WordPress is such a flexible tool and it's plugin system allows for use of thousands of free and premium plugins to add functionality to your site. Unfortunately this has led to some major problems. Too many options makes it hard for people to know which is the best plugin to use and often people start using too many plugins that slow down their site and offer more opportunity for conflicts or vulnerabilities. This is why we decided to write down our favorite essential plugins we use and think everyone should think about.
As Google and other inbound sources start qualifying your rankings by page load speed, rethinking your plugins is a good idea.
Reccomended Plugins In Order
1. SMTP Mailer Plugin - You want to send all wordpress mail through a real mail account and sent from our SMTP servers. This is one important way to help avoid your messages ending up in your spam folders. You will need to set up a real email address and configure your plugin accordingly
2. Jetpack - This is the plugin written by the wordpress.com folks, it connects to your wordpress.com account and gives you all the features of a wordpress.com site in your self hosted wordpress installation. The reason we reccomend it is because it's fast and stable, so if the widget exists in jetpack we prefer it than using another parties.
3. Site Origin's Page Builder - Want to organize your pages into columns and rows, this is the free plugin for you. We like it because it is simple to understand, you can create responsive rows and columns and drop any widget into each section allowing a ton of flexibility.
4. Site Origin's Widget Bundle - A large collection of widgets that do different things, mostly you want the visual text editor that brings the rich editing functionality to widgets.
5. Tiny MCE plugin - You will need it to make the widget visual text editor above work.
6. Time.ly All in one Events Calendar - This is the calendar almost everyone uses for events, unless you require a booking plugin, this is the calendar for you. It's ability to read from a calendar feed like google makes it great for groups managing your public calendars.
7. Gravity Forms - There are many form plugins, this one is not free but I have been very impressed by it. Use this plugin if you want a request a quote form, or contact form on your website. When you get big, plugins like the Third party integration plugin allow the creation of api's that can be very helpful by integrating your CRM tools.