WordPress is far away best free website builder – not the least because it is easy to use and affords great flexibility for all levels of users – be they ace developers or green novices.
Speaking of non-developers – one thing that can be baffling is a large number of plugins and their usefulness.
Here then is a snapshot of 12 best WordPress plugins –
- Sucuri Security
- Updraft Plus
- Better Click To Tweet
- WP EasyCart
- MailChimp Forms
- Google Analytics
- Yoast SEO
- WP Fastest Cache
- Security Activity Auditing
- File Integrity Monitoring
- Remote Malware Scanning
- Blacklist Monitoring
- Effective Security Hardening
- Post-Hack Security Actions
- Security Notifications
The premium version includes Website Firewall that protects the website from malware.
This ranks highest among WP plugins as far as backup-and-restore solutions for your WP website are concerned. It backs up your data, files, and everything else – in short, your entire website – into cloud storage.
- A large number of choices for cloud backup including Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace and more.
- Restore feature taking your website back to a specific point in time
- Scheduling for automatic backups.
- Updraft is optimized to use minimum server resources
Besides all these freebies, there are a number of premium features:
- Take incremental backups instead of a data dump with Updraft premium.
- Migrate your website – or duplicate it – seamlessly
- Backup all files – the free pack only backs up your WP files
- UpdraftPlus comes with even more storage options like Azure and BackBlaze
- You can encrypt your data and keep it safe from hackers
- The UpdraftPlus addon allows you to send your backup including log messages via email to multiple destinations.
- It also allows you to label your manual backups so that you can get back to them whenever you need.
- UpdraftPlus supports WP-CLI which means you can install it from your command line.
And to top all that, you get a dedicated expert to help you.
Another smasher from WPMU DEV Smush lets you resize and optimize your images so your web pages load quickly without any fuss – and that’s why it features on our list of must have plugins for WordPress
- Remove useless data without affecting appeal
- Lazy load defers loading of images until clicked – speeding up your page loads.
- You can optimize up to 50 images in one go
- Just set the parameters – height and width – and your images will scale even as you compress them.
- Get the perfect score on Google Page Speed Test by using smart tips from Smush.
- Don’t restrict yourself – optimize images from virtually any directory
- Configure Smush to automatically compress and optimize every image
- Optimize all images across your network with Smush Multi site settings.
- Smush all your images – PNG, GIF and others – to JPEG with one click
The price? It’s 100% free but there’s a cap of 5 MB image size. If you really need high-end features like fast CDN delivery, automatic resizing, bulk optimization up to 32 MB, or auto conversion to JPEG then take a look at WP Smush Pro.
Ben Merdith – who has authored this plugin with WPSteward – describes this as convert quotes to tweets.
Besides the two apparent features – creating a one-click tweetable quote and a URL shortener – there are a number of hidden power features.
- You can make visible links nofollow for search engines
- Build your own templates – that box where you say Click to Tweet?
- Don’t like the phrase Click to Tweet? Change it with Better Click To Tweet.
The two basic features are free but you have to pay for the power features.
5. WP EasyCart
With WP EasyCart, you get a full shopping cart complete with Stripe, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Microsoft Pay. In fact, there are a whole lot of ecommerce website features included in the free version.
- EasyCart is SCA and GDPR compliant – which takes care of your payments and privacy.
- The social media extensions – Facebook and Instagram – allow you to directly sell your products.
- There are a number of themes to pick from.
EasyCart has three versions:
- Free eCommerce Edition has no limits on number of products or orders and lets you use PayPal Express, Stripe, or Square for payments.
- Professional eCommerce Edition – no fees – has a large number of additional payment gateways and a host of other features like shipping calculator, order editing, digital wallets, and many more features.
- Premium eCommerce Edition – This includes apps for various devices like tablets, iPhone and smartphones. There are also a number of premium extensions like ShipStation and MailChimp.
Another one to make our list of top WP plugins is MailChimp which lets you design and send mails directly from your website. It includes three key build features:
- Post boxes – forms, that you can add to your WP posts or pages. The WP 5.0 editor allows you to add these forms as a single MailChimp block on your website.
- Sidebar Widgets – forms that appear on your sidebar and are visible on all pages of your website.
- Pop-ups – forms that pop-up over your content and let your users enter details.
There is no limit to the number of forms you can create. Other great features include:
- Complete adaptability – your forms will never be out of sync no matter which device your visitor is using.
- You can add post boxes with Gutenberg MailChimp or use a short code. You can even add them directly to the bottom of the page.
- Customize the font, color, and other formatting to give your form an appealing look.
- A UI that makes form-building simple yet elegant
- There’s a built-in analytics feature that gives you insights about how effective your form is.
- The best in the industry conversion practices are built into MailChimp WP making your work easier and conversions faster and higher.
There is a free version with basic features – letting your users subscribe to your website – but the three paid versions have much more and are not too expensive either:
Hobbyist – Premium features for 1 website at $59/year
Professional – Premium features for up to 3 websites at $99/year
Agency – Premium features for up to 10 websites at $149/year
Forminator from WPMU DEV ranks right up there among the list of essential WordPress plugins because no website is complete without forms. Forminator’s main attractions are ease of use and third-party integration though there are a number of other useful features.
- It lets you add polls, quizzes, and calculators in the blink – oops! Click.
- You’ll get Stripe and PayPal to make and collect payments easily.
- Registration, pricing, BMI, or due date – add any sort calculator to your website – its easy peasy.
- Access services like Mailchimp and Trello through your website with Forminator third-party integration
- Build and sell your own apps on your website with Forminator
- Design and develop with ease using Forminator on Gutenberg
- Reassure your users with GDPR compliance using Forminator
Forminator comes completely free – and the pro version is the same as the free one last we checked.
This made our WordPress plugins list not just because analytics are essential for branding and rebranding, but also because of its plug-and-play ease – there is absolutely no need to touch the code. In fact, you can use the same UI as your website to review the analytics report. GA for WP comes with a host of features including:
- Easy setup – the plugin adds the JS to every page on your website automatically.
- You can even login with Google and simply select the website you want to analyze
- Summary dashboard with insights like views, pages per session, bounce rates and weekly comparisons.
- Top 5 sources of visits – you know where your business is coming from
- Trends – shows you which content is performing famously and which is lagging
- Email and Slack alerts – you’ll have to sign up for these
- You can disable tracking for specific users like Admin or other staff – keeping your analytics clean
- GA for WP is optimized for use on almost any device
And the best thing of all – it is completely free with no paid upgrades or fees whatsoever!
Think you need more? Hang on! Updates are on the way – but do let us know what you need.
9. Yoast SEO
SEO is always a tradeoff between bot and man. There are a number of SEO tools out there but if you have your website on WP get Yoast SEO. Here’s what you can do with this WP SEO plugin:
- Create great sitemaps in just a few clicks
- Grab the breadcrumbs and set them right – all with a simple code
- Say goodbye to Google penalties with canonical URLs from Yoast SEO
- Create title and meta description templates – ensuring consistency and branding on your website
- There’s also a bunch of analytics tools to help you write great SEO friendly content.
- And then there’s this little window that shows you how your content will look to the user in his search results page. Want to see it for social media – get the premium pack.
All these features completely free with the Yoast SEO plugin for WP. But wait! There are some premium features too:
- Yoast SEO has a number of extensions including news, video, and WooCommerce
- Get free support from the Yoast team for a whole year with the premium pack
- Keep your content aligned with your key phrases using the premium insights tool – then optimize it for synonyms and related phrases.
- Get tips to interlink your content as you write it.
- And forget about deleted pages -Yoast will take care of them.
AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – for WordPress is an open source solution to enhance your UX for mobile users. It offers you three template modes:
Standard – you use a single framework for your website that covers both mobile and other devices.
Transitional – where two separate versions are maintained with the AMP version being directed to mobile users via a canonical URL.
Reader – to enhance UX for single posts only.
Capabilities for WP websites include:
- Full site smooth loading of webpages without compromising content quality and fidelity.
- AMP is compatible with a large number of WP themes
- It also includes a debug tool where any conversion errors are show in full detail, identifying the troublesome markup and components.
- AMP optimizes your CSS tree removing any unused markups and bringing it under the 50KB limit. If you still runover, markups will be prioritized using the important ones and discarding superficial ones.
This is a group initiative offering open source code for WP users.
11. WP Fastest Cache
With the number of images on websites going up and the demand for quick access also rising, the trade off between website media and load time is hard to manage. Fastest case helps reduce load time by storing static HTML for each of your website pages in a cache.
It also has lazy load – loading media only when your user chooses to view it – and other features.
- The premium version has multiple caches for various devices and modules like desktop cache, mobile cache, and widget cache.
- Minify HTML is an optimizer that converts your code to the minimum size possible by removing superfluous tags and prioritizing those that are kept. The Minify Plus reduces the code further.
- There is also a Minify and Minify Plus for CSS and JS
- Render blocking JS and GZIP compression are some of the other features of WP Fastest Cache.
- The package also includes a separate browser cache, tools for managing cache logs – view and delete; as well as a database cleanup tool that optimizes the database for speed and CPU utilization.
The premium version – paid license – provides unlimited access to certain features like mobile cache.
Akismet identifies spam comments on your blog. It is an extremely useful feature for analytics as you can delete and block spammers – keeping your traffic organic. Other features of Akismet include:
- Separation of Akismet identified and manually identified comments.
- Hidden spam links are shown in the comment body for you to review and block.
- You – or your moderators – can see the number of approved comments and other user statistics.
Then there’s this special feature that automatically discards the worst comments – saving tons of storage.
Akismet is free for personal blogs. There is a premium subscribed version for commercial users. Both personal and commercial versions require an API key. Akismet Plus is available to both personal and commercial users for $5 per month per website while the enterprise version costs $50 per month and allows unlimited websites.
There are a large number of WP plugins that provide you a host of features for your WordPress website or blog. We’ve picked 12 of the best for you.
If you have any questions about these or other plugins, use the comments section and we’ll reply soon.