In my experience, there are a lot of bloated plugins which probably do exactly what they advertise, however, they can add a lot of overhead to your website if left unchecked.
So without further adieu, below are my top 5 plugins to install on your new WordPress site.
1. JetPack by WordPress.com
This one isn’t at the top of the list by mistake. I love this plugin and it has served me well, especially in recent times as the free version has become so powerful.
JetPack allows you to do a whole host of things, far too many to mention here, however, I will point out a few important ones.
Malicious Attack Prevention – This is a must-have with WordPress sites. There are a lot of plugins that offer this service, however, the JetPack option is most adequate.
Image Performance – Turning this on will ensure
Statistics – You get access to some great stats with JetPack. You can see how many visitors your site is getting and what pages they are viewing.
There are so many options, even just in the free version. You can also upgrade to a paid version which offers much more.
2. Contact Form 7
I have been using this simple contact form for years now and I’ve yet to come across a scenario that it can’t handle for small business.
If you’d like to do really fancy stuff, such as create PDF’s from the form input, there are better options available. If you want a solid yet flexible form builder then you can’t go wrong with Contact Form 7.
Setup can be a little tricky but if you take your time and read the documentation, you’ll find you pick it up pretty quickly.
The authors also offer a plugin called Flamingo, which allows you to actually store the submissions for later review. This is helpful as messages that only come to your email can sometimes be misplaced.
3. Simple Page Sidebars
One of the things I first tried to do all those years ago in WordPress, was to change the side-bar on each page. I always expected it should be a built-in feature however it never came to the core product.
Thankfully the Simple Page Sidebars plugin makes the process easy. You can create as many sidebars as you like, one for each page if necessary. Each sidebar can make use of all available widgets so you customise each page as desired.
4. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is a plugin to ensure your site is doing well with respect to internet crawlers and search engines.
This plugin doesn’t do the work for you, but if you’re wanting to nail down your content and meta-data, Yoast SEO will tell you what to review in order to make a tangible difference to your search ranking.
5. Page Builder by SiteOrigin
I’m not a big fan of page builder plugins, however, Page Builder by SiteOrigin would have to be my favourite.
It seems to have great compatibility with most themes and has a high level of functionality right out of the box. You can also extend it with the SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle plugin which adds a bunch of extra options.