We typically use Roots theme with all our WordPress builds, this is a starter theme, which provides a suitable foundation for developers with a good experience of WordPress. We recommend reviewing the documentation.
We sometimes inherit projects from clients who have used another agency to complete their work. Where possible, a child theme should be created to separate our code from the inherited project. Child themes should also be used when working with a premium theme and never used with a starter theme such as Roots/Sage.
Whenever possible, try to avoid using plugins on a build unless they are necessary: WordPress builds can become very bloated and memory intensive if too many plugins are used. Furthermore, the more plugins you have the more likely there’s a security flaw in your build.
If you code something yourself then you should but not at the expense of the client or budget on the project. Typically the project lead will inform you when a plugin will be used.
Over the years we’ve completed a large number of WordPress websites. It’s not unusual to see the following plugins on any project:
- ACF (Advanced Custom Fields)
- This is vital to assisting with our bespoke design and CMS process and making the editing experience as straightforward as possible for our clients
- Contact Form 7
- If using CF7 please use Mailgun or SMTP to ensure more reliable delivery
- Breadcrumb NavXT
- Breadcrumbs are helpful to build internal links and give visitors to a website alternative means to explore. It's desireable now to use Yoast SEO breadcrumbs
- Regenerate Thumbnails
- Quite often we're having to add new image sizes to a template and this plugin will regenerate all thumbnails on the fly
- Pagination is typically preferred over infinite scroll but there are use-cases for both
- Yoast SEO
- At a minimum we use Yoast to create a sitemap, integrate Google Webmaster Tools and decide what post types, taxonomies and posts are available to public
- Sucuri Security
- Security is exceptionally important and this plugin gives us a number of key security improvements to help lock down WordPress
The full list of plugins we use can be found on our public WordPress repository.
Typically you’ll be provided with access to a working WordPress website, which you’ll be able to recreate on your local machine. If this is not the case, you should make sure you are using the very latest version of WordPress from wordpress.org or using our 'Starter WordPress'.
We recommended that updates should be carried out every three months or more frequently if possible. For most websites this process is straightforward. The older the website, the more risk of there being issues.