Six must-have WordPress plugins

By Tim Priebe on February 1, 2017

By Tim Priebe on February 1, 2017

Note: You may also be interested in Six more must-have WordPress plugins.

WordPress is fantastic! Except when it’s missing some functionality you wish it had. Over the past few years, we’ve developed a list of plugins we install on almost every single website we launch. They do an awesome job of filling in those gaps in functionality.

There are actually twelve plugins we install, so we’ll take a look at six of them now and six of them next week.

Let’s plug away!

(A bad pun never hurt anybody…)

Antispam Bee

Spam comments are a legitimate problem for bloggers. Generally, it’s a shady way for people to try to create backlinks, and it’s often done by automated programs, not real humans.

This plugin blocks that type of comment spam. It has a number of available settings, although you’ll probably be fine with the defaults.

Check out Antispam Bee

ARVE Advanced Responsive Video Embedder

We weren’t happy with how responsive—or rather, unresponsive—videos in WordPress were by default when embedded. When you pasted in a URL, the videos often wouldn’t resize correctly on mobile devices.

This plugin took care of that problem for us. It works just like WordPress’ built-in video embedding functionality, so you can still just paste URLs for videos on their own line, but it’s also auto-magically responsive.

Check out ARVE


This is the first premium, paid plugin on our list, but we’ve found it is well worth the money. BackupBuddy from iThemes makes it easy to, well, back up your WordPress website. Not only do we use it to back up sites before and after upgrading everything—WordPress, plugins, and themes—but we also use it multiple times a month to create and migrate copies of WordPress sites.

Check out BackupBuddy

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

You probably already know about the Text widget built into WordPress. You can insert any text or HTML, and it appears in a widget. But you don’t have to know HTML to make a page or blog post, so why should you need it for a widget? We didn’t want our clients to have to mess with HTML, that’s for sure.

The Black Studio TinyMCE Widget plugin creates a Visual Editor Widget. In other words, it’s the same editor you use to create pages and blog posts but in a widget.

Check out Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

Easy Table

There’s no getting around the fact that tables are a great way to present data on the interwebs. Why WordPress doesn’t have table capabilities built in, I don’t know. But they don’t. However, as the saying goes, there’s a plugin for that.

Easy Table makes it—well, easy—to insert a table into a page or a post. And the results are also searchable using WordPress’ built-in search functionality, unlike some other plugins we’ve used in the past.

Check out Easy Table

Facebook Like Thumbnail

You want your website visitors to share your pages and blog posts on social media, right? But Facebook doesn’t always show the image you’d prefer they show as the thumbnail.

This plugin will first look for a featured image, then one of the media that’s attached to the page, then will fall back to a default image you specify in the plugin’s settings.

Check out Facebook Like Thumbnail

That’s it for now! Hopefully you found this list helpful. If not, it’s kind of weird that you’re still reading.

Anywho, tune in next week for the final six essential WordPress plugins. Essential for us, at least.

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  1. Avatar Matt McNeil, ISA CAPP on February 2, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Another great article, Tim!

    I plan to install the Anti-Spam Bee now that I’ve read your review of it.

    I also need to ask you to e-mail me, as I’d like to know how and where to place the HTML code for my company’s Yelp page. (WordPress is so easy to work with that I can’t imagine that this won’t be a cinch.)

    I always look forward to your highly informative newsletters, Tim!

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on February 2, 2017 at 9:53 am

      Thanks, Matt! I’ll have Holly or Sara (don’t think you know her yet) on our team contact you.

      I’ll also have them install Anti-Spam Bee if it’s not already on there. We also have something else we do on sites that are experiencing comment spam, so I’ll do that too, just to be safe.

  2. Avatar Matt on February 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Great list, Tim. I agree that Backup Buddy is well worth the price.

    ARVE is new to me, so I’m going to check it out.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on February 3, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Thanks, Matt. Happy to help!

  3. Avatar Edos Ubebe on February 7, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Hey Tim,

    Awesome post here buddy, I use Akismet to filter spam comment on my blog and I just heard about the Antispam Bee plugin in this post. I’ll give it a try on my other blog. Thank you.

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on February 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Thanks, Edos! My understanding is that Akismet is free for personal use, but the license is a bit different for commercial use.

      • Avatar Edos Ubebe on February 9, 2017 at 8:00 am

        Oh that’s serious. Does it mean that the licensed version isn’t for filtering spam comments?

        • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on February 9, 2017 at 8:17 am

          The only way you can legally use it for commercial purposes is to get a paid license. Currently, they charge $5 per month per site. Not terribly expensive if you just run one website. However, we opted to go with a free alternative rather than pay for 100+ websites for our clients. That saved us over $6K a year.

          • Avatar Edos Ubebe on February 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm

            Oh I see. It’s not cool to be paying that kind of amount for much site when one can easily get a free alternative. I understand now. Thanks though.