As impressed as we are with the fantastic WordPress themes of today, we do on occasion find ourselves in need of functionality that either isn’t included or isn’t as customisable as we’d like. Here we list some popular plugins that we’ve had a good experience with and featured in a number of websites.

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi provides a very simple form which can be added to any page via a shortcode, and has served its purpose for a number of years. With the rise of bigger, more advanced themes however, Contact Form 7 has much stiffer competition than it once did and no longer makes it into every job we do. If you’re in the market for a clean, simple and easy to use offering that’s been tried and tested by over a million users, then Contact Form 7 might just be the plugin for you.

Yoast SEO

Few plugins have the same prestige as Yoast SEO by Team Yoast. This plugin is a superb tool when laying down the groundwork for Search Engine Optimization on your completed site, allowing you to set keywords and type in a snippet for use by search engines. The plugin also provides a place for you to input your Webmaster Tools code for verification by Google. Yoast works on a red, amber, green traffic light system and gives a content analysis based on the strengths and failings of each web page or post. Once you’re familiar with Yoast, you might just start thinking ahead in terms of written content and the placement of key words and phrases.

Cookie Consent

Cookie Consent by Catapult_Themes is an easy to use plugin which works on the basis of ‘implied content’. It’s become a legal requirement that any site collecting cookies, or ‘visitor data’ tells its visitors of that fact, giving them an option to opt out if they wish. Implied consent comes from putting a very obvious message on the homepage to make visitors aware from the outset, and so consent is given by the simple fact that they’ve continued to use the site regardless. This cookie consent plugin allows you to add a text link leading to a ‘cookie law’ page, while the dismiss button appears in a bar that sticks to the header until the visitor clicks it away.

Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode

We absolutely swear by Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd, having used it for the vast majority of our clients at one stage or another. It’s a great option when the site simply isn’t ready yet and serves as a great way to get a logo and contact details up, while providing a curtain while the full site is under construction. The plugin allows you to customise text size and colour, background image or colour and page size – exactly what you need to let your visitors know the score until the finished product is ready to go.

BH Custom Preloader

BH Custom Preloader by Masum Billah is a great way of ensuring your visitors only see your web pages once they’ve fully loaded up. The plugin features a number of animations, colourful and otherwise, meaning that it’ll never clash with your site’s appearance. You can tell it to either fade out or slide up and also how long the chosen process should take. This is the plugin to use if you prefer a loading screen to unsightly pop-in, which generally applies to sites which are more focused on high-res imagery than they are on text.

Photo Gallery

Finding the right photo gallery is one of the tougher jobs when it comes to WordPress web design, as very few themes and plugins offer micro-management to the level that certain clients would want. We go through gallery plugins like wildfire, with a number of them having been rendered obsolete thanks to some questionable updates. Our latest find, Photo Gallery by Supsystic ticks many of the right boxes and offers a professional looking gallery that’s simple to use and responsive for mobile devices.

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