of thousands of free plugins to chose from, and with an excellent searchable directory of WordPress plugins and their ratings, you can get your website to do many things without custom programming.
Unfortunately, it takes experience to know which plugins should be standard on your website, and which ones has responsive developers.
Luckily for you, we’ve produced dozens of WordPress sites, and optimized even more.
Here’s what you should do to optimize the WordPress plugins on your site.
Choose a Theme
After having a host, and installing WordPress, the first thing you are going to do when making a is to chose a theme. The reason I say this is because some themes already have the plugins included in them (including paid plugins)!
Here are some links to template theme developers that we recommend:
(These are our partners, meaning a commission if you make a purchase. Plugins below are NOT partners, but we do use their plugins!)
It’s going to take a while for you to assess all of the different themes to fit your needs – there are literally thousands! Browsing by category (business/organization type) will help a great deal, and you can view the demos of each theme, which showcases all of the features.
There are couple different custom theme developers (with New England Marketing & Efficiency) that I’ve used for larger projects. Custom themes cost more and are built from scratch. You can also have a theme customized through a web development company (like our partner KWAVE Web Development) for less of a cost.
Must Have WordPress Plugins
Here are the top WordPress plugins that are practically a necessity for any business website or blog. They are what we use on practically every website due to their customization features and excellent documentation.
Most of these plugins are all free and great in that version. Additionally, many have a paid subscription with premium features and support.
A great slider with endless possibilities. Easy setup, however, to get snazzy sliders takes a lot of skill and work. Fully customizable with motion graphics. Comes included with many themes, or you will have to buy a license from the developer. Learn more here.
Shareaholic is a social sharing and content distribution plugin. The main feature is it’s share button that shares the post to the appropriate sharing network.
You can also add thumbnails of your other posts at the bottom of blog posts to increase page views. Further, Sharaholic is great for bloggers, with many monetization options from a large pool of advertisers to compete with Google Adsense. Learn more here.
All in One SEO Pack
The best SEO tool that I use. Allows social media settings to include images and custom descriptions for social media. It also has a feature to authenticate your Google and Bing webmaster tools, create a sitemap and so many more powerful features, including adding your Google Analytics tracking code throughout your site easily.
Developed by a Marine with excellent support and documentation. Learn more here.
GA Google Analytics
Simple way to put Google Analytics code in WordPress site without having to edit the theme itself.
An easy to use, robust newsletter for WordPress. Quick setup with newsletter templates, customizable forms, verification, tracking and statistics. Even better paid features and support. Learn more here.
Easy Contact Form
Is it really that easy? Check back, good WordPress contact forms are hard to come by.
Contact Form 7
Contact form I use and am testing but have problems getting the email to send. I’ve used “Flamingo”, an additional plugin to capture messages.
Really Simple SSL
Every website needs to be secure. This plugin changes all your website URLs and images from http protocol to https, stopping most mixed content warnings.
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