We create a lot of WordPress websites for our clients, from small four-to-five page blogs to large multi-functional sites that may contain interactive elements such as portfolios, galleries, event calendars and forms, along with custom shell and skin design in same cases. Along the way, we have discovered a few handy plugins that have made their way into our top WordPress plugin list because they make ours, and our clients’ jobs easier when managing content or back-end functionality.
Page layout and structure:
Build responsive page layouts using the widgets you know and love using this simple drag and drop page builder.
This plugin allows you to build responsive layouts for your pages by creating rows and columns that hold your content. This means you can create pages that are specifically built to feature the content you have and are not locked down to having a fixed width sidebar or other constant. One of the main reasons we love this plugin is because you can clone a page! You heard me, that’s right, just save your page layout as a preset or just choose a page to clone from, and there you go, instant copy of that awesome page you took 20 minutes to get just right, nice huh! wordpress.org/plugins/siteorigin-panels/
Improve your WordPress SEO. Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.
We have been using this plugin for a couple of years and we find it a helpful tool to get your ducks in a row when it comes to SEO optimization. It has a ton of back end functionality, but we like it for its easy interface that sits below the editor window on each page/post. It contains fields for focus keyword, SEO, title and meta description, and then grades your utilization of these in SEO terms as you enter the info. It reminds you to make sure you have included your focus keyword(s) in your article heading, page title, URL, content and description, which really makes you think about the overall objective of your pages. wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not.
Simply put, a straightforward comment spam filter that does a great job and filtering out all the spam comments for you to look through (just in case you actually have robot friends) and delete. You’ll need an Akismet.com API key to use it. Keys are free for personal blogs; paid subscriptions are available for businesses and commercial sites. wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/
Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.
Great little plugin for creating simple contact, signup, or information forms for your users to fill out. After you install the plugin, it appears as an item in your left dashboard and you are then able to create any form you would like inserting custom fields and different sender, reply and recipient email destinations. After you create your form you get a piece of quick code that you simply insert into a page or post on your site that will display the form. wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/
A simple image widget that uses the native WordPress media manager to add image widgets to your site.
This one doesn’t do a whole lot of fancy stuff, but it is a great little plugin for adding an image to a widget, like in a sidebar or footer. It allows you to select any image from your media library and add a title, caption and link to it, then pop it inside a widget – simple but useful. wordpress.org/plugins/image-widget/
Just the beginning …
So there you have a few simple WordPress plugins to get you started along the road to more effectively managing your WordPress site. We will keep you updated as we discover more gems that make everyone’s job easier along the way.
Post by Suzanne Garcia-Misa, Production Coordinator for Wipfli Web Marketing