Install your original set of must-have plugins
While every WordPress website can benefit from an original set of plugins, there are still some plugins that you’ll want on all sites. This usually involves things like SEO, backups, Google Analytics, caching, image optimization, security, contact forms, Jetpack (?), plus a couple more.
You probably already have a pretty good idea as to what your must-have plugins are, so I’m not going to push any individual plugins onto you (maybe just a couple). Instead, let’s focus on what’s the quickest way of having them installed.
Again, no surprise, this method is going to be WP-CLI.
We already covered the main commands to get new plugins installed a couple of sections above. Just to remind you, they are:
wp plugin install PLUGIN_SLUG wp plugin activate PLUGIN_SLUG
With that done, you can also use WP-CLI to pre-configure plugins. Again, this is done through the
wp option update command – the same one we used for configuring your favorite theme.
? At the beginning of this guide, I also mentioned an alternative way to roll out a basic WordPress website with a given collection of presets, themes, plugins, etc. Instead of using WP-CLI and going command by command, you can also use the Duplicator plugin and handle everything in one go. I advise you to test both approaches and see which works better for your workflow.
Some extra plugins to consider making your must-haves
Some of these you already know, some might be new:
Useful when changing themes or working with the site’s default image sizes in any way. As the name suggests, the plugin regenerates all thumbnails to their correct proportions.
Great plugin for adding custom code blocks to your
functions.php file, the stylesheet, or for creating new custom shortcodes.
Just add the snippet through this plugin, enable/disable it as needed, and, most importantly, keep your snippets regardless of any theme or plugin updates you’re making over time.
Do I even have to advertise this one to you?
There are many image optimization plugins in the WordPress directory. Optimole stands out (built by our sister company).
Here are some of the things it does that no other plugins do (or, at least, they don’t offer all these features in the same package):
- images are optimized in the cloud and then replaced on the front-end on the fly
- you keep all original versions of your images in the media library
- picks the right image size based on the visitor’s device and screen size
- serves all images via CDN
- uses lazy loading by default
- makes your images up to 85% smaller with no visible quality loss