==== Originally published on the IT Arsenal Newsletter ====

plugMore websites use WordPress today than any other platform, and having supported hundreds of sites over the last year, here’s the top 7 essential plugins that offer consistent value for online business builders.

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

It has a weird name, but what this plugin does is add a widget that includes the entire editor you normally see when composing a post or page. You can add images, resize and format text and anything else the normal editor can handle, making it much much easier to customize. I see this most useful in creating ads or promotions.

Gravity Forms

Forms for client intake, contact, feedback, and support are critical, and this plugin does it better than anything out there. It can even be used for taking payment, signing up users to an e-mail list or any number of functions with it’s add-ons.

Sidebar Manager Light

There come times when you need special pages on your site where you want custom sidebars, like tutorials, membership sections, or sales pages, this plugin, lets you do just that, have specific per page sidebars.

Simple Share Buttons Adder

There are thousands of sharing buttons plugins, I’ve found this to function reliably, and look the cleanest for business blog posts. SumoMe is awesome too.

Lightbox Plus Colorbox

You know when you click on an image or video and it pops open in those cool boxes with a faded background, this plugin lets your website do this, and will fairly minimal setup, but be forewarned, you will have to invest an hour or so to learn to use it and configure it. Useful for introductory videos of what you do, or images you want your audience to be able to full screen without leaving your website.

Wordfence Security

Free security for your WordPress site. Spammers and hackers are increasingly prevalent, this plugin lets you scan your site, and setup notifications for all sorts of alerts on your site, like when someone logs in, or posts, or there’s an update to a plugin.


The next best thing to strong security is regular backups, and this plugin is the most robust one out there, doesn’t always work for all sites, but it works more than any other.

Over the last 10 years of so of supporting online business websites, I can say one thing for certain. Everything changes, so while I absolutely think these are useful, that may change over time.

Even though nothing seems to stay the same in regards to tools, there are trends that stick around for years and are consistently important. When it comes to business, those things are websites, e-mail marketing, and selling.

WordPress is something people should be familiar with and at least, try it once. There are good reasons it is one of the most popular choices when it comes to managing a blog or the site and FirstSiteGuide is one of the places that can definitely help you with those first touch key understandings.

—> I’m happy to chat anytime about where online business is headed and how yours is doing, reply anytime! Check out the IT Arsenal blog, or say hi on Twitter.

I hope this e-mail was useful and I want to know if it wasn’t.


Always glad to help!