Creating a WordPress Website

Best WordPress Plugins for 2017

By January 10, 2017 No Comments

We LOVE a good WordPress Plugin here at Flux Digital and we obviously use them all the time for ourselves and our clients.

So after years of working with numerous plugins, some which are great, some pretty terrible, and even once a plugin that caused a nasty virus on a client’s site (big lesson learnt there), we have narrowed it down and come up with our ‘A list’ of plugins that we use and recommend to cover all sorts of scenarios in WordPress.

Let’s start off with some things to consider when choosing plugins, if you are looking for one yourself:

  • What is the version of it, I would not go with a 1.0 version of a plugin
  • When was its last update, you want to see regular updates
  • Is it compatible with your version of WordPress (hopefully the latest version)
  • How many users or downloads does it have, if it is not popular, think twice
  • Does it have support or a forum you can go to for questions

*Bear in mind the premium version are often worth the extra money so look at the differences between free and paid plugins

Below is our A list of WordPress plugins sorted by functionality!

 

SEO | Google Analytics

Yoast SEO
Allows you to craft your own meta titles, meta descriptions and manage the on-site SEO for your website. This plugin goes into every website we create as it is a must for good SEO.

Monster Insights
Yoast sold the Google Analytics side of their SEO plugin, so the new and improved GA plugin is now under the banner of Monster Insights.

All in One SEO for WordPress
This plugin allows you to craft your meta titles and descriptions AND it also combines the linking of your Google Analytics with your WordPress site (hence All In One).

eCommerce

WooCommerce
WooCommerce is hands down our favourite eCommerce Plugin; it’s free and has so many extra plugins (like the below membership ones) that extend the capability. There is also a fabulous range of themes that are compatible with the plugin so your online store will look great too.

Follow up emails
If you are wanting to customise the WooCommerce emails that are sent from the system, this is not able to be done ‘out of the box’ (the copy is set and the same email is sent for every product order), so you will need to do this with a plugin like follow-up emails. It is a bit pricey for a plugin, but if you have a high volume eCommerce site, it will be worth it to be able to customise your confirmation emails per product.

WooCommerce Deposits
If you want to be able to offer a payment plan for your products via WooCommerce, this can be done with a plugin like WooCommerce Deposits. It is very much worth offering a way to break up a bigger priced product as it will increase conversions.

Back Up 

Updraft Plus
This is a great backup plugin that is an easy to use backup, plus it also restores or can clone your WordPress site if you need to migrate it to another host.
TIP: I find that the backup to Dropbox is far easier to set up then to Google Drive.

Backup Buddy
Our good friends at WP Curve use this premium paid backup plugin for all their sites and they highly recommend it. The functions are the same in that it easily backs up your site to external sites like Dropbox.

Memberships

WP Memberships
This is a very economical and awesome plugin that allows you to protect pages for specific membership levels. We use it on all our sites that need membership content protected.

Groups for WooCommerce
Because we use WooCommerce one of our favourite theme and plugin producers is WooThemes and they offer a quick and easy premium paid plugin that allows you to protect content on your site for members only.

WooCommerce Subscriptions
As an extension to the Groups membership plugin above, if you want the membership to be processed via a recurring fee, then you need to add this plugin for that extra functionality.

Affiliates

Affiliate WP
If you want to allow affiliates to sell your products and earn a commission you will need to use an affiliate plugin like this. I have used it for several client sites and it is pretty easy to use, although it doesn’t look the best, it can be tweaked with a bit of code if you really want to make the design better.

Events

Foo Events for WooCommerce
If you want to sell event tickets as a product via your WooCommerce shop, this product is perfect. It allows you to tailor the tickets that get printed and you are able

The Events Calendar
This one is a cool event management system to display on your site. Great if you have lots of events or functions you want to promote.

Conversion Optimisation

Hello Bar
This cool plugin is awesome for call-to-actions that you want to sit at the top of your site (or bottom if you want). You can select if you want it to show on all pages or just the home page and it can be customised with colours and fonts etc. It is a big conversion optimisation tool.

Sumo Me
This is more than a plugin, it is a complete conversion optimisation platform that has a plugin to integrate it into your WordPress website. It has multiple tools that focus on growing your website traffic and customers.

PDF Printing

Print Friendly and PDF Button
This handy plugin allows your WordPress pages to be shown in print friendly versions or downloadable as a PDF for printing or saving.

Clean Print
This one is an eco-friendly content output plugin, allowing the users to select what they want to print, email or PDF and save to Google Drive or Dropbox. It also allows the reader to share the content via social media.

Spam Protection

Askimet
Assists with comment spam prevention on your site. This plugin comes automatically with your WordPress install, you need to go to the site to get an API key to activate it. It is free for personal sites and there is a small fee per month for small business sites.

Easy Captcha
A really simple plugin that allows you to add a “Captcha” function to your contact forms on your site. This will greatly reduce the amount of spam contact forms you receive via spam robots.

Contact Forms 

Contact Form 7
Probably the most commonly used free contact form plugin. It is a little code based and not entirely user-friendly but you will often find it is part of your theme and the design of the contact form is tied to this plugin, so you may find you need to use it.

Ninja Forms
This is my contact form of choice, it is drop and drag and very user-friendly. I love how easy it is to use and the variety of form options like multiple choice questions and check box lists.

Newsletters

Most email platforms have plugins that integrate newsletter sign up forms with WordPress.
My favourites are MailChimp and ConvertKit.

Media Extras

Delightful Downloads
Delightful Downloads is a great downloads manager for WordPress that allows you to easily add download links, buttons and download information to posts, pages and widget areas.

Enable Media Replace
This plugin is pure genius, it allows you to replace a file in your media library by uploading a new file in its place. No more deleting, renaming and re-uploading files!

Whew ….. Thank You for making to the end of this list of plugins.

We will keep this list updated throughout the year if more new and cool plugins come to our attention.

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