A large percentage of the client websites we host are based on WordPress. We are sometimes asked for plugin suggestions. Having the right mixture of plugins can help you take your business or otherwise hobby website to the next level.
With over 44,000 free plugins available in the WordPress depot, there is no lacking of any amount on utility that can be easily added to your website by installing one of them. There are literally thousands of plugins providing features that you might have not known to exist.
However, it can be quite time-consuming to sort the great ones from the bad ones, so we are giving you a list of the best plugins that you must have in the most essential categories. We also list an alternative for many of the categories.
All the plugins considered here are free and can be installed on your website within a few minutes.
Speed is one of the most important SEO factors. Faster websites rank higher in Google, this means more visitors for your business website and more conversions.
W3 Total Cache allows you to serve compressed and cached files to your visitors. This reduces the load on your server and your website becomes faster.
Sliders on your WordPress landing pages allow you to easily display your featured content, products, and announcements in a beautiful interactive way. Soliloquy is the best WordPress slider in the market. It allows you to easily create your own beautiful sliders and add them anywhere on your WordPress site.
OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers. If you want to grow your email list, then this is a must have WordPress plugin in 2016.
If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then add one today.
While we’re talking about security, there’s no better security than having a reliable backup system.
As a business owner, you cannot afford to lose your business and customer data in case of a hardware failure or an attack on your host’s servers. The first thing you should setup on all your WordPress sites is a backup plugin. We recommend using BackupBuddy because it is one of the most reliable and easiest way to backup and restore your WordPress sites with just a few clicks.
As a business owner, allowing your customers to contact you should be your top priority. WPForms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, and other type of online forms with just a few clicks.
We use it on WPBeginner and all of our other sites. There’s a free WPForms Lite version available for those who are looking for a simple solution.
Forms may not be the sexiest element of your website, but it’s important that they look good, work well and are not a huge headache to create. Gravity Forms makes it easy to create beautiful forms for your site quickly and easily.
While you can easily create image galleries in WordPress without using a plugin, these galleries are fairly basic. Envira Gallery allows you to create beautiful responsive galleries in WordPress.
You can create multiple galleries, add them anywhere on your site, create albums, open images in lightbox popups, and much more.
As a business owner you may soon realize that placing things differently on your pages can result into more conversions and sales. But how do you create those landing pages without learning to code?
Beaver Builder is a powerful drag and drop page builder tool for WordPress. It allows you to easily create your own page layouts using a simple user interface.
Testimonials allow you to showcase your past clients and their feedback about your services of products. People love to hear what others have to say about your business. It helps you gain trust and build lasting relationships with your clients. Testimonials Widgets makes it super simple to add customer testimonials on your WordPress site.
is a cloud based accounting software for professionals, freelancers, and agencies. It allows you to easily send invoices to clients, receive payments, and manage your finances.
K. CSS Hero
WordPress themes rely on CSS for the visual appearance of your website. If you want to make customization to your theme, then you will have to learn CSS. This can be time consuming for a business owner.
CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing a single line of code.
WPtouch – Even a responsive WordPress theme doesn’t always provide quite the right mobile experience. WPtouch allows you to customize the mobile experience users have with your site so you can be sure users have the optimal experience with your site regardless of what device they’re using.
While managing your WordPress sites, you may sometimes need to add code snippets to your WordPress site’s header or footer. This means you will have to edit the theme files which could get messy and break up your WordPress theme. Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files.
– Allow users to book appointments with you online with this slick little plugin. Your customers will love the convenience and you can have this feature up and running in no time.
– Chances are good, even for a small business, that your customers are coming from all over the world. At some point the option to provide your site content in multiple languages could be useful or even essential. Polylang provides a multitude of options for adding multiple languages to your site to support a more global audience.
– At some point you may consider monetizing your website with advertising. Adsanity can help you implement advertising on your site without a lot of complexity or expense. Their solution is beginner-friendly but can scale as your business grows. An excellent solution for making a little revenue from your hard-earned traffic.
– Designing a beautiful site without touching any code is now a reality. Visual Composer is a drag and drop site editor that makes it drop dead simple to build a WordPress site with no programming knowledge required.
– It’s essential that all your content is enabled for easy social sharing. The Monarch social sharing plugin not only makes it easy to add these sharing features, it provides one of the cleanest looking social sharing solutions. From floating sidebar options to pop-up or on image options, Monarch makes it easy to share your fantastic content.
– Create a beautiful 3D Flipbook from a pdf or image quickly and easily. This is an easy way to bring static PDFs to life or showcase your images in a more interesting, engaging style.
S. Edit Flow
Edit Flow is another one of must have wordpress plugins that offer you a well-organized editorial workflow managing system for your site. It will provide you to see your assign posts, manage authors, editorial calendar, editorial comments, etc. With the aid of this plugin, you can craft your custom post status, and arrange your content strategy well on your WP dashboard.
T. WP Smush
This plugin optimizes your images – makes them consume less disk space – without having any impact on the visible quality of the images. In other words, you get a faster site and more optimized images … for free.
Redirect your visitors to other pages on your site. Great if you noticed another webmaster linking by accident to a 404 page on your site. Set a redirection from that missing URL to an existing one.
Great plugin for tracking your outbound links – perfect for affiliate links, or all kinds of other links that you want to control and have stats on. Here’s an example of a link put through Linker: your-domain.com/go/link
W. WP Slimstat
Great analytics plugin if you don’t want to use Google Analytics or any other third-party analytics tool. This plugin keeps everything within your WordPress site, and it provides you with all the analytics features you might need.
The plugin is the trendiest link management tool for your website. Its features involve cloak links, auto insertion on particular keywords, affiliate links, and link exports. Hence, if you are interested in formulating affiliate marketing for your website, then you should go for this plugin.
has to be the best in this category. It is easy to install, setup and use. It also allows you to add multiple forms to your website with AJAX and CAPTCHA support.
It is easier than All In One WP Security & Firewall (interface-wise) and has a more user-friendly comment spam system.
The various plugins summarized here only scratch the surface of the WordPress plugin cosmos. If you have in mind a need for something, chances are good that someone has already generously developed what you need. A full wordpress plugin directory can be found here.