This is our favorite WordPress plugins list, the plugins we cannot live without that we use on most of our projects.
We used to exclusively code templates. We were never sold on the idea of page builders like Divi, Composer or whatever came before Elementor. But there is something special about Elementor. It’s a next-level approach. And it’s hard to make a case against using it once you have Elementor Pro with the theme builder functionality. The selection of custom widgets continues to grow, and we have our custom widget building capacity at Eat/Build/Play. To us it makes more sense to put time into building a reusable Elementor Widget than custom coding template after template. That’s not to say we rely on Elementor entirely however, we frequently build plugins that use shortcodes to render their output and of course this fits into an Elementor based layout just fine as well.
2. ACF (Advanced Custom Fields)
Most of our custom WordPress plugins rely on ACF for the admin interface. We find ACF saves us consideration time compared to manual creation of metaboxes, field inputs and data save processes.
Where would we be without WC? Thanks to Elementor Pro theming for WC has become a lot easier and faster. Having a stable eCommerce platform is obviously crucial to running a profitable website and WC provides exactly that. Stability. It’s reliable and extendable. Do we love every aspect of it, no. Are there times we look over at BigCommerce or Shopify and wish we had some of their features, yes. At the end of the day however, we can adapt WC to meet any requirements we have.
That’s the end of our “must-have” WordPress plugins list!
Everything you see below is optional based on the nature of the site or is used temporarily as a utility plugin. We really aim to keep our plugin game tight, and that means reducing any plugins that are not vital to the site.
Duplicator helps us move sites in their entirety from local to staging and finally to the production server. We find this utility plugin very useful because it is reliable, works on most servers under nearly any conditions and it reproduces the site perfectly.
5. PostMan SMTP
We’ve faced email delivery problems in the past when relying on the basic PHP mailer built into WordPress. Using an SMTP plugin helps with delivery and it gives us an email log so we can verify our emails are going out. It’s very important considering our potential customers are expecting a response if they choose to contact us, and if we drop the ball on that we may never hear from them again.
6. Saber LMS
Saber LMS is the trusty solution for delivering courseware and providing a great testing engine in our WP sites. Full disclosure if you’re new to our site, Saber LMS is made by Eat/Build/Play along with the related Saber Theme. Saber is built to integrate with both Elementor Pro and ACF Pro, two dependencies that help us focus on the innovative approach to learning and less on the mechanics of the plugin. Saber LMS provides courses, lessons and has support for a single-page course environment modeled after Hubspot Academy.
7. Site.com General Plugin
No, before you go searching for it, site.com is not the name of a real plugin. This is just a placeholder for whatever the domain is. We are a big proponent of having a general custom plugin on your WordPress plugins list. This plugin is there to enable you to “bridge” plugins, helping them talk to each other, it’s a place to put utility scripts, it’s often a better choice over bulking up the theme layer.