Lately here at Torx, we find ourselves using WordPress frequently when we’re building a website where our client wishes to update the website’s content themselves. Let’s face it: when it comes to flexibility, extensibility, and user-friendliness, there’s not a better content management system out there right now.
But you can’t talk about the proliferation of WordPress without mentioning the extensive developer base that creates plugins to extend the features and functionality of the software. Like many developers, we utilize plugins where they are needed, but unlike some other developers, we try to use plugins as sparingly as possible. After all, if you install too many plugins, your site can slow to a crawl under the load of so much add-on code.
But with so many plugins available, how do you know which ones are the best and most reliable? Which ones are the most useful? We have a few plugins that we use rather frequently and we thought we’d share what some of our favorites are. Here goes:
This plugin has probably had the largest positive impact on how user-friendly we can build a website for our clients. With ACF, the sky really is the limit for creating simple, intuitive ways for our clients to update the content on their site. With file upload fields, repeater fields, and date selector fields, ACF really helps us to look like rock stars for our clients. More Info >
This plugin was formerly known as Better WP Security. Even though the software’s name has changed, this plugin continues to help us keep many of our WordPress sites safe from hackers and script kiddies. More than anything, this plugin simply takes the hassle out of making your WordPress installation more secure. Sure, you could make many of the same security enhancements on your own, but this plugin makes it quick and easy without a lot of work. More Info >
Gravity Forms has been around for a while, and even though we arrived a bit late to the game, we’ve jumped into this plugin with both feet in the past year or so. At its core, Gravity allows for quick and easy form creation. But it has an incredibly deep feature set that allow for creating very complicated forms complete with integration with lots of popular third-party services for exchanging data. More Info >
Even though it is a plugin that comes included with any recent WordPress installation, we highly recommend enabling it. We’ve run across plenty of existing WordPress installations that don’t have it enabled and the client is experiencing high levels of spam comments. Getting an API key and enabling the plugin only takes a couple of minutes and can save you lots of time later not having to deal with spammers. More Info >
Lastly, I want to give a quick nod to WP Google Maps. We’ve used it on a few projects recently, including Argent Credit Union and Health Warrior. It makes Google map creation really easy and (the pro/paid version) includes many cool features and ways to customize your map. Each map can have multiple markers/pinpoints added to it with the ability to add a description and a custom marker icon. It can also provide directions to the plotted points. If you have the need to create a map on your WordPress-powered website, WP Google Maps is the way to go. More Info >
So that wraps up our favorite WordPress plugins of the moment. If you’re interested in seeing what kinds of great innovations we can build into your site, contact us today for a free consultation!
About the author:
Partner, Director of Technology
Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.