Essential WordPress Plugins
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS), powering over 61% of all websites. And right out of the box WordPress has some very impressive capabilities. But did you know that by adding essential WordPress plugins and extension you can customize WordPress to the nth degree?And you have a ton of options to choose from!
As of March 2017 there were 49,255 WordPress plugins that have been downloaded 1,596,248,726 times! Many of them are very specific and of limited use, but some plugins are essential. Here is our list of Essential WordPress Plugins you should consider adding to your business website.
For the sake of brevity this post only deals with essential WordPress plugins for a standard business website. This plugins extend the general functionality of your business website and benefit SEO, security, and social media. There are many other plugins specifically developed for e-commerce, blogging, online communities, mobile apps, and just about anything else you can imagine. We even found one that shows available healthcare jobs in Canada in real-time! Fascinating and cool, but not essential for most business websites.
Essential WordPress Plugins for Your Business Website
Our team recommends the following plugins for business websites to improve security and performance, improve SEO, provide statistics and analytics, and enhance social sharing. We grouped our essential WordPress plugins by category, and we even point out our favorites in each category. You can get more info on the The Official WordPress Plugins Repository.
Essential WordPress Plugins – Security
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. Akismet comes pre-installed on all WordPress sites and is available for a yearly fee of around $ 60.00.
Very simple plugin that adds a client side generated check box to the comment form requesting that the user clicks it to prove they are not a spammer. Bots wont see it so their spam comment will be discarded.
Not only does this plugin protect your site like a firewall, but it also offers WordPress login protection and comment spam protection.
Sucuri Security is another excellent plugin to protect your site from malware, phishing, and cyber attacks. The free version is pretty good, but we recommend you upgrade to the pro version for added security.
WordFence includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, malicious URL scanning and a very fast caching engine.
Essential WordPress Plugins – SEO / Cache
The WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin provides better SEO options for more advanced SEO experts, but provides helpful tools for less experienced users as well.
The All-In-One SEO Pack provides flexible SEO options in one single package.
The WordPress SEO pack on steroids! PSP is actually 30 different plugins and modules in one extensively documented package.
W3 Total Cache will optimize your WordPress website or blog by following Google page speed guidelines that will make your website super fast. Note: Advance configuration can be tricky!
Essential WordPress Plugins – Social Media
Shareaholic is an all-in-one content amplification and monetization platform that includes related content recommendations, promoted content, social sharing, following, site monetization apps such as affiliate linking, and social analytics.
This plugin lets you integrate with more than 330 social platforms and bookmarking sites, as well as email sharing.
Originally developed by our friends at Digital Telepathy, this plugin ids now part of ShareThis. Filament is more than a social plugin. Connect your website to Filament and share and promote your blog and social content. Find out more here!
Essential WordPress Plugins – Contact Forms + Commenting
You can add a contact form to any page or post, add and reorder fields, customize your email notifications, prevent spam comments, redirect links, and customize the form appearance, including the text for the submit button.
WP Contact Form is a drop-in form that lets users contact you through your WordPress site.
Gravity Forms allows you to easily create any type of form you can imagine. One of the more popular WordPress plugins it is used on over 1 million sites.
Simple, popular, and highly flexible, Contact Form 7 has been downloaded nearly 16 million times! Combine it with Really Simple CAPTCHA by the same developers for added spam protection.
It loads fast and has a very intuitive interface. It allows email notifications for follow-up comments. Your readers can log in and comment using their social networking accounts like Facebook and Twitter. This essential WordPress plugin also offers support for mobile devices and other blogging platforms. Nice!
Essential WordPress Plugins – Statistics
This essential WordPress plugin allows you to track your site’s statistics through its GA tracking code, which is fast and reliable. It also allows automatic tracking of outbound clicks and page views.
Display your site’s stats graph plus your blog traffic, social engagement and social influence directly in your dashboard with this plugin. See how your site is ranking on Alexa, check out your Technocrati authority, monitor your ranking across multiple sites and much more. Once you install this plugin you will wonder how you ever managed to track everything before!
Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your self-hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of WordPress.com. Statistics are only one of the many goodies from this plugin!
Google Analyticator is a plugin that displays Google Analytics right in your WordPress dashboard.
Essential WordPress Plugins – Image Optimization
This image optimization plugin was originally developed by Yahoo and now runs on the WPDEV2.05 platform. The free versions has a few limitations, but works well for most business websites.
This plugin allows you to optimize your WordPress images through the Kraken API, the world’s most advanced image optimization solution. Very cost-effective starting at $ 5.00 / month!
Essential WordPress Plugins – Backup
This plugin allows you to easily backup your WordPress site and restore previously saved versions. Simply choose a day, time, and how often you wish to perform your backups, and it will automatically send them to Dropbox.
With more than 2 million downloads, WP-DB-Backup is one of the most popular of our essential WordPress plugins.
Setting up VaultPress and restoring from backups is just a matter of clicks. Some of their packages even offer security scans!
Backup and restore: take backups locally, or backup to Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, (S)FTP, WebDAV & email, on automatic schedules. An added bonus is the slick site migration feature!
Just checking to see if you are paying attention! Of course we mean Image Sliders!
Essential WordPress Plugins – Sliders
This plugin adds smooth content and image slide shows with customizable backgrounds, transitions and slide intervals to any page or post of your WordPress site.
This plugin adds beautiful image sliders to your WordPress site. It provides awesome effects, fancy templates, a point-and-click wizard, pure CSS styling, and much more.
Meta Slider provides 4 different slider options, including Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider, and Responsive Slider.
Slider Revolution is an all-purpose slide displaying solution that allows for showing almost any kind of content with highly customizable transitions, effects, and custom animations.
Essential WordPress Plugins – Content Management
Especially designed for blogs, this WordPress plugin lets you zoom out and view the entire month, making it easy to see your publishing schedule, add post ideas, drafts, and more.
When you write or edit a post, this plugin lets you specify a future date to review the content. You can set the scheduler to automatically take an action you specify on a certain date, such as unsticking a post, change the post category, change the post status, add or remove tags, or trash the post.
Very helpful for large blogs, this plugin displays a message at the top of a single post published years ago informing you about content that may be outdated.
Adding Essential WordPress Plugins to Your Site
A Word of Caution
Now that you have our list of essential WordPress plugins for your business website you are probably eager to install and play around with a few of them yourself. Cool, we love it! But before you do here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Only install plugins that you really need; too many plugins will slow down your site
- Only install plugins that are compatible with the most recent version of WordPress
- Only install plugins that are updated frequently and have been downloaded at least a few thousand times.
- Check comments and reviews before you install a plugin.
- After you install a new plugin check to make sure that your website still looks and functions the same as before.
Installing any of our essential WordPress plugins is fairly straight forward, and if you have even a basic understanding of your WordPress business website and dashboard you should be able to do this on your own. Many of our essential WordPress plugins come with installation instructions and support from their respective developers.
If you need help installing any of our essential WordPress plugins, or if you need to make some other improvements to your WordPress business website, feel free to reach out to our web designers. They can help you determine the best plugins for your website, as well as recommending any other required improvements. Why not get started by requesting an estimate for installing and configuring some essential WordPress plugins on your business website?
And if you are still not sure how these essential WordPress plugins will benefit your website, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine which of our essential WordPress plugins work best on your business website. That is one of our specialties, after all!
Do you have anything to add to our essential WordPress plugins list? Feel free to add your comments below so our audience can benefit as well, and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our essential WordPress plugins with your audience!