[UPDATED: APR 2021]
One of the reasons why millions of people choose WordPress is its powerful plugin system. It is simple to add plugins that dramatically improve the functionality of any WordPress installation. There are more than 50,000 plugins available, ranging from complex eCommerce solutions to basic plugins that alter the appearance of forms. But which are the must-have WordPress plugins?
The beauty of WordPress is its endless options to turn your vision into reality, I’ve yet to find an idea for a website that could not be launched due to the limitations of WordPress. And while some may consider working with WordPress overwhelming, I always suggest to take it one step at a time and build your WordPress website by following my #Layout2Launch method.
15 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Your Website
To help you find the best plugins for your WordPress installation, this guide is going to share 15 “must-have” plugins for WordPress. You will be amazed by how much these plugs can boost the functionality of your website or allow you to create a very unique user experience for your visitors.
#1 – WPForms
Adding a contact form to your website makes it easier for visitors to contact you with any questions or comments that they may have. WordPress does provide the ability to add simple forms, but many webmasters find they need more powerful functionality.
The WPForms plugin makes it easy to add web forms with advanced functionality including data authentication rules and security features. It features an intuitive drag-and-drop form builder to help you create sophisticated forms in a matter of minutes. More than 2 million WordPress users have WPForms installed and it is one of the highest-rated form plugins available. Check out WPForms.
#2 – Yoast SEO
Performing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on your WordPress website will help you achieve better search engine rankings and more website visitors. Yoast SEO takes the hard work out of SEO by automatically performing several important behind-the-scenes optimizations.
The plugin also improves your website’s SEO by creating SEO-friendly URLs, breadcrumbs, titles, sitemaps, and meta descriptions. It even has a content-monitoring tool which lets you know how well-optimized your posts. Check out Yoast SEO.
#3 – UpdraftPlus
Computer hardware and software can fail at any time, which is why it is essential to back up your data. UpdraftPlus makes the process of backing up WordPress websites easy.
This plugin lets you automatically back up your site and store it on remote locations including Dropbox, Amazon S3, or Google Drive. You can also have the plugin email a backup of your website to you or send it via FTP. Check out UpdraftPlus.
#4 – WP Super CachE
Having a fast website greatly improves the user experience of visitors to your website. Website speed also a search engine ranking factor, with faster websites receiving higher search engine rankings.
The simplest way to improve a WordPress website’s speed is to install a plugin like WP Super Cache. WP Super Cache will make several important changes to the way your site operates, making it much faster and more responsive. Some of its best features include page caching, lazy loading of images, CDN support, and file minification. Check out WP Super Cache.
#5 – MonsterInsight
Google Analytics is is a powerful website analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic. MonsterInsight makes it easy to add Google Analytics functionality to your WordPress website.
The plugin ensures that all website data is being correctly tracked by Google Analytics. It also displays the most important analytics in WordPress’s dashboard, helping you stay on top of your website’s performance. Check out MonsterInsight.
#6 – WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a popular plugin that can turn a WordPress website into a fully-fledged eCommerce store. It is the most popular eCommerce plugin available on WordPress, with more than 4 million users.
This plugin gives you all the functionality you need to start selling products including the ability to add products, send invoices, and accept orders. However, there may be some premium add-ons required if you intend to use certain payment gateways. Check out WooCommerce.
#7 – Akismet anti-spam
Spam remains a huge problem for webmasters, particularly if you have a WordPress website that accepts comments and trackbacks. Akismet can help by screening incoming comments and blocking the ones which it detects as being spam.
The plugin works by analyzing spam capture on millions of participating sites, then using that information to detect new forms of spam. The intuitive user interface makes it easy to see how many spam submissions have been blocked and how many users have been banned. Check out Akismet.
#8 – Jetpack
Jetpack is a powerful suite of plugins developed by Automattic, the creators of WordPress. Some of the many features it provides include additional security, speed improvements, automated backups, image hosting, social media integration and much more. There are multiple plans available with different inclusions. Check out Jetpack.
#9 – Smush
Compressing the size of images on your WordPress website is one of the best ways to improve the site’s speed and responsiveness. Image compression is easily achieved by installing Smush. Smush lets you resize, compress, and optimize any images on your site. It comes with some great features including image resizing, lossless compression, lazy loading, and automated optimization. Check out Smush.
#10 – SumoMe
If you are selling products or services on your WordPress website, SumoMe is a must-have plugin. It is a powerful tool that can bolster email subscriptions, generate leads, and increase social shares. It provides a range of popups and dialogue windows which can be placed on your WordPress site to provide a call to action. Check out SumoMe.
#11 – WPFront Notification Bar
WPFront Notification Bar is used to display notifications on WordPress websites. It is a useful plugin for promoting the latest events or news stories to website visitors. This plugin provides many configuration options for displaying the notification including position, display timers, and colors. Check out WPFront Notification Bar.
#12 – PolyLang
PolyLang is a useful plugin for WordPress sites that receive visitors from many different countries. This plugin will make posts, categories, tags, and menu items available in the languages that you specify. Visitors can then choose the language they wish to use. Check out PolyLang.
#13 – Pretty Links Pro
Pretty Links Pro is a link management plugin that is particularly useful for incorporating affiliate links into websites. It helps you create short and memorable links to replace long links. Pretty Links Pro is a handy plugin for business owners, affiliate marketers, or anyone who wants to create user-friendly links. Check out Pretty Links Pro.
#14 – LiveChat
Any business or organization that provides support to customers can benefit from installing LiveChat. It is the leading live chat support software available on WordPress. LiveChat lets you place a small chat window on your site, which visitors can click to enter into a real-time chat with a member of your team. LiveChat can dramatically improve the quality of your support or lead to more conversions. Check out LiveChat.
#15 – MemberPress
MemberPress turns a standard WordPress site into a fully-fledged online community or membership site. It also allows webmasters to create subscriptions and restrict content to users based on their subscription levels. Check out MemberPress.
Endless Possibilities one plugin at a time
While I’ve outlined only a few of the must-have WordPress Plugins, my advice to everyone interested in exploring the full potential of WordPress: Do your research of what’s available for the tasks at hand, check out how often the plugin is updated by the developer as outdated plugins may cause a security risk to your website, test which WordPress plugin gets the job done best, and delete all plugins that are NOT active on your WordPress website as they only take up space (if needed you can always download them again at a later time). Most important, go out there and pre-plan what it is that you want to accomplish before searching endlessly for a solution with way too many options.
Wait, you know of another WordPress plugin that didn’t make my must-have list?
Feel free to add on to the list by leaving your comments below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. In addition, I believe in transparency. If you use my referral links above, then I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you.