The 7 WordPress Plugins We Always Recommend to Clients

Here at Anant, we develop a fair number of websites. Of course, we have our Appleseed App, the platform and CMS we recommend for all of our clients for maximum flexibility. However, there are a still a number of projects which we develop on WordPress. Today, we wanted to give you some insight into the plugins we recommend go onto just about all of our client’s WordPress sites, and explain why.

1. SEO by Yoast

What is the WordPress SEO Plugin?

WordPress SEO is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users. It incorporates everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.

WordPress SEO by Yoast gives us flexibility from within the posting famework on WordPress to tweak all metadata, and assign SEO specific page and category titles to every single post. This is a great plugin to help you, or your clients rise through the ranks for your domain name, and for the keywords you’re trying to target. It’s simple to install, and best of all, it’s free!

2. WP Touch

What is WP Touch?

WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress website into an application-like theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects when viewed from the most popular mobile web browsing devices like the iPhone, iPod touch, Android mobile devices, Palm Pre/Pixi and BlackBerry OS6 mobile devices.

The admin panel allows you to customize many aspects of its appearance, and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to touch mobile visitors, without modifyinga single bit of code (or affecting) your regular desktop theme.

 WP touch will turn any WordPress site into a “mobile app” on smartphones. Many people developing websites nowadays will pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a “mobile app,” for the website, not knowing that there are free tools available that have all of the basic functionality that they want. When your clients ask you for a “mobile version” of their site, this might just do everything for you that they want, and give you a chance to show off your knowledge, and willingness to recommend cost effective solutions to them.

3. W3 Total Cache

What is W3 Total Cache?

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

Benefits:

  • At least 10x improvement in overall site performance (Grade A in YSlow or significantGoogle Page Speed improvements) when fully configured
  • Improved conversion rates and “site performance” which affect your site’s rank on Google.com
  • “Instant” subsequent page views: browser caching
  • Optimized progressive render: pages start rendering quickly
  • Reduced page load time: increased visitor time on site; visitors view more pages
  • Improved web server performance; sustain high traffic periods
  • Up to 80% bandwidth savings via minify and HTTP compression of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and feeds

Page load times are important for SEO, as are a host of other aspects of website performance. This simple, free plugin will pimp your site performance, and give you a boost in the search engines thanks to reduced load times. There are a number of options to tweak the plugin to help your site perform exactly like you want it to, and with over 1.2 million downloads, this is one of the most popular performance-oriented plugins around.

4. Facebook Tabs Manager

What is the Facebook Tabs Manager?

The Facebook Tab Manager allows you to create landing pages and other types of content to be displayed within Facebook, particularly within the tabs that appear on Facebook business pages and pages for other types of organizations. This provides a way of putting more interesting layouts and functionality into your Facebook pages, without the need to get too deep into fancy programming.

The Facebook Tab Manager was specifically designed to take advantage of a recent Facebook page redesign that added support for iframe tabs on Facebook pages. Optionally, you can now also specify content to be displayed on an associated canvas page.

The Facebook Tabs Manager is an excellent excellent plugin which will help people with websites integrate their WP content into their Facebook page. We’ve seen a few creative uses of this plugin, including making photography and video tabs in Facebook pages, and integrating “about” and “team” pages into Facebook tabs to increase the social reach of websites. If you’re not overly technical, this is one of the best plugins you can use to impress your clients, and also help them build up their engagement numbers through their Facebook pages.

5. Disqus WordPress Comments

What is Disqus?

Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.

The Disqus for WordPress plugin seamlessly integrates using the Disqus API and by syncing with WordPress comments.

Disqus Features

  • Threaded comments and replies
  • Notifications and reply by email
  • Subscribe and RSS options
  • Aggregated comments and social mentions
  • Powerful moderation and admin tools
  • Full spam filtering, blacklists and whitelists
  • Support for Disqus community widgets
  • Connected with a large discussion community
  • Increased exposure and readership
Disqus is everything that WordPress’ native comments system should be. It gives you options to login to leave comments through various social media channels like Twitter or Facebook, or link your blog up in the comments section of the blog you’re commenting on. It has a clean threaded comments display, and is great for visually displaying the flow of a conversation in comments on your blog, or your clients blog. Not completely revolutionary, but a total classic, and one plugin that your client’s site should not be without.

6. Facebook Comments for WordPress

What is Facebook Comments for WordPress?

This plugin integrates the Facebook commenting system (new, old or both) right into your website. If a reader is logged into Facebook while viewing any comment-enabled page or post, they’ll be able to leave a comment using their Facebook profile.

FB Comments for WordPress is the strongest social alternative out there to Disqus. You might have seen that major blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch have embraced Facebook comments on their site, even getting rid of other comment systems. FB comments for WP allows non developers to get the full FB Comments social plugin experience on their own sites, or their clients sites, and encourages all of their readership to post their articles and posts to Facebook, expanding social reach with each share. We usually have FB Comments for WordPress and Disqus installed simultaneously on WordPress sites to give readers an option of how they want to comment, but you can pick and choose based on your objectives.

7. PunchTab

Punchtab is a relatively new kid on the block, and is causing some stir online.

PunchTab is the world’s first instant loyalty platform reaching over 20 million consumers every month across hundreds of sites that have integrated the company’s loyalty programs. Using PunchTab publishers, retailers and application vendors can deploy a tightly integrated reward program to their users in minutes with no development or marketing costs. Consumers can immediately authenticate through popular social networks and start earning loyalty points that are redeemable for exclusive offers, gift cards, and custom rewards.

Based in Silicon Valley, PunchTab was founded in January of 2011 by Ranjith Kumaran who previously co-founded YouSendIt.com, the largest digital file-delivery service serving 600,000 subscribers, and Mehdi Ait Oufkir, an early YouSendIt employee who went on to found JellyDo.com, a location-based reminder service for Foursquare users.

PunchTab creates instant loyalty programs for you, or your clients. It’s an excellent option to offer your clients, and you can help them run giveaway and engagement campaigns through their Facebook page with PunchTab. In addition to loyalty programs, PunchTab will reward users with badges for every like, comment, visit, share that they enact on your site. You can customize the number of “actions” it takes for a visitor to get rewarded, and even customize the look and feel of badges to match the branding of your site, or your clients site.
Conclusion
We’ve reviewed 7 of the best WordPress plugins out there for your site, or for your client’s site. We install most of these plugins on every WordPress site we develop to get effects like a “mobile app” and “loyalty program” totally for free. These plugins can save you time, and save your clients money.
If you’d like additional help walking through more custom WordPress plugins, or thinking through your client offerings, we’d be happy to help you do so! Drop us a line here any time, and we’ll get back to you faster than you can install one of these plugins!
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