There are a vast number of WordPress plugins in circulation. The enormous depth and variety of available plugins is one of the main reasons for WordPress’ astonishing rise to the top of the CMS pile over the past ten years or so.
However, too much choice can be a bad thing. So, rather than have you muddle your way through the thousands of plugins available to you I’ve put together a short but sweet list of superb plugins that work particularly well with our themes.
These plugins include a few of our own, simply because I believe them to be the best option for their particular purpose. Some of these plugins are free while some require an annual license fee. However, those that require a fee are absolutely worth the cost for the benefits they deliver.
All of these plugins offer means of improving your site in interesting ways. Let’s take a look!
I wanted to start with one of our own. The WooCommerce plugin is an excellent way to setup an online store on your website. Not only is the plugin a fully functional ecommerce solution but it also allows you to integrate further premium add-ons and style the store front with themes and custom CSS.
WooCommerce enables you to have comprehensive management of the entire store setup, from numerous payment gateway options such as accepting credit cards, BACS, and PayPal, to detailed management and reporting of every aspect of your store including your inventory and SEO settings of your product pages.
If you’re looking to create an online store you really don’t need to look any further than WooCommerce, especially since it’s free.
2. Gravity Forms
This is a premium plugin that vastly improves upon the contact form experience you tend to find with free options. Not only can you create simple contact forms, you can also create complex multi-page forms for your website as well as many other styles. If you can think of a type of form you need, there’s a good chance that Gravity Forms can create it.
The Gravity Forms feature list is continually growing, but as well as the internal development of the plugin, they allow you to purchase add-on functionality such as integrating Aweber, MailChimp and PayPal as well as a great many other services.
Gravity Forms starts at $39 for a personal license to be used on one site and has a business option and a developer option. The business option can be used on 3 sites and costs $99 and the developer option can be used on unlimited sites for a mere $199. All of these licenses need to be renewed annually.
Put simply, VaultPress by Automattic gives you total peace of mind. It is a fantastic and simple method of backing up your website. It’s a secure, efficient service and a great addition to any site.
As a premium plugin it comes with three different pricing plans. There is the “Lite” license ($55 per year), the “Basic” plan ($165 per year), and the “Premium” license ($440 per year).
Each licensing plan comes with various options such as real-time backups, automated restorations and a full backup archive. The “Lite” option only has daily backups and a 30 day backup archive, but even this is usually enough for the peace of mind that VaultPress will bring you. The Premium license also includes security scanning functionality to further protect your website.
This is another one of our free plugins. WooSidebars allows you to override any widgetized area on your WordPress website, giving you a remarkable range of customization.
With WooSidebars you are able to display different sidebar widgets for different pages throughout your site, all without touching any code. With this plugin you can replace widgetized areas on the fly and create detailed replacement guidelines for dynamic widget replacements.
The customization this plugin allows is quite spectacular and gives you complete freedom to change the widgetized areas of your site to match any design choices you make.
With a free WooThemes user account you can download the WooSidebars from the WooThemes Plugin Directory.
WooSlider is another of our premium plugins. It allows you to create a simple yet highly customizable slider on any area of your website. In its default state it will allow you to create a slider full of simple images on any post or page, however, it can also be used to display recent or featured posts, as well as any custom content you would like to showcase.
All of these slider types can be created on any post or page on your site, and unlike other sliders of this type, numerous WooSlider sliders can be added to any individual post or page. WooSlider is completely compatible with any WordPress theme.
6. WooThemes Sensei
While we’re talking about our premium plugins I should mention our great learning management plugin, Sensei.
Sensei allows you to create both free and premium courses and quizzes. You can write lessons and even set pre-requisites for users before they can take a course. The plugin integrates with WooCommerce to ensure focused management of every aspect of any courses you create.
If you have ever thought about creating a course for any subject then you should look no further than Sensei. It gives you simple unbeatable control over every aspect of the site and works perfectly with any of our suite of themes.
Sensei comes in three different annual license fees. The simple one site license costs $149. A 5 site license costs $199 and a 25 site license costs $299 annually.
7. Testimonials Plugin
This plugin is another one from the WooThemes family. It is a complete testimonials management plugin — and it’s free!
Testimonials Plugin allows you to completely control customer testimonials and how they are displayed on your site, enabling you to showcase what your customers are saying about you and your products.
The testimonials plugin is clean and simple to use. It can be styled to match your current theme and can be inserted into various aspects of your site using either a shortcode, widget or template tag.
8. WordPress SEO by Yoast
In my opinion, this is the best SEO plugin out there. Not only is it completely free but it is also one of the (if not the) most complete SEO plugin on the market.
WordPress SEO by Yoast offers you the basics of creating detailed post titles and meta descriptions but also give you the option to add focus keywords and permalink optimization (amongst many other features).
Here at WooThemes we took the decision to stop working on our own SEO codebase and instead recommend that our users install SEO by Yoast. In my opinion, every website should be using this plugin to enhance the SEO impact of their site. It’s about as essential as plugins get.
Do You Recommend Any Other Top Plugins?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of great plugins that integrate with the WooThemes suite of products. However, I do believe that this small selection covers a great deal of useful and high quality options for you to begin investigating in order to improve your site in many ways.
So let’s move onto the fun part now: have you found any other plugins that work beautifully with WooThemes products and that you think everyone should be using? Let us know in the comments below!