Note: You may also be interested in Six more must-have WordPress plugins.
WordPress is fantastic! Except when it’s missing some functionality you wish it had. Over the past few years, we’ve developed a list of plugins we install on almost every single website we launch. They do an awesome job of filling in those gaps in functionality.
There are actually twelve plugins we install, so we’ll take a look at six of them now and six of them next week.
Let’s plug away!
(A bad pun never hurt anybody…)
Spam comments are a legitimate problem for bloggers. Generally, it’s a shady way for people to try to create backlinks, and it’s often done by automated programs, not real humans.
This plugin blocks that type of comment spam. It has a number of available settings, although you’ll probably be fine with the defaults.
ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder
We weren’t happy with how responsive—or rather, unresponsive—videos in WordPress were by default when embedded. When you pasted in a URL, the videos often wouldn’t resize correctly on mobile devices.
This plugin took care of that problem for us. It works just like WordPress’ built-in video embedding functionality, so you can still just paste URLs for videos on their own line, but it’s also auto-magically responsive.
This is the first premium, paid plugin on our list, but we’ve found it is well worth the money. BackupBuddy from iThemes makes it easy to, well, back up your WordPress website. Not only do we use it to back up sites before and after upgrading everything—WordPress, plugins, and themes—but we also use it multiple times a month to create and migrate copies of WordPress sites.
Black Studio TinyMCE Widget
You probably already know about the Text widget built into WordPress. You can insert any text or HTML, and it appears in a widget. But you don’t have to know HTML to make a page or blog post, so why should you need it for a widget? We didn’t want our clients to have to mess with HTML, that’s for sure.
The Black Studio TinyMCE Widget plugin creates a Visual Editor Widget. In other words, it’s the same editor you use to create pages and blog posts but in a widget.
There’s no getting around the fact that tables are a great way to present data on the interwebs. Why WordPress doesn’t have table capabilities built in, I don’t know. But they don’t. However, as the saying goes, there’s a plugin for that.
Easy Table makes it—well, easy—to insert a table into a page or a post. And the results are also searchable using WordPress’ built-in search functionality, unlike some other plugins we’ve used in the past.
Facebook Like Thumbnail
You want your website visitors to share your pages and blog posts on social media, right? But Facebook doesn’t always show the image you’d prefer they show as the thumbnail.
This plugin will first look for a featured image, then one of the media that’s attached to the page, then will fall back to a default image you specify in the plugin’s settings.
That’s it for now! Hopefully you found this list helpful. If not, it’s kind of weird that you’re still reading.
Anywho, tune in next week for the final six essential WordPress plugins. Essential for us, at least.