The 8 WordPress Plugins We Always Rely On

Here at Bernskiold Media we work a lot with WordPress as a framework of choice. Even though many of the projects we do for clients are diverse, some plugins are used all the time.

With the tens and tens of thousand plugins available for WordPress (and growing!), it’s important to find reliable plugins. These, we entrust important work on client websites with. That’s not something to be taken lightly.

Yoast SEO

Previously known as WordPress SEO by Yoast, it is one of the best SEO plugins available. It lets you and your clients work with search engine optimization easily, and adds relevant and necessary tags.

While there are many other SEO plugins out there, the reason why I continue to stand by Yoast is because I believe in Joost de Valk and his company, Yoast, and their knowledge about SEO. They’ve been consultants to many big companies (such as The Guardian) and simply put, I agree with their SEO reasoning. Hence, using their plugin over any other makes perfect sense. Plus, it’s pretty darn good too.

Advanced Custom Fields

I don’t think we build any custom sites anymore without the Advanced Custom Fields plugin. And until WordPress creates a better native custom input handling system, I don’t see that changing.

Simply put, this plugin (we use the pro version) enables us to create intuitive and user friendly editing screens for extra content fields. Something that turns up in pretty much every theme or plugin we build.

Google Analytics by Yoast

All websites need analytics and today, the best choice for most people is the free version of Google Analytics. For all simple implementations, Google Analytics by Yoast is our best friend. In part, this is because we again agree with the Joost de Valk in his approach.

Only occasionally will we step away from this on a website, and then it is usually because we are doing an implementation of Google Tag Manager instead.

WP Rocket

Cache plugins is an area that has changed a bit for us over the past few years. Traditionally we have been advocates of the very powerful W3 Total Cache, but over the past few months it doesn’t seem to have been as well-maintained as we like.

Since then, we decided to give the paid WP Rocket a try. It’s not free like WP Super Cache, but it is a nice and simple package that so far is doing an excellent job and has become the go-to cache solution. And thus far, it’s a much smoother experience for everyone.

iThemes Security

While it would be nice if this was not necessary, we do need to harden client websites with some security tweaks. There are many plugins to do this, but we have found the options in iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security) to be pretty comprehensive.

Occasionally we will replace it with Sucuri, which is excellent as well, but with a slightly different feature-set from the get-go.

Ilmenite Cookie Consent

According to recent EU regulations, all websites for companies in the EU need to prompt users to accept the use of cookies. We couldn’t find a nice “cookie banner” that did what we wanted, without adding a whole lot of bloat. So we wrote one ourselves called Ilmenite Cookie Consent.

It’s on this list because frankly, no website in the EU that we launch is without this one.

WooCommerce

Almost every time a client wants to sell something online we turn to WooCommerce. It’s numbers speak for themselves as one of (or the most) used ecommerce solution. While there are some exceptions (simply when WooCommerce is too big for the client’s need) when we turn to other solutions, WooCommerce is up there as your best option for selling things on WordPress.

In addition, they have a strong ecosystem of plugins and extensions to enhance functionality further and integrate with popular backend systems, payment gateways and services.

Gravity Forms

There are several free form plugins out there for WordPress, but none of them have yet to come close to the neatness of Gravity Forms. It is a well-maintained and supported plugin with a great and easy user interface.

As an added bonus, it comes with many extensions and is widely supported in the ecosystem. Plus for more advanced use-cases it has a pretty nice API and other developer friendly hooks and methods. Put it simply, a plugin we rely heavily on.

There are more…

There are of course many more plugins which we use sometimes. This list doesn’t pretend to be the exhaustive list, but it is one of the most widely used plugins here, with a justification for why.

Most of these feature on every site we build for a client, a testament to how much we like them, and how good of the job the developers have done. Because to be on this list, the bar is set very high.

Note: We aren’t affiliated with any of these plugins (apart from our own) and we receive no compensation for recommending them. It’s just plugins we honestly like, use and therefore recommend.