Recently, one of my clients asked what are some necessary WordPress plugins? And which ones should he use on his site? Quickly, for those of you that don’t know, WordPress is a great open-source software that is used all over the world to create beautiful websites, from personal blogs to professional business. Due to its open-source nature, WordPress users have created over 54,000 plugins at the writing of this article. A Plugin is simply an extension that can be installed onto your website to make easier to use, have better SEO performance, or simply just to build a form.
For anyone that is new to using WordPress this can feel overwhelming, like my client I am assuming you are a bit confused, which ones should you go with? So, I have decided to do my own list to help people that are new to WordPress and plugins.
This may come to many as a surprise, however, a form is crucial to any website and is a great way for your visitors to reach out to you. WPForms can create a wide variety of forms with a drag and drop system, from a simple sign up to a complex survey filled with radio buttons and drop-down selections.
The drag-and-drop-system makes it easy for people with no coding experience to create a form. I will let you guys know, that there is a free and paid version, and with most free deals you can only get a few of the form features.
When it comes to my client’s websites, I usually use this form builder to create simple forms for the contact me page. And when I hand it over, I make sure that they know how to use this simple but effective plugin for when they want to make some changes or updates.
Alternative: Contact Form 7
This plugin is essential if you want to track your data and analytics, MonsterInsights connects your website with your google analytics account. This allows you to see where you are getting your traffic from and what visitors are doing once on your site.
Knowing and measuring the data means that you and your business can react accordingly, by optimising your paid ads, your landing pages and more to increase traffic, subscribers and sales. Like most of these plugins MonsterInsights has a free and paid version. The free version not having all the features, but you can still make an impact with the free version. If you choose to use the analytics plugin you will join over 2 million users.
Alternative: Adobe Analytics
Everyone knows that SEO is important in this day and age of organic search traffic, and the benefits of ranking higher on the search results page. However, trying to have a good SEO strategy can be very difficult if you aren’t sure about what you are doing. For those of us who aren’t SEO wizards, Yoast SEO is the best plugin right out of the box for any beginner.
One of the most used plugins and regarded as the best SEO plugin available. Yoast SEO is packed full of features and tools that allow you to check the SEO health of your page or post, but it also gives users comprehensive recommendations to improve your on-page SEO.
With Yoast, you will be able to add meta-tags, generate sitemaps, connect to the Google Search Console, optimise for social media posts, when you want to share a page or article, and many more. With both free and paid versions, I can highly recommend getting the paid version as the amount of value that you get is worth the price.
Security is essential for any website owner and with the increase of bots on the web. Any of which can attack at any time and destroy your site. Not only your hard work but they could severely affect anyone who interacts with your site.
This is where Wordfence Security comes in, not only will it protect your site with firewall protection, malware scans, live traffic monitoring and more. It will also email you with information about logins and what updates need to be made to other plugins, themes, and other activities on your site.
On top of all those features, Wordfence will block all attacks from known attackers, and malicious networks which could harm your site. It can enhance login security by providing checks on the strength of your user passwords and enable Two-factor Authentication to further increase login security.
By far the most popular and most used eCommerce plugin for WordPress and for good reason. Used by over 4 million websites at the writing of this article, packed with powerful features which are needed when starting up an online store.
Whatever you are selling, you can sell it through WooCommerce, from physical products to software, service plans, tickets to whatever you want. Due to it being the powerhouse it is, you can now integrate different extensions that this plugin offers from different payment methods to connecting with different shipping carriers, WooCommerce specific themes, connecting to other marketplaces and more.
The possibilities seem to be endless with this plugin and is a must for anyone selling products online. Even though you may not be wanting to sell products online, it still makes it on this list due to its endless abilities of selling really anything and for those that are going to sell later down the track. However, if you aren’t selling anything then I recommend omitting this plugin from your site.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing services. Not only are the first 2000 subscribers/customers free but the software does a great job at making it easy to create, send and track emails. An absolute must in my opinion for any blogger wanting to establish a supporter base and for business owners wanting to keep in touch with clients and customers.
Creating and setting up an account and connecting API (Application Programming Interface) keys is easy to do. Allowing you to seamlessly integrate the plugin with other plugins like WooCommerce and WPForms. Meaning that you can capture client and customer emails for future email marketing.
Caching is seen as a great way to improve your website’s performance. The standard idea of using a cache is that it stores the website’s data temporarily so that it loads faster the next time the user visits the same page.
WordPress does not do this on its own, so using a plugin enables you to do this on your website. W3 Total Cache is a great way to do this, not only will it temporarily store your pages as static HTML files but your posts too. These are then served to the users, reducing load times and helping optimise your site’s speed and performance.
W3 Total Cache features page cache, database caching, object caching, browser caching and a lot more. Making it one of the most popular and highly regarded plugins available. With the reduce in load time you are likely to see a decrease in bounce rate, which will also help your SEO. It’s a win-win-win.
Alternative: WP Super Cache
Bonus: Elementor, Not necessary but a great website builder
If you have read some previous posts about what it is and why you should use it, then you will know that I love this plugin. Elementor is regarded as one of the top builders and for good reason, not only is it easy to use, highly customisable and has the ability to easily integrate with all the above plugins. There is a free version of it for you to use and test out.
I use this plugin on my own site and for most of my client’s websites. Its ease of use allows me to complete a handoff knowing that they will be able to change, add to or further customise their website without having to write a line of code.
In my opinion, Elementor is not necessary, however, due to its versatility and the fact that you don’t have to write a single line of code. I highly recommend it for any small to medium business, blogger, creative wanting to showcase their art, or someone wanting to start an eCommerce site.
Alternative: Beaver Builder
This concludes my list of must-have and necessary plugins. Of course, this all depends on your business and what your goals are for your website. You may only need a few of these plugins or you may need them all. These are, however, the ones that I most frequently use on my own and on client websites as I believe that they bring the most value.