Having worked with Joomla for some time now, here is a selection of some components which I practically go with for any website project. These extensions are more to do with site performance, administration and site security. I might touch on SEO in another blog post! There is no particular order to these extensions. These are the first I install on most Joomla projects or recommend to my clients to add to their sites. Some are a small cost, but the small investments have massive gains. Some free ones are too good to be true!
JCH Optimize is a quality extension which will optimize your website's performance and make a huge difference to the speed of your Joomla website. There are two versions available, free and pro. The free version optimizes css and js, and combines website files to make your site load faster. The Pro version further optimizes the delivery of content, offers easy CDN configuration, an API to optimize your website images during the subscription period (any directory of your website) and more. The pro version is offered in the form of a subscription which gives you access to updates and the API to optimize your website images and starts at $29 (USD) for 6 months. At the end of the subscription the extension will continue to work but you will be unable to get updates or access the API. For the price, the pro version is a small investment with massive gains and more than worth the price tag. Get JCH Optimize from here.
Simply a must. Not only is it usefull for those times when development or something goes wrong with your site, but it is extremely handy for moving your site to another location. There are two versions available, a free and paid for version. Both are great but having used the pro version once, I have never looked back. The licence is unlimited sites/domains so it is another small investiment with great gains for €40 (40 euros at the time of righting). Find out more at Akeeba Backup. Be sure to compare the free and paid for versions, and if you consider Akeeba Admin Tools (my next suggestion), they have an essentials bundle which will get you Akeeba backup Pro and Admin Tools Pro for €60 (meaning you save €20 compared to buying these two seperately). Subscriptions listed on the website give you access to extension updates, after which, the extension version you have installed will continue to work fine.
Admin Tools is an additional security layer for your website as well as providing you additional tools to manage your website. There is a free and paid for version. This component will assist you in adding an additional password to the backend, hardening access rules to the front end and back end of your site, and the pro-version gives you a very sturdy web application firewall which blocks hackers attempts at common exploits such as SQL injection, cross site script attacks and file inclusion. Find out more at Admin Tools. Be sure to compare the free and paid for versions. The paid for version costs €40 but if you decide to purchase this and Akeeba backup, check out the essentails package which includes both of these and costs €60 (saving you €20).
If html does not scare you, then RokPad is an extension which you can install and set as your Joomla default editor, allowing you to edit all your website artciles and content in code. This helps avoid frustrating limitations of the inbuilt Joomla editor when it comes to styling, but makes the task of typing code a breeze with self-closing tags, code highlights, and so much more. I have never hit any limitation with this extension, it goes on any Joomla website I work with, It is the perfect replacement from the standard WYSIWYG editor and best of all, it is completely free. Grab it from http://www.rockettheme.com/joomla/extensions/rokpad.
Joomla's default contact form leaves a lot to be desired. RSForm!Pro offers the works and the option to set up complex submission forms. One of the highlights is to be able to easily customise the emails sent to the enquirer and the website owner and format the email how you want it displayed. Even as a basic form, this extension has its advantages and you can customise as many forms as you need accross your website. Pricing starts at €19 (euros) at the time of this article update. If you use complex forms or require full GDPR compliance, this is a quality addition to your site. Extensions are available to add payment methods, SMS functionality and more. Some extensions are free, others are available as add-ons to the purchase price. The purchase of this extension means you can use it for life, but for continued access to the latest updates you will need to renew via a subscription. It is more than worth the price. Find out more at RS Joomla.