When I’m setting up a new website for a client, there are a handful of plugins I use every time. They do a variety of things, but all of them make it easier for the client to maintain their site.
Here’s the short list of the plugins I use on every single site I make.
This plugin is one of the first I install after setting up WordPress. It allows you to easily clone a page, post, or another content type with the click of a button.
But why would you want to clone an existing piece of content? I’m glad you asked.
When I build out websites, I use a page builder plugin (see #4 for the ones I use). Rather than recreating the layout every time, it’s easier to clone an existing page/post and edit the content.
Duplicate Post is also super useful if you like doing A/B testing of content. Using this plugin, you can quickly copy a page, make a small change, and publish it to a new permalink and test it out!
I’m not an SEO expert, but I do know some of the basics about getting your WordPress website optimized for search engines. And there isn’t a better plugin than Yoast SEO.
This plugin creates a meta box that will allow you to edit the page title and blurb that shows up on Google. It also lets you set a convention so that it automatically pulls from certain fields, which is great to help automate your content.
Yoast SEO also has settings for creating a sitemap, which is important to submit to Google Search Console, and features that make sure your site is optimized for sharing on social media networks.
This is a premium plugin that I adore for setting up contact forms, content submissions, etc. It’s a bit steep in price, but 100% worth the investment if you create forms that need price fields, file uploads, etc. It also has great integrations with other tools like reCAPTCHA, Salesforce, Google Sheets, and more.
I’m using Gravity Forms for all of the contact forms on my site!
4. Visual Composer or Divi Builder
No matter which theme you’re using on your website, I recommend you invest in a page builder. As a DIY entrepreneur, you’re looking for ways to optimize your budget, and I think this is one of the best investments that can be made.
If you’re using the Divi theme, it already comes prepackaged with Divi Builder, which is great! But if you’re using a different theme, I recommend looking into the premium plugin Visual Composer.
Using a page-building plugin will let you start building landing pages in a matter of minutes. If you’ve ever watched someone else’s webinar and noticed their fancy landing page, but you can’t afford the monthly fee that Leadpages charges, then a page building plugin is what you want. You can find examples of good converting landing pages, and then build something on your website that easily looks on brand with your business. And bonus, it’s much more affordable!
If you’re still questioning whether Visual Composer is worth the investment, there are other free page builders you can give a go first (Elementor and Page Builder). I’m not as familiar with either of them, but I’m sure they’re great alternatives.
This is one that is often overlooked by people when they set up their WordPress website. But, in my experience, it’s one of the most important.
Setting up a security plugin will let you tighten up your login pages, your editable theme and plugin files (where your site is most vulnerable), and can even alert you to attempts of hackers and bots trying to get into your website.
Since WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world (59.4% of CMS market share, and 26.4% of the whole web, according to ManageWP’s post from April 2016) it’s also the target of a large number of hackers around the world. Usually, they’re harmless, but still not the kind of thing you want to worry about. Best to just start off with a good defense.
Bonus Plugin (Because it’s too good not to share!)
This isn’t a plugin per se, but a script that needs to be installed in order to connect your website to your Google Analytics account.
Now, I’m not going to go into all the reasons why you should set up Google Analytics here, but it’s is immeasurably useful down the line, and gives you all sorts of data on how users are using your website.
To add the script to your website, you can use a plugin like Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights. Just add in your Google UA ID and the plugin will take care of the rest.
Want more WordPress tricks or web development tutorials?
Sign-up for my bi-weekly newsletter, and I’ll send them straight to your inbox.