WordPress plugins are critical to the success of sites built on this powerful platform. Every developer has favorite WordPress plugins. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of WordPress plugins and the variety of uses.
We’ve narrowed it down to some of the best WordPress plugins — the ones we feel are critical to nearly any development project.
Dig in and find out why our dev team uses these WordPress plugins to super-charge our projects.
Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom Fields gives you the ability to easily add new fields to WordPress, allowing for much more specific options for content management — making site edits and updates easier on end users.
“There’s no confusion as we don’t end up hijacking fields for something completely unrelated and expect the clients to remember how to use it,” says our web application developer Chris Lagasse.
WP Help gives you a simple way to add user documentation to your sites, fully featured with all of the same MCE as WordPress including import/export capabilities — which is nice for general content applicable to all WP sites.
For form generation, try out Gravity Forms. We consider it the go-to plugin for form generation for its ease of use and simplicity. “I’ve started building a lot of add-ons for this, as it’s super flexible,” says Lagasse. Another add-on you can try out? Big Sea’s custom-built HubSpot for Gravity Forms.
If you’re setting up sites locally, you need Lime Export. “Logging into a server admin panel, finding the MySQL settings and exporting the database is an annoying chore and this plugin fills that gap,” says front-end developer, Daryn St. Pierre. If you regularly need a quick way to grab the latest DB from live, this plugin can be especially helpful when you don’t have access to the mySQL.
ForwardHQ is useful when developing a website locally because it allows people outside of your building’s network to view the site as it’s in progress. Couple this service with the official WordPress plugin (it makes URLs work externally), and you can allow clients to watch their website being built right then and there without having to setup a staging site.
Bulk Page Creator
Bulk Page Creator makes creating site maps easier. As St. Pierre explains, “I recently had a website that had a really intense sitemap. I dread adding multiple pages via the normal method in WordPress (one at a time, NO THANKS). This plugin always saves the day.” With this plugin, you’ll be able to add pages quickly and easily, especially when you’re building styles for multiple levels of menu pulldowns and don’t want to bother with tedious tasks.
FakerPress is a great plugin for testing purposes. With it, you can create and test varying posts, pages, and custom post types to find any bugs or strange quirks. When you’re done testing, it remembers which ones were added so you can delete them all in one click.
iThemes Security and Backup Buddy
Once you build a site, you need to make sure it’s safe and secure. Download both Security and Backup Buddy from iThemes for this, because, according to James, Big Sea’s Development Director, “All the other plugins won’t do you any good if it gets hacked on a regular basis. These really need to be built into WP Core.”
Do you have any other plugins you’d add to the list?