Table of Contents
What is a plugin?
A plugin also known as an add-on extension is a piece of software that adds new features or extends functionality to an existing application without altering the application. They are widely used on websites that are built with content management systems like Bigcommerce, WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal. Plug-ins are very useful to business owners and website visitors who want to maximize their website potential.
The WordPress plugin directory has over 50,000 plugins. This can make it hard for site owners to find just the right plugins to maximize and improve their WordPress websites.
The right plugins will help you improve the speed, security, and user-friendliness of your website.
Importance of plugins
Plugins are the building blocks of a WordPress site since they bring important functions to your website, whether you need to add contact forms, improve SEO, increase site speed, create an online store, or offer email opt-ins. Whatever you need your website to do to maximize your its potential can be done using a plugin.
WordPress has both free and premium WordPress plugins to download and add.
Why choose paid plugins over free plugins
The big question here is why would one choose to spend money on a plugin when there are many plugins available for free.
Although premium plugins have a financial cost, they also have advantages that free plugins do not have.
Advantages of paid plugins
- They provide dedicated support, usually for 6 months or a year. For beginners, it can help set up plugins correctly. With free software, developers will not do all that.
- They have regular updates, which often go hand in hand with new versions of WordPress. For a free plugin, it’s not the developer’s responsibility to make updates he/she may have just created it in his/her free time.
You may be reluctant to get paid plugins. But, when you look at the time you get to save, you will realize it’s the best decision. In addition to that, going premium means supporting and encouraging the developer to continue to take care of the product they developed.
How many plugins can you install on your site?
There is no specific number of plugins that you are required to have and that means you can use as many as you want. But the more plugins you have, the more likely you are to have bad plugins.
The quality of the plugins you use is the most important factor here. This means that it is better to have 40 well-coded plugins, rather than 100 plugins that would cause incompatibilities and bugs.
However, a slow site does not necessarily mean you have installed too many plugins, but rather because the plugins are poorly coded.
Must-Have WordPress Plugins For Every Website
A contact form is important to every website since it makes it easy for visitors to get in touch with the owner. WPForms plugin is the most user-friendly contact form for WordPress.
WPForm is a drag & drop online form builder that allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, online order forms, payment forms, surveys, polls, and any other type of online forms with just a few clicks. it has over 500+ pre-built form templates which make your life easier.
This plugin integrates with all popular marketing and payment platforms, therefore, you can build powerful forms in less than 5 minutes.
The plugin comes with very powerful features that are not available in other form builders. It is one of the most popular WordPress form builders in the market with over 5 million websites using it. WPForm consistently maintained a 4.9 out of 5-star rating average for the past 5 years now.
If you are seriously looking to maximize your site’s potential, then I recommend getting the Pro version because it comes with all the powerful features you need to boost your lead generation efforts.
The plugin’s free version comes with basic contact form features such as form fields, CAPTCHA, and email notifications while the premium version of WPForms gives even more functionality like integrations and the ability to create multi-page forms and also add survey functionality.
This is one of the easiest ways to create customized and flexible forms for your WordPress website. You can use it to capture whatever user information you need, from contact information to in-depth surveys.
#2. All-in-One SEO
SEO helps get more visitors from search engines to your WordPress website. Although WordPress is SEO-friendly, there is a lot you can do to increase your website traffic using SEO best practices.
All-in-One SEO (AIOSEO) is one of the most popular WordPress plugins which is used by over 3 million websites. It is a WordPress plugin for managing comprehensive on-site SEO and making optimizations to make a site rank highly in search results.
Compared to all other WordPress SEO plugins, AIOSEO is the only plugin offering the most comprehensive solution with all the features and tools you need to improve your on-page SEO.
The plugin helps you properly add SEO titles, meta descriptions, and keywords, generate XML sitemaps, connect your site to Google Search Console, and optimize it for social media. This plugin, makes it possible to conduct site-wide audits to see the health of your current site which helps you understand where to make updates.
The AIOSEO team is continuously innovating and adding new SEO features to help you improve your SEO rankings such as their content optimizer with TruSEO score, headline analyzer, custom schema generator for adding FAQ schema, reviews schema, and all other schema markups.
#3. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO plugin is by far the most popular SEO tool and a must-have WordPress plugin. This makes it easy to optimize your pages and posts to rank higher on search engines.
With Yoast SEO, you get templates for titles and meta descriptions, which help you learn how to craft this information according to SEO best practices.
Yoast SEO not only helps you improve your SEO but also helps analyzes your content for both readability and keywords, so you can balance high-quality content with SEO.
Almost 79% of users just scan through your posts and pages, so the more accessible your copy is, the greater the chances of them sticking around more.
#4. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is the best and most beginner-friendly WordPress caching plugin on the market. It allows you to instantly speed up your WordPress website loading times and performance with no technical skills required.
It speeds up your website by creating cached copies of each dynamically-generated page on your site, so your servers have to do less work. The plugin has Imagify which is a free image optimization service to help speed up your site even more.
The plugin automatically turns on recommended WordPress caching settings like gzip compression, cache pre-loading, and page cache. You can also turn on optional features such as lazy loading images, CDN support, DNS pre-fetching, minification, and more to further improve your page load times.
With WP Rocket you don’t have to request a page to save it in the cache since it automatically crawls and builds your website cache which results in an instant performance boost.
Elementor is one of the best page builders for the WordPress CMS that allows you to place a variety of page elements with a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface. This makes it easy for you to construct your ideal website by clicking and dragging your desired elements into the builder area without any coding.
The plugin is highly recommended for beginner website owners and also those individuals less comfortable touching the back-end WordPress code. This is due to its ease of use, simplicity, and compatibility with many WordPress themes.
Elementor enables you to add expertly-crafted pages to your site without doing any coding. It provides a wealth of page elements that can easily be added to any page to craft a highly effective site.
It is one of the plugins that you don’t want to lack in your website.
If you want to sell products and services through you this plugin is a must-have for you. WooCommerce is the best e-commerce plugin for WordPress that converts your WordPress blog into a fully functional online store.
Due to WooCommerce’s virtually endless customization, it is possible to sell everything from digital files to physical products, set currencies, show reviews and ratings, add sorting and filtering functions, set unlimited images per product, enable subscriptions and tiered pricing, etc.
One advantage of WooCommerce is that its core functionality is free. In addition to that it is made by the same company as the WordPress CMS (Automattic), ensuring you’re using a high-quality, reliable plugin.
This plugin is practically synonymous with WordPress eCommerce and it is trusted by millions of WordPress websites to run an online store. With its high level of customization, you can adapt the tool to your precise needs.
WPCode which was previously known as “Insert Headers and Footers” allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme’s function.php file.
WPCode makes it possible to manage all of your code snippets from one central screen and use tags to organize them. Its Pro version comes with powerful features like version control for code snippets (Code Revisions), device-based targeting for code, the ability to add specific code snippets for specific posts & pages, WooCommerce deeper integration, Easy Digital Downloads, among other popular WordPress plugins.
With WordPress, accidents are often inevitable and for that reason, it’s important to create regular backups of your WordPress website. This allows you to recover lost data or revert to an older version in the event of an accident or a glitch.
UpdraftPlus plugin is one of the best WordPress backup plugins on the market. With this plugin, you can create and restore backups with a click, schedule routine backups, and push your backups to cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Its base plugin is free but there is also a paid plan with extra features and priority support. It is a great backend plugin that is a must-have for every WordPress website since backups are an essential tool.
Imagine losing your website data just because you lack backup. That’s terrible right? It is better to install a backup plugin now than wait to take action after a data incident. UpdraftPlus backs up your website on a tight schedule, which means you will always have a recent version of your site on hand in case something goes wrong.
OptinMonster plugin is the most popular conversion rate optimization software in the market. This WordPress plugin and application helps you get more email subscribers and sales, fast by converting abandoning website visitors into email subscribers and customers.
You can create WordPress popups, slide-ins, announcement bars, gamified spin-a-wheel, and full-screen welcome mats to capture users’ attention through the use of their many high-converting templates. You can easily customize the opt-in form or campaign template using their drag & drop builder.
Its powerful display targeting features allow you to personalize the campaigns for each user, enabling you to show the right message at the right time.
This plugin is perfect for bloggers, business websites, and eCommerce websites. You can maximize your site’s potential and make more money from your website traffic, through the use of OptinMonster.
The plugin will also help you recover abandoned cart sales, convert website visitors, and grow your email list.
Knowing your audience is very crucial if you want to grow your site. User behavior on your site can help you adjust your marketing strategy to improve engagement and conversions.
The MonsterInsights plugin is the best for that. It integrates your WordPress website with Google Analytics enabling you to get all relevant data about your visitors. Apart from that, it shows you all the important stats that matter right inside your WordPress dashboard.
The plugin is easy to set up since it simply connects your Google Analytics account with your WordPress website in just a few simple steps. Once you have connected the two, you can check the stats right from your WordPress dashboard.
Although MonsterInsights has a free version, its true power only unlocks when you upgrade to the premium version. Over 3 million websites use MonsterInsights.
#11. Akismet Spam Protection
Akismet is an Automattic-backed plugin and the most popular anti-spam plugin for WordPress. All websites are a target for bots that crawl the internet and attempt to send spam through comments and form submissions and this is why you need an anti-spam tool like the Akismet plugin.
The plugin checks your contact form submissions and comments for suspicious submissions, keeping your blog clean, and your forms spam-free, and ensures your site looks professional.
Akismet is one of the most popular WordPress plugins which is being used by millions of websites. It helps you keep spam out of your WordPress comment section by automatically analyzing them and filtering out those that look like spam.
You can also review which comments are stopped or cleared by the plugin, and unblock or block other comments yourself. The plugin blocks a staggering 3,500,000 pieces of spam on average per hour, and it works alongside the WordPress comment system and a few other tools, including Jetpack Comments.