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WORDPRESS: 9 of the best must-know plugins and resources

Need some top quality plugins and resources to make your WordPress install a better place? Start with this essential collection


PLUGIN – BuddyPress

BuddyPress is the ultimate social network plugin for WordPress. With groups, private messaging, activity streams and notifications – to mention just some of the great features this plugin offers – you really don’t need any other social network plugin in order to get up and running, for any type of subject, for any number of members.

PLUGIN – W3 Total Cache

Everybody wants a faster and more efficient WordPress install. Why? Because it engages more visitors and of course Google likes it as well. A faster site equals a better ranking. Ever since Google’s recent algorithm upgrade speed has become a very important factor in getting a good ranking. The W3 Total Cache is one of the most widely used speed and performance WordPress plugins. W3 Total Cache is a complete framework that improves site performance by up to ten times by combining a series of minifying tasks and caching processes that dramatically improve the overall user experience. In addition it also offers transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

RESOURCE – Template Tag Reference Guide

This site, produced by DBS Interactive, a US-based digital agency, is a comprehensive reference guide for WordPress template tags listed in an easy-to-follow format. What’s included in its guide? Author tags, bookmark tags, category tags, comment tags, date & time tags, Include tags, post tags and much more. The beauty of the site is that each tag is displayed inside a collapsible panel. All you need to do is click the desired tag and a host of information appears. This will give you a brief overview of the tag, the code in action and what each element of the code means. If you need to, simply copy and paste the code and modify accordingly.

PLUGIN – WP Maintenance Mode

A simple, yet amazing WordPress plugin. WP Maintenance Mode is perfect for new sites not yet launched with its timer count-down feature and coming-soon splash page. It’s also perfect for instances when you are working on a live site if you don’t want your visitors to see your half-finished masterpiece.

PLUGIN – Max Mega Menu

Max Mega Menu is a ready-made mega menu replacement for your WordPress theme. Just drop it in and you’re good to go. It uses a simple column system in order to help create user-friendly and easy-to-navigate mega menus. With easy CSS editing you can use this plugin and customise it to complement or match any brand or colour scheme.

PLUGIN – WooCommerce

Possibly the best-known WordPress plugin, its power matches that of WordPress itself. It’s ecommerce out of the box, giving developers and store owners total control over their online store. With over 29 per cent of market share, WooCommerce is now the most popular ecommerce platform.


From Adobe Certified Experts to world-renowned coding gurus, is the type of online video tutorial resource where the knowledge of and teachings from the contributors is second to none. The information found within it can be trusted to be accurate, up to date and reliable.


WP Smush is a superpower image optimising tool. Scan and reduce your image file sizes upon upload, reduce load times, keep those high-quality visuals and make search engines love your site even more. WP Smush is a worthy inclusion for each and every WordPress website that you end up building.


Perhaps a little obvious, but constantly overlooked, is where the developers responsible for bringing us WordPress go to ‘hang out’. You can learn about every function, find out about the most popular themes and get involved yourself by contributing towards the WP core or by joining the support team.