Over 30% of all websites on the World Wide Web is powered by WordPress. Now, one of the reasons behind its massive popularity lies in the availability of rich features and functionalities. The CMS (Content Management System) allows users to install plugins that can add extra features to your WordPress websites. These can be niche-specific features useful to a certain group of websites, or they can be must-have plugins necessary for all websites.
Now, these plugins are especially important as vanilla WordPress lacks many features that are crucial for a blog or website to succeed in today’s competitive online space. Taking this into consideration, we have put together a comprehensive list covering different categories of must-have plugins you should definitely install on your WordPress website.
And so, without further ado, let’s get started:
Must-Have Plugins For Common Blog & Website
1. Backup Plugin
It is always possible for your WordPress website to fall apart and break due to some accident while editing or tweaking on the backend. Similarly, something can go wrong during a WordPress upgrade or theme & plugin update, which can potentially break your website. And let’s not forget the every lurking threat of getting hacked or falling prey to online malware.
Now looking at all these chances of potential mishaps, it is absolutely crucial you keep a backup plugin which can take routine backups of your WordPress website and even your database to safeguard your precise data.
Here I would like to recommend you to use our WPvivid Backup Plugin. Not only does it provide free scheduled backups to most of the leading cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive etc, it also comes with free one-click restore and website migration feature.
Some other notable backup plugins include:
2. Security Plugin (Firewall and Anti-Virus Plugin)
Online security is no joke, especially with the ever-rising stream of cybercriminals and hackers. And if that wasn’t enough, malware and viruses are spread throughout the internet ready to infiltrate your site and compromise all your data. These are serious issues that can ruin your websites along with your online business.
However, these problems can be easily avoided and somewhat mitigated if you practice some basic security precautions. For example, you can install a firewall plugin which can monitor the traffic coming to your site and block common security threats from causing any harm. Similarly, anti-virus plugins can catch and delete viruses and malware from compromising your website.
3. SEO Plugin
Over 70% of all organic traffic goes to the website the gets the 1st ranking on search engines like Google. That’s a lot of visitors who can help you build a profitable website and pave the way towards your online success. However, getting the top rank on the search engines isn’t that simple.
For example, Google and Bing follow certain algorithms to rank websites, or rather webpages for a target keyword. The art of optimizing your website according to the algorithm by following certain practices is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. WordPress, by default, lacks any such SEO functionalities, but that can easily be changed using an SEO plugin.
We’ve put together a list of the best SEO plugins for improving your site’s ranking.
4. Statistic Plugin
A quantitative understanding of your website’s performance is key to achieving online success. Getting access to statistical insight will help you understand what type of content results in maximum conversions, which one of your strategies is maximizing audience engagement, and so on.
You will have a clear picture of what you are doing right and the places that require improvements. You can use this insight to finetune your strategies by changing what you are doing wrong, and improving what you are doing right.
A few notable examples of statistic plugins would be:
- Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
5. Contact Form Plugin
Contact Forms help your website visitors to get in touch with you directly from your website. If you want to build a relationship with your user base, then having a contact form is absolutely crucial. But with that being said, WordPress lacks any means for setting up a contact form on your website.
And so you need to install a contact form plugin. In most cases, you will get access to a dedicated contact form builder which will let you create a custom questionnaire for users who want to connect with you. You will even get options to tweak the looks and feel of the contact form or integrate it with your e-mailing service.
Here you can find our picks for the best contact form plugins for your WordPress site.
6. Page Cache Plugin
A page cache plugin will automatically store recently used information on your visitor’s hard drive. Therefore every single time the user comes to your website, the browser won’t have to fetch data directly from your hosting server and can load up your website from the locally stored data instead.
As you can imagine, this can dramatically improve your site’s loading speeds, thereby improving overall user experience. And in case you don’t know, low loading time helps improve SEO score. So caching can indirectly boost your search engine rankings as well.
Some notable examples of page cache plugins include:
- W3 Total Cache
- Simple Cache
7. SMTP Plugin
You will know if you have tried, that sending and receiving emails from your WordPress website can be somewhat problematic. Many times, the emails sent from your site never end up getting delivered to the recipient. This issues generally results from your hosting provider not adhering to the SMTP guidelines.
Now, in case you don’t know, SMTP – short for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, is the internet standard for e-mail transmission. By installing an SMTP plugin, you get to implement the proper email authentications which can immediately improve your email deliverability rates.
We have put together a list of the best SMTP plugins for WordPress so you can choose one that can best suit your needs.
8. XML Sitemap Plugin
To get your pages and posts to show up on the search engine results page, you need them to be properly indexed by the search engines, specifically the web crawlers. But with that being said, some websites have complicated structures which make it difficult for web crawlers to properly index all the pages and posts on the site.
To tackle this problem, you can use XML sitemaps which helps search engine crawlers understand the content layout of your website and thus index all pages and posts properly. You can use a plugin to help you generate these sitemaps, update them whenever you make changes to your site, and deliver them to search engines to keep everything updated.
Check out our hand-picked list of the best XML sitemap plugins for your WordPress website.
9. Social Media Share Plugin
Social Media is a crucial factor that builds into developing your online presence and thereby achieving online success. Now by using Social Media Share plugins, you can easily share new posts that you publish on your website to all your different social media channels.
The plugins can also integrate social media icons to your website as a call to action to get users to like and follow you on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Users can also help you out by sharing your content on social media, thereby increasing the overall exposure of your content. Some of the plugins can even revive your old posts on social networks and connect your WordPress site with your Facebook business page.
10. Newsletter/Subscribe Plugin
Building up your subscriber pool is the best way to generate a steady stream of recurring organic traffic. It is also necessary to build a fan base of users around your brand.
Now there are plenty of plugins that can help you sign-up your websites visitors to a particular newsletter. You can use simple subscription forms, opt-in forms, and so on, to help create a mailing list of users to whom you can send weekly or monthly newsletters.
Notable plugins in this category include:
11. 301/302 Redirection Plugin
301/302 are status codes used to indicate that the target has been moved permanently or temporarily (respectively) to a new/different URI. Using 301/302 redirects is the standard and the most SEO-friendly means for guiding users to the new target location.
Now, although WordPress does offer some basic redirect functionalities, it is still easier to using a 301/302 plugin which also allows you to access a more advanced set of tools to help you get granular control over the redirecting process.
Check out our hand-picked list of the best 301/302 redirection plugins.
Must-Have Plugins For Making Money Purpose
12. Cart Plugin
An e-commerce website is incomplete without having a shopping cart. It allows users to browse around your online store while purchasing products and services they like directly onto the cart. This simple tactic can improve your purchase rates dramatically as users get more time, and therefore more exposure to all items in stock.
Now, by installing a cart plugin on your e-commerce website you not only enable the shopping cart features, but also get access to sleek UI for the shopping cart interface, support for quality payment gateways, and so on.
As a crucial part of an e-commerce website, you can easily find most of the best e-commerce solution plugins include a cart option.
13. Membership Management Plugin
If you are looking to create a membership website like Amazon or eBay where people can create accounts and become members, then you will need the help of membership management plugins.
You can even extend the plugin functionalities to help you implement a member-only access module to content or services. All in all, membership plans can help you monetize your website either directly or indirectly, but it is an excellent tool nonetheless.
Here are some examples of powerful membership plugins:
14. Live Chat Support System
If you are selling products or services online, you need to set up a solid live chat system to deliver quality instant customer support. Whether it be before a customer makes a purchase or as a form of after-sales support, having a live chat system is crucial.
Now, as you can imagine, just by installing a WordPress plugin, you can integrate a powerful live chat support system on your website. You can even set up a support team to handle customer queries and resolve any issues or confusion.
Find the best one for your business site from our list of the best live chat support system plugins.
15. Forum Plugin
Forum plugins help add extra features and functionality to enable a full-fledged forum directly on your WordPress website. This includes everything from setting up the right site aesthetics to integrating profile building options, and much more.
Now, you can monetize this directly by selling memberships to your online forum. Or, you can use the forum as a dedicated support page to tackle FAQs and customers queries. Either way, forum plugins are extremely valuable to online businesses and money making websites.
Here are our hand-picked list of the best forum plugins for your consideration.
16. Cloak Affiliate Links Plugin
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog and make money online. But with that being said, the affiliate links themselves are very long and somewhat ugly. This can not only force users to exercise caution while opening the links but can also hamper SEO performance.
Therefore, it is always best to cloak your affiliate links to make them shorter and cleaner. A simple trick that can help you gain assurance from the readers as well as validation from search engine algorithms.
Here are our hand-picked list of the best free affiliate link cloaking and managing plugins.
17. Upcoming Events Plugin
By showcasing upcoming events on your website you can entice audience curiosity and create hype surrounding the event. And to help you implement and manage these upcoming event campaigns, you can make use of certain WordPress plugins.
The plugins introduce features that can help you embed a calendar to showcase the exact date of the upcoming event, register users interested in attending the event, motivate users to share the buzz, and much more.
We’ve put together a list of the best events calendar plugins for WordPress.
18. Donation Button Plugin
If you are running a charity or even a fundraising event, then using a website lets you connect with a global audience who shares your cause. However, taking donations from charitable individuals isn’t a native functionality of WordPress. And so, we need to include an extra plugin into the mix.
A donation plugin not only helps integrate a donation form on your website but also incorporate all necessary features to help take and process donations, access donation statistics, manage donors and much more.
Here are the best free donation plugins we’ve picked out for your consideration.
19. Insert Ads or AdSense Plugin
Adverts and advertisements are the best means of monetizing your WordPress blog or website. In this regard, AdSense is one of the premier advertisement programs designed by Google which can help you instantly start making money by placing ads on your website.
Now to help you better manage these ads on your WordPress website, including ad display placement, creating ad banners, statistical insights on ad performance, and much more, you can make use of dedicated WordPress plugins:
Check out our hand-picked list of the best ads manager plugins for WordPress.
So these were our picks for the must-have plugins for any WordPress website. We hope you found this read to be useful, and that it can help you create a more robust and efficient website.
Experienced WordPress users are welcome to share their picks of the best plugins in each category and write about them in the comments section. Your fellow readers who are just starting out with the CMS, might not know what plugins to choose and your insights might be of extreme help.
After choosing and installing the must-have plugins on your WordPress website, for next, you may want to learn step by-step strategy to SEO a WordPress site.