Talking tech since 2003

I have been using WordPress as my CMS of choice since 2006. As you can imagine during that time I have tried a number of third-party plugins. Below is a list of plugins which I would highly recommend to anyone looking to use (or is currently using) WordPress to manage a website.

These are the 10 WordPress plugins that I currently swear by:

1. Code Insert Manager (Q2W3 Inc Manager)

Code Insert Manager snippets for BestTechie.
Code Insert Manager snippets for BestTechie.

I really love Code Insert Manager. It’s an older plugin and hasn’t been updated for a couple years but I have found that it continually works flawlessly on all the latest WordPress builds. The plugin allows you to insert HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP code into WordPress posts/pages.

But what’s really great is you can choose where you want the inserted code to appear thanks to WordPress Hooks. So for example, you can insert code for a widget to recommend other articles and have the plugin set to display that widget only on post pages and specifically after the post content. You can also use it to embed javascript in your site’s header or footer.

A very useful plugin and one I have had had a lot of use for over the years.

2. Contact Form 7

If you are looking for a great way to configure a contact form for your site, look no further than Contact Form 7. It’s a simple but flexible plugin with a number of features including Ajax-powered form submitting, CAPTCHA support, Akismet spam filter, and much more.

3. EWWW Image Optimizer

The EWWW Image Optimizer will automatically optimize your images as you upload them to your blog. It can also optimize images that you have already uploaded. By default, EWWW Image Optimizer uses lossless optimization techniques, so your image quality will be exactly the same before and after the optimization. The only thing that will change is your file size.

The major benefit to using this plugin is that your site will be faster and also will receive a better score on Google’s PageSpeed tests. Additionally, since the images are being optimized you save storage space on your server — which is always good!

4. Jetpack by

Jetpack running on BestTechie.
Jetpack running on BestTechie.

Jetpack offers a lot of additional functionality that you can use, however, I really only use a small portion of the features. Here are the features I like in Jetpack:

Site performance: You can speed up image delivery with the Photon CDN. The Photon feature uses WordPress’ powerful CDN to serve up your sites images making your site load faster.

Security: Keep your WordPress site up, safe, and protected with Jetpack Protect, Jetpack Monitor, and Akismet anti-spam.

Social: I also really like how you connect your social profiles and have them automatically share new content once it’s published.

5. MailPoet Newsletters

I think MailPoet is definitely one of the best ways to create and send newsletters or automated emails with WordPress. Setting up MailPoet to send any kind of newsletter is intuitive and straight forward too. Plus, you can configure signup forms too, making it easy to capture new subscribers. And of course you can import existing lists as well.

6. Simple Lightbox

The Simple Lightbox plugin does exactly what it advertises. It opens images on your site in a lightbox window, keeping visitors on your site and in front of the content. It’s fairly customizable too.

7. Sunny (Connecting CloudFlare and WordPress)

Note: This plugin only applies if you use CloudFlare. If you don’t use CloudFlare, I recommend checking them out.

I use CloudFlare on BestTechie and have it set to cache everything so the site is speedy. Unfortunately because I have CloudFlare set to cache everything when I publish a new post, the homepage doesn’t update immediately. To fix this, I found Sunny, a plugin that can automatically clear CloudFlare cache when a new post is published or updated.

You can also purge your entire CloudFlare cache directly from Sunny (so you don’t have to go over to CloudFlare’s dashboard) as well as purge the cache for a specific page.

Sunny also offers integrations with a handful of security plugins including iThemes Security and WordPress Zero Spam.

8. VaultPress

I have been using VaultPress for a long time (like 5 years). Its saved me countless times. VaultPress provides realtime backup of your content, themes, plugins, database, and settings. It’s not free, but totally worth the $15 monthly price tag. Oh and it’s also run by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

9. WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize running on BestTechie.
WP-Optimize running on BestTechie.

Over time, as you run your site, it will accumulate what I like to call “bitrot.” It’s important to do some maintenance every now and then. The WP-Optimize plugin is designed to remove the bitrot from your site’s database by removing post revisions, spam comments, unapproved comments, trackbacks, pingbacks, and transient options. Additionally it can optimize your WordPress databases core tables by removing any overhead.

10. Yoast SEO

Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress is really the first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress. The plugin includes a number of features ranging from on-page content analysis which will give each of your posts an SEO score (and also tell you why it received the rating it did) to building XML sitemaps for every page on your site.

If your site is listed in Google News then I also recommend you get the WordPress SEO News which was also developed by Yoast and integrates seamlessly with the Yoast SEO plugin. The additional News SEO plugin helps you to optimize your site for Google News by creating XML News Sitemaps, editors picks RSS feeds, and also allows for use of the standout tag and the meta news_keywords tag as well as helping you optimize some of the more advanced XML News sitemap options like stock tickers.

The News SEO plugin isn’t free, but well worth the $69 price tag if your site has been accepted into Google News.


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