With this post, I want to continue the ongoing documentation of how we run our own agency website with WordPress.
One of the things that I haven’t blogged about is which plugins we rely on to run our site.
The success of WordPress relies in part on its extensibility with plugins. Things can go pretty wrong, especially when WordPress beginners think it’s a cool idea to try every new plugin around the block on a productive site.
But a WordPress site without plugins is like a Hamburger without fries. It is possible to eat, but only half the experience.
The right plugins can improve functionality, security and simply help to customize a WordPress site to your exact needs.
This post tells you which plugins are in use on this site. This list shows all currently active plugins. Note: The images after the headline link to the plugin vendor site or WordPress.org marketplace download.
Most WordPress sites have this plugin up and running. It keeps your site spam-free. Akismet is a product by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and many other WordPress services.
Elementor and Elementor Pro
No need to comment on that. Elementor is the page builder we used to create this site. The free version brings a great design experience that covers many use cases out of the box.
If you want to use the advanced features of Elementor, like creating your own theme or pop-ups, you will need the pro version of Elementor. Most professionals will buy the Pro version, especially if you will power a complete site, not only a single landing page.
A powerful plugin to add code snippets on your site. We use this to load a font, or change the address bar color on Android. etc. Simple yet powerful.
If you are into WordPress you will often read “add this code to your site”. Instead of editing separate PHP files via the editor you can centrally manage your code snippets with this plugin.
Compress JPEG & PNG images
This plugin by TinyPNG makes sure the images we upload to our site are reduced in size and optimized for web. During the editing workflow you often forget to optimize images before the upload in the media library. This tool works smoothly in the background.
You can configure the plugin to take care of uploaded images in the background or manually optimize images.
A simple forms plugin for collecting data on your website. We created a few forms to collect customer briefings after first contact. Usually used for longer forms that need more time to fill out, that go beyond just email/name/message.
Formidable Forms is a competitor to GravityForms, which we also have installed at some client websites.
GeneratePress Premium adds lots of useful functionality to the GeneratePress theme. This site is built with three core components
- GeneratePress theme
- Elementor Pro page builder
BTW: You can buy GP Premium once and activate it on as many sites as you want.
Fancy Heatmaps, surveys, and much more. I haven’t used it in a while and it is currently deactivated. I blogged about it when it was still fresh.
Lightweight Social Icons
A very simple plugin for showing social icons on your site. Created by the maker of the GeneratePress theme.
MC4WP: Mailchimp for WordPress
A plugin for connecting Mailchimp with WordPress. Not that much to tell about it except that it works as it should.
We are collecting subscribers for our Digital Marketing Nerd Newsletter.
Share a Draft
Not used very often but crucial: Generates a preview URL to a blog post that is still in draft. This way you can share a soon to be published post with someone having no user login on your WordPress site.
If we send invoices we sometimes include a link to a hidden page that allows clients to pay via Stripe. Super easy to set up.
The plugin comes without any fancy stuff, like invoicing, shopping card, etc.
We once had a problem with malware on this site here. Sucuri helped us to detect the malware and since then we trust this plugin with securing our site.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
We use this plugin and also many of our clients trust this plugin for creating and managing backups. It comes with a lot of payable extras if you want. One cool feature I want to point out is the copy/migrate feature. It’s a super-easy way to move WordPress sites between hosts/domains.
In addition to Sucuri we use this plugin for security alerts. Wordfence once sent a crucial email: a malicious WordPress plugin was active on our site and admin accounts could have been created. Wordfence helped us to identify the issue quickly and fix it.
Performance (loading time) of your site is one of the most crucial SEO criteria. We optimized our site with WP Rocket and our numbers on the Google Pagespeed Test look better. Still work to do on mobile though.
WP Search with Algolia
The default WordPress search is somewhat limited. This plugin can fix that for you. I recently wrote a separate post about how to power your WordPress site with Algolia.
No need for explanation. The de-facto standard for SEO optimization of your WordPress site.
Is this too many plugins?
There is no official guidance on how many plugins are too many. In general I suggest to ask yourself how often a specific feature of a plugin will be used. Go through the list of installed plugins from time to time and deactivate plugins not needed. Also, make sure the plugins you use have a certain reputation (number of downloads, reviews, actively maintained) and don’t install everything on your production site right away.
This also might be of interest to you: Some lesser-known but useful WordPress plugins.