WordPress plugins are one of the biggest reasons why the platform has become such a popular choice for companies looking to build a website for their business. They make it easy for those with little or no coding knowledge to add increased functionality to their website quickly and easily.
Think of plugins for WordPress like apps on the App Store. Most are free and there is an active development community supporting them. Since WordPress is such a popular CMS option, there are currently over 10,000 plugins available and new ones are added all the time.
We love WordPress plugins because they allow us to quickly add new features to a website without having to code anything. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at 20 essential WordPress plugins that will work for any business website.
WP Bakery Page Builder
Page builders are essential for building a WordPress website today. Page builders include pre-built HTML elements and CSS styling components that dramatically speed up development time. They allow you to build out the structure of elements and style them, just like you would with HTML/CSS. But, without having to code everything from scratch.
Our preferred page builder plugin is the WP Bakery Page Builder. There are many great options out there, but this one is lightweight, easy to use and includes both a front-end and back-end editor.
As long as your WordPress theme doesn’t recommend a specific page builder, we recommend WP Bakery.
If your website can’t be found online through search engines like Google, then it’s not going to do your business much good. Fortunately, optimizing your website for SEO is easy with the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.
Yoast SEO makes it easy to write the meta title and description of each page of your website. This way, you can control how it appears on the search engine results. It’s especially handy for bloggers, as it analyzes posts and gives you great feedback on how it can be improved for SEO. It’s also easy to submit an XML sitemap to Google Search Console so your website can be indexed correctly.
There’s really no debate about it – Yoast SEO is the best WordPress plugin for search engine optimization. Nothing comes close to its feature set.
Forms on your website are essential for converting inbound traffic to your website into qualified sales leads. They allow potential customers to get in touch with your business quickly and easily.
There are tons of WordPress plugins that you can use to design forms for your website, but the best one we’ve found is Ninja Forms. The free version offers a solid mix of features and makes creating forms easy with its user interface.
Few things are as important as website security. That’s why at Inbound Web Development, we trust Securi for our website’s security. It monitors and protects your website from all types of attacks (malware, XSS, brute force, etc.) and has a simple set up process.
Securi covers almost all of the security needs for your website. With all the work that goes into creating a website for your business, you owe it to yourself to ensure it’s secure once online.
Securi is a great security plugin that can handle 90% of your website security needs. The other 10% we believe is best left to WordFence to handle.
WordFence is one of the most popular security plugins for WordPress. We use it because it offers a free firewall for your website that prevents malicious attacks from happening in the first place. It also offers real-time monitoring, malware scans, and allows you to enable two-factor authentication for users attempting to login to your WordPress website.
Regularly backing up your website is an essential component of website security. While the above plugins can help keep your website safe from malicious online activity, you should still keep a backup of all the files that make up your website.
This way, even if it were to go down and couldn’t be recovered, you could just upload all the files again and get it back live. That’s where UpDraftPlus comes in.
In our experience, UpDraftPlus is the best website backup WordPress plugin. It makes it easy to set up automatic backups for your website, so you always have the latest version of your site saved should anything go wrong.
You also have lots of options for where to save the files of your website like Google Drive, AWS, Dropbox and of course, locally on a hard drive.
With GDPR regulations now in effect, your website needs to be much more transparent in how it collects and uses personal data. For most small businesses, this means creating a cookie notice that alerts users that their browsing activity is being tracked.
We use the cookie notice for GDPR plugin. Set up is easy and you can easily configure the message you want to be displayed. If your business website uses any type of analytics or tags, your website needs this.
Depending on where your business is located or who your target audience is, it may be advantageous to have a multilingual website. Thanks to the WPML, this does not mean you have to code an entirely new website from scratch or store a second website on a server.
The WPML plugin makes creating a bilingual website simple. It’s SEO friendly and there are multiple languages to choose from.
Looking to enable an e-commerce component to your WordPress website? The WooCommerce WordPress plugin makes it super easy to list both physical and software type products on your website. Customers will also have multiple shipping and payment options.
WooCommerce is by far the best e-commerce WordPress plugin. It’s free to use and makes setting up an online store simple. WooCommerce allows you to have Shopify like features for your online store, but still maintaining the customization and flexibility advantages that WordPress is famous for.
Enabling caching is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost your website’s speed and performance. Caching allows a browser to store the static files making up your website in the background, so the next time a user loads your site it is served much faster since the browser has the file stored in its memory.
WordPress doesn’t come with cache right out of the box, so we recommend installing the W3 Cache WordPress plugin. With just a few simple tweaks, your website will be loading much faster for visitors.
Images are likely some of the biggest files on your website. The bigger the images and the more you have on your site, the slower it will be. That’s not a good thing. Slower websites get penalized in Google’s search rankings and deliver poor user experiences.
Fortunately, there’s a workaround. You can compress the images on your website, which reduces the file size of an image with minor loss of overall quality.
By installing a plugin like WP Smush, you can have your images automatically compressed as you upload them to WordPress.
This is a simple WordPress plugin that allows you to optimize your WordPress database with just a few clicks. This is a necessary part of website maintenance. Every time you edit a page or post, WordPress saves that revision to its database, along with lots of other unnecessary data.
Over time, this can bloat your website and make it slow.. By installing the WP Optimize WordPress plugin, you can clean your database easily. You can also set up recurring sweeps of your database and automate this task off your to-do list.
Monsterinsights allows you to easily connect your website to Google Analytics. As opposed to installing tracking codes and going through Google’s set up, Monsterinsights allows you to connect your site to Google Analytics with a friendly user interface.
Without monsterinsights, you may need a web developer to set up GA for you. Once you’ve set up monsterinsights, you can then conveniently view your Google Analytics data within the WordPress dashboard.
Broken Link Checker
The older your website gets and the more pages/posts you create, the more likely it is that links will become broken on your website. A broken link is simply a link that no longer directs to any page. If someone on your website were to click on a broken link, they would get a 404 (page not found) error.
Needless to say, that is not going to leave a positive impression on people that view your website. To find broken links on your website so they can be replaced, simply install the Broken Link Checker plugin so you can replace any broken links on your site.
Duplicating a webpage on your website seems like a very straightforward feature that would be included in the core version of WordPress. Unfortunately, it’s not. But, you can easily fix this by installing the Duplicate Page WordPress plugin.
While it might not seem so, duplicating pages on your site will come in handy a lot. For example, say you have a set format for the service pages on your website. If you wanted to add another service, you could simply duplicate the old page and change around the copy, images and any other elements.
Without this plugin, you would have to manually recreate that page from scratch. Which would either require hours of work by you or the need to hire a freelance web designer or developer.
AMP by WP
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) have become increasingly popular across websites today. You’ve likely seen them before – they have the little lightning icon on Google’s results pages and load incredibly fast once you click on them.
With so much emphasis placed on mobile website speed, installing AMP on your website is an easy way to increase your site speed and improve your SEO rankings.
The AMP by WP WordPress plugin allows you to quickly and easily get AMP up and running on your website. It’s barebones but does the basics very well.
If you plan on blogging, Akismet is an essential plugin for your WordPress website. Developed by Automattic (the parent company of WordPress) akismet scans the comments on the written content on your website. If it detects any spam or malicious activity, it will remove them.
We’ve covered a lot of plugins on this post that can improve the performance, functionality, and security of your website. Some are simple to set up, while others are best for those that have a solid understanding of web development.
If you would prefer to set up an all in one plugin to handle many of these tasks, we would strongly recommend the Jetpack plugin. From Automattic, Jetpack can be used to improve your website’s speed, boost SEO, monitor security threats and increase your website’s traffic.
If you are new to WordPress plugins and looking for a jack of all trades plugin to improve your website, Jetpack is for you.
WordPress doubles as a very popular blogging platform, and with it’s strong CMS features makes it a great choice for content creators and editorial sites. But what if you wanted to offer content via a paid subscription?
That’s where MemberPress comes in. It’s an easy to use plugin that allows visitors to your website to create a user login and access your content behind a paywall. It’s extremely customizable, and you can have multiple subscription options. It integrates well with WooCommerce, so you can track all your sales and accept multiple payment methods.
If you would like to allow people on your website to create accounts but don’t plan on offering subscriptions to content, we’d recommend the WP User plugin.
These 20 WordPress plugins are a great starting point for business websites. They will increase the speed and functionality of your website and provide for a better user experience. Over 10,000 WordPress plugins are available that help makes small business owners’ lives easy. There is an active development community that is updating and creating new ones all the time, so always be on the lookout for new plugins that can help your business.