Our favorite WordPress plugins

At GreenMellen, we love WordPress.  It makes website development much easier and allows us to build awesome (mobile responsive!) sites for our clients.  One of the best things about WordPress is the thousands of plugins available to help extend the functionality of your site without spending dozens of hours on custom coding a new feature.

plugins

The downside is the same thing, though — right now there are 23,240 plugins available in the WordPress Plugin Directory, so where do you begin?  Here are a few of our favorites that we use on almost every site we develop.

Akismet – This one comes preinstalled with WordPress and is an excellent anti-comment-spam tool.  We believe in leaving the comments open (not pre-moderated) and encourage our clients to do the same, and this helps keep them clean.

Genesis Simple Edits / Simple Hooks – If you use any Genesis-powered themes from StudioPress (which we love!), these are some nifty little plugins to quickly change the text in your footer and do some other nice things.

Jetpack – We’ve written about Jetpack a few times before, as it’s a very powerful plugin.  It handles comment subscriptions, social plugins, WordPress-powered stats, contact forms and much more.

PuSHPress – For your users that subscribe to your site via RSS, this will help push your newest blog entries out to them much more quickly.

Responsive Slider –  There are a lot of excellent slider plugins out there, but the basic Responsive Slider is one of our favorites.  It’s light and simple and gets the job done.  We also have had great luck with Soliloquy, which has more options but you need to pay to access many of them.

Simple Social Icons – Similar to sliders, there are a ton of excellent plugins to help you add social icons to your site.  We typically use this one, as it does a very nice job (see our footer below for a live example).

Widget Logic – By default, your sidebar in WordPress will have the same set of widgets on every page of your site.  This is good in many cases, but sometimes you’ll want to customize what goes where.  Widget Logic can help with that.  A good example on our site is the small contact form you see in the sidebar.  It’s on every page of our site except the main contact page, where we have a larger form in the middle of the page.  Widget Logic makes that possible.

WordPress SEO – Out of the box, WordPress has pretty solid SEO.  However, using a quality plug-in can help take it to the next level. Our favorite is WordPress SEO by Yoast, though the popular All in One SEO Pack is a solid choice as well.

What are some of your favorite plugins?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey is GreenMellen's token “tech guy” and his skills are greatly valued on the GreenMellen team. With over 9 years of WordPress experience and a passion for helping others, you will often find Mickey leading a North Atlanta-based MeetUp, All Things WordPress. He is also highly involved in social media and knows the ins and outs of everything from Facebook to Google+. There’s no denying Mickey’s brain is a good one to pick!

Comments

  1. Those are all nice. Hadn’t heard of PuSHPress. Will have to check that out. I’ve used Simple Sidebars on a couple of projects and really do like that. Backup Buddy is another nice, albeit, premium plugin that allows me to sleep at night. Been investigating some mobile nav plugins here recently. Thanks for sharing Mickey!

    • Ben — Backup Buddy is indeed a great plugin. We typically use InfiniteWP instead, but for the average user Backup Buddy is probably a better solution.

      Haven’t played with Simple Sidebars yet. That’s essentially a Widget Logic replacement, right?

  2. One of these days I’ll bite the bullet and sign on with either InfiniteWP or ManageWP. Really like what they both offer. There is probably little difference in WL and SS – used both. With SS you just set up your sidebars beforehand and then when you start to publish it’s as simple as selecting the sidebar you’d like to show with that particular content, hit publish and you’re done.

  3. Hi,

    I stumbled upon your article searching about ‘Push press’. Does this plugin ensures faster indexing by Google? Just asking.. :)

    Arun

    • It can help a bit, in theory. However, the “ping” from WordPress and the updated sitemap (if you use a plugin for that) will also notify them immediately.

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