At Heideldesign, we love creating projects with Wordpress because of the back-end editing simplicity. The interface makes sense and clients have an easy time getting up to speed quickly and updating their own content.
That said, we're consistently tasked by our clients to create websites that go far beyond Wordpress' original promise as simple blogging software. The community of plugin developers is vast and it seems if there's a need for specific functionality, nine times out of ten someone has already tackled the problem.
These are the plugins we find ourselves going back to time and again to get projects off the ground fast.
The Events Calendar
Created by Tribe, The Events Calendar plugin establishes a custom post type for events. This is perfect for music festivals, touring artists and group calendars. The Pro and Community extensions allow for multiple avenues for viewing, searching and sorting as well as opening up the site to receiving event submissions from the public. It's well documented and has great support resources.
Team Yoast's Search Engine Optimizing tool is the best SEO package for Wordpress we've used. With over 1,000 five star reviews, we're not alone in singing its praises. This plugin creates special fields for tweaking the post title and description as well as tips on how to tailor your site content to target key words. There are also tools for cleaning up your Wordpress code and specifying how search engines should crawl your pages. Wordpress SEO is a must-have.
If you've been updating your Wordpress installation yourself, you've no doubt seen the warnings to back up your site before proceeding. Do you do it? You should and Simple Backup makes that process painless. With just a few clicks you can confidently click that upgrade button knowing that your files and database content are current and saved on the server in case you need to roll back the clock.
Most sites have multiple authors and the Editorial Calendar plugin lets you see at a glance when new posts are set to go live. The quick glance month grid is a lifesaver for editors who need to schedule out posts weeks or months in advance to target special dates or just those all-important Monday and Thursday morning site readers.
Sadly, SPAM submissions are still a problem for websites, even those that take extensive steps to limit exposure to those pesky bots that scan the web looking for an unattended comment or contact form. Those bots often submit links to malicious websites or attempt to inject harmful code onto your web server. Akismet is still the best first-step against SPAM. It's constantly updated by Automattic and blocks millions of hackers every year.
On average, our sites use around five plugins. The rest of the site-specific functionality is achieved through custom themes which establish post types and custom fields. Limiting the number of plugins makes your site more secure and faster to load.