There are over 50,000 registered WordPress plugins. A lot of these plugins are contributed as open source by members of the WordPress community on their own time and dollar. When you run a professional web development agency like Sharp Hue, and pride yourself on best practices including optimized WordPress hosting, it really does matter which plugins you choose.
Utilizing plugins that are constantly supported and updated by their developers is our #1 criteria in choosing a plugin.
The second thing we look for is if the plugin is paid for free. There are a ton of amazing free plugins that have developers who keep the plugin up to date, free of charge. As software developers ourselves, we know that if someone is paying us to keep up our products, we probably will keep them up. So with WordPress plugins, we are willing to shell out a few dollars to get the best features, ad-free, while supporting the developer.
Most premium / paid plugins can be obtained for a nominal fee and often have a developer license that can be used on many sites. Sometimes you pay an annual support capability where you can email and contact the developers directly with questions.
Here’s a list of plugins we use often and couldn’t do our best work without
Akismet ~Paid Version
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
Advanced Custom Fields ~Paid Version
Advanced Custom Fields is the perfect solution for any WordPress website which needs more flexible data like other Content Management Systems.
Advanced Custom Fields: Repeater Field ~Paid Version
The repeater field allows you to create a set of subfields which can be repeated again and again whilst editing content!
Advanced Custom Fields: Date and Time Picker
This is an add-on for the Advanced Custom Fields WordPress plugin, that allows you to add a Date and Time Picker field type.
Formidable ~Paid Version
Build WordPress forms the fast and simple way with a simple drag-and-drop interface (and a visual form styler in version 2.0). Create custom Formidable forms or generate them from a template with this stunning WordPress form plugin.
Imsanity automatically resizes huge image uploads down to a size that is more reasonable for display in browser, yet still more than large enough for typical website use. The plugin is configurable with a max width, height and quality. When a contributor uploads an image that is larger than the configured size, Imsanity will automatically scale it down to the configured size and replace the original image.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics reports in your WordPress install.
WordPress out of the box is already technically quite a good platform for SEO, this was true when Joost wrote his original WordPress SEO article in 2008 (and updated every few months) and it’s still true today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further! This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
Simple Likebuttons (Facebook, Google+, Twitter)
The plugin does what it should: adds to posts and pages the classic facebook, google+ and twitter buttons. Very easy to install and no initial configuration needed.
This plugin will let you add, remove and arrange the buttons that are shown on the Visual Editor toolbar. It includes 15 plugins for TinyMCE that are automatically enabled or disabled depending on what buttons are chosen.
S2Member Framework ~ Paid Version (Payment Integrations)
The s2Member® Framework (free) integrates with PayPal Website Payments Standard (also free). Sell “Buy Now” or Membership access to your site. Restrict access to Roles, Capabilities, Posts, Pages, or anything else in WordPress.
Shopp ~ Paid Version (Support)
Shopp adds an infinitely flexible WordPress e-commerce plugin and secure shopping cart that runs thousands of successful online storefronts.
All in One SEO Pack Pro
All in One SEO Pack Optimizes your WordPress blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Tickera ~ Paid Version (Mobile Ticketing Support)
If you want to sell tickets on your site and deliver them to your buyers digitally, Tickera is exactly what you need. When you use the Tickera plugin to sell and send tickets, you are essentially setting up your own hosted solution wherein you control the profits with no requirement to send a cut to a third party.