WordPress is a content management system that anybody, from beginners to skilled website developers, can use, but its core code is simply a framework that offers essential elements for the development of a simple website. You would need several plugins, separate parts of the code that can be added to any WordPress website to satisfy the unique needs of a user, to completely customize the features, appearance, and output of a site. You’ll find that building a WordPress website is simple, quick and affordable for all website owners with just a little know-how and guidance.
There seem to be over 54,000 functional WordPress plugins, and WordPress developers and designers across the globe are creating more every day. Since WordPress is an open-source code, a plugin can be developed and sold or made available for free by anyone. With so many choices to choose from, it can be tough to pick which plugins are best for your WordPress website.
Here’s a look at 15 must-have WordPress plugins to improve your website.
What WordPress Plugins Do You Need?
For almost every conceivable need, including the needs of specific sites in very small niches, there’s a WordPress plugin. There is a range of plugins you can use to build your own unique website, whether you are searching for free live chatting plugins or plugins for bloggers. Generally, however, the critical plugins have been divided into a few key categories for most working WordPress sites:
A. Content Management Plugins
WordPress comes with simple tools for a variety of content types to develop, publish and maintain. However, advanced plugins will make your workflow more effective and your content more usable and attractive. Content management related plugins include editing and formatting tools, image optimization, and libraries.
B. Social Sharing, Marketing, and SEO plugins
Any website aiming to find an audience needs resources to customize a website for social media searchability and sharing.
C. Performance & Security of the Website
Plugins will speed up loading time, optimize pictures and provide a better user experience. Plugins will back up the website, add firewalls and other hacking defenses, and protect the website from spam.
Many of the best WordPress plugins are completely free. Others with more features have both free and paid variants. Thousands of WordPress users are using these WordPress plugins to enhance the working of their websites.
1. Yoast SEO
To get visitors to your blog, optimizing your website for search engines is essential. Yoast SEO is one of the best WordPress plugins that lets you improve the searchability of any part of your site. Yoast automatically rates keyword and metadata information, and tags areas for enhancement. Powerful and reliable, Yoast is available as a free WordPress plugin with a premium edition for more functionality from the WordPress plugin list.
Originally designed for the WordPress.com hosted WordPress platform, Jetpack is also available for self-hosted WordPress sites. It’s an “all in one” approach for exchanging social media, site analytics, and optimization of search engines. Users can enable the Jetpack functions of their preference and configure them. It’s accessible from the WordPress Plugins Directory in a paid or free version.
3. WordFence Security
WordFence Security, for self-hosted WordPress websites, is indeed a full-featured security mechanism. It is offered in free and paid WordPress plugins variants and offers a firewall with various features and protection against malware, hacking, and viruses. Email alerts for urgent issues and actual traffic tracking are also included in WordFence.
MonsterInsights delivers the Google Analytics features straight to the dashboard of your WordPress dashboard. Without manually downloading or interfacing with Google’s robust analytics tool, this plugin makes it possible to control traffic, interactions, visitor analytics, and more. MonsterInsights is a premium plugin from third-party manufacturer MonsterInsights.com with various plans. It is surely one of the most useful WordPress Plugins.
5. WP Smush
Images can hog the storage of your website and trigger long loading times. Smush from WordPress.org is an image optimization plugin that, without compromising image quality, compresses several file types. It’s accessible from the WordPress Plugins Directory with free and premium models.
WooCommerce is among the most common solutions for eCommerce worldwide. It is among the WordPress plugins that contain all the functionality you need on your own WordPress site to build up a solid e-commerce site. With many themes and product page templates, WooCommerce is entirely customizable, and it facilitates sales for both digital and physical goods along with affiliate marketing. You can start utilizing WooCommerce either with its free or paid WordPress version.
A simple content editor comes for WordPress, however, customization options remain minimal. Elementor is one of the most helpful WordPress plugins for the creation of a drag and drop page that enables users to personalize any aspect of a web page without any coding required. Elementor, with advanced solutions that provide more functionality and resources, is available for free download.
8. Pretty Links
Links with affiliates can be lengthy and hideous. Pretty Links is amongst the multi-level premium WordPress plugins that enable advertisers to mask links using their own platform and domain name. Pretty Links provide auto-links to keywords and all plans with a year of support including upgrades.
9. Really Simple SSL
Really Simple SSL transforms a site with one click from HTTP to HTTPS. In a single step, this plugin helps you to securely move your entire website to a stable site and escape Google’s “Not Secure” alerts. SSL updates site URLs in a very easy way manages redirects and improves site protection. To use this free plugin, you’ll need to obtain a free SSL certificate.
10. Creative Mail
With Creative Mail, like WordPress plugins particularly designed for WordPress websites and WooCommerce, Constant Contact offers its very own exclusive email marketing tool. By dragging WordPress blog posts, website photos, and WooCommerce items directly into your email content, Creative Mail streamlines email marketing. For automated blog post syndication, emails, promotions, and event invitations, this plugin is perfect.
11. Contact Form 7
If you need WordPress plugins that allow you to create and manage multiple contact forms seamlessly, use reCaptcha verification, and make sure that Askimet filters out all spam submissions (more around them in a sec), then Contact Form 7 is the last plugin for WordPress you’ll ever need. This quick and easy to use plugin allows you to avoid all the extra codes so that stunning contact forms can be created and published quickly so that your users blow up your inbox. You won’t get a better contact form plugin anywhere around the entire internet, with much more than 6 million user’s installations, 1,300 5-star reviews, and the low price of completely free.
12. Akismet Anti-Spam
Akismet Anti-Spam is one of the most productive WordPress plugins you will need to keep your spammers at bay and to maintain your site’s long-term integrity. Each comment that is shared on your website is reviewed and filtered by the plugin, supplying a status history for each one so Askimet or the moderator can determine which comments were spammed. You also have the ability to view each user’s number of approved comments, look at the URLs throughout the comment body, as well as delete any links you may identify that are less than useful. For all personal websites, Askimet is free to download and use and the premium version costs pennies on the dollar, allowing you to keep your website beautiful and spam-free irrespective of your budget.
13. TinyMCE Advanced
If you’ve ever wanted to track your website’s real-time traffic details without having to log in and trying to navigate to the Google Analytics website, then the WordPress plugins you’ve been looking for is Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. This simple free-to-use plugin allows the buttons shown in the Visual Editor toolbar to be added, removed, and rearranged, allowing you to configure up to four button rows that include (but certainly are not limited to) font, layout family text/background colors, graphs and much more. TinyMCE empowers you to significantly optimize and simplify your WordPress backend experience with the click of a button, meaning you can concentrate on what you do best and start leaving all the’ button searching’ behind you.
14. WP Super Cache
The pace of your website in 2021 is everything. And you can increase the baseline pace of your website easily and seamlessly with WP Super Cache. This free, simple plugin creates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress pages, meaning that instead of running the heavier (and slower) PHP scripts, the web host can use that file. WP Super Cache is an important plugin for just about any web developer seeking to grow their website speed and enjoy all the advantages that come with it, with its negligible price and simplicity of configuration.
15. UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin
For the average web developer, nothing is more frustrating (or terrifying) than the possibility of losing all of their hard work and content because of a flawed update or unintended coding fluke. Fortunately, you can put those worries and frustrations behind you with UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup, the world’s highest-rated (2,400 + 5-star ratings and counting) scheduled backup WordPress plugin. All you have to do is press ‘setup’ and rest assured as all your information is backed up in the cloud seamlessly.
How to Install WordPress Plugins
The first thing any beginner needs to learn after installing WordPress is how to install plugins for WordPress. WordPress plugins are, in plain words, like software for your WordPress site. They enable you to add new features like a contact form, graphic, shopping cart, and more to WordPress.
Install a Plugin using WordPress Plugin Search
The best way to install a plugin for WordPress is to use the search plugin option. The only shortcoming to this option is that the WordPress plugin must be in the directory, which is only available to free plugins. In your WordPress admin region, you must first visit the Plugins area and then the “Add New” tab. By entering the plugin name or the features you are searching for, find the plugin. You can see a bunch of listings after that.
You can choose the plugin which is ideal for you and click next to it on the ‘Install Now’ tab. WordPress will now download the plugin for you and install it. You will note after this that the ‘Install Now’ button will switch to the ‘Activate’ button. It is possible to install a WordPress plugin on your website, but this will not function until you activate it. So just go ahead and click on the activate tab on your WordPress site to start using the plugin. That’s it, your first WordPress plugin has been installed successfully.
Install a Plugin using the WordPress Admin Plugin Upload
In the WordPress plugin directory, premium WordPress plugins are not included. It is not possible to install these plugins using the above way. That’s why the upload method to install those plugins works with WordPress. First, the plugin must be downloaded from the origin (which will be a zip file). Then, go to the Admin section of WordPress and visit Plugins » Add New Tab. Click on the ‘Upload Plugin’ button on the top of the page after that. This will show the upload form of the plugin. You need to click on the ‘Choose File’ button here and choose the plugin file that you downloaded to your system earlier.
You need to click on the ‘Install Now’ button after you have selected the file. Now, WordPress will upload the plugin file and install it for you from your computer. After the installation is done, you will see a message of progress. Once installed, to begin using the plugin, you have to press the Activate Plugin button. The settings should be adjusted to meet your needs. For each plugin, these settings will differ.
For both website owners and visitors, the correct collection of plugins will make a WordPress site work better. There’s a plugin for all of that, whatever your website needs and the right WordPress plugins make your website look so much better, load faster, and stay stable. You can significantly (and rapidly) enhance the accessibility, design, and usability of your website for yourself and your audiences with the right collection of plugins built into your backend.