Why do you need WordPress plugins if WordPress is as impressive a platform as they say? That is, indeed, a great question. Well, you don’t need all WordPress plugins, but just a select few to take your business website to the next level.
As a content management system, WordPress is quite impressive. Still, a lot of the action we love is found in the thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins out there. And there’s a horde out there man, of hungry developers making even more as we speak.
First, how about we drop a couple of fun facts just so know you’re in for a great ride. If that’s a yes I hear from the guys at the back, who I am to keep you waiting? Did you know?
- Of the top 1 million sites, the number of business sites powered by WordPress is five times the number of WordPress-managed news site.
- There are countless WordPress plugins for security, SEO, membership, ecommerce, analytics, social sharing and so much more.
- Today, you get a sizzling list of not 10, but 20 rock-star WordPress plugins to take your business site from good to great?! Bet you didn’t know that, but I digress.
If it were possible, we could write this masterpiece together – you and me. This is one of those “open-ended” posts if you’ll allow me. Anything or any WordPress plugin you have in mind is suitable for the conversation here. But until we can write posts together, participate in the comment section as always. All views welcome 🙂
You sort of should have guessed I will start with SEO. Boy, SEO or search engine optimization, is something else. It’s optimizing titles, placing focus keywords, writing Meta descriptions, cleaning up URLs, submitting sitemaps and blah blah.
Yoast SEO puts all that action just under your post editor. The plugin also measures the readability of your content. See, your content must be palatable to a fourth grader – which is good for user retention I believe. Say no to jargon, and strive to converse with your readers.
This is a must have WordPress plugin for every business site. And if you’re a WordPress professional, your cache of WordPress plugins is never complete without Yoast SEO. With features as fiery as the black dust of ancient China, Yoast SEO works as advertised.
Can you hear those ancient China flutes in your head? No? Let’s move on. Truly, all you need for your on-site SEO purposes is Yoast SEO. You can learn more about using the plugin in our detailed Yoast SEO guide.
Oh, lest I forget, it has a pro version that will save you 150 years. Of course, I’m kidding about the years but Yoast SEO is really good. Wait, does that sound so salesy? There are many other SEO WordPress plugins out there, so you’re essentially free to look. At the end of the day, Yoast SEO is the Chuck Norris of SEO plugins.
Btw, did you know Chuck Norris can swim up a waterfall? Haha.
If you’d like to add elements to your site, but don’t have the time to learn code, you will love Symple Shortcodes. Handcrafted right here, Symple Shortcodes places a lot of extensibility options in your hands. What does that mean?
You can affix a Google Map, for instance, anywhere on your website. Additionally, you’re free to place testimonials, dividers, columns and much more wherever.
You can build accordions, callouts, buttons, highlights and social icons with a couple of clicks. Personally, this WordPress plugin is on every website, and the shortcodes usually come in handy many times. It makes life a lot easier for you.
It’s a free WordPress plugin that’s clean and extremely easy to use. Best case scenario is you using it to super-charge your pages, posts and all other areas of your website. With so many features built within a seemingly lightweight design, I wage a pound of flesh you never will get bored.
What a wager?! I know, I know…we all get carried away at times more so if you’re the person who tried and loved the plugin at the center of this discussion. Symple Shortcodes is pure genius and I’m not in the least bit biased in any way.
W3 Total Cache
If you cower every time you see or hear the word “cache”, welcome, you’re not alone. This caching business is sort of confusing for many people, which is why we’ve lined up an entire post about the subject. It goes live in a couple of days, so be on the lookout for that.
But what is W3 Total Cache and why is it important for your business site? Caching is technically storing bits of a website on a user’s device. It might also involve a content delivery network as well as converting heavy and dynamic PHP files into light HTML files.
Whether you know what that means or not, caching is solely meant to increase page load speeds. In this time and era, you cannot afford to have a website that takes an eternity to load. Users will simply bounce and you shall have a bad taste in the mouth. Google will also send you into oblivion.
Which is why you need W3 Total Cache, a caching plugin from the gods. Configure it right, and you immediately have a faster website. Configure it wrong, and you are on the dark side fighting demons and stuff. Anyhu, W3 Total Cache is a darling to work with, and one of the simplest WordPress plugins you’ll find.
The features on this thing will have you reeling back in amazement. To whet your appetite, you get nifty features such as AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support, SSL support, compatibility with shared hosting, minification of resources, and so much more.
There’s a lot of vibe about this plugin within WordPress circles. There’s a faction of WordPressers who swear by Jetpack, and others who claim Jetpack is nothing but feature-bloat that’s bad for your speeds.
Then there is us. We feel Jetpack is a magnanimous plugin that deserves praise and more recognition. See, you don’t have to activate all the modules. Remember, each module you activate comes with its code – code that is added to your site whenever a page loads. Plus if you have great hosting, there’s nothing to worry about.
Isn’t it better, in the first place, to activate only the features you need? I have come across many WordPress plugins, but only a few can compete with Jetpack in terms of features and overall design concept. It’s a great tool to supercharge your business website in ways you never imagined.
Be it social sharing, publicizing posts, image carousels, related content widgets, site stats, brute force protection, comments and so much more, Jetpack has it all. It’s a nifty little plugin that delivers. The basic plan is free forever but there are plenty of premium options to match your needs.
Jetpack’s cousin, Akismet is – by popular opinion – the ultimate spam assassin. But just because it’s popular opinion, does it mean it is true? Well, more than 3 million active installs at WordPress.org is a remarkable starting point, don’t you think?
Akismet captures spammy comments before they show up on your site and wreak havoc. You can moderate comments whenever you want. This WordPress plugin offers you the tools you need to deal with comment spam categorically.
These days, Akismet ships with self-hosted WordPress so all you have to do is activate an API key. The procedure is rather much straightforward you won’t run into any trouble. Best part is, this is all you need to do to capture and stop spammy comments on your site.
The basic plan is forever free (it’s suitable for small/personal blogs) but Automattic offers a couple of premium flavors at a monthly fee. Affordability depends on your business needs, personal preferences and, of course, budget.
Business Directory Plugin
Here’s the deal:
Directories fare well in the online space. Do you recall a couple of things we said about SEO a few seconds ago? Yeah, I bet we were talking about Yoast SEO. I’m interested in the phrase “search engine optimization” to be exact. Beginners have no idea what SEO is.
See, at the exact moment I wrote that, I immediately had an idea. Goes something like this: How nice would it be to have an SEO directory for interested SEO learners? People could list all kinds of SEO-related things. Perhaps it’d fetch millions of page views since SEO is one of the most sought after keywords.
Does that even make sense? All the same, if you’ve been looking for a directory plugin to revolutionize your listing business, the Business Directory Plugin is yours to keep. By all means it’s free and comes with an impressive list of features. In a single line, the features will drive you insane.
WordPress security is quite the slippery animal. Just when you think you have everything under control, a hacker usurps you to the point of madness. But you can’t cry foul, no you can’t. You just need a top-of-the-class WordPress security solution such as Sucuri.
The Sucuri Security plugin gives you total control of the security of your WordPress website. In other words it’s a security suite meant to reinforce your existing security efforts. Out of the box, Sucuri Security plugin ships with a couple of nifty features.
We are talking about file integrity monitoring, security activity logging, remote malware scanning, post-hack security actions, blacklist monitoring, effective security hardening and security notifications. This is one of the security WordPress plugins that actually works.
But that’s probably because the plugin was developed by the same guys who brought us one of the best web security solutions. Couple this plugin and the additional features in Sucuri Premium, such as the CloudProxy website firewall, and you have a formidable security solution so you can sleep better at night.
Contact Form 7
Probably the best form builder I have come across, Contact Form 7 offers you a lot of power as far as building and integrating contact forms on your site goes. This plugin is a life-saver, since I can create contact forms and place them wherever on my site in record time.
Brought to you by Takayuki Miyoshi, this WordPress plugin is super-awesome at managing multiple contact forms as well. That, and you can easily customize your forms and the mail contents using simple markup. I said simple markup. Once you get the hang of things, Contact Form 7 will become one of your favorite WordPress plugins.
Other features include AJAX-powered submitting, Akismet spam filtering, CAPTCHA, shortcode functionality, and so much more. Plus a couple of settings to ensure you receive every submission from your site. Contact Form 7 is easy to install and use. It has over 3 million active installs as we speak.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
Making it easy for readers to find more of your awesome content can only mean great things for your WordPress site. For starters, the more content they find, the longer they stay on your website, which is great for user engagement, traffic and – eventually – conversions.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin offers you a lot of features ensuring your content is easy to discover. To begin with, you have multiple display locations for your related posts. The default location is, of course, below your content but you’re free to add related posts anywhere else including inside widget areas and inside template files.
On top of that, this WordPress plugin ships with a one of a kind templating system that let’s you customize how readers see results. Further, you can display related posts in your posts, pages, custom post types and even feeds. And thanks to a versatile algorithm, the plugin gathers related content from across your site.
Keeping track of your traffic is a must-do for every business owner. With the information you gather from traffic analysis, you can adjust your site and marketing strategy for maximal impact. Moreover, traffic analysis forms a huge part of understanding your target audience.
MonsterInsights is a great traffic analytics tool. And their plugin is the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress, what with over 1 million active installs! This plugin makes integrating Google Analytics with your WordPress site a breeze.
In minutes, you can tell how visitors find your website, so you can focus on the things that keep bringing them back. In a matter of clicks you can setup MonsterInsights and view your Google Analytics reports right within your WordPress dashboard. That’s sweet, right?
This tool is quite beginner-friendly thanks to excellent tracking, settings and workflows that have earned MonsterInsights a name across the globe. Other notable features include ecommerce analysis, ad tracking, real time stats, file download tracking, link tracking, and custom dimensions tracking among others.
Just to build momentum, let’s begin with a one-of-a-kind WordPress plugin that promises to boost the speed of your business site ten times. Ladies and gentlemen, say a big hello to Smush by the great team at WPMU Dev.
Did you know large image files could be the reason why your site takes forever to load? Of all things slowing down your website, images are the most notorious. It’s actually sad since most beginners don’t understand image file size has a massive correlation with website speeds.
The bigger the image, the longer it takes to load on your website. Enters Smush and you can say bye to the days of slow websites and high bounce rates. Thanks to this plugin, you can resize, compress and optimize all of your images with a single click.
Smush scans new and existing images on your website using WPMU super-servers, meaning the load is taken off your server. On top of that, this plugin cuts out all the unnecessary data, compresses and scales your images before saving them to the media library.
Further, Smush optimizes all images across your site. This includes images added by themes and plugins among others. This it does even if you have a multisite WordPress installation. Truly, there’s just so much to write about this plugin we would need a full review to cover everything.
While you don’t need WordPress plugins to whip up image galleries in WordPress, a gallery plugin such as Envira Gallery supercharges your galleries, enabling you to deliver a lot more with your images.
In an earlier post, we outlined how to create amazing WordPress galleries, but we only focused on the inbuilt gallery feature that creates basic galleries. If you need to go the extra mile and wow readers with your images, you need Gallery by Envira. Why? You ask.
For starters, this plugin is brought to you by Syed Balkhi, he who of WPBeginner. A renowned name in WordPress circles, Syed is popular for many top-range products including MonsterInsights among others.
In terms of features, Gallery by Envira is 100% responsive and ships with a drag-and-drop gallery builder that’s a bliss to work with, social media integrations, WooCommerce support, video galleries, watermarking, image proofing and amazing pre-made templates just to mention a few.
If you run an ecommerce site powered by WordPress, you probably use WooCommerce. That, or perhaps you’ve found a way to link your online store to Shopify. All in all, WooCommerce gives the competition a good run for their money.
Within five minutes, you could have a fully-fledged ecommerce site up and running. Yep, WooCommerce is that darn good. And you can sell whatever you desire, process orders and track inventory like a boss.
WooCommerce, truly, is WordPress ecommerce in a box. Notable features include multiple payment gateways, the free Storefront theme, an easy to use dashboard, plenty of options to manage your online store and a slew of free and premium addons that will blow your mind.
Brought to you by Automattic (yes, the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet, Jetpack etc), with over 3 million active installs and a superb rating of 4.5/5.0, WooCommerce is the only ecommerce plugin you will ever need.
Take note, though, that premium addons can cost a fortune so only go with the features you need. Still, you have to test drive WooCommerce buddy.
Since its creation WooCommerce has been our go to app for ecommerce. We find certain comfort in knowing our competitors use other “carts”. The extensions and add-ons are a bit confusing and can be expensive. – Brent
The design of your business website has a profound impact on your conversions and sales. A short while ago, I changed a couple of design elements on my portfolio website and believe you me, inquiries tripled immediately I was shocked. Shocked I had been leaving a lot of money on the table.
Perhaps your design is stealing from you. So what design changes did yours truly make? Well, I eliminated a heavy slider that was slowing my site and used a couple of the features found in the Symple Shortcodes plugin we mentioned earlier. I also inserted some PHP code within my template files for something else.
What the hell does this have to do with you or even Beaver Builder?
Well, I was able to make the changes to the PHP code since I know what an opening tag is. Can we say the same about you? What to do if you need to change up the design of your site without editing code or switching your WordPress theme?
You choose Beaver Builder, a powerful drag and drop page builder that helps you to create layouts out of this world. Yes, it’s compatible with whatever theme you have, plus you can use the pre-made templates that save you a lot of time.
Seeing as we just touched on design, let’s talk about CSS Hero, a premium WordPress plugin that will save you a lot of time as far as customizing your WordPress theme goes. Listen: WordPress themes depend on CSS for the visual appearance of your website….but you don’t know CSS hombre.
If you’d like to change the size of text, colors, margins and that kind of thing, you will need to learn CSS, which we must admit is time-consuming for the average business owner. What to do instead? To change how your business site looks without writing a line of code, you need to make CSS Hero your friend.
This WordPress plugin ships with awesome features such as 900+ Google fonts, a top-notch color manager, special effects, ready-made styles and theme skins among others. You can even export your styles to another platform because these guys are awesome 🙂
If you’ve ever been one of those folks that worries that you don’t know enough CSS to make a site look like you want it to, you can stop stressing right about now. – Chris Lema
Easy Social Share Buttons
One among the bestselling social WordPress plugins, Easy Social Share Buttons is more than just a social sharing plugin. It’s meant to take your outreach mission to a whole new level what with features from here to Timbuktu.
Easy Social Share Buttons WordPress plugins is best known for awesome features such as support for 50+ social networks, beautiful templates, numerous button and icon animations, social counters, 27+ display positions, support for WhatsApp + other mobile apps, media sharing, and after-share actions among others.
On top of that (and a million and one other amazing features), Easy Social Share Buttons is mobile-friendly and comes with superior support. Then it comes with alluring optin forms, you can grow both your social media following and mailing list with a single plugin. Killing two birdies with the same stone kind of thing.
You have to see the extensive list of features for yourself. If you’re anything like many of us here, this plugin will surely sweep you off your feet. At the time of writing, this plugin powers over 80k websites, has an impressive rating of 4.66/5.00 and costs just $19 bucks.
Wherever you go online, you’re bound to find at least one website using the membership model. This just means the content you need is locked behind a registration form or a pay wall. But how do business owners manage to build membership sites on WordPress?
Building a bespoke membership site from scratch is insanely costly and time-consuming, more so when there are countless membership WordPress plugins that can do all the dirty work at a fraction of the cost. You get to save a lot of time as well.
One such plugin is WP-Members by Chad Butler, the first-ever membership plugin for WordPress. Setting up this plugin is quite easy yet it’s powerful and versatile. Features include the ability to block access to posts and pages, sidebar login widget, shortcodes, custom registration and user profile fields, user registration notifications, and hundreds of extensibility options.
If you’re looking to create or rejuvenate a membership site, WP-Members is your plugin of choice.
Seeing as we are talking about membership sites, let’s look at Registration Magic, a special kind of plugin that helps you to take user registration on your site to a whole new level. A top-performer among registration WordPress plugins, this bad boy contributes directly to your sales, and you can take that to the bank.
With more features than you will ever need, Registration Magic offers you complete control over all manner of registrations. For starters, you can create as many forms as you desire for various scenarios. Each form can have its own pre-defined fields, which means the sky is the limit as far as building forms goes.
You can add payment gateways to your forms with a single click and track all form submissions and activities via an intuitive dashboard. Other features include a fully-fledged form manager, file attachments, multiple styles, Google reCAPTCHA, email notifications and multiple 3rd party integrations among others.
Registration Magic brings a lot to the table as a custom user registration plugin. According to the authors, this plugin “…is the missing user registration system for WordPress and a powerful addition to any WordPress admin’s arsenal.”
Users too are saying great things about Registration Magic. Here’s one among the many:
I am really a novice website builder. Previously I have built 3 simple sites, but am now engaged in building a very complex site for one of my companies. I needed a powerful tool for various levels of members, some free, some paid, some simply newsletter subscribers, and was afraid I was getting in over my head UNTIL I discovered REGISTRATION MAGIC!! It really is magic. Easy to use, easy to understand. No programming skills required. Just input what you want, and it does it all for you! Exactly what I needed, does more than I ever dreamed! I’m thrilled! – webmasterwrp
The free version has about 80 amazing features, but there’s a premium version with over 120 features, so yay!
I have tried a couple of backup services in my time, and blogVault steals the day simply because it’s incredibly easy to setup and use. In no time, you will be creating full off-site backups that come in handy should something break.
And stuff breaks all the time online, whether it’s your fault or not. With daily incremental backups, you sleep soundly knowing your content, hence business, is safe. For a tiny price of $9 bucks a month, blogVault beats many other backup solutions ten to two like Bayern vs Arsenal.
Features available include daily backups of WordPress files and databases, backup to Dropbox, 30 day backup history, one-click backup restore, a free plan with weekly backups, seamless site migration, managed off-site backups, top-notch security and staging areas among others.
IMHO, this is the ideal backup solution if you have a huge website spanning 10’s of GBs. One user reports:
I’ve tried several other free plugins but they were either too fiddly to use or were incredibly slow to produce a backup. I installed blogVault today and it had produced a backup of my whole site – 4.5GB – in around 45 minutes. It will update the backup daily and offers a whole range of other services, including migrating to another server. At $9 / month I think this is well worth the peace of mind. My website is vital to my business. – trevormwilson
Ninja Popups for WordPress
Internet marketing gurus say the money is in the list, so it is a shame we haven’t covered a single WordPress plugin that makes subscribing users 700% easier. Well guys, we point you to Ninja Popups for WordPress, the bestselling popup plugin with over 26k sales at the time of writing.
What sets apart Ninja Popups from similar WordPress plugins? Glad you asked. For a tiny price of just $25 bucks, you get a drag-and-drop popup builder, 65+ beautiful popups, social locker for restricted content, integration with major social networks and 30+ email marketing platforms, exit intent and so much more.
Ninja Popups for WordPress is fully responsive meaning your optin forms will look amazing and work exceptionally well across multiple devices. This plugin is by arscode, an elite author at CodeCanyon, and has an impressive buyer rating of 4.41/5.00. Without a doubt, this is the only plugin you’ll ever need for all of your popup needs.
Zero BS CRM
Zero BS CRM is a Customer Relationship Management Plugin which runs on the WordPress CMS. It gives you everything you need to start managing your customer relationships. Keep everything in one place (customer records) and invoice your customers and collect payments (logging as transactions).
With either the Freelancer Bundler or the Small Business Bundle you get access to powerful extensions for a small yearly fee. The yearly renewal is optional and is to cover ongoing support and updates.
Start taking control of your business operations and grow your business by using a CRM to keep track of your valuable leads and customers. Sell them just what they want, when they want it most by learning from your existing customers interactions with your business.
WordPress plugins can help you to supercharge your business website without learning code or breaking the bank. By all means, just pick the WordPress plugins you need for your business and keep an eye out for any premium addons that could cost a fortune.
The WordPress plugins on this list are a must have for beginners as well as established WordPress users. This, however, doesn’t mean you have to install all of them on your WordPress site. Nah, just pick a couple and move on from there.
Which are your favorite WordPress plugins?