WordPress is a wonderfully innovative platform that anyone looking to launch a blog, an online store, or a
service business should familiarize themselves with. Part of what makes it invaluable is its wealth of web
hosting and content management tools that make getting started as both painless and enjoyable. Whether
you’re a computer novice or a coding expert, WordPress takes you step by step through the whole process of
creating a unique online presence so that your website is both successful and reflective of you.
One of the many tools WordPress offers is a plethora of plugins; over 20,000 free plugins and tens of
thousands available through purchase or membership. These helpful add-ons can do anything from regularly
emailing your site members/followers/clients to integrating additional forms and payment portal options.
There are even plugins specifically made to assist with SEO (search engine optimization) and other forms of
content optimization. When trying to decide which plugins your site might need, it’s best to sit down and
make a list of things you need your website to do. Do you want a specific kind of editor for formatting your
webpages? Do you need a better contact form? Do you want to make sure emails from your site aren’t sent
to spam? Do you need a payment portal that accepts specific types of payment? Do you care about Google
Analytics? Do some research on must-haves for your type of website, then take a look at the following list
and see which WordPress plugins might work best for you.
It’s no secret that your best bet for getting more people to come to your site is to appear high on a search
engine’s list. In order to do that, you have to integrate several key words in high volumes into your content.
Yoast SEO is a plugin for exactly that, but it goes far beyond on-page SEO. In addition to SEO within your
content, it integrates the use of meta tags and sitemaps to improve Google’s ability to locate and recommend
your site in its search results.
Another convenient benefit of this plugin is that it will automatically detect changes in your URL and
redirect any traffic going to your previous URL to the new one. This is handy for site upgrades, rebrandings,
or if you wind up going from a .com to a .net or .org, etc. On top of all of that, this WordPress plugin is free!
There is a premium version that offers additional widgets and functionalities, but all of the above benefits
are included in the free version.
WooCommerce is the single most popular eCommerce plugin on the WordPress market with over 75 million
downloads. Naturally, this plugin is most suited for those whose Internet presence includes an online store.
Unlike other eCommerce-centered plugins, WooCommerce comes with several themes already built and
ready to customize and/or launch. It also comes with numerous extensions and features that make this
WordPress plugin incredibly intuitive and easy to personalize for your business.
WooCommerce is open-source, giving you complete control over the way you present your business, and
allows you to sell anything from tangible products to subscriptions to downloadable content. Just specify the
currencies you accept, set up your payment portal, and watch your business bear fruit! This plugin also
comes in a free version, though there may be fees if you’d like to use one of the pre-made themes (some are
available for free), and there will always be a web hosting fee involved with owning an online store.
ASSET CLEANUP: PAGE SPEED BOOSTER
It’s easy to get carried away when setting up your online presence. Customizations, add-ons, plugins, and
other tools can certainly make your website stand out, but they can also weigh them down. Or, more
webpages and bloat your site, making load times longer and frustrating visitors and potential customers.
Asset Cleanup: Page Speed Booster is the free (also known as “lite”) version of Asset Cleanup Pro. It scans
your coding and organizes the CSS and JS it finds so that you can literally pick and choose what you want to
appear on which page, and what’s unnecessary and would only clog up the code. For example, you might not
need a payment portal code on each page of your site. Disabling this part of the CSS can greatly increase
your site’s efficiency and do a lot toward decluttering your HTML source code.
As the name suggests, Autoptimize is also all about optimizing your site’s performance. Similar to Asset
Cleanup, it can minify and aggregate your scripts and style sheets, but it goes way more in depth with its
capabilities. It’ll even help you get rid of the unnecessary codes and extras that WordPress automatically
loads into your site (think of it like the apps that come with a brand new phone that you can never seem to
get rid of, but would free up a lot of space if you could).
The best thing about this plugin is that it’s one of the easiest ones to utilize and does significantly more for
you in terms of optimization than you would be able to easily do without its help. Once you’ve installed the
plugin, you simply activate the plugin itself through WordPress, find Autoptimize in your Settings, and
enable any of the options you’re interested in using.
If you tend to be a bit heavy-handed with custom coding and add-ons, you know how frustrating it can be to
create that perfect template, theme, page, or even post and be unable to duplicate it without a whole lot of
extra and repetitive work. Duplicate Page gives you the ability to do all of that with a single click, and the
basic version is completely free to use.
This plugin has additional capabilities in the Pro version (the upgrade that would require a purchase),
including allowing other user types to access the duplicate feature, adding prefixes and suffixes to your
posts, redirecting after clicking on a clone link, and numerous additional filters and features. For a simple
and straightforward plugin, Duplicate Page has quite a bit to offer.
Hummingbird is an aptly-named WordPress plugin that targets your website’s loading speed. We all know
how frustrating it is to click on a site and have to wait more than a couple seconds for its content to load. In
fact, more often than not, if we’re made to wait longer than a mere handful of seconds, we’ll leave the site or
click that refresh button, hoping for a magical boost in speed between the first time we tried to load the site
and the refresh.
Much like the hummingbird manages to move with remarkable precision and speed with its tiny wings, the
WordPress plugin of the same name efficiently loads a version of the site first that shows all of the
essentials. This caching technique allows some of the heavier content to load in afterward while the visitor
peruses what’s already available. Hummingbird will analyze your content and give you a score based on its
loading efficiency, and offer “fixes” to help you minify your coding and content.
STOP WP EMAILS GOING TO SPAM
The title says it all for this particular WordPress plugin. Communicating with your followers and customers
is a vital part of maintaining a business, since repeat business can often make up the majority of sales. There
are numerous plugins and add-ons specifically for sending out emails containing coupons, specials, and
events that might entice a customer to come back even after their purchase, but what good do those emails
do if they just wind up in the customer’s spam folder, right?
This plugin is here to save those valuable communications! By correcting settings like “envelope sender”
and displaying your Sender Permitted From settings (checking whether your IP is in a list of permitted
settings), Stop WP Emails Going To Spam can very easily and single-handedly help you maintain reliable
contact with your site visitors. There’s even a setting that allows you to change the name and email address
you display in those emails.
This WordPress plugin is impressively developer-friendly. It’s an open source page builder with no
restrictions on how the site creators/owners can market and sell their products and services. Any site that has
been created using Beaver Builder gives the creator full license to sell how they see fit as opposed to having
to conform to whatever rules a closed-source plugin might require.
Like Elementor, Beaver Builder uses drag-and-drop visual tools called “blocks” to help you format and
customize your content. It offers numerous ready-made themes and widgets for use on your site and is
compatible with a wide variety of add-ons and additional plugins. You can use this page builder for any kind
of site, from blogs to full-blown businesses.
Elementor is a WYSIWYG page-builder that has several tiers of service available. The free version is
available to anyone with a business WordPress account and has a wide variety of editing tools and widgets
that can be added on. Even the free version has an impressive number of templates to choose from, and you
can find nearly any kind of widget you could need either available through or compatible with Elementor.
Customization is limitless with this WordPress plugin, and nearly any of the features listed in the plugins
above can be found or added to a website made with Elementor. They’ve even worked closely with
WooCommerce to make a series of Woo Widgets for this page-builder!
PRO: Elementor Pro is the upgraded version of this plugin, and there are three membership tiers. The
Personal Plan is $49/year and will allow you access to all of Pro’s upgraded features for one website. The
Plus Plan is $99/year and allows you to use Elementor Pro for up to three sites, and the final tier--Expert--is
$199/year with access to 1000 sites.
The Pro version gives you more than you might expect for how little it costs, comparatively. By allowing
integration with other plugins like WooCommerce, MailChimp, and form-builders, Pro covers nearly
everything we’ve already covered in this list so far. It even unlocks higher-level customizations like
animations and personalized pop-ups that can be used for marketing and directional purposes. But, if there’s
anything you need but can’t find in the plugin itself, you’re all but guaranteed to find it as a compatible addon.
Envato Elements: This is an additional plugin that gives you access to thousands of intuitive, innovative
templates and page designs. Nearly all of these can be used in Elementor’s editor, so this is an easy way to
maximize your access to pre-made themes and design tools.
Essential Add-Ons for Elementor: As the name suggests, this really is an essential add-on for Elementor.
This plugin, like Envato, expands the materials and tools you have access to exponentially, including
additional editing tools, more pre-made templates, absolute control over your customization options, and
countless new widgets available for your convenience.
HOW TO DETERMINE WHICH PLUGINS YOU NEED
As mentioned in the beginning, the best way to figure out which plugins will benefit you the most is to sit
down and ask yourself what kinds of features and capabilities your site will require. If it’s going to be an
online shop, choosing an eCommerce plugin will be one of the first decisions you make, and WooCommerce
is the cream of the crop. If you want to be able to communicate with anyone who provided contact
information on a regular and automated basis, plugins like MailChimp and Stop WP Emails Going to Spam
are invaluable when used in conjunction with each other. SEO and Google Analytics plugins will vastly
improve your visibility to the public, and plugins that minify and cache your code will improve not only the
functionality of your site, but your visitors’ experience on it. Go through each feature your site will need,
find out what page builders and add-ons you’ll need, figure out which ones are compatible with each other,
and you’ll have a fully operational and highly optimized website before you know it!