For non-techies, a ‘plugin’ may be an unfamiliar concept. Put simply, a plugin is software that can be added to a website in order to add some special functionality to the site.

There are thousands of plugins available for WordPress websites (which in our case, is the most common CMS we use). That means thousands of different functionalities and features that can be quickly added to a website. Many plugins are free, however some do require a purchased license.

While it can be tempting to start adding plugins left and right, it’s important to know that some WordPress plugins have unwanted side effects. When you add a plugin to your site, you are adding additional code to the site’s files, thus impacting site speed and performance. As a rule of thumb, you should only add a plugin to your WordPress site if the functionality it adds is of high-importance.

Here at Kite Media, we build a lot of websites. Over time, we’ve discovered many plugins that we find ourselves using time after time. So here they are – 9 WordPress plugins that we love.

1. Better Search Replace Better Search Replace is a plugin that allows you to quickly search/replace your website’s database. So if you are migrating your site to a new domain, Better Search Replace will help you change all of the URL addresses you need to with just a few clicks. We’ve also used it before to swap out a phone number, an address, or other piece of information that is found in multiple places across the website. 

2. SG Optimizer This plugin is designed specifically for websites that are hosted with SiteGround (our favorite hosting provider). This plugin does a lot of things, but essentially its purpose is to make your website faster. It includes dynamic caching, GZIP compression, browser caching, options to minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, and more.

For sites not hosted with SiteGround, we like to use the combination of the HummingBird and Smush plugins. Together these two plugins do essentially the same things as the SG Optimizer plugin.

3. Yoast SEO Yoast SEO is the #1 WordPress SEO plugin, and a great plugin for anyone planning to do continual SEO work on the website. It gives you the ability to add meta descriptions and titles to your pages and quickly change important site files for your SEO (such as adding redirects to the .htaccess file). It also gives you an SEO analysis of the content on your pages.

4. Contact Form 7  Contact Form 7 is a plugin for building contact forms. One of the reasons we love it is because you can build very forms that are very customizable. You can use a variety of different fields (drop-downs, check boxes, file uploads, etc.) and you can customize the way the form looks with CSS. It’s reliability and ability to connect to Google Analytics are a couple more reasons we like CF7.

5. Contact Form Submissions This plugin is designed to accompany the Contact Form 7 plugin. It saves all of your contact form submissions in a database, which you can access from the WordPress dashboard, allowing you to be sure you don’t miss any form submissions.

6. WooCommerce If you are selling products from your WordPress site, WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms to accomplish this. WooCommerce is a free plugin which you can integrate with Stripe, PayPal, or a number of different payment gateways to collect payments. Through WooCommerce you can add products, set up shipping and tax rates, and much more.

7. Elfsight Instagram Feed Want to include your Instagram feed on your website? This plugin does just that. Simply connect it to your Instagram account, and then add the shortcode anywhere on your site to display your feed. This is a premium plugin that does not currently have a free version, but we love it and think it’s better than any of the free Instagram feed plugins out there.

8. Tawk.to Want a live chat feature on your site? Tawk.to is free and includes a mobile app so you can easily respond to incoming chats from your mobile phone or computer. Adding a live chat to a website can help potential customers find the information they are looking for and build trust.

9. Last Modified Timestamp One important aspect of SEO is that the pages on a site be regularly updated and revamped. The Last Modified Timestamp simply adds a column to the ‘Pages’ table of your WordPress dashboard that shows the last time the page was modified. We use this plugin to help us quickly identify which pages on a website are due for an update.

Are there other WordPress plugins out there that you love? We’d love to hear about them! For website design services in Logan, UT, Kite Media is here to help. We build responsive websites that are designed to convert site traffic into business. If that’s what your business is looking for, give us a call!

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