The Best WordPress Plugins of 2016

Today we are going to showcase our top 8 choices for the best WordPress plugins of 2016. The utility of these plugins range from dynamic, to social media and even developer focused plugins; and are based solely upon our opinions and experience with them as developers.

While there are a number of reasons why developers may choose to utilize WordPress as the foundation to base their custom designs upon, as developers, our reasons for choosing to utilize the WordPress ecosystem include: ease of use for our clients, proper security updates, as well as plugin maintenance for sustainability and long-term performance. Many designers and developers (like us) choose to utilize the WordPress ecosystem because of its vast array of open-source options for extendable API’s and programs, as well.

Please note, these recommendations are merely our opinion. Imagine Monkey, Inc is not affiliated with any plugin developer or company referenced in this article, and is not being paid to give these opinions. Without further adieu, here are our choices for our favorite WordPress plugins of 2016 (thus far)…

advanced custom fields
ACF provides custom field creation for posts and pages.

Ah, ACF… a plugin that should be in every WordPress web developers tool-belt. By default, WordPress pages and posts have a limited amount of data-input fields. However, there are times when you may be required to collect and display more data than what is available. This is where the widely popular WordPress plugin, Advanced Custom Fields, proves useful. By utilizing this extremely versatile and powerful plugin, you can generate new custom fields for your pages, posts, and custom post types. Unlike other plugins, the barrier of entry is fairly low – and even non-technical users may find its user-interface and online documentation fairly straight forward and easy to learn.

Official ACF Download



custom post types for wordpress
Post types order allows you to re-order custom post-types in the ADMIN UI.

Post Types Order

You may be wondering what a “post type” is, and why should it matter how it’s ordered? Well, it’s simple really: a custom post type is a regular post that just has a different post_type value stored in the database. For instance, the post type of regular posts is post, and pages use page, attachments use attachment and so on. As a developer, you could create custom post types for songs, movies, recipes, products and so on. Post Order and custom Post Type Objects (custom post types) plugin is a visual “Drag and Drop” plugin which allows you to sort post types via a sortable JavaScript AJAX interface via the default WordPress dashboard.

Official Post Types Order Download



clef two factor authentication
Two Factor Authentication is a new security methodology employed by major websites.

Clef Two-Factor Authentication

Twofactor authentication (also known as 2FA) is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity by utilizing a combination of two different components. Generally, this includes either an email sent to the user, or a phone-call or text message sent in order to verify the authenticity of the user requesting special login permissions. Cleff is a mobile app which provides a password free way to security authenticate users to your WordPress website.

A few notable features of this plugin/app are (from the plugin description page):

Clef stores the encrypted private key on your phone rather than in a central database. Thus even in the unlikely event of a catastrophic security breach on Clef’s servers, your login credentials remain secure on your phone.

Every Clef login requires two identification factors: your phone and a fingerprint or PIN. So even if your phone is lost or stolen, your Clef profile and logins remain safe and sound.

Clef disables passwords for all three WordPress authentication points: Dashboard access, API access (XML-RPC), and password resets. Thus it protects WordPress’s front door and back door against the full spectrum of password-based attacks:

Brute-force and botnet login attacks

Weak, leaked, and recycled passwords

Sending login credentials in plain text via an insecure (non-SSL/TLS) connection

Pishing attempts

Account takeovers via email breaches

Official Clef Two-Factor Authentication Download



mailchimp for wordpress
Mailchimp is trusted and used by over 7 million people worldwide.

MailChimp for WordPress

Mailchimp for WordPress is an extremely user-friendly plugin which allows you to link your MailChimp account to your WordPress website via an API. It gives you granular control over which forms you would like to display on which pages, and it also provides useful features such as form styling, eCommerce integration, AJAX form support, and detailed reports and statistics posted directly within your Admin dashboard. With over 7 million users entrusting Mailchimp with their newsletter needs each month, integrating this service with your WordPress based website is a great way to increase conversion and newsletter signup rates.



redux framework
Redux is a WordPress theme framework for developers.

Redux Framework

While the Redux Framework isn’t a “plugin” in the traditional sense, it is installable and configurable the same as any other WordPress plugin. And, it’s even hosted on the official WordPress plugin repository. The Redux framework is built on the WordPress Settings API, and it supports a multitude of field types as well as: custom error handling, custom fields & validation types, and import/export functionality.”

The Redux Framework aims to help alleviate some of the code overhead that developers face when developing custom solutions for WordPress. Through its extensible documentation, wide user-base, and multiple use-case examples, the Redux framework is a greate choice for any developer who’s looking to get their feet wet by developing their own bespoke themes.

Official Redux Framework Download


instagram feed for wordpress
Mobile responsive Instagram Feed plugin.

Instagram Feed

This Instagram Feed plugin allows you to display mobile responsive feeds from multiple Instagram accounts directly onto your webpages without manually entering the feed code into your PHP files or into the header of your pages via JavaScript (directly). With this plugin you are able to display photos from multiple IG accounts, as well add a “Follow on Instagram” button at the bottom of your feed. Each feed is extremely customizable, with options for modifying the width, height and overall style of your IG feed. For developers, this plugin also offers the ability to easily add your own custom CSS and JavaScript for personalized customization to the feed style.

Advantages of Instagram Feed in a nutshell (from the plugin description page):

Increase Social Engagement – Increase engagement between you and your Instagram followers.

Save Time -Save time and increase efficiency by only posting your photos to Instagram and automatically displaying them on your website

Display Your Content Your Way – Customize your Instagram feeds to look exactly the way you want.

Official WordPress Instagram Feed Widget Download



Allows you to connect to your FB API to pull recent posts.

Recent Facebook Posts

The Recent Facebook posts plugin is a WordPress plugin allowing you to list the most recent Facebook posts from public Facebook pages directly onto your website. This plugin includes the ability to display Facebook posts via a WordPress widget, embedable shortcode, as well as a theme function which you can add to your themes function.php file.

Some notable features to this plugin are (from the plugin description page):

Facebook posts are rendered as plain HTML which means they are indexable by search engines, no frames or JavaScript is used.

Facebook posts are cached for a customizable period.

Easy Configuration, the plugin comes with a comprehensive installation guide and screenshots.

Official Recent Facebook Posts Plugin Download



custom css plugin for wordpress
Simple CSS plugin allowing for custom CSS entry into the WP ADMIN UI.


Simple Custom CSS

We recently covered the Simple Custom CSS plugin in great detail on our blog – but in a nutshell, if you’re a web designer who constantly finds themselves needing a quick way to test CSS modifications or an easier way to over-write previous CSS (such as in a theme or plugin), then a custom CSS plugin like Simple Custom CSS is a great way to add additional CSS without modifiying core files.

Official Simple Custom CSS Plugin Download



Well, that wraps up our short list of the most useful WordPress plugins that we’ve used so far this year. We’ll most likely come back around to this blog post to add different plugins as we come across them later down the road. We may even amend this blog if our opinion on one of the aforementioned plugins changes. Feel free to contact one of our web developers if you would like assistance in configuring or customizing any of the WordPress plugins above, and even those which we haven’t covered in this blog. Until next time, code well!

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