Often I have people ask me what I use when I build a website and honestly a lot of it just depends on the situation. However, there are a few staples I use on just about all the websites I build as well as several plugins that I switch between depending on what the situation calls for.
Below I’ll outline what themes and plugins I regularly use and why I use them.
For the longest time I used Genesis on every site I built. So at this point most of the sites I maintain were built with Genesis. However, just in the last few months I’ve moved to using the theme that comes with the builder I use. Genesis is still a great framework and I think there will still be some instances where I use it.
Ever since WordPress moved to the block editor I’ve been using the Kadence block library. It’s robust enough that it will allow me to do just about anything I need to do for most websites. Recently however, I’ve also started using the Kadence theme with the plugin and they just really work well together in most situations.
There are some instances where I just need to get a website up quickly and it’s just going to be a very simple site. For these instances I use Beaver Builder. It makes it really easy to put a website together quickly while still allowing for a lot of design flexibility. It’s also easy for my clients to use when they want to edit their website themselves. And it doesn’t quite take the performance hit like some of the other page builders out there.
Advanced Custom Fields Pro
Along with Genesis ACF Pro was my go to plugin for most of the custom sites I built. And while I’ve moved away from ACF to using the block editor there are still times when ACF just make sense. It allows me to easily allow a lot of customization to the site while still making it easy for my clients to update the site on their own.
Gravity Forms is by far my favorite form plugin. It is one of a few plugins that is on just about every site I build. It allows me to easily create any form I need, whether I need to make fields conditional on other fields, take money, or collect just about any information.
Simple Page Ordering
Inevitably, when working on a site you will want to move pages and post around to put them in a different order then the one that you published them in. This plugin allows me to do that just by dragging and dropping the pages and posts where I want them and then it applies the new order to the front of the site. This plugin will also work for any other custom post types that you use on the site, such as testimonials, portfolio, staff…or anything else.
If you work with clients on websites chances are you have had a conversation about SEO and making sure the website is showing up well in search results. Yoast is one of the top plugins to assist with this on WordPress websites. It’s the one that I currently use on all my sites, and while there are something I don’t love it also does a lot to help my clients with the SEO aspect of their website.
More and more Google looks at technical performance when ranking websites and this plugin helps me make sure my client’s sites are performing as well as they can. It is a premium plugin but for me it’s worth the cost for how well it makes my client’s sites run.
If there is one plugin that saves me hours of time, it is this one. This plugin I install on the backend of every site I build and it provides video tutorials on how to do all the basic things in WordPress. It also includes videos for other popular plugins such as Yoast, WooCommerce, and Beaver Builder. This saves me hours or walking clients through the basics of how to use their site.
These are the top plugins and themes I use when I am building sites for my clients. There are others that I use when the occasion warrants it but these are the ones that are used the most regularly.
Is there something I didn’t cover? Do you need a suggestion for a certain type of plugin? Reach out and I’ll help you pick the right one.