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Top 5 Essential WordPress Plugins

Published: July 2014

One of the great things about using WordPress for your website is the wealth of plugins that are available.  By using plugins you are able to expand WordPress’s functionality in the click of a button.

I’m going to talk you through five amazing plugins which should help you take control of your website and make light work of complex solutions.

1: Gravity Forms

The Gravity Forms plugin allows you to take control of any forms on your site that users will interact with.  From contact forms to content generation forms, Gravity Forms allows you to quickly and easily create forms for almost any occasion.  It has a vast array of field types which can be added into all your forms and they can be embedded on any page with a shortcode.

All entries are stored in the WordPress database and can be viewed, managed and exported as necessary.  E-mail notifications can be branded, sent to multiple e-mail addresses or even routed depending on the user’s choices in the form.

Unlike the rest of the plugins we will discuss below, Gravity Forms is a paid-for plugin.  It’s $39 a year but it’s worth every penny!

2: WordPress SEO by Yoast

No matter how great your website is, if it can’t be found by people then it’s not performing for you.  WordPress SEO by Yoast makes light work of increasing your SEO performance.

This plugin allows you to specify what keywords you would like to target for each page and gives you a summary on how to perform better.  It also shows your site’s performance with a handy traffic light display.

In addition to the effort you put in, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes like, canonicalization and XML sitemap submission.

All in all, a great SEO plugin!

3: Advanced Custom Fields

With the Advanced Custom Fields plugin you can add almost any custom field to your post types.  Whether you’re creating a product with an SKU field or a member profile with CV uploads this plugin has it all.  You can even create a dropdown menu which dynamically populates with other content on your site!

The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to this plugin. It truly is one of the best and most essential WordPress plugins available.

4: Codepress Admin Columns

Have you ever wanted to remove columns from the administration pages of WordPress?  Well now you can, and it’s super simple.

Using the Codepress Admin Columns plugin you can remove the ‘Comments’ column from post types which don’t use them and keep things easier to read.  You also have the ability to add new columns in, particularly handy when you’re creating your own custom fields. This means for fantastic customisation to the user interface of the CMS.

5: WordPress Ultimate CSV Importer

Importing your content can be a very time consuming and difficult process.  WordPress Ultimate CSV Imported does a great job of simplifying the process for you.  Most systems and databases will allow you to export your data in a CSV format and this can be used to easily import your data into WordPress.

You can select what post type will be created for your data and simply match each column of data to your custom fields.  After that you simple hit ‘Import’ and the rest of the leg work is done for you.

This can be a real asset if you need to import a catalogue of books or products quickly and easily.

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