Skip to main content

Chapter 4: Plugins

Last Updated: 9/1/22

A Gift And A Curse

Plugins are crucial for more complex WordPress sites, even basic sites need contact form plugins. Unfortunately, not all plugins are built equally. Some are great, some will completely break your website.

Some type of contact form is needed on almost every site, it’s an easy way for users to get in touch with you, and allows you to get back to them on your own time. Below are some common contact form plugins and my recommendations for them.

Contact Form 7: This is one of the most popular plugins, but it’s not good for site speed. The code for Contact Form 7 is loaded on every single page of your site, even if a form isn’t being used on that page.
Gravity Forms: Another popular contact form plugin, but it’s better for site speed than contact form 7. The code for Gravity Forms are only loaded on the pages where there actually are forms.

If you read chapter 1: Image Optimization in this guide, you might be tempted to use an image optimization plugin. Don’t. A lot of image optimization plugins will slow down your site. It’s best practice to optimize your images BEFORE you upload them to your website.

EWWW Image Optimizer

WordPress site security is a very important topic, especially since attacks on WordPress sites are increasing every year.

WordFence: This is a popular security plugin, but some of the settings can slow you down. Check these two settings to make sure it’s not impacting your performance:

  • Go to “Basic Options”, uncheck Enable Live Traffic View, unless your regularly use that feature.
  • Go to “Scans to include”, uncheck Scan images, binary, and other files as if they were executable.

Some users have found that if their site is still slow after looking at these settings, deleting then reinstalling the plugin will solve the issue.

Jetpack: Some people blame Jetpack for their slow sites. But, from real world tests, it’s usually your hosting provider that is slowing down your site, not Jetpack.

If you’ve got a speedy site, your next step is to work on your SEO. There are a bunch of plugins out there to help you with this. Some are a lot better than others.

Yoast SEO: You will need to optimize some of the settings for site speed, you can read a guide for how to do that here.
All-In-One SEO

Many people use page builders to create beautiful websites in a fraction of the time of traditional developers, with far less code. The good part of this is that it saves you a ton of time, the bad part is that a lot of page builders are slow and clunky.

Elementor: This page builder is pretty popular, however, it got the worst score out of all the page builders I’ve tested for mobile devices. Elementor’s score for desktop devices were pretty on par with the other page builders.
WP Bakery: When used in combination with Salient, this is a very powerful page builder (Which I used for this website).

Found A Plugin You’re Not Sure About?

Let me know about it and I’ll look into it and add it to the list above. You can also test it yourself with WP Hive.

Submit Plugin

Got your plugins under control? Let's go to the next chapter.