WordPress Plugins … Do You Have the Best?

I have been passionate about building graphics and websites for most of my life and one thing I can guarantee is that technology changes quicker than you can change your underwear! Having the right set of tools can help you take your business to the next level. But finding those tools, especially when you’re on a budget can be tough.

There is so much information online nowadays, how does one choose the best? How do you know what is right for your site?

Whether you are just starting out with your WordPress site, looking to upgrade, rebranding or just trying to stay up-to-date … I have compiled a short list of my top ten “must have” plugins. So, no more late-night searches for you! And I didn’t just do the research. These plug-ins have been personally tested within my own site and are as true as advertised.

So, what are you waiting for? Take a peak and get started!

Akismet is an automated spam finder which checks all comments (for free) made to your site and filters out the ones that look like spam. Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by the plugins moderator. URLs are also show in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links. And lastly, there is a discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam, saving your disk space and speeding up your site.

Google Analytics is a free analytics service with a customizable dashboard that helps you maximize your online efforts and get stronger results across all your sites, apps and offline channels. This robust reporting tool can tell you almost everything you need to know about the visitors to your website, the content they consume and the efficacy of your digital programs. With a new addition of being integrated with AdWords, users can now review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). As well as their latest addition of Google Surveys 360, where you are able to answer things in real-time. Try it out and turn your insights into action.

UpDraft Plus is a simplified backup and restoration plugin with just a single click. You can backup into the cloud directly to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 (or compatible), Rackspace Cloud, FTP, Openstack Swift, Updraft Vault and email. If you are interested there is also a paid version which allows an array of other backup platforms to choose from. Never loose your work again!

Link Checker is an external service that crawls into your website to find and fix broken links and images on your site. In contrast to search engine tools, which only show if a URL on your website is not reachable, it does not matter for this plugin if the links lead to an internal or external URL. Link Checker will find all dead links and works for every plugin out of the box. The crawler does all the heavy work and just acts like a normal visitor. With such a simple set-up, why take the risk?

Beaver Builder is a page builder plugin that works with your site to build beautiful, professional looking pages with easy drag and drop functionality. You will now be able to free up your time and kick-start your creativity with dozens of gorgeous page templates, position images and text with precision and build column based layouts within minutes. A bonus is that you can even switch themes without losing any of your content. And for us creatives, having this unlimited option is like finding a diamond in the rough!

Shortcodes Ultimate is a plugin that provides a mega pack of short codes to easily create tabs, buttons, boxes, different sliders, responsive videos and so much more. With this freebie version, you get 50+ short codes, a short code generator, modern design options which are fully responsive, a custom CSS editor, multilingual options, RTL support and is workable with any WordPress theme. There is also a paid version of this plugin which offers an array of other options to work with.

MailPoet 3 is an email newsletter plugin that you can also use to add subscription boxes to your site. It includes responsive templates which you can send right from your site (or with MailPoet). So, no more need for MailChimp or other plugins. And a bonus is that if you are currently using the old version of MailPoet (1 or 2) you can import your lists, subscribers, forms and settings. Now talk about making things easy!

WP Forms Lite allows you to create beautiful contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms and any other type of forms for your site within minutes, not hours. This plugin is very user friendly with pre-built form templates and workflows. It is 100% mobile responsive so your forms will always look great on any device (mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop). These forms are also highly optimized for web and server performance which makes it the fastest contact form builder plugin in the market! And we all know that time less spent building forms leaves more time for taking care of other items on your to-do list … or to finally can take some time for yourself!

Kiwi Social Share is a social media share plugin with custom icons built right in. You can showcase Facebook, Twitter, reddit, Pinterest, Google Plus and email with the capability of turning them on/off individually and rearranging their positions on the share bar any which way you like. There are four different skin options in the default square style or try the “friendly” approach by making them pill styled (rounded corners). You can display on posts or pages as well as before, after or before and after content on your site. With so many options to choose from, why try anything else?

SendGrid is a cloud-based email infrastructure that relieves your business with the cost and complexity of maintaining custom email systems. It provides reliable deliverability, scalability and real-time analytics along with flexible APIs that make custom integration with your site a breeze. This plugin would replace WordPress’s default wp_mail function by using either an SMTP or API integration to send outgoing email right from WordPress. It also allows you to upload contacts directly to you marketing campaigns account via a subscription widget. With this plugin, you will be able to take advantage of improved deliverability and an expanded feature set to enhance user engagement with what I hear also has world class customer support, should you run into any issues. I’ve been lucky enough not to require this feature as their plugin runs so smoothly.

… After reading this this list, I hope you brain feels relieved and heightened with knowledge.

If you are in a sharing mood and have others that are just as good (or better), please feel free to add them to the comments section of this post!

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Picture of Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal Kordalchuk

Crystal is an artist, a writer, an organizer, a dreamer, a doer, and down-right proud of it NERD!.

Struck with a love for #AllThings creative at a very young age, Crystal dreamed of a life fueled by her passion for creating and bringing the stories and images in her mind into reality.

As she worked toward her dreams, she earned a diploma as a Computer Applications Specialist then another in Graphic Design and from there began to develop her extensive background in multimedia and the arts. She began her worked in the magazine industry as a layout designer and had a succession of design jobs thereafter. It was her role as a graphic/web designer that gave her the first real glimpse of her future. Soon she began a side job as a freelance designer while keeping one foot in the corporate world. A spark was lit! She turned her freelance gig into a full-time business combining design work with her other passion: creating organization from virtual chaos.

Crystal is one of the most organized individuals on the planet. She is by all means a Zen master of her crafts. She excels at helping others become “untangled” and provides her clients with tools to run their businesses smoothly while she takes care of the details behind the scenes. Thus Virtually Untangled was born. A successful business where her work as a top notch creative in graphic and web — with a twist of virtual assistant — married into one amazing place where clients can come with their virtual messes and become magically untangled. Crystal can always make sense of even the most unorganized chaos and offers a virtual detox of order and peace, so her clients can get busy doing the work that they love the most.

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