In the last decade, many designers have gone online to create portfolios to brand their work and attract new clients. Websites are an excellent way to get discovered, and WordPress is one of the most popular options for building an online portfolio.
This article shares over 20 plugins that’ll help you as a designer create and optimize your website to ensure users have a great experience. The plugins on this list are helpful for design, SEO, cache, email opt-in, and other various functionalities.
Best WordPress Plugins for Designers
- HubSpot WordPress Plugin
- All in One SEO
- Yoast SEO
- W3 Total Cache
- Elementor Page Builder
- Modula Image Gallery
- Speed Booster Pack
- Envira Gallery
- Login LockDown
- Term Management Tool
- Thirsy Affiliates
- Backup Buddy
- Compact Archives
- WP Mail SMTP
HubSpot’s WordPress plugin lets you capture, organize and engage web visitors with forms, live chat, CRM, email marketing, and analytics. That’s a lot of value from one plugin — and better yet, it’s free.
This plugin is especially useful for designers. You can easily create forms, popups, and live chat using a drag and drop builder. Adjust colors, stylings, and more to match your brand and provide a seamless experience for visitors.
Built-in analytics makes it easy to understand which sales and marketing actions are driving the most success… and which ones you need to fix. This is useful in deciding what pages need a refresh as well as the impact of any design changes on business growth.
Price: $49.50/year for Basic Plan, $99.50/year for Plus Plan, $199.50/year for Pro Plan, $299.50/year for Elite Plan
All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is a complete SEO plugin and toolkit for WordPress. With its TruSEO score, you can get an in-depth analysis of how well your content is optimized for on-page SEO. You’ll get a checklist on every post and page of your site with actionable tips to improve your search engine rankings.
AIOSEO also offers support for schema markup, which will help Google better understand your content and match it with people that would be most interested in it. Rich snippets can also help you get more clicks and traffic.
Other important features include image SEO, smart XML sitemaps, WooCommerce SEO, social media integration, and much more.
3. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO, created by Joost de Valk, is one of the best plugins for writing content and adhering to all on-page SEO factors. Yoast SEO pushes you to optimize keywords, which is an essential factor Google and other search engines consider when ranking articles.
Yoast SEO reminds you of the little things you might forget when optimizing an article. You can also control which pages that search engines will be able to crawl. With over 5 million installs, Yoast stands out as one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress.
The plugin’s other features include compatibility with WordPress multi-sites, import and export options, social media integration, and RSS optimization.
W3 Total Cache helps with performance optimization using caching technology. Companies such as AT&T, Mashable, and John Chow are among the over one million users who trust this plugin.
W3 Total Cache does an excellent job of improving search engine results and is mobile-friendly, too. It also decreases page loading speeds and visitor time on your site.
The W3 Total Cache plugin is compatible with virtual, private, or dedicated servers and clusters. And, it has transparent content delivery network management. Additionally, it supports AMP and SSL, and it incorporates multiple security features as well.
Social sharing is an essential feature to include in any new website you design. As one of the best social media sharing plugins for WordPress, Monarch helps you increase traffic from social networking sites.
Monarch offers you a variety of different placement options so you can maximize conversion and the number of times visitors share your content. You also have the following options as far as button placement is concerned:
- Floating sidebar
- Above & or below content
- On images & videos
- Automatic pop-up
- Automatic fly-in
When it comes to designing social sharing buttons, Monarch provides all the modern options to choose from. You get complete control over the plugin and a powerful control panel to make customization a lot easier.
For more information about this plugin, check our detailed review of the Monarch.
Price: $9/month for Basic Plan, $14/month for Essential Plan, $19/month for Plus Plan, $29/month for Pro Plan, $49/month for Growth Plan
More than 1 million websites use OptinMonster for its incredible performance as a pop-up and lead generation plugin. With the help of a drag-and-drop page builder, OptinMonster helps users to build landing pages with various user intents like signing up for free courses, email newsletters, subscriptions, and more.
The plugin offers Multiple Form Types, A/B split testing, page-level targeting, built-in analytics, and more. And, it integrates with almost all email marketing services like MailChimp and Emma.
Price: $49/year for Essential Plan, $99/year for Advanced Plan, $199/year for Expert Plan, $499/year for Studio Plan, $999/year for Agency Plan
We all know that a page builder makes life a lot easier for web designers. Even if you are a new WordPress user, a page builder can help you create a completely custom, unique design for your site without writing a single line of code.
Elementor is a plugin that helps you to create stunning pages for your site with a drag-and-drop interface without any coding. This plugin has a free and pro version with several great modules and design options.
You can define sections by height and width, resize columns, position the content per your requirement, and define the gap between each section to make your content look neat.
Price: $40/year for Basic Plan, 100/year for Plus Plan, $200/year for Pro Plan, $300/year for Elite Plan
WPforms is one of the best WordPress contact form plugins that creates an extraordinary form with just a few clicks. The drag-and-drop form builder helps even a beginner designer create a responsive website without any coding knowledge as you can use smart conditional logic to control the form intent.
There are instant notifications whenever someone submits a form, multiple form templates, protection from spam entries, and you can even collect payments.
Up next is the Modula Image Gallery plugin. While WordPress allows designers to host image galleries, many designers find the capacity somewhat limited.
Enter: Modula Image Gallery. This plugin offers a flexible and completely customizable solution. With this plugin, designers can choose whatever visual style they want instead of being limited by the virtual style WordPress imposes.
Soliloquy is an excellent choice for slider plugin functionality. It quickly creates a website with a drag-and-drop page builder and acts as a responsive, mobile-friendly plugin.
Soliloquy can boost your sales by adding interactive product sliders in your WooCommerce store. It also enables slideshow displays in a full-screen lightbox mode for a better user experience.
Additionally, the plugin creates dynamic sliders from featured blog posts, Instagram images, testimonials, and much more.
Sucuri provides website security against malware, hacking attacks, DNS manipulation, and more. Once installed, it uses continuous monitoring and brand management to secure your site. It uses a global CDN for performance optimization and has a detection technology that can quickly identify and alert site owners in the event of any security incident.
The software is easy to deploy, and there are no hardware requirements. With this plugin, your site is safe against DDoS and website hacks.
Page loading speed is an important factor that determines whether people will enjoy visiting your website or not. Nobody likes to hang around for a slow-loading website. Therefore, if you want visitors to stick around, the site must load as quickly as possible.
Speed Booster Pack helps increase loading speed by eliminating most of the things that contribute to slow load time. For instance, it removes blocking scripts, optimizes database calls, and loads assets asynchronously.
he Disqus comment system does an excellent job replacing your native WordPress comment system with comments hosted and powered by Disqus. It’s SEO friendly and automatically syncs visitor comments with WordPress’ CMS.
Its features include:
- Ability to receive comment notifications
- Threaded replies
- Subscription options through RSS
- Social mentions
- Robust multi-user admin interface
- Strong spam filtering options
- Ability to create black- and white-lists
- Support from Disqus community users and more
Over 100,000 bloggers prefer to use this commenting model than the native WordPress model.
Price: $49/year for Just the Basics Plan, $149/year for All-in-One Plan, $489 for All-in-One for Life
AdSanity is a simple and easy-to-use WordPress plugin. Adding new ads in Adsanity is very similar to adding a new post. It comes with widgets and shortcodes support to display ads in posts, sidebars, and pages.
With Adsanity, you can create either time-based ads or infinite ads. It also shows graphs for views and clicks to know which ads perform best. That way, you can double down on your most successful ads and pull back on ones that may be missing their mark.
15. Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery is one of the best responsive WordPress plugins to create a customized gallery for images and videos. Some of the features that make it powerful and user-friendly are:
- Drag-and-drop gallery builder
- Responsive and mobile-friendly
- Gallery templates
- Albums and tags
- Social media integration
- eCommerce store with WooCommerce plugin
- Watermark protection
- Deep linking & pagination
Most importantly, despite its multiple features, the plugin doesn’t slow down your website.
16. Login LockDown
As the name suggests, Login Lockdown limits the number of login attempts from a given IP range within a certain period of time. It also records the IP address after every failed login attempt, so you have an idea of who’s trying to get into your account.
You never know when an unwanted visitor will try to hack into your account. With this plugin, you’ll have peace of mind from hackers and spam bots — all for free.
Term Management Tools helps reorganize your tags and categories and it adds new options to the dropdown menu on your management pages.
With this plugin, you can merge more than two Terms into one, create hierarchical taxonomies, set parents for one or more terms, change taxonomy, and more.
As a result, this tool helps you create an integrated category and tag display so visitors have an easier time navigating your site.
The TablePress plugin allows you to embed elegant and feature-rich tables into your posts and pages without writing code. You can easily edit any table you create as you would with an Excel spreadsheet.
Some of TablePress’ other features include:
- Sorting options
- Tables can either be imported or exported from or to Excel, CSV, HTML
Businesses often use TablePress to present a customized list of recommended posts. This makes the visitor's site experience much more personalized, increasing the chances for conversion.
Are you a designer that does affiliate marketing on the side? Or, do you have a bunch of long link URLs that visitors are hesitant to click?
No worries, you can camouflage your affiliate links with Thirsty Affiliates.
But, that’s not all. You can also track how many clicks a link gets, auto-link keywords, and import links with this plugin.
If you want to know more, check out our Thirsty Affiliates plugin review.
20. Backup Buddy
Price: $80/year for Blogger Plan, $127/year for Freelancer Plan, $199/year for Gold Plan
A website without a backup option is a disaster waiting to happen. Backup Buddy is a reliable plugin built to meet your backup needs.
With Backup Buddy, you can eliminate security issues such as malware, hacks, user error, deleted files, and incorrect commands.
Backup Buddy automatically takes control over site backups by setting schedules that backup your site after preset periods of time. Plus, it can restore your WordPress website rather quickly if a situation calls for it
21. Compact Archives
Usually, blogs display a long archive of blog content published over days and months. Without customization, the display is a long list of your most recent posts which takes too much time to organize manually.
With Compact Archives, you can quickly display your blog content in a more appealing format. The plugin compacts your blog archive into a neat and concise list, rather than an endless scrolling page. This makes it easier for visitors to find specific blog posts on your site, rather than having to scroll through each piece to find what they’re looking for.
22. WP Mail SMTP
WP Mail SMTP helps eliminate email delivery problems. Sometimes, an email might not send or deliver due to configuration settings on WordPress hosting providers. To overcome this hurdle, you can use the WP Mail SMTP plugin.
WP Mail SMTP offers different setup options, including:
- Gmail SMTP
- Sendinblue SMTP
You can choose an SMTP username and password, specify SMTP ports and hosts, use email authentication, specify the name and email of outgoing emails, and more.
Designing the Perfect WordPress Site
To create an effective website, you'll need the right tools. Sure, your site's look and feel are important, but functionality is imperative, too. Download one or a few of these plugins so you can create a well-rounded website and continue to grow your customer base.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Jul 1, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated March 24 2022