Top 10 Set-Up WordPress Plugins That We Use In Almost Every Project
Duplicate Post free
This is one of the simplest but the most useful WordPress plugins out there. It allows you to duplicate pages and post them with the click of a button. It is very useful when creating a website with multiple pages that must have the same layout and require only a few contextual differences. It has boggled my mind for a very long time why the WordPress community has never built this option into the WordPress core. It seems like a trivial (maybe it should be vital?) option for a content management system.
Easy WP SMTP free
By default, the email system in WordPress uses the server mail function to send out emails, for example: when you want to retrieve your lost password or receive notification about a new comment. The issue that can come up is that often the server where WordPress is installed doesn’t have a proper email configuration to pass through the spam filter of the major mail providers like Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, etc … This results in the email being sent to the spam filter box of the user’s email, making it almost impossible for the user to see the email.
You can get around this problem by connecting an external email service to WordPress. These services usually are all configured in accordance with spam filter requirements and are very reliable. Some of these services are Mailgun, Mandrill and Amazon SES, just to name a few. You can even use your own email service like Gmail to send out email from WordPress.
Easy WP SMTP lets you hook up these services easily within WordPress to guarantee the delivery of your email sent from the WordPress server. This is extremely important, especially if you are running an e-commerce site inside WordPress like Woocommerce. You want to make sure that your visitors and customers are getting their confirmation emails.
Gravity Forms premium
This plugin differs from the others on this list as you need to own a license to use it. Let me tell you, however, it is worth every penny you will spend on it. It will save you much time and headaches when building online forms. You will basically save dozens of hours.
Gravity forms lets you build online forms (contact us, inquiry, quote request, etc.) with the ease of a visual builder. You can then insert these forms in any pages or posts in WordPress. It also comes with tons of super useful plugins which allow you to extend the functionalities beyond a simple form building plugin. We highly recommend it. It is super well built and maintained by a team of Pro WordPress developers.
The redirection plugin is really useful if you are doing a re-design or want to change the structure of your website. Redirects are important when page URLs change. Let’s say you have a post that is hosted on https://www.example.com/how-to-cook-a-meal and you want to add a keyword in it, like chicken, for more search engine exposure; then, it should be https://www.example.com/how-to-cook-a-chicken-meal. If you don’t put a redirect of the old URL to the new URL, the search engine will not know where to find the new page and you will lose all the ranking you did on the old URL.
The redirection plugin allows you to easily manage these redirects with a very simple and easy-to-understand interface.
WP Super Cache free
WordPress is a weird beast. On one hand, it is the most popular content management system out there. On the other hand, the code structure is old and inefficient.
The code inefficiency can result in a slow website when hosted on a server with limited resources. For each page load of a WordPress site, the server needs to interpret thousands of lines of code of the PHP language. Also, if you have many plugins in the mix, it can result in a website taking a couple of seconds to show a page. This can affect your ranking on search engines as they now take the page speed into consideration.
WP Super Cache offers the ability to speed up the page load for your visitor by generating HTML pages that get stored on the server. So the server simply needs to serve the user a file and this limits its compiling of the code, making the process swift and efficient.
Be careful though, if you are running a website where people need to login to view content. You want to use this plugin carefully and know what you are doing, because you can end up with pages exposed to anyone when they should in fact be locked for login members only.
Yoast SEO free
This is by far the best SEO plugin out there. So if you want to make your site friendly for complicated search engines, you want to use this plugin. It lets you customize the title, the description and the social media attributes of any post, page or custom post type in WordPress. It also provides you live tips to improve your SEO as you type your posts.
There are also a lot more options to it. This plugin is one of the oldest ones out there and there has been a lot of thought put into it. This is a must. Use it today.
Note: There is also a premium version to this plugin which offers even more, like Internal Link Suggestions, Content Insights, Redirect Manager and much more. So it is worth upgrading to the premium version if you are publishing a lot of articles on your website. If you have a fairly static website that doesn’t change often, the free version is more than enough.
Disable REST API free
WordPress has a REST API enabled by default. It allows anyone to query it to get the latest published posts, pages, comments and much more. So anything that is public facing will be available via the REST API. This means that if you want to run a private site you need to disable it. Otherwise, anyone could access the content you want to make private.
So I recommend disabling it if you are building a staging website or you want all of your content to be private.
However: please be careful, because it can have an adverse effect if you have any services or plugin installs that rely on the API. So please check carefully if it is suitable for you before installing it.
My Private Site free
This plugin title says exactly what it does: it makes your site private. It comes in very handy if you want to block any public traffic from accessing your website. People will need to have an account in WordPress in order to view the content. We often use this one at the start of a project when we put a site into a staging environment for showing to the client only. This way, we avoid any search engine picking up content that is not ready to go live, because wrong content could stay for a while on a search engine.
Transients Manager free
This plugin is a bit more technical. WordPress has a way to store information quickly in the database for quick access. Transients are used to cache very expensive calls to the database in order to speed up the page load time. Or they could be used for a server call that relies on external services. An example would be: to check if the plugins need an update. This requires a call to the WordPress.org website that might take a couple of seconds. Thus, in order to speed up the plugin page by not checking each time if the plugins need an update, WordPress will cache the response for a bit in the database, which would remain there for a period of time. After the time period expires, the call will be done again and the data will be cached again in the database. This is great and essential (article to read if you want to learn more about transients).
However, there might be a time when you develop or build a website where those cache values need to be cleaned before their expiry time, especially if you build a new plugin that would use transients. The transients manager plugin comes in handy to clean any transient cache value with the click of a button, saving you tons of time and headaches.
Classic Editor free
WordPress 5.0 came with a new toy, a completely new editor experience, which essentially is composed of blocks you can drag and drop.
This is pretty awesome and will be the future of any content management system. However, you might already be using a theme which offers a similar capability or maybe you don’t like the new experience. We are often creatures of habit and don’t like to alter our flow very frequently, especially when it comes to workflow.
Don’t worry, this plugin allows you to switch back to the classic editor:
Which made me think … why did they never think about making the new build a plugin instead of the opposite? It was a strange decision if you want my opinion.