At Bloom, my former company, WordPress was our CMS of choice. Through some trial and error, we determined that it’s best for the long-term health of your installation (and your sanity) to use as few plug-ins as possible and rely instead on writing your own functions. We’ll be sharing our list of favorite functions soon. In the meantime, here’s our list of five plug-ins we couldn’t do without.

iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security)

Getting your site hacked is a painful experience. There are some simple steps your can take to secure your site nd this plug-in will do the heavy lifting for you as well as send you scheduled back-ups – effectively eliminating the need for a back-up plug-in. Note: Install this before you build out your site to take advantage of all it’s features.

Yoast SEO

There are many SEO plug-ins out there and we’ve tried most of them. Yoast is currently¬†the best at assisting the optimization process.

Gravity Forms

Pretty much every site you build will have at least some kind of form. Gravity Forms can handle about anything from a simple contact form to a multi-part questionnaire elegantly. Sure, you’ll pay initially for a developers license but you have a well written piece of code to use on multiple projects.

Nivo Slider

If you really have to use a slider, how about a flexible gallery plug-in that’s simple, template-able and doesn’t cause java script conflicts. Once again, this is pay to play but spring for the developers license and your set moving forward.

Subscribe 2

Subscribe 2 keeps the process of subscribing to email updates “in-house”.

Advanced Custom Fields Templates

Every client has information that needs to be formatted outside of the normal flow of the main content area. Managing this information can be a bit clunky with the standard custom field interface. This plug in cleans it up and makes it easier for the client to manage.

That’s it. Please share your favorites below.