The Best WordPress Plugins

Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 in Plugins, WordPress | 3 Comments

To improve my workflow, I created a folder locally with a collection of plugins that I use as a base for every new project.  I don’t always use ALL of these on every project, but rarely do I need any other plugins (unless the project calls for something very specific).

Have a look, and if you are familiar with WordPress plugins, and know of a better one than the one I am using, let me know!

1. Advanced Custom Fields

by Elliot Condon

One of the greatest plugins I have ever used.

Basically, it allows you to add additional input fields all over WordPress (on pages, posts, custom post types, and even on a premium upgrade “options” page).

I use it to customize the user experience when entering data.  For instance, if I am creating a slideshow on the homepage, I create a repeating field which allows me to create a table (with an add row button) where the user can enter a title, description and upload an image for each slide.

I rarely build sites without this plugin.

There are three premium upgrades for this plugin:

  1. The Repeater Field
  2. Options Page
  3. Flexible Content

All of them are $25 AUD and worth it if you are a developer that will use this plugin over and over. Page:

Plugin Site:


2. Admin Dashboard Site Notes

by Ben Irvin

Create “documentation” all over your WordPress admin area.  Perfect for adding notes around WordPress for instructions for your clients. Page:

Plugin Site:


3. Ajax Thumbnail Rebuild

by junkcoder

For those of you who create new image sizes using add_image_size(); you’ll want this plugin to rebuild your images after you have changed dimensions or added new dimensions. Page:

Plugin Site:


4. Akismet

by Automattic

WordPress’ default spam filter.  Works like a dream, but you’ll need a account to use it. Page: http://www.wordpress/extend/plugins/akismet/

Plugin Site:


5. Custom Post Type UI


A way to create custom post types without using code.  Useful for projects with small budgets when you want to quickly add post types on the fly. Page:

Plugin Site:


6. Google Analytics for WordPress

by Joost de Valk

There are a lot of Google Analytics plugins out there, but you can’t go wrong with a plugin written by Joost. Page:

Plugin Site:


7. Gravity Forms

by Rocketgenius Inc.

This plugin is one of the only “paid” plugins I use, but it is BY FAR the best plugin for creating forms.  I have used it to create posts, to link forms to external api such as “SalesForce”, and to enhance other third party plugins like “Cart66″.

If you don’t want to pay, go with Contact Form 7 – but if you are using forms on your site, you can’t go wrong with Gravity Forms.

Plugin Site:


8. JetPack

by Automattic

A collection of plugins that are used by default on accounts.  Some really useful ones include:

  • Sharing
  • Subscriptions
  • Extended Sidebar Widgets
  • and much more… Page & Plugin Site:

9. Simple Add Pages or Posts

by Simon Dirlik, Ramon Fincken

A great tool to create multiple pages or posts all at once.  You can even create sub-pages all at one time by just including a list of pages (each page or post on it’s own line) with a “-” before sub-pages.  Saves A LOT of time. Page:

Plugin Site:


10. Simple Page Ordering

by Jake Goldman

Enables drag-and-drop ordering of pages (and custom post types that act like pages) on the index pages.  Great for clients who don’t understand the concept of “Page Order” number. Page:

Plugin Site:


11. WordPress SEO

by Joost de Valk

Again, there are a lot of SEO plugins out there – and I used to use a different one, but you can not go wrong with a plugin written by Joost de Valk.  Great little plugin this is, and he also has a great website with lots of tips and information on WordPress development. Page:

Plugin Site:


12. WP Jump Menu

by Jim Krill

Well, yes.  This IS a plugin I wrote.

And yes, I use it on EVERY project.

Not only that, but I’m pretty sure my former employer still uses it on every project they create too.  It’s that useful.

What does it do?  Well – read about it here. Page:

Plugin Site:


13. WP Super Cache

by Donncha O Caoimh

Caching was the talk of all the WordCamps I went to a few years ago, and this plugin was a result of discussions I listened to there.  I know there are a few other really good ones, but this is the one I went with.

Anyone want to make an argument for a better one? Page:

Plugin Site:


  1. Anthony
    May 14, 2012

    Hey Jim,

    Got any recommendations for a backup plugin? I’ve been using WP-DB-Backup by Austin Matzko for ages, but I’m wondering if there is a better one. Although it still seems to work fine with the latest version of WP, the developer hasn’t updated the plugin in forrrever. Thanks!


    • Jim Krill
      May 15, 2012

      Have you tried GD Press Tools?

      I haven’t used it in a while, but I remember it having decent back-up capabilities.

      Another option would be:

      But that’s super expensive. (I haven’t used it but was recommended it by the team over at

      Good luck!

      • Anthony
        May 15, 2012

        Hey Jim,

        Thanks for the suggestions. I have not tried GD Press Tools, but that looks pretty good! I have seen Backup Buddy and agree that it is quite expensive. I remember the price turned me away from it awhile back. I’ll look into GD Press a bit more.



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