There are many reasons why we use WordPress. It’s the most popular CMS in the world with over 75 million websites now operating on the platform, and there are now more than 50,000 WordPress plugins available to enhance functionality.
With so many resources available, it can be hard to know which ones to choose. So, we asked Fresh Developers to weigh in on the plugins they find most helpful in building sites that meet our clients’ goals. This is what they had to say…
The Best of the Best
These plugins have proven so valuable that, to create the best administrator and user experience possible, we license the pro versions on behalf our clients and include them in all of our site builds.
Advanced Custom Fields Pro – Our clients are often looking for flexibility to update website content themselves. ACF provides a user-friendly interface, allowing anyone to update or add content to any page, plus a collection of field type and functionality add-ons. All WP sites developed at Fresh include ACF Pro. Learn more about it in our recent WP Plugin Highlight.
Advanced Custom Fields: Flexible Content – ACF offers a number of add-ons, but this is our top pick. Similar to Repeater Field, also a popular ACF add-on, Flexible Content Field acts as a blank canvas for creating multiple instances of a field. However, instead of 1 set of sub-fields, it’s possible to predefine an infinite set of sub-field groups called layouts. You can then add predefined layouts into your field at any point.
WP Migrate DB Pro – Combines the work of transferring content and files between multiple WordPress installs, which typically involves multiple operations (i.e. exporting, transferring, and re-importing the database), into one short operation. This is particularly useful when migrating large media files along with the database, so that you don’t have to manually transfer images. Plus, WP Migrate DB Pro integrates with WP-CLI, giving you push and pull commands, and allowing you to specify all the arguments to run a migration without a special UI.
Gravity Forms – One of the most robust and flexible form plugins. It provides a highly customizable form builder with a simple drag and drop graphical user interface. In addition to being useful on its own, it provides a platform for creating custom forms, workflows, and listings. In conjunction with other plugins, we’ve used Gravity Forms to create a completely custom Business Directory plugin.
The Best of the Rest
These are some of the plug-ins that have been our favorites for years, as well as others that are newer. We don’t necessarily include them in every site build, but incorporate them based on functionality requirements and business goals.
WooCommerce Extensions – WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform on the web, powering over 28% of all online stores. There are hundreds of free and paid extensions to meet a wide range of logistical and technical requirements. We frequently use add-ons like PayPal Pro integration and robust shipping management services.
Yoast SEO – WordPress is considered naturally SEO friendly, simply because it’s well-coded. Yoast, however, goes way beyond good code and simple meta tag additions to add custom post title, meta description, and meta keyword data to posts, pages, and taxonomies.
Akismet Pro – A magical plugin that automatically filters spam comments from blog posts and pages. Our clients do not have to dig through hundreds of spam comments to identify legitimate comments.
Kraken.io – The best image optimization plugin. Kraken’s robust, ultra-fast image optimizer and compressor save storage space and bandwidth. As a result, load times are dramatically improved. Plus, the service starts at just $5/month.
Simple History – An essential tool for sites with multiple admins, authors, editors, and other users. Keeps a detailed log of the changes your site’s admin users make – like page edits, plugin installs, and image uploads – to help identify background and trouble spots when problems occur.
The Events Calendar Pro – This is the best events calendar we’ve used so far. The Pro version offers a good level of customization with features like recurring events, publicly submitted events, geolocation or location-based search, views, Facebook event integration, advanced widgets, and more.
SearchWP – Instantly improves the site search experience. Adds the ability to search within custom data fields, create search boxes with custom parameters, and change how keywords are weighted in the results.
FacetWP – Adds live search and category filtering to eCommerce sites, resource libraries, listing pages and more. It’s fast, taps into existing data, works with any theme, and is highly customizable. Integrates with SearchWP and other popular plugins.