If you want DCC Marketing to build a website, 99% of the time we’ll be building it on WordPress. It’s a platform that we are very passionate about as developers and we feel that it’s the most robust and customizable content management system for the clients we’ve worked with. That isn’t to say that it’s any better than Joomla, Drupal, ExpressionEngine, or any other CMS out there – it’s just what we feel the most comfortable in building and supporting.
Once we turn a site over to a client, we’re often asked about what WordPress plugins we recommend on top of what we’ve already installed. I also come across a number of “The Top XX WordPress Plugins” blogs in doing my daily rounds through the internet. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing your WordPress site. There are a lot of plugins that we bake into our initial install – mostly ones that focus on security, SEO, and a few other things that will make life easier for the user after we’re done – but ultimately, what you use to build onto your site depends a lot on what you’re trying to accomplish. So, in an effort to not create another one of those “XX Best WordPress Plugins” lists, I’m instead going to detail out what WordPress plugins currently have running on this website and why.
Advanced Custom Fields Pro
Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) is one of the most popular installs in the plugin directory and is essential for anyone who needs to easily add additional fields to their install. We use this in some way on almost every site and I’m such a fanboy for ACF that I’m one of their mods on Reddit. Among other things, we use it for subtitles like [we are not geeks, but we are close] and the locations on the contact page.
Eggplant 301 Redirects
There are a number of good 301 redirect plugins and you can certainly do this within your htaccess, but considering that I spend a good part of my day in Webmaster Tools, it has a nice interface to be able to quickly add a URL that I need to send somewhere else.
Email Address Encoder
This is a fairly standard plugin for us, as it protects written out addresses such as email@example.com from being scraped by robots by converting them to decimal and hexadecimal entries.
This is one that we bake into our initial set up and is easily the best security plugin that we can find, especially for not being a premium plugin. There is a huge level of customization to it that we go through on every site we launch, but even out of the box, it’s a very crucial addition to any site, especially with brute force attacks being increasingly popular for hackers targeting WordPress. If you install this, make sure you read up on it so you don’t lock yourself out.
Multi Part Posts
This is a handy addition for blogs with a series of posts related to each other. We’ve used it recently to connect all of the Myths About Email Marketing series and once installed, it makes it easier to have them automatically populate across the top so users can easily find the next part.
This is a premium plugin with a steep learning curve that we use to distribute our blogs to different social sites. From an SEO and social media management perspective, auto-distributing is generally a no-no, but SNAP is able to do it without earning any penalties, which made the amount of time it saves well worth the cost to us.
Optimus and WP Smush
These two plugins basically do the same thing, which is to compress images that we’ve already loaded into our media library as well as any we upload going forward. As I recently detailed out in our Optimizing Page Speed post, we’re testing out Optimus for being able to add the lossless compression of images, so for the time being we’re letting both do their magic and analyzing the results over time.
Jetpack is a fantastic plugin for people getting started with WordPress and need a variety of solutions in one easy to manage place. But if you don’t need the huge collection that comes with it, you can choose your own adventure with Slim Jetpack. We are currently using Carousel for our portfolio pieces inside of our Work page.
Soliloquy is one of our newest addition to this list, replacing the long-standing Slider Revolution as our slider plugin of choice. Chris and I are not big proponents of sliders in general, but when you have to use them, there are thousands of choices. What originally appealed to me for Slider Revolution was the ability to arrange portions into layers and control how they enter the site, similar to PowerPoint or Keynote. Unfortunately, it proved during our speed tests to be a resource hog and held us back significantly. We had already been dabbling with Soliloquy with other clients who needed a less-robust solution and resolved that the benefits we got by removing the fancy effects of the slider and replacing it with a lighter substitute were well worth it.
Title Experiments Free
We are always researching and testing plugins so that we always have the best solution for a clients’ needs. Title Experiments Free is the newest addition to our testing pool, allowing us to use a number of titles for our posts that will be served at random to visitors. We can then track the results of each in Analytics, which will help us guide how we decide on blog titles, which are a heavy factor in whether people read them or not.
WP Super Cache
We always recommend a caching plugin to our clients if we don’t include it from the get-go. While we don’t favor this one over any of the other high-rated ones in the Plugin Directory, this was recommended by our CDN and made it very easy to implement both while noticing a huge impact on our page speed.
Yoast has made his name as the de facto king of WordPress SEO. This is another staple that we include with every install. Even with no adjustments, it will give your on-page SEO a nice boost. Once you start digging into the plugin, you’ll find it to be a necessary addition, especially if you’re a blogger.
Agency Portfolio, Author Pages, and Simple Sharing
These are three custom plugins that Chris built specifically for DCC’s site. He’s always working on them in what little spare time he has, so you may eventually see some of these show up in the Plugin Directory. Agency Portfolio is what runs the Work section of our site, Author Pages is an employee directory, and Simple Sharing is what you should click underneath this blog to share it on your social networks!