With over 455 million active websites running on WordPress, WordPress certainly is the biggest CMS platform for building websites globally.
Whether you are running your online business or a blog website, WordPress is everyone’s first choice. And what makes WordPress so special is the plethora of plugins that when installing on a WordPress website, breathe a new life into it.
But what is a WordPress plugin?
If you own a WordPress website, then you must have crossed paths with the WordPress plugins.
WordPress plugins are apps or software that when installed, add new features and functionality to your WordPress website. Similar to the concept of mobile applications for your smartphone.
Plugins play the same role as WordPress, as WordPress to your website. These small pieces of plug-n-play software transform your vanilla website into a fully functional one.
Whether you want to build an e-commerce website, protect your website from phishing attacks or build a mobile app for your WordPress website, there’s a plugin for everything (well, almost everything).
Currently, there are over 54,000 plugins available for WordPress. This can also hold you back at times, due to the sheer number of plugins available. It becomes difficult to decide which ones to go for.
Therefore, let us run through a list of the top 12 must-have plugins for any WordPress website that can transform your online business.
#1 – Yoast
Here comes the number one must-have WordPress plugin that we believe should be installed on all WordPress websites regardless of their type or business model.
Every online business requires optimization to get top rank in search results. Which is exactly where Yoast steps in.
Yoast analyses the text content on your website (which also makes the most of any website) and neatly gives you a report on how SEO friendly your web-pages are. How readable the content is and how you can improve it.
Yoast also helps optimize the meta-information of a web-page. Information like the page title, meta description and so on.
Yoast makes search-engine optimization of your website extremely simple. Which is a must for any website? And this is exactly why plugin tops our list.
But hey, that’s not all, Yoast comes in free and a premium version as well. And the premium version unlocks multiple other features that will sky-rocket your content optimization strategies.
Yoast comes as both Free and Premium downloads.
There are not a lot of plugins that can compete with Yoast, but All in One SEO Pack is a good alternative to Yoast.
#2 – Jetpack
Jetpack is a highly popular plugin and one of the most promoted and downloaded plugins. Developed by the brilliant team at WordPress itself, Jetpack comes loaded with features that help boost your website’s performance.
Jetpack offers features like website security from penetration attacks and it takes your website’s backup frequently. It also monitors your website every few minutes for downtime and instantly notifies when there is an issue.
It improves your website’s performance by loading all static content like images, CSS and other files from their servers and not yours.
Other features include traffic stats, image optimization, website appearance, and much more.
Jetpack also offers customer support with a huge support forum.
Jetpack comes as both Free and Premium downloads.
#3 – WooCommerce
WooCommerce needs no introduction. WooCommerce is the first resort (and for most, even the last) for anyone starting an e-Commerce business.
With over 86 million downloads, WooCommerce is the most popular e-Commerce plugin for WordPress. And this is due to the complete range of e-Commerce features that WooCommerce offers.
Be it retail products, products with multiple variations, online products or even subscriptions. WooCommerce handles it all.
WooCommerce is an open-source solution, hence, it is free of cost.
The only comparable alternative to WooCommerce is BigCommerce.
#4 – Akismet Anti-Spam
When you start attracting visitors to your website, you also have to face the spammers. Spammers are like the weeds in a well-harvested farm, and they need to be weeded-out.
This is where Akismet Anti-Spam comes into the picture. It is one of the most reputed plugins when it comes to blocking out the spammers.
This not only ensures that the spammers have been filtered out but also helps maintain the long-term integrity of your website.
Akismet reviews all comments on your website and provides a status for them. It filters the spammy comments even before it can make any damage to your website.
You can view the approved comments for each user, look for URLs in comments, and remove them on request. With the premium version, you can also moderate each comment.
Akismet comes as both Free and Premium downloads.
#5 – WPForms
WPforms makes it very easy for you to create multiple forms for your website. Be it a contact form or a survey where you need your audiences’ feedback, you can depend on this plugin.
WPForms is a very user-friendly solution. With its drag & drop online form builder, you can easily create to creating any kind of forms, such as contact forms, email subscription forms, online order forms, payment forms, surveys, polls and much more. You can also build a custom user registration form and login page.
WPForms comes as both Free and Premium downloads.
Formidable Forms, Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms are some good alternatives to WPForms.
#6 – MemberPress
Successful businesses run because of their loyal customer base. And this becomes even more important if you are running an online website.
One of the most important achievements for any marketer is to create an active community for their website. And MemberPress helps achieve just that. It turns your website into a thriving membership business.
MemberPress helps you create a robust and sophisticated social network on your own website. It not only helps you engage with your audience but also allows them to interact with each other. Having an active community amongst your audience greatly helps you promote your products and services.
MemberPress also offers great support from the community and detailed documentation.
MemberPress comes with multiple pricing options.
BuddyPress is a good alternative to WPForms.
#7 – WordFence
WordPress websites always attract a lot of hackers and penetration bots. They are always a soft target.
The website’s security should be one of the prime focus of any website owner. There are thousands of malicious bots and hackers who are always on the lookout for any penetration opportunities.
There have been countless cases where businesses have made heavy losses due to such hacks. This is where WordFence comes in. It shields your website from any external malicious attacks.
Additionally, WordFence has a firewall application that prevents sites from being hacked by any malicious attacks. You can also enable two-factor authentication for user logins to amp up the security and fight brute-force attacks.
WordFence comes as both Free and Premium downloads.
Sucuri is a good alternative to WordFence.
#8 – Blog Designer
Blog Designer is a fantastic plugin that helps you customize your blog page layout easily. It is a free plugin that comes with 10 outstanding blog layouts. Moreover, you can modify various design elements such as text color, background color, font size, and so on.
The plugin comes with custom CSS support which you can use to change the look and feel of your WordPress blog design as per your need. Blog Designer offers various other features such as multiple post category selection, show/hide post category, alternative background color, and more. The premium PRO version of the plugin comes with further additional features & functionalities as well.
Blog Designer comes as both Free and Premium downloads.
#9 – Monster Insights
As a business owner, you’ll obviously be interested in all the activity happening on your website. Especially the traffic that you are generating.
How many people are visiting you, from where at what time and many more insights. Monster Insights gives you exactly that.
Monster Insights gives you all the important analytical insights from Google Analytics on your website’s dashboard itself. So that you do not have to go anywhere else.
These insights help you make more informed business decisions in the future to make better profits and performance improvements.
MonsterInsight comes as both Free and Premium downloads. Though it offers a free version, but its true power unleashes on a premium subscription only.
ExactMetrics is a good alternative to Monster Insights.
#10 – AppMySite
The rapid advancements in technology have resulted in a major shift from desktop to mobile. In fact, a study has shown that over 85% of consumers favor apps over mobile websites.
And businesses with a mobile app today are benefitting immensely with this growing market. However, building a mobile application is not a child’s play. It takes a lot of investment in both time and money.
This used to be a big hurdle, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. But not anymore, there are a few WordPress mobile app plugin that helps website owners to convert their websites into a mobile app.
AppMySite is a premium mobile app builder that helps website owners convert their websites into native mobile apps for both Android and iOS. Its AI-powered technology gives its users complete control to customize their app as they like.
AppMySite comes with both Free and Premium subscription plans.
While there are a few alternatives, but none come close to what AppMySite offers.
#11 – OptinMonster
As a business, you always wish to constantly grow your customer base and are always at a lookout for converting visitors into customers.
OptinMonster is an exciting plugin that helps you achieve that goal. More than 900,000 websites are currently using this plugin worldwide and benefit from it.
It is a great solution for bloggers, business websites, and eCommerce websites alike. It also comes loaded with a drag-and-drop form builder.
OptinMonster comes with multiple pricing options. It does not offer a free trial.
Poptin is a very good alternative to OptinMonster and it comes with a free version as well.
#12 – Divi
Divi is a premium drag and drop WordPress theme and page builder. It extremely popular amongst many web developers and agencies as well.
Divi offers a friendly and intuitive user interface and comes pre-loaded with multiple templates for different types of websites and businesses. With Divi, you can create any type of custom page layout or theme within minutes.
Create premium landing pages for your marketing campaigns.
Divi comes with multiple pricing options. It does offer a free trial.
#13 – Constant Contact
There is no doubt that email marketing is one of the best marketing tools for any kind of online business. It enables you to stay connected with your website visitors even when they are not online.
Constant Contact is a popular email marketing plugin for WordPress websites. It enables website owners to build an email list and then send beautiful email newsletters to subscribers.
It offers simple and fast setup and does not require any technical knowledge. It works well with other popular plugins like WPForm and OptinMonster.
Constant Contact comes with a couple of pricing options. But it does not offer a free trial.
Some honourable mentions
#1 – Humming Bird
Humming Bird plugin makes your website faster by boosting your webpages.
#2 – Redirection
Redirection is the most popular plugin for redirecting web-pages.
#3 – Shortcodes Ultimate
Add simple elements to your website like Google Maps, call-to-action buttons and more with Shortcodes Ultimate plugin.
Role of web host in enhancing WordPress performance
The role of the various plugins covered here is to grow the overall functionality of a website. Many WordPress users search for the right plugin to enhance the performance of their website. However, the only real solution to website speed optimization is getting a good web host.
WP Engine is a leading hosting platform catering to WordPress websites alone. This degree of specialization is a key factor in making it the best managed WordPress host in the world.
WP Engine doesn’t just offer speed. It makes website management simple by managing essential tasks like updates and backups. Users can also rest easy about their website security with WP Engine as it institutes several security measures such as 2FA, data encryption, and advanced user permission.
You can alternatively purchase the WordPress web hosting add-on to migrate your website to WP Engine. This option is only available to AppMySite users.
So, there you go, we have discussed the most essential plugins that all WordPress website owners must use for their websites. For more such informative content, keep an eye out at the AppMySite blog.