Every website has different needs + a different purpose, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few plugins that I recommend for almost every site built on WordPress. Open your current plugin list + see if you have any of these favorites already in place. if not, check them out!
Full disclosure — I often challenge myself to build new WordPress sites with as few plugins as I possibly can. Because I’m a giant nerd. Though it is rare that I can get away with creating a project that has absolutely no plugins installed.
WordPress is powerful on its own, but with the right plugins, it can be a powerhouse for any small business owner.
Of course I’m starting with a security plugin — BackWPUp. If you don’t have a hosting company that takes care of you with free backups, this free plugin is a great option.
You can even set the backups to run automatically on a schedule, so you are protected from losing your weekly blog posts. (Read more about why running one backup isn’t enough.)
My only issue with the Column Shortcodes plugin now is that it hasn’t been updated in a few months, though it still works great with the latest version of WordPress.
If you find yourself needing to add perfectly spaced columns to your blog posts or pages, this plugin will help you out. You can create any sort of arrangement from 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 columns.
Plus, it’s responsive, which means it will look great on mobile without you needing to do any extra work.
The Gravity Forms plugin is not free, but it is one I really love using as much as I can. It’s not just good for a simple contact form on your contact page either.
I use this plugin on this site for opt-in boxes, a complex contact form, my client intake questionnaires + the free WordPress security quiz.
You can also use it for surveys, selling products or services, and so much more.
PopupAlly (whether the free version or the paid version) is the only other pluginIi use for adding opt-ins to a client’s site.
Don’t let the name fool you, you can add opt-in boxes within your page content along with the traditional pop-up style. But my favorite feature of this plugin is the built-in one-click pop-up option.
In less nerdy terms that means that if a user on your site clicks a link, you can set it to open a specific pop-up. It’s the perfect way to deliver PDF download guides, webinar details, etc.
For my peeps with loads of images, or even just a handful of really large image files, I would strongly recommend checking out the TinyPng plugin.
It’s made by the creators of the website with the same name + the plugin compresses your images automatically to help your site be lightning fast without losing image quality.
The only bummer is that you are limited on the number of images you can get compressed each month, but getting the biggest/most important elements to load faster will help your conversion ratings significantly.