Best WordPress Plugins For A Rock Solid Website
by Scott Foster
When you first start building your website, it can be tricky to find the best WordPress plugins to help get you started. There are currently over 24,000 free plugins in the WordPress repo alone, not to mention thousands more offered by premium developers all over the web. There is a lot to be concerned with when choosing a WordPress plugin, from the way it was coded to the level of support you can expect from its developers. Thankfully, there are a lot of blogs just like this that can lend their experience. All the plugins I will write about in this series have been used and by Satori Design.
There are a lot of solutions out there to help backup your site, but the most robust plugin by far is BackupBuddy. This plugin can seriously save you tons of time in case of a crash or experiment gone bad. It also integrates with WordPress Multi-site and can store backups in Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, or on your local server. However, I do not recommend storing on your WordPress server because it will eat up precious space and if your server crashes, it totally defeats the purpose of having a backup.
The one WordPress plugin that is a must on every site we develop is Gravity Forms. It’s intuitive drag and drop interface allows users to throw together a form very quickly and the targeting examples in their documentation makes styling it a breeze. Data collection, payment gateways, and mailing list integrations allow you to create everything from simple contact forms to complex online registration systems. If you are looking for even more power, I highly suggest heading over to David’s site, Gravity Wiz, where you can find tons of code snippets to take your forms to the next level.
This next one will help keep the file size of your WordPress images as small as possible. As a front end designer, I always optimize my images in Photoshop when I’m slicing and use “Save for Web”. But when you are creating galleries and portfolio’s for clients, the images can have extraneous data that increases its’ size. WP-Smushit can process all your files and optimize their compression by stripping useless data. It’s development has been taken over by the WPMU Dev team, so it has been working a lot better than it used to in the past!
These next two WordPress plugins go hand in hand and can save you countless hours when coding your site. WordPress does a pretty good job of formatting text, but if you like to code in the html editor, those extra paragraph and line break tags can really be a pain. There are other plugins for WordPress like Disable Wautop, etc., but heres a nice plugin that takes care of all of it in one go! With Raw HTML Pro you can disable automatic paragraphs, character conversions, and more. Now the second plugin helps to protect the hard work you just spent hours coding when your client switches back to the visual editor to make an update. The Preserved HTML Editor Markup “allows developers to work in the HTML tab AND end-users to work in the WYSIWYG Visual tab at the same time”.
With these WordPress plugins you will be well on your way to a solid website. Stay tuned for more plugin related posts that will be tailored to fron end design and development. if you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a comment below!