I’ve been using wordpress.com for years, and this year I finally made the jump to wordpress.org over on my blog, MostlySewing.com.

I didn’t know what I was missing!

Basically, if you’re thinking “I wish my site did this,” you can find a plugin for it.

A non-profit I work with almost hired a contractor to build out this giant contact form that will export to excel. I did a quick google search and found a plugin that was exactly what they wanted for less than $100.

My next big project was updating CafePierrot.com built on wordpress.org with a Genesis Child Theme. This site has so many functions, I was digging through plugins trying to find the best to use. After many installs – activate – uninstall attempts, I’ve settled on several non-Genesis plugins that I will use on every site I ever make!

PS – no affiliate links here, just love!

  • Envira Gallery
    This gallery plugin is AMAZING. I found it much more intuitive than NextGen galleries, and just prettier. I’m sure there are tricks to make the NextGen galleries prettier, but who has time for that? Envira looks great even in the free version!
  • Yoast SEO
    If you are trying to get your website to rank, but feel completely lost – DOWNLOAD YOAST. I’m using the free version on cafepierrot.com, and I increased page views by 800% after installing and typing away until I got the green light 🙂
  • Instagram Feed
    Do you want an instagram feed across the bottom of your website? This plugin works really well, and with a little piece of code added to your “footer.php” file, you’ll be able to display your beautiful feed!
  • Relevanssi
    This plugin was already on cafepierrot.com when I started working on the site, and then I uninstalled because I didn’t think it was doing anything useful.
    Then I tried to search for a “Nautical Cake” and nothing came up, even though there were at least 3 nautical images on the site.
    Once I re-installed Relevanssi, my images were much easier to search. It will also search the tags on Envira photos, so make sure you’re including those!
  • WPForms
    This Contact Form is built by the Envira Gallery team, and just launched a few weeks ago. It’s just as intuitive and pretty as you’d expect. It connects to paypal, so I used it for a non-profit site to accept program registration fees and donations.
  • Simple Social Icons
    This is actually a Genesis Plugin that works on non-genesis themes. I just think these icons look better than most of the others, and you can easily change the colors.
  • MailMunch
    Another good-looking plugin that’s free! Most of my clients only have 1 Constant Contact/ mailchimp mailing list, so the free version works find for them.

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