I don’t want to discourage you but launching a WordPress site is only the first step in a long journey. The real work begins when you start selecting the plugins to make your website perform certain functions. Plugins create a solid user experience for both visitors and administrators of your website. Smooth navigation, intuitive menus, instant feedback, and spam protection are just few upgrades you can get by using smart plugins.
For millions of users, a huge collection of additional programs is probably one of the greatest advantages of the WordPress framework. However, in a situation like this, variety is a good and bad thing at the same time. Looking at the stunning choice in front of you, it’s hard to figure out which plugins you really need. How do I decide between two plugins with similar functions? How do I make sure the selected plugin will work well with my website? These and many other questions can make a beginning WordPress user feel at a loss.
Luckily, most WordPress themes come with a turnkey set of optimal plugins. By installing the recommended software, you can be sure it will fit your website like a glove. Therefore, it’s an ideal choice for amateurs who can’t figure out the intricacies of different programs on their own. In the article below, however, we’ll talk about one-fits-all WordPress plugins rather than those that were custom made for a specific WordPress theme.
Before moving any further, let me give you a valuable tip: try to use as few plugins as possible. The biggest problem with plugins is that every additional program slows down your website, which may have a dramatic effect on your traffic performance. If your website takes more than 5 seconds to load, chances are the user will close it and go someplace else instead. In a highly competitive online environment, you must make your information easily accessible.
While keeping the number of additional programs to a minimum, make sure the plugins you’re using are the best ones. Looking for the suitable software can take all day, or even longer. To make things easier for you, I’ve made up a list of the best plugins you may find useful for your WordPress-based online project.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache works like a magic wand when it comes to ensuring a smooth, speedy website operation. A high loading speed is vital for both your visitor retention and your search engine rankings. As I’ve already said, long loading times can drive away a significant amount of your traffic. W3 Total Cache will make your site fly even during peak hours, when the number of concurrent users reaches its maximum.
ZenBusiness Logo Generator
ZenBusiness Logo Generator is an easy-to-use online tool that will help you create an emblem and other visual branding components. Enter your website name and choose from multiple logo templates that work well for your industry. Pick as many options and you like and save them in your WordPress media library. ZenBusiness is fully integrated with WordPress, allowing you to add your selected logo to your main page or any article by using a special hash code.
If you take 2 minutes to register with ZenBusiness, you’ll discover an even wider array of features and tools. Not only will you be able to save emblems in HD, but also create and edit favicons, business cards, letterheads, and other printables with your icon on them.
WordPress SEO is an all-in-one program with a whole set of useful optimization tools to create titles and descriptions, add Open Graph meta tags, analyze page performance, add XML maps, and do many other amazing things. Although loaded with powerful options, WordPress SEO is surprisingly lightweight and easy-to-configure. A true find for users who love multipurpose tools! For more information check out this in-debt guide on Yoast SEO.
Wordfence provides your website with an extra layer of protection and leaves no chance to malicious robots and hackers. The vigilant plugin immediately notifies you of any suspicious actions on the site. If you care for superior user support, you should definitely spend a couple of dollars on the premium Wordfence version.
As you might’ve guessed from its name, this plugin keeps your website nice and clean by blocking nasty (but unfortunately ubiquitous) spam comments. The important thing is that this program manages to do its job without bothering visitors with tiresome Captcha tests or irritating questions.
Google XML Sitemaps
If you want to grow the pool of your readers or clients, you must inform major search engines about your freshly published content. How do you provide this kind of information to search systems? To help you with this task, the WordPress developers have come up with Google XML Sitemaps. This plugin creates updated site maps and sends them to Google and its popular counterparts. Waiting for search engines to detect updates on their own is very risky, because someone may steal your unique content and pass it as their own work. Google XML Sitemaps is a hassle-free way to avoid unneeded stress and sleep well at nights!
With the Google Analytics plugin, you can monitor search stats for one or several websites without even logging into your Google Analytics account. The data are displayed right on your WordPress control panel. It’s a convenient way to see where your promotion strategy is taking you!
Getting feedback from your audience is a crucial factor in keeping your existing visitors interested and motivated. Show your audience that their opinion matters by installing the Disqus Comments plugin. You kill two birds with one stone by allowing your visitors to provide their input and protecting your platform from spammers. As for me, I prefer Disqus Comments over the in-built WordPress comments tool, as the former is more good-looking in terms of design and offers a wider set of functionalities. As if all these benefits were not enough, Disqus Comments synchronizes your readers’ comments with your WordPress database, making the interaction with your audience easier and, therefore, more enjoyable.
WPForms is, hands down, one of the most simple and intuitive programs to add all kinds of forms to your site. Contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, you name it! Your visitors are sure to like these clean-cut, minimalist designs. Remember that the main secret to building up your audience is to make them feel comfortable on your site. If you’re afraid to get lost among multiple options offered by WPForms, you’re welcome to use WPForms Lite, which is a simplified — but just as smart — version of the above plugin.
OptinMonster lives up to its name by creating powerful opportunities for lead generation. Use this plugin to add effective opt-in forms and pop-up messages to your site. If done wisely, this is a surefire way to grow your subscriber base and encourage your visitors to get involved with your project on a new level. OptinMonster is loaded with smart functionalities, including split testing, opt-in forms based on viewed pages, and exit-intent forms displayed every time a user is about to close the browser tab. Do not use too many notifications unless you want to be a nuisance to your audience.
Jetpack is my all-favorite plugin to share content across social media. Jetpack is a great tool to gain more exposure for your project and get noticed by a wider audience. Light as a feather, this program runs smoothly and does not slow down your site. If you take a few minutes to look into the settings, you can set up JetPack to arrange your posts by the number of shares. JetPack is a fine example of a program that brings together a sleek design and well-written code.
I bet you’ve invested lots of time and energy into creating unique content for your wesite. As a website owner, you must understand the importance of making backups of your web pages and storing them in a secure place. Relying on your hosting provider is too risky. Even if you’re using a trusted service, there is always a risk of losing your valuable content due to a mere negligence. For the Vault Press plugin, restoring your site is a matter of minutes. With Vault Press, your site is just as safe as your money is with a Swiss bank.
WP Migrate DB
If you have some experience in online blogging, you must know the pain of having to switch hostings or relocate your site from a remote server to a local development environment. Now you can forget this nightmare by handing this task over to a professional. With WP Migrate DB, migrating databases and entire media libraries has never been easier!
Simple Image Widget
Need to display an image or text message with a link to one of your posts? Simple Image Widget will help you create good-looking visuals on your sidebar. With a teammate like Simple Image Widget, you’re sure to spur the interest of your audience and make them click on your links. This program has nothing but the basic tools to perform its narrow task with ease and speed!
Say goodbye to annoying spammers with the Akismet plugin! This service knows how to tell useful feedback from inappropriate entries and marks the latter as spam. However, if you think Akismet has made a mistake, you can unmark a comment manually. One could not wish for a better anti-spam moderator!
If you have a fully-fledged online store or just want to market your content-related product or service, you should check out WooCommerce. I bet that once you’ve tried this tool, you won’t even look at other ecommerce plugins! WooCommerce is widely recognized as the leader in its class, and for a good reason. The program offers a handful of tools, both free and fee-based. You can customize your ecommerce system by stuffing it with the features you find useful. Currently, WooCommerce is used in every third online store. I personally think that this statistic speaks about WooCommerce louder than words.
All in One SEO Pack
Search engine optimization is an essential part of improving your website performance. The reality nowadays is that you can’t move forward with your online project unless you take care of your SEO parameters. This is where All in One SEO Pack steps up to the spotlight. Use this plugin to create SEO-friendly page titles, page descriptions, keywords, and more. The scope of work depends on your SEO ambitions!
Broken Link Checker
If your website contains lots of information, keeping it up-to-date may be a challenge. Broken Link Checker does a great job scouring your site for outdated links and images that do not render properly. Upon detecting a flaw, the program notifies the user via the WordPress control panel or email. In addition, Broken Link Checker helps you replace faulty URLs with good ones.
Contact Form 7
Here is another easily customizable tool to add well-designed contact forms to your site. Integrated with CAPTCHA and Akismet, Contact Form 7 also keeps spammers at bay.
This plugin has everything you can possibly need to manage your content. Imagine looking into a stylish calendar to check when your next post is due, or having a dedicated editor section to discuss publications with other creators of content (if you’re working as a team)? Now that I’ve tried Edit Flow, I don’t know how I’ve lived with it.
Keeping your posts schedule in your head is tricky, especially if you have to update your site or blog every one or two days. With Editorial Calendar, there is no chance of you forgetting to publish an article or mix dates. To change the publication date, you simply need to drag your entry to another slot. This plugin is like your personal secretary that works for free!
Trying to figure out how to speed up your website? Have you tried optimizing the images on your website? Editing each image can take days, especially if you have a large photo gallery. The WP Smush plugin can do this work for you in an automated mode, while you’re having a cup of tea!
Responsive and powerful, Soliloquy is a good tool to create and customize your WordpPress sliders. You can add fast, beautiful sliders anywhere you want on your website. To rearrange sliders, simply drag them to the place you want them to be. Soliloquy sliders load in a nick of time, without slowing down your site and undermining your SEO efforts!
AdSanity is an elegant and handy plugin to manage and guide your marketing efforts. Use its multiple widgets and shortcuts to place ads (both temporary and timeless) on the sidebars or anywhere on the website pages. Incorporating a bunch of analytical tools, the plugin also shows you how many times each of your ads has been viewed and clicked.
If images constitute the main asset of your online project, you definitely need a plugin to help you manage the stuff. When it comes to working with photo galleries, Envira Gallery is my first choice. Outdoing other programs in its class, Envira Gallery creates galleries that look spectacular on all types of devices. Use the free Envira gallery Lite plugin to present your images in the best way possible!
With all anti-hacking techniques out there, swindlers still manage to hack thousands of websites on a daily basis. One of the ways to access a website is by entering one password after another until there is a match. The Login LockDown plugin offers an elegant answer to this threat by limiting the number of attempts. Once the limit is reached, the program blocks your administrator panel for a certain period of time.
Surprisingly enough, the basic WordPress framework doesn’t allow users to work with tables. The fastest way to correct this flaw is to install TablePress. Use this plugin to create tables, incorporate them into your posts, and even export data to multiple formats.
If you’re aiming for a greater outreach, making your website mobile-friendly must be your first concern. Delegate this tricky task to WPtouch. Highly functional and easily configurable, this plugin is one step ahead of any responsive theme. WPtouch makes your content mobile-optimized, tailoring it to the needs of various mobile devices.
Interested in the money-making opportunities of affiliate marketing? Then you’re sure to need the ThirstyAffiliates plugin on your team. Add, rearrange, hide, and export your affiliate links for better results!
Zendesk is an absolute must for any commercial project. If you’re an aspiring company, building strong relationships with your online visitors must be your priority. Use this plugin to add contact forms to your site and customize them to meet your business needs. There is no better way to keep in touch with your visitors, answer their questions, and use their input to improve your performance.
Although I’ve tried my best not to leave out anything, I must’ve missed a couple of irreplaceable tools. Now I’m handing it over to you! Sound off in the comments section below and share the WordPress plugins you can’t do without. I hope this article has shown you the amazing variety of WordPress tools that are worth an entire team of professionals!
Still don’t have a website logo? Wondering where to begin? Let ZenBusiness take care of this for you!