Whether you’re a new or experienced WordPress site owner, there are thousands of plugins that can help you operate and extend the functionality of your website. With over 50,000 plugins available in the WordPress plugin directory, it can be overwhelming to pick out the ones that are most important and relevant for your website. There is a plugin for everything and anything.
Below we’ve compiled a list of plugins that we consider each website owner should have on their WordPress installation. Most of the plugins on this list offer a free limited version of the plugin, but upgrading to their premium version will allow further customization and extended features. However, often the basic version of the plugin is adequate for most website owners.
Here are 10 WordPress plugins every site owner should consider having for their WordPress site:
No one likes spam right? Akismet ensures that your website doesn’t get hit with spam through comments, trackbacks and contact form messages. Its filter works by comparing submissions against its database of spam content and using those rules to block and mark similar looking content as spam. While there is a free option for personal users, Akismet also offers paid plans with extra features for those who require more protection.
MonsterInsights makes it easy for website owners to get started tracking their visitors using Google Analytics. It allows you to see useful information about your visitors directly inside your WordPress dashboard. See how visitors are finding your website, what visitors are clicking on and buying, and narrow in on the content that visitors find useful. MonsterInsights gives you the full picture to help you grow your business. While the plugin allows you to connect to your Google Analytics account for free, to fully take advantage of all of its benefits requires an annual paid plan.
3. Popups by OptinMonster
Did you know, 70% of visitors who abandon your website will never return? Popups by OptinMonster is a lead generation plugin that uses popups and other forms to convert traffic into leads and sales. It has a drag-and-drop form designer that is easy to use and can be customized to fit the design of your WordPress site. It integrates with leading email marketing services allowing you to grow your email list. While the plugin is free, it requires a paid API key from OptinMonster in order to all of the features.
Wordfence is a WordPress security plugin that protects your website from hacks and malware. It comes with a Web Application Firewall (WAF) that identifies and blocks malicious traffic and a security scanner that checks your website’s core files, themes and plugins, bad URLs, backdoors, malicious redirects and code injections. Wordfence is available for free with limited features. For extended protection, premium plans are available as well.
5. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one of the most widely used WordPress plugins available. The plugin helps you to optimize your website content for search engines by setting an SEO title, meta description, and meta keywords for every post and page on your website. It’s easy to get set up and very beginner friendly. Most of the features that Yoast SEO is known for comes with the free plugin, but you have the option to upgrade for extra features.
From the creators of WordPress, comes Jetpack, the ultimate toolkit and great all-in-one solution for WordPress. Within the plugin, users are provided tools to improve their website’s security, performance, design, and revenue. The basic plugin is free, however, upgrading to one of their premium paid plans will unlock daily backups, premium themes and SEO tools.
Here are Canadian Web Hosting, we’re always stressing the importance of backups. You never know what could go wrong and it’s important to have a contingency plan. This is where UpdraftPlus comes in. UpdraftPlus is an easy-to-use backup solution for your WordPress site. It performs complete backups of your WordPress files, databases, plugins and themes on a schedule that you set. You can also restore backups directly from your WordPress control panel. All of this is included in their basic free plan. Upgrading to premium unlocks many additional features like cloning and migration, incremental backups, network and multi-site support, and reporting.
8. Smush Image Compression and Optimization
As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Especially online. However, with an image heavy website comes slower loading times and reduced performance. To boost speed and performance without compromising on images, a image compression plugin like Smush Image Compression and Optimization is a must. Smush resizes and optimizes all of your PNG, JPEG and GIF files using lossless compression as you upload them into your WordPress media library. The basic plugin is free, but you can also upgrade to their premium plugin for extra “smushing” features.
9. MailChimp for WordPress
Building a mailing list should be a priority for any website owner and the MailChimp for WordPress plugin makes it easy to integrate MailChimp into your existing website. This plugin allows you to make stylish and customized sign up forms that blend into your website layout. It also works with contact form plugins allowing you to sign up visitors from any form on your site like a checkout or a comment form. Upgrading to the premium plugin unlocks eCommerce integrations, form styling, and detailed reports and statistics.
10. A caching plugin
Having a caching plugin for your website is important to increase speed and loading times on your website. Customers and visitors will leave if your website takes too long to load and a caching plugin can help reduce the time it takes for your website to appear. There are many excellent options available in the WordPress plugin directory like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, or WP Rocket. It’s recommended for you to test out a couple to see which one performs the best for your website.
Plus a bonus plugin:
For anyone interested in selling products on their WordPress site, installing WooCommerce should be on the top of your to-do list. This plugin allows you to seamlessly integrate a store into your existing theme. It can be easily customized allow you to sell any product at any time of the day. Incorporate features that larger eCommerce stores have like product filtering, ratings and reviews. You can also incorporate other extensions to further customize your WooCommerce store.
Did we miss any WordPress plugins you love? Let us know in the comments below.