Recommended Plug-ins

recommended-plugin
Below is a quick article on plug-ins that we recommend to use along with our themes.

Caching:

Caching plug-ins are great for speeding up your website load times.

1. WP Super Cache – Out of the box this plug-in is great. See a guide on how to set up WP Super Cache correctly here.

2. W3 Total Cache – This plug-in should be used for advanced users only, as it has many more options out of the box. See a guide on how to set W3 Total Cache correctly here.

Back up:

We highly recommend investing in plug-ins for backing up your website, it can save you a lot of time, effort and money by keeping a back up of your website.

1. VaultPress – This is a paid plug-in however its one of the best on the market, it was created by one of the WordPress co-founders Matt Mullenweg, so you know its going to work. It is a subscription based plug-in starting from $5 a month.

2. BackUpBuddy – One of the most popular back up plug-ins on the market, offering daily, weekly and monthly backups. This is a paid plug-in also, but its pricing depends on the number of live sites you have.

3. BackWPup – This is a free plug-in. It allows you to create a full back up on the cloud for your site. See the following article on how to create a free back up here.

Email

Having problems getting emails from your contact form, or want to send mails from your site, look no further.

1. wpMandrill – Mandrill is a great plug-in and service from MailChimp that allows you to generate emails from your site externally, with 99% success rate you can be guaranteed not to lose out on those inquiries. You can sign up for a mandrill account here.

Slideshows:

For users looking to add slideshow options to blog posts and pages. We recommend the following responsive sliders:

1. Solilquy – one of the fastest loading plug-ins on WordPress, the single plan is $19 dollars for one site, but well worth the investment if you want to keep speed and user experience to a maximum, and its responsive.

2. Revolution Slider – A premium WordPress plug-in costing $18. Create a responsive (mobile friendly) or fullwidth slider with must-see-effects and meanwhile keep or build your SEO optimization (all content always readable for search engines). See the heaps of custom transitions/animations for each object on the page! Customize this slider with a convenient drag & drop backend to your very needs.

3. Meta Slider – one of most popular Free WordPress slider plugin. Creating slideshows is fast and easy. Simply select images from your WordPress Media Library, drag and drop them into place, set slide captions, links and SEO fields all from one page. You can choose from 4 different slideshow types (Flex Slider, Nivo Slider, Responsive Slides & Coin Slider) and use the provided shortcode or template include to easily embed slideshows in your blog.

3. Layer Slider – A premium WordPress plug-in costing $17. LayerSlider WP is a premium multi-purpose slider for creating image galleries, content sliders, and mind-blowing slideshows with must-see effects, even from your WordPress posts and pages.

Contact Forms:

Great for users looking to create custom contact forms for collecting information about their users and for inquiries.

1. Ninja Forms – A free contact form plug-in, we use it regularly for our clients, it offers thousands of combinations for creating custom contact forms. Its also great as it takes on Flothemes styling. It allows you to send a custom thank you message and view submissions in your WordPress back end, so never miss an inquiry again.

2. Gravity Forms – A premium paid plug-in. Use it to create simple contact and support forms, surveys, polling, and client evaluation. It also can be used for collecting payments, see the following article on how to collect payments with Gravity Forms.

SEO:

When using SEO plug-ins simply just installing them is not enough, you should take some time to learn a little more about the capabilities of the plug-ins and setting them up correctly.

1. Yoast SEO – Yoast allows you to add SEO to pages, keywords and meta descriptions, an added bonus is the Facebook sharing feature allowing you to choose which images are used when sharing posts. As well as providing a great all round SEO plug-in, Yoast provide some great documentation how to create good WordPress SEO, read the article here.

2. All in One SEO – Another great SEO plug-in, allowing keywords, meta descriptions and also social sharing options. WP Beginner provides a good article on setting up All in One SEO which you can view here.

Translation:

Want to translate your WordPress site into another language, then look now further.

1. WPML – This is a premium translate plug-in, probably the most popular on the market, and they have a very good support team. The default install comes with more than 40 languages and you can also add language variants, such as local dialects, using the language editor.

2. Transposh – This plug-in works as a filter for WordPress, it add’s automatic translation for blog posts and allows for manual human translation to provide better translations.

Protect Images:

1. WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click – this is a very useful plug-in for stopping users from copying anything from your website. Just be wary as it may stop pin it buttons from working, its that good.

2. No Right Click Images – This plug-in uses JavaScript to block users from right click on image files. It still allows users to right click on other items. Its probably a better solution to the above, unless you wish to keep your site in lockdown.

NOTE! It is not recommended that you use these plug-ins as it can make it harder to use your website. Users can steal images relatively easily regardless so using the above plug-ins whilst they may slow them down will not prevent your images from being taken.  Site point provides a good article on how to protect your images on the web which you can read here.

Instagram:

Adding Instagram has never been easier, just install our Flothemes Instagram plug-in.

1. Flo Instagram – Our own Instagram plug-in that works great with our themes. The plug-in allows you to add Instagram images to widget areas, pages and posts. A very good all round plug-in for those looking to add some Instagram images to WordPress and get users to your Instagram page.

Social Sharing:

Adding social sharing options to your site can be a great way of obtaining free marketing when users share your work.

1. Jetpack – Jetpack is an all round amazing plug-in and offers a lot more than just social sharing options. Just remember to use it you are required to sign up for a WordPress.com account, that is separate to your self host WordPress account.

2. Floating Social Bar – Floating social bar adds a horizontal share bar on your blog posts, and pages. A great plug-in for adding social sharing options without slowing down your site.

NOTE! Be wary of using social sharing plug-ins as they are known to slow down loading times for webpages which can affect your user experience and Google Rankings.

Maintenance Mode / Coming Soon:

Great for users who are working on their site whilst live on the web. Using a maintenance mode plug-in is particularly useful for those switching WordPress themes.

1. Ultimate Coming Soon – Simple and flexible, the Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin works with any WordPress theme you have installed on your site. Anyone who isn’t logged in to your site will see the coming soon page, while you or any other logged-in staffers can access the site as normal and do not not see the coming soon page which allows you to work on your changes or content.

2. WP Maintenance Mode – It’s a simple plugin that adds a splash-style page to your website that lets your visitors know you are either in maintenance mode or you have a launch of some kind coming up. Once installed it has three sections to its menu (which is tucked under Settings > WP Maintenance): General, Design, and Modules.

Pinterest Buttons:

Useful for users who want their imagery to be added to Pinterest.

1. JQuery Pin it – A great plug-in allowing you to add a pin it button to your blog images. It also allows you to add a custom pin it button for that little bit extra customization. Once the user clicks the “Pin it” button, the plugin shows a pop-up window with the image and a description. Everything is ready for pinning, although the user can alter the description. Here at Flothemes we use this plug-in regularly as its very effective and lightweight.

2. Pinterest Pin It Button for Images – this plug-in provides a large “Pin it” button on images on hover.. It also fades out/lightens the image itself when you hover so that attention is drawn to the image and the visitor knows something is going on. There are a few different settings with this plugin. You can choose locations where the button doesn’t show up, such as on the home page or on category pages, etc. You can also choose what info will be sent along with the pin, such as the post title, the post title and the link, the website name, etc.

Security:

Security is very important on the web and something that is often overlooked. Have a look at the following plug-ins that can help make your site more secure.

1. iThemes Security – With one click installation, you can stop automated attacks and protect your website. it also fixes various common security holes in your website. It tracks registered users’ activity and adds two-factor authentication, import/export settings, password expiration, malware scanning, and various other things.

2. WordFence – one of the most popular WordPress security plugins. It keeps on checking your website for malware infection. If scans all the files of your WordPress core, theme and plugins. If it finds any kind of infection, it will notify you. Its great from preventing brute force attacks and malware infections.

3. BulletProof Security – another plug-in with one-click installation. It adds firewall security, database security, login security and more. Another great all rounder for monitoring your site security.

Performance:

Take a look at our article on improving website performance here.

WordPress walkthroughs:

Sidekick – sidekick comes with over 150+ WordPress tutorials built in, great for general how to’s on WordPress. We have partnered with them on delivering some Flothemes specific tutorials, so watch this space as we will announce further details later.

JetPack:

Jetpack by WordPress.com – one of the best all round plug-ins for WordPress, with social sharing options, various widget capabilities and spam protection. Sign up for a WordPress.com (this is separate from your private WordPress install) account and unlock the full benefits from this powerful plug-in.

You can see a quick article on using one of our favorite modules, Widget Visibility here.

NOTE! Be careful when activating this plug-in as it activates menu extensions by default. You should read more details on what each extension provides before activating them, you can read the documentation on extensions here.

Spam Protection:

Great for stopping spam comments on your site, which can affect site performance.

Askimet – a great plug-in used to prevent spam comments on your site, this can help keep site performance at a maximum.

WP-reCaptcha – Recaptcha shows an image containing characters, users need to type those characters to prove that they are human. Although some users may find this annoying especially if your users are very active.

Scroll to top:

For users wanting to add a scroll to top option for their users:

1. Scroll Back to Top – Adding a scroll to top featured has never been easier with this plug-in, just install and activate, it also allows you to add custom scroll images, and change the animation.

2. WPFront Scroll – A basic scroll to top plug-in, with several built in scroll arrows to choose from, again its simple to use, just install and activate.

If there are any other plug-ins that you’d like to know more about, leave a comment below.