Top 4 WordPress plugins

Every web site project will use plugins to compliment the core functionality of WordPress. These are our Top 4.

  1. Yoast SEO
    Yoast SEO is the No. 1 Wordpress plugin for search engine optimization. Along with a properly coded WordPress theme, it is a cornerstone in the foundation of your WordPress site (assuming you want customers to find you, that is). The Yoast SEO plugin also makes it easy to effectively share your web site on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. It generates site maps, hooks into Google Web master tools, and provides other essential features that every web site needs
  2. BackUpWordPress
    Does exactly what it says, with the option to schedule backups for only files, only the database, or a combination thereof.
  3. Wordfence
    The leading security plugin on the market, with over 22 million downloads
  4. Smush Image Compression and Optimization
    Widely known as WP Smush It — or sometimes just Smush It or Smush — this plugin from WPMU Dev optimizes images as you upload them to WordPress. And since bloated images are the leading cause of slow web sites, this is one plugin you can’t afford to live without

There are many other plugins that we use widely, but these are part of every project no matter the scale or scope.

WordPress e-commerce

As an avid WordPress evangelists, one of the most obvious missing elements in the arsenal has been a viable e-commerce solution. While options have existed for some time, none were great, and even the best of them required tons of time to adapt to your specific needs. And, as we all know, time is money.

About a year ago, WooThemes announced its intention to change the playing field and launched  WooCommerce, an open-source WordPress plugin aimed at doing e-commerce right.

Fourteen months and several beta tests later and the reviews are in: WooCommerce is good.

The basic WooCommerce plugin is completely free to download and use. It’s built on top of standard WordPress Custom Post Types and straight out of the box, is extremely powerful with a lot of functionality. WooCommerce comes with all the standard features that you’d expect within an eCommerce plugin such as;

  • Various types of reporting on sales, customers and stock
  • Dashboard widgets that allow you to keep an eye on various aspects of your store from the main WordPress dashboard page
  • Shipping & Tax settings
  • Customers & Orders
  • Product & Inventory
  • Marketing & Promotions including the ability to add “coupons”
  • And most importantly, various Payment Gateways & payment methods

If you’ve ever had to suffer through the frustration of developing with WP E-commerce (fair warning: don’t believe the hype), WooCommerce will make you absolutely jubilant.

WordPress e-commerce platform

I just stumbled across DukaPress, what appears to be a fully fledged e-commerce plugin for WordPress.

DukaPress is a simple and free WordPress e-commerce system. It is open source. With DukaPress you can quickly and easily set up a fully featured online shop which can be used to sell digital or physical goods to customers all over the world.

That is no small claim. Shopping cart and e-commerce functionality have always been sorely lacking in WordPress. While there are a few shopping cart plugins out there, none are very robust. If DukaPress really is as good as it looks, then e-commerce for WordPress has finally arrived.

Go mobile

The WPtouch plug-in will convert your WordPress site into a mobile-optimized app with no more hassle than installing a  plug-in. Brilliant! MobilePress, which says it does the same thing, doesn’t look bad either.

I’ve never used either of them, though, so I couldn’t say how well they work. With a little luck, that might soon change.

Plug-in drama

I am just in the process of trying to install a few nifty plugins. Neither Search Everything nor Cforms wants to work. Bugger.

I’ve used Cforms many times in the past and it has always worked without flaw. Except when the permissions were not set correctly…

… the problem with Cforms hanging on “one moment please” took a bit of sleuthing, but it was extremely easy to fix. I had originally installed the plugin on my local development server. That process hard-coded in js/cforms.js the local install path, for some strange reason. The original block of javascript looks like this:

// ONLY in case AJAX DOESN’T work you may want to double-check this path:
// If you do change this setting: CLEAR your BROWSER CACHE & RESTART you BROWSER!
var sajax_uri = ‘/wp-content/plugins/cforms/lib_ajax.php’;

The local install had changed that last line to “http://192.168.1.10:8888/wp-content/plugins/cforms/lib_ajax.php,” which of course would not work in the live environment.

So the contact form works now. Go ahead, say something!