There are two types of plugins, the ones that are specific to your website, and the ones that are considered must have plugins for any WordPress site. There is little problem to determine the first group, and take a note, I’m not talking about finding one, as it can sometimes require custom solutions.
The real problem of determination is related to the second group, as it is not about only your website anymore. It is about how the Internet and WordPress operate in general and how you can use the advantage of those technologies to grow your business.
With more than 40,000 plugins available at WordPress.org, it is the biggest free plugin marketplace and storage on the web. The problem is that for an average business person it can be really tricky to discover must-have plugins. You can look into a list of popular plugins, but it does not guarantee any success. For example, WooCommerce is a really popular WordPress plugin, but is it a must-have one? Yes, for an e-commerce website, and no for the rest. (We will get to WooCommerce later)
A best and must have WordPress plugins are those that are focused on overall improvements and quality of your website. Plugins that you simply can’t live without, and here you will find the unbiased list of them.
The last thing, at the end of the article there is a bonus waiting for you. A secret list of plugins that are usually skipped by bloggers, but can offer amazing value for your WordPress site.
Everything about SEO is hot and trendy and we hear these words over and over again. Every developer, blogger and business person is pointing out the importance of having a good SEO and they are right! Google and other search engines are playing a huge role in our online business so this is obvious we need to ensure that our website is SEO friendly. Yoast SEO plugin will do the job as it analyzes your pages and provides insights on where you should improve in order to comply with the SEO best practices.
If you want to make a modern website and have a reliable tool to manage your content you will need to look into website builder or page builder plugin. Creating a pro looking layout with media, social integrations and a dynamic content block is not a surprising demand these days. Visual Composer Website Builder has a free version available for free to take away all the hassle. You will be able to build any layout with the help of drag and drop, ready-to-use content elements, and even templates. With this powerful plugin, everyone can create a website – fast and easy.
WordPress is a kind of a vulnerable to spam and spammers so there is something you must do about it. Fighting with spammers on a daily basis is a pointless option as you will end up fully frustrated. Akismet plugin allows you to use the power of Akismet Web service to automatically filter spam and scam among your website’s comments.
Jetpack can be called and ultimate all-in-one plugin for WordPress as there is so much good and useful about it. With Jetpack in place, you will receive all the basics traffic insights, security, image performance, and more features like custom CSS option.
Better performance has a direct impact on user experience and affects conversions. One of the methods for performance improvements is related to the introduction of WordPress plugins handling cache. Among all of them, W3 Total Cache is one of the best free plugins with the support of content delivery networks and is highly recommended by the most popular hosting companies.
You don’t usually think about backups until you need one (true story.) Nevertheless, we encourage you to take this seriously and make sure that you have a good backup solution you can rely on. The BlogVault can be considered as one of the top-notch WordPress backup plugins with tons features and options available. With 300,00+ sites powered globally, this is something you should have on your list.
Securing your website from hacking or losing data should be among top priorities. There is no reason to believe that WordPress is more vulnerable than any other platform, even vice versa. Yet, it is more attractive to hackers and other criminals. In order to raise your level of defense, it is a good idea to have WordFence installed, which is the most popular security plugin for WordPress with regular updates released.
Sharing information is not a trend anymore, it’s a commodity, and your business must be prepared for it. Your website has to offer a way to share information fast and easy. AddtoAny Share Buttons plugin allows you to easily add sharing options to services like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and 100 more different services and apps.
Most of the websites do have contact forms and WordPress websites are no exception for sure. Well, this is where Contact Form 7 comes into place, as it offers you everything you need to have for building and managing forms. On the very basis of Contact Form 7 lays a simple markup mechanism which will be interpreted into WordPress shortcode which you can insert into your page or post.
WP Subscribe is subscription plugin that supports MailChimp, Aweber, and Feedburner. With this plugin, you can easily build your mailing list to communicate with your potential leads via e-mails and reduce the dependency of external traffic sources.
E-commerce and communication
A different topic to cover once it comes to plugins for e-commerce or online communication. There are more must-have plugins to mention in this category as they have reserved their spot in the very heart of WordPress community.
It is hard to imagine a WordPress website focused on e-commerce without having WooCommerce plugin installed. A comprehensive list of features, tailored for years, allow you to set up one of the best e-commerce experiences. And at the end of the day, there must a reason for Automattic to spent $30 million to acquire WooCommerce, right?
Once it comes to building a community, a forum is an essential part of your communication strategy. bbPress is the unspoken leader in WordPress powered forums and the first plugin you should give a try. With lightweight core and comprehensive list of addons, you will find it easy to set up just for your needs.
As stated at WordPress Plugin repository, Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community. In other words, it allows using Disqus service within your WordPress website and enhance your commenting system.
A secret bonus weapon or more plugins to know
Just as promised, there are few more plugins to share that you should keep as a secret weapon in your WordPress plugin arsenal. It could be that you already came across those plugins in the past, but skipped them. Why? Because they are rarely listed in so-called must have lists people love to follow blindly without uncovering a real deal.
With over one million active installs you can barely name it a secret plugin, right? But the real essence of using this plugin comes in once you decide to improve your site with a help of A/B testing. Duplicate post plugin allows you to easily clone pages so you can make necessary adjustments for your alternative version.
With Smush.it service under question because of Yahoo, it is a good idea to look for alternative image optimization service. This is where Kraken.io WordPress plugin comes into place allowing you to ensure that image size is not the weakest point of your website. And trust me on this one, your performance will appreciate such a move.
It is unlikely that you will have a website without custom scripts added to your header or footer. While there are plugins for different tracking codes, remember, that keeping your list of plugins short will have a positive effect on your website performance. And, you will find it way easier to manage all your header and footer scripts from one place.
Working on a website content is an ongoing process and we, as a normal human being, tend to make mistakes and forget things. One of the most popular problem in WordPress and the web, in general, are broken links. They affect user experience, SEO and reduce conversions. Broken Link Checker looks for any broken links on your WordPress website and informs you about them.
With so many plugins available it is sometimes hard to determine the real gems of WordPress world. This list of must-have WordPress plugins is aimed to help you to take first steps as there are much more to add. Also, make sure to check out our shortlist of premium WordPress plugins to extend the capabilities of your website.
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