Useful Craft CMS Plugins
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel - Use a Plugin
Craft CMS is a powerful content management system that lets you build exactly what you need in the way you want it, but sometimes this blank canvas can be its biggest downside. For these moments, instead of spending time reinventing the wheel and creating something custom, it's worth making use of the vast collection of plugins in the Craft Plugin Store.
In this article I’m going to list some plugins that I think deserve a spotlight, or that I enjoyed using while developing Craft CMS projects. The list will be categorised and include both free and paid plugins.
These plugins will enhance the work of a developer, but also improve the user experience for the client. Intuitive and properly scaffolded blocks should be thought of at the beginning of the development.
Neo is great to create page building blocks that would otherwise be extremely time-consuming to make using a native Matrix field. It’s a paid plugin, but in my opinion totally worth it.
Price: $49 (Price includes 1 year of updates. $19/year per site for updates after that.)
Visual editor for WYSIWYG boosted with ability to add predefined blocks to your formatted text. Controlled freedom for editors where creating long text contents is a breeze.
Price: $59 (Price includes 1 year of updates. $39/year per site for updates after that.)
Free plugin which, like the name suggests, manages your fields and field groups. Grouping, cloning, importing and exporting is made easy with this plugin.
When you have the same block type repeated, for example when displaying multiple benefits with an icon and some text, this plugin works like a dream. Nice, intuitive UI and two layouts to choose from, you will thank yourself for adding the Super Table plugin to your project.
Typed Link Field
This plugin speeds up the development process and provides better experience for content editors.
Almost all projects I have worked on needed some sort of an Icon picker. While you can just create an asset field and let content editors upload an icon themselves, it creates a lot of freedom to potentially upload an asset that is not an icon at all.
The IconPicker plugin has a lot of features and has support for multiple folders, which can be very handy when there are a lot of icons in your project.
HOMM Icon Picker
The free alternative to the IconPicker can be the HOMM Icon Picker plugin. No fancy features, but still a better option than the regular asset field.
This plugin lets you clone, copy and paste matrix blocks.
Similar functionality to the Smith, but Cloner lets you clone most types of content groups, allowing you to easily clone sections, entry types, category groups, user groups and more.
Restricts colour selection to a preconfigured collection. Perfect for allowing controlled customisation while sticking with branded colour palettes.
Good, free alternative to Vizy, although without an option to add pre-configured blocks inside. A basic WYSIWYG editor.
A useful Google Maps field that works out of the box. It’s also compatible with Matrix and SuperTable, meaning your admin panel will look great and have a great user experience.
This one is purely for the aesthetic of your admin panel, however when having a lot of block types, it can improve readability of your edit pages. Newly added support for Neo block types is a great addition too!
When working with Matrix blocks, this plugin lets you group your block types. It's then easier to find the correct block, making the authoring experience less overwhelming and more intuitive.
Plugins that will enhance the admin panel, benefiting content editors.
Using this plugin is probably the only way to style the admin login page.
As the plugin page explains: "This widget can be used to display useful links on the dashboard for clients. You can create as many headings as you need in the plugin settings to separate out the content clearly. Each link can have a title, url, and additional comment."
It’s a good practice to provide your client with a list of useful links should they need more guidance or help in managing their site after the development process finishes. With Help Links this list will always be accessible and easy to find on the dashboard page of the admin panel.
To help improve the backend side of the project.
Very powerful plugin providing static page caching, improving server response time and making sure the site stays available even during maintenance.
Price: 99$ (Price includes 1 year of updates. $49/year per site for updates after that.)
If you don’t want to pay for a Blitz with all the features, Blitz Recommendations is a free plugin that adds a utility to provide hints for eager-loading elements. It’s a great tool to make sure you eager-load everything possible so that your queries are limited to the absolute minimum.
Craft CMS is a fully customisable content management system, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that navigation doesn’t come straight out of the box. It surprised me, however, that the Navigation plugin quickly fixed the situation. What would've been a long and tiring process of creating a simple navigation, thanks to this plugin, is a 15 second job.
It's intuitive and straightforward, allowing you to create multiple navigations using entries, categories, assets and external links. It’s a paid plugin, but definitely worth every penny.
Can be pretty handy on production sites to check logs inside the "utilities" section.
SEO & Accessibility
A good SEO plugin with loads of features to produce optimised copy and manage SEO meta tags.
Handy for easily connecting with Postmark.
Full-of-features form builder. Intuitive drag and drop with loads of options, integrations and email notifications.
Price: $99 (1 year of updates and support, $49 renewal every year after)
Alternative to Formie, simple contact form plugin that is free to use.
Sometimes creating custom functionalities is a necessity, but in other cases - use a plugin. Instead of reinventing the wheel, focus your attention on making sure your project is accessible, easy to navigate and intuitive for people who will be using it.