10 Best WordPress Plugins

We love WordPress for many reasons, but one of our favorite aspects of the CMS is its high level of customizability. Since WordPress is open source, this means that developers from around the world contribute the the software’s development, plus many of the best WordPress plugins are free! We install all of these plugins on our websites, so we know exactly how beneficial they can be to our small business and non-profit websites. Here’s our list of 10 Best WordPress Plugins in no particular order (that’s like asking us to choose a favorite child).

1. UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus provides secure encryption backups of your software and files to make restoring your site after a hack infinitely easier. You can choose how frequent the backups occur and where they’re stored. Users can even use it to clone and migrate their WordPress website over to a new domain.

2. Yoast SEO

This is our go-to SEO plugin. It incorporates everything from a snippet editor to a real time content analysis to generating XML sitemaps and basically everything you need to optimize your WordPress website.

3. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Google Analytics Dashboard is a free WordPress plugin that brings condensed reports from your Google Analytics account straight to your Administration Dashboard. You can get page or post reports in real-time, Today, Yesterday, 7 days, all the way up to 3 years without having to login to your Google Analytics account. This makes cross-referencing spikes in traffic to content updates on your WordPress website. Whatever is causing those spikes, keep doing it!

4. Wordfence

Add some additional security with this nifty Firewall plugin. Wordfence provides a real-time defense feed on your WordPress Dashboard and can be pretty brutal to potential hackers by blocking repeated offenders and hiding your IP address.

5. Responsive Lightbox by dFactory

We all know the importance of having a responsive website, and Responsive Lightbox helps bring your Image Gallery to life on mobile devices. The plugin integrates with the WordPress Image Gallery to make your photography pop and give your visitors a better user experience. Add links, titles, captions, and alternate descriptions to make your image gallery SEO friendly.

6. Simple Custom CSS

Sometimes, you just need to tweak a little bit of styling in your site, so it’s not worth creating a whole child theme. Enter Simple Custom CSS plugin which overrides other plugin and theme default styles. It’s designed to help developers and admins add their own CSS to WordPress websites. (Admittedly, we don’t use this often since we like to edit the style sheet itself, but we instal it on all of WordPress Workshop test sites, and ater lots of research found it to be one of the best WordPress plugins for simple CSS changes.)

7. Contact Form 7

We really love this plugin. You don’t have to know a lot of code to get multiple beautiful contact forms on your website. You can drop the forms on any page of your WordPress website by copying and pasting a simple short code, et viola! Make sure you never miss a form submission by installing Contact Form DB, which stores all of your form submissions on your server. Nobody likes an ugly captcha. Contact Form 7 Honeypot adds basic honeypot anti-spam functionality to thwart spambots from getting to your contact form.

8. Simply Instagram

This plugin lets you use widgets to add an Instagram feed to your footer or sidebar. It’s super easy to use and no knowledge of code is required!

9. Custom Facebook Feed

The Custom Facebook Feed plugin allows you to display a completely customizable, responsive and search engine crawlable version of your Facebook feed on your WordPress website. Since Facebook is regularly crawled by search engines, it’s a fantastic addition to boost SEO on your website.

10. Easy Twitter Feed Widget Plugin

This is one of the best WordPress plugins for social media, especially if you use Twitter often. It uses widgets (without having to create an API key) to place a live Twitter feed onto your website. It’s easy to use & update and blends easily with WordPress themes.