WordPress plugins come with their pros and cons, but when used correctly (and minimally), they can really boost your site functionality to the next level. After installing roughly 100 different WordPress themes, these are the plugins that have never failed to perform.

Visual Composer

visual-composer

This plugin is great for first-time WordPress users since it lets you visually lay out your pages. It comes out of the box with some pre-set layouts, but if you’re shopping for a theme, the developer will usually include their own modules to match the demo functionality.  Visual Composer can be heavy and impact your load time if not optimized, so make sure if you’re searching for a theme using Visual Composer, the author has plenty of great reviews. If you’re looking for a simple blog for writing, this plugin can be overkill. If you are new to WordPress and you’re needing to design a robust, multi-page site with visual appeal, Visual Composer is a go-to plugin.

Note:  Copying modules from page to page can be a serious hassle with the base Visual Composer install. The Visual Composer Clipboard add-on can save you hours of time.

 

WordPress Database Reset

WordPress database reset plugin

There may be times when you install a theme you don’t like, import data that needs clearing, or just need to start from scratch.  Instead of going through your WordPress plugins, posts, links, comments, pages, and media to start fresh, simply use the free WordPress Database Reset plugin to wipe all tables and you’ll have a fresh start, instantly.

 

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO Plugin

Yoast is a mandatory install if you want to get the tools and feedback necessary to rank organically in search engines.  This plug-in handles your sitemap export, all site-level settings, and page/post level scoring for all of your content. Their latest version includes enhanced functionality for social sharing, which allows you to define a title, description, and image to use for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest individually.  For both technical SEO optimization and content coaching, you won’t find a better plugin.

 

Share Buttons by AddThis

add this social share buttons

There are a million different share button plugins available, but the most stable and feature-rich version is by AddThis. The mobile support with plenty of layout options is what really makes this plugin shine. It also looks great out of the box, but you can customize to fit your design if needed. If you create a free AddThis account on their site, you can track your website’s share metrics and content popularity.