You've just spent thousands of dollars, countless hours, and have had more organizational nightmares than you'd care to admit, but you're done.
The brand new site design you've been working on is finally finished -- and it looks great.
However, after a few weeks, you notice something's missing. Maybe it's a simple design error, or perhaps, a feature doesn't work or was overlooked.
Whatever it is, it's missing and you're not sure how to fix it.
Hiring an agency or directing your developer's time to fix it are investment-heavy solutions that'll eat up more of your budget and time.
Fortunately, there are tons of awesome website plugins that can quickly and easily improve the functionality of any site. Here, we're going to explore 16 of them.
But first -- what is a website plugin?
What Are Website Plugins and Why Are They Important?
Website plugins are individual services that improve a specific functionality of your site.
You might use a website plugin to quickly change visual elements, add extra information or content, offer smoother integration between your site and a favored tool, or even add a completely new feature and function to your web property.
The beauty of website plugins is in their simplicity. The name's pretty apt, since all you do is download and install, or "plugin." Simply set one up, and your site can run smoother and offer features your users want.
How to Assess if a Plugin is the Right Solution for You
I'm going to run through a couple of fantastic plugins for different goals below, but first, let's dive into some general rules on how to find the best plugin for your site.
1. Understand your website platform.
If you're running your website on Shopify, then a WordPress plugin isn't going to be of much use (in that case, you'd want to look into Shopify apps).
This typically won't be a huge issue for you, since a lot of the almost-done-for-you platforms (like WordPress and Shopify) come with simple built-in plugin libraries.
However, whatever your situation, it's critical you ensure you know what your site's running on to save you time looking into a solution that's incompatible.
2. Identify your website's goal.
What are you trying to achieve?
You need to know this upfront so you can look for the plugin with the right functionality.
When you're figuring this out, go deeper than goals like "more money." Instead, get specific and outline the issue people are facing on your site, and the action you can take to fix the problem.
For example, "The messaging on the site is too general. If we personalize the messaging we should see conversions increase by X% within [timeframe]".
3. Conduct research.
Once you've narrowed down on your goal, you want to conduct research to find a solution best-fit for your specific problem. For example, you may decide a permanent plugin isn't what you need at all.
A good starting point is to assess your website's current performance -- Website Grader, a free tool by HubSpot, can give you this audit, showing you exactly what your domain's strengths and weaknesses are. Once you've eliminated what's not a problem, you can start shopping for a solution that solves your actual challenges.
Ideally, you'll want a plugin that has good reviews, is compatible with your site's platform, and offers the actual features that can help you achieve your goal.
Once you've found a good option, it's time to get it onto your site for your first test.
Having trouble finding an option? Fortunately, we've conducted some of the research for you. Keep reading to learn about our 16 favorite website plugins for the year.
HubSpot's WordPress plugin gives you an all-in-one marketing and lead generation tool to help you collect leads, create popup forms, live chat with visitors, and send all that data back to a free CRM to use for campaigns.
Of course, the HubSpot platform offers many other growth tools, some of which start free and many others that can help you accelerate your marketing, sales, and service operations.
With the WordPress plugin, you can install it quickly, get started easily, and it's all free to get going.
Good social proof elements can be the difference between a user committing to buy, or exiting your site.
Proof allows you to add social proof in different forms across your site, including current live visitor numbers, notifications of current purchases, and reports of how many people have recently signed up. Ultimately, this is a good tool for you if you feel your site's viewers could benefit from visualizing how popular your products or services are.
All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is a WordPress plugin for managing your website’s SEO. It’s perfect for website owners looking to quickly analyze their site’s organic performance and wanting to make actionable changes to make pages perform better in search results.
With this plugin, there’s a smart website wizard that lets you quickly optimize your settings based on your site’s profile. There’s also added functionality for local SEO & WooCommerce SEO.
Nothing slows a site down like large image files. Optimole processes your images and reduces their weight without sacrificing quality. This plugin will automatically take your images and process them in real time with lazy loading as to not strain your server.
With Optimole, your images automatically get adjusted to the right image size for your visitor's browser and device. If they’re on a low-quality internet connection, Optimole will downgrade the image quality accordingly so your user experience won’t be affected.
There are some additional features, such as watermark overlays on your photos. This will help prevent your images being stolen.
RightMessage is a tool focused primarily on better serving your customers through personalized content.
It has a few key features that make it a fantastic solution. First, you're able to segment users based on slide-in questionnaires, acquisition source, or tags from your email service provider or CRM. Then, based on those segments you can dynamically change messaging and CTAs to better appeal to that segment and increase conversion rates.
Additionally, the plugin integrates with a ton of site platforms including HubSpot, WordPress, and Squarespace.
Knowing how your users are interacting with your site is key to understanding where there are UX issues and design problems.
HotJar's heat maps provide you with an overview of user engagement on the whole. It can help highlight which CTAs and links are too vague, where you're losing people in long-form content, and even allows session recordings for real-time analysis.
As an extra bonus, HotJar offers feedback polls for more explicit data collection.
Simply put, Qualaroo takes the feedback element of HotJar to the next level.
With Qualaroo you're given a suite of features that automatically collect user data through more advanced targeting. You also have the option of including elements like decision trees to dig deeper with your questions.
Jumper.ai is technically a social commerce tool that allows brands to sell directly through their social media channels without the need for a store.
However, Jumper.ai also offers a plugin that takes their checkout bot and allows you to run it directly on your site. With Jumper, you can add a conversational checkout bot directly on your product or service landing pages.
For instance, here's how it would look on a blog post:
OptinMonster is a lead generation service that gives you the ability to target your offers to specific user segments.
You can ensure that your OptinMonster offers and forms only show up when someone has been on your site for a set period of time, displays exit intent, or have visited certain pages. Ideally, this will help you guarantee your offers are reaching people once they're eager to learn more.
SEO is a complex discipline to master, so every bit of help you can get will save time for you and your business.
Yoast's SEO plugin isn't a perfect solution, but if you're not a professional SEO expert and just need a good overview of your actions, Yoast's plugin can help you keep things on track and ensure you're truly optimizing your site for search.
For instance, the tool can amend meta descriptions for you, so you know you're only showing key information in search results and social shares. When you're busy or don't have the resources to dedicate to SEO, Yoast can help you level-up.
Testing different elements of your site, from headlines and images to CTAs and messaging, is key to improving your marketing strategy over time.
However, running individual A/B tests can be time-consuming and difficult. Fortunately, the VWO A/B testing tool is an all-in-one solution that automatically runs A/B tests on your pages, and improves the overall optimization of your website.
Prooffactor adds social proof elements, including who recently bought a product and live visitor counts, to your site to ensure new visitors can quickly visualize the popularity of your products or services.
Best of all, Prooffactor also offers gamified pop-ups to add another lead generation element to your site and further engage new prospects.
There are countless website plugins out there, and each one aims to solve a unique website problem.
Generally speaking, your goal with your website should be making your purchase or sign-up journey as frictionless as possible for your users -- ideally, a plugin can help create a simpler process for your site visitors.