Picking my top 5 WordPress plugins is no easy task. At one time my blog had over 40 plugins on it until I realised that it was slowing my site down.
I think the rule of thumb is a maximum of 20 plugins but the fewer the better.
The plugins I am choosing are the ones that I use most and have stood the test of time over the last 6 years.
The new super-themes available make it easier to run with fewer plugins because these themes have a lot of functionality built into them.
Here is my top 5 plugin selection:
Membersonic Plugin by Plugin Results
I tried a number of membership plugins before I stumbled across Membersonic plugin. I think I originally bought it for $27 on launch day, which was an absolute bargain.
It has been greatly upgraded since I originally bought it and all the upgrades are provided free of charge.
The best upgrade was when the owner, Andrew Hunter, created a 'wizard ' which effectively enables me to set up a membership site structure in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes.
I know that Wishlist Member is the most recommended membership plugin but it costs around $297 for unlimited sites whereas Membersonic costs $97 today and it does more or less the same job.
I use Membersonic for all of my digital products and it works very well, is simple to use and is well-maintained. This plugin gets my #1 recommendation.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
In my opinion, there is only one plugin for SEO and that is WordPress SEO. Amazingly, it is completely free to use and has all the functionality needed to make a website SEO-friendly.
There are a number of free YouTube videos showing you how to set up the plugin properly. This is important because there are a lot of set-up options - it could be improved by having a set-up wizard like the Membersonic plugin but it is difficult to moan when it is provided completely free of charge.
The best feature about the plugin is that you get a red, amber and green light indicating how SEO-friendly your page or post is and guidance on how to improve your SEO is built into the plugin - so simple to use!
Backup Creator Plugin by Double Agent Marketing
This plugin gets #3 spot simply because it gives me complete peace of mind. This plugin automatically backs up each of my websites to Amazon S3 on a weekly basis (although you can backup daily if you wish).
This is a really important plugin to me because I have had one of my websites hacked and it is traumatic - it feels like a burglary since your private space has been invaded.
Having backups means that you can quickly redeploy one of your backup sites to get back up and running quickly.
The worst thing about Backup Creator plugin is that it costs $47 (you do want this version - not the $7 version) and it is not made clear on purchase that you need to resubscribe annually to get ongoing upgrades to the plugin.
However, what price do you put on having peace of mind?
Thrive Content Builder by Thrive Themes
Again I bought this plugin on launch from Shane Melaugh - I like everything he puts out!
This plugin is a drag-and-drop page-builder plugin and I believe it is the best on the market for the following reasons:
- It is very easy and fast to use compared to other page-builders I have used that require lots of clicks and are comparatively clunky to use. This saves a LOT of time.
- The inbuilt landing page templates provided with the plugin are well-designed and professional - see the demo squeeze pages I have built with this plugin. I also use it for building my sales pages.
- Shane provides plenty of high quality tutorials and tips for getting the best from the plugin and your online business
- All upgrades to Thrive Content Builder have been added for free and there have been plenty of them so the plugin has a lot of great functionality built into it (- this page is built with Thrive Content Builder!)
The cost of this plugin is $87 for unlimited websites - this is not cheap but it is worth it in my opinion because you get so much for that price.,
Woocommerce plugin enables me to configure an online shop on a website and is simple to use, despite the fact that there are a lot of options to configure.
I recently used this plugin to set up an online shop for one of my clients. It was free to use and in addition there are plenty of plugin extensions if you need extra functionality.
Because so many people use this plugin, it is well-maintained and there are a lot of options available. The core plugin is completely free to use and this is amazing when you compare it to the cost of setting up a bricks and mortar establishment!
This definitely gets my #5 spot.
The only other plugin that I would add to this collection is a security plugin.
I currently favour a plugin called WP Sonic Defender which moves the wp-admin page to another location and limits login attempts.
I know there are other free options for security plugins so I didn't choose this as a top 5 plugin but I do recommend that you pay attention to the security of your websites.
I do use other plugins but, if I was forced to pick just 5 plugins to use, then these would currently be my top 5 WordPress plugins - I would be interested to hear what your choices would be - please comment below..