With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin directory, not to mention thousands more plugins on third-party websites, it can be daunting for site owners to find just the right plugins to improve their WordPress websites.
Choosing the right plugins is crucial for the speed, security, and user-friendliness of your website. Luckily, there are some clear winners that benefit just about any type of WordPress site. The HubSpot WordPress plugin, for example, lets you capture, organize, and engage your visitors with free forms, live chat, email marketing, analytics, and a CRM.
Below we'll take a closer look at this plugin and 25 others.
Why are plugins important?
Plugins are the building blocks of your WordPress site. They bring in important functions to your website, whether you need to add contact forms, improve SEO, increase site speed, create an online store, or offer email opt-ins. Whatever you need your website to do can be done with a plugin.
There are thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins to download and add — here are the best plugins for WordPress, no matter what type of website you’re building.
Best WordPress Plugins
- Yoast SEO
- W3 Total Cache
- Akismet Spam Protection
- iThemes Security
- Google XML Sitemaps
- WP Rocket
- Contact Form 7
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
- WP Notification Bar Pro
- Broken Link Checker
- WP Subscribe Pro
You simply can’t grow your business without marketing, and HubSpot makes it easy to do just that. The HubSpot WordPress plugin allows you to manage contacts, follow leads, track conversions, build email newsletters, engage with site visitors via forms and chat, and more.
The dashboard and analytics allow you to gauge how well your efforts are doing to continue making informed decisions while growing your business.
Want to sell products or services on your website? Yes, there’s an ecommerce plugin for that! WooCommerce is a top eCommerce plugin that converts your WordPress blog into a fully functional online store. Thanks to its endless customization, you can sell everything from digital files to physical products, set currencies, show reviews and ratings, add sorting and filtering functions, set unlimited images per product, and a lot more.
3. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress, making it easy to optimize your pages and posts to rank higher on search engines.
With Yoast SEO, you’ll get templates for titles and meta descriptions, so you can learn how to craft this information according to SEO best practices. Yoast SEO also analyzes your content for both readability and keywords, so you can balance high-quality content with SEO.
Jetpack is a collection of amazing tools and features that supercharge your site with many useful functionalities. Jetpack offers the capabilities of many plugins in one. It’s also developed by Automattic, the team behind WordPress, so you’ll be getting exceptional developers behind the tool.
From improving site security to optimizing user engagement, Jetpack provides several features to keep your site running smoothly. With Jetpack, you can add social share buttons, contact forms, CDN services, email subscription forms, and many other services to your website.
Elementor is a leading page builder for the WordPress CMS — it allows you to place a variety of page elements with a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface. This way, constructing your ideal website is as easy as clicking and dragging your desired elements into the builder area.
For its ease-of-use, simplicity, and compatibility with many WordPress themes, Elementor is a highly recommended plugin for beginner website owners and those less comfortable touching the back-end WordPress code.
W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins for WordPress. Caching is a way of storing data in order to provide that data even faster the next time it is requested by a user.
Essentially, W3 Total Cache reduces your website’s loading times. Because of the increased site speed, you’ll see a boost in your site’s search engine rankings, and perhaps even a boost in conversion rates.
It's important to optimize every image file on your site to help improve speed. However, doing this manually for every image can be a time-consuming, boring task. Thankfully, Smush is an image optimization plugin that comes to your rescue, as it automatically compresses images across your site. With compressed images, your website will continue to load quickly for users.
Another Automattic-backed plugin, Akismet is the most popular anti-spam plugin for WordPress. It checks your contact form submissions and comments for suspicious submissions, keeping your blog clean and spam-free.
Using Akismet is as easy as installing and activating — the plugin will automatically handle the rest of the work. It also lets you review which comments are stopped or cleared by the plugin, so you can block or unblock comments yourself.
The security of your WordPress site shouldn’t be taken lightly. The iThemes Security plugin is one of the most effective plugins for securing your WordPress website.
It gives you more than 30 ways to protect your site and users, including password expiration, two-factor authentication, reCAPTCHA, and malware scanning.
Monarch from ElegantThemes is one of the best social sharing plugins for WordPress. This plugin has modern social sharing buttons, which you can strategically place on your web pages, to encourage users to quickly click and share your content on their social media feeds. Monarch will help you reach new audiences.
WordPress sitemaps make it easier for search engine crawlers to find the important pages and posts of your WordPress site and retrieve them more efficiently. The Google XML Sitemaps plugin supports various types of WordPress-generated pages and custom URLs.
WP-Optimize is a very important plugin for any site that has an extensive WordPress database. It cleans up any unnecessary elements, such as auto drafts and spam comments, that don’t add any value to your site.
It will also compress images and enable caching to improve site speeds. Although it sounds complex, WP-Optimize can do all of this with just the click of a button.
13. WP Rocket
Given the importance of load time in UX, this robust plugin is worth the extra investment for many business websites and online stores. It’s also worth noting that WP Rocket is ecommerce-friendly, and won’t cache cart or checkout pages.
14. Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the most popular and free contact form plugin for WordPress. With Contact Form 7 installed on your website, users can reach you via streamlined contact forms that also have reCAPTCHA and Akismet functionality to help prevent spam.
If you’re an avid blogger, a related posts plugin is an excellent way to keep visitors on your site and engaged with content they enjoy. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (or YARPP for short) is one such plugin, considered one of the best of its kind.
YARPP places a display of relevant posts, pages, and custom post types on your WordPress pages and posts. Recommended posts are presented based on a combination of post copy, categories, and tags to provide the best recommendations. Insert your list anywhere on your site with a simple shortcode.
Nobody wants things to go wrong on their website, but accidents are often inevitable with WordPress. That’s why it’s important to create regular backups of your WordPress site, letting you can recover lost data or revert to an older version in the event of an accident or a glitch.
With over 3 million downloads to date, UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress backup plugins out there. With it, you can create and restore backups with a click, schedule routine backups, and push your backups to cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Bloom is a top email list plugin for WordPress, with plenty of design options and templates. Bloom includes more than 100 email subscription templates, all of which can be easily customized to match your brand. You can even target specific posts for your email opt-in pop-ups, fly-ins, and forms.
A well-designed notification bar is the best way to capture the attention of your visitors. With WP Notification Bar Pro, you can create a text link, buttons, or countdowns to show any special offers on your website.
You can also use this plugin to show social shares and encourage your users to follow your brand on social media, or use this plugin as an opt-in email form.
Maybe your website has a few links that lead to missing websites. So what? Every broken link can negatively impact your site ranking on search engines because it is deemed untrustworthy to have broken links.
The Broken Link Checker is the best WordPress plugin to scan for broken links across your website, so you can easily amend those issues and regain your good SEO standing.
If you don't know how to code, then you don't have the skills to build an attractive website from scratch. However, hiring a professional web designer to help can be expensive.
DragDropr is the perfect solution to this problem. With this plugin, you can create pages for your site by simply dragging and dropping the elements you want on each page. There are over 200 pre-designed and fully customizable content blocks to choose from. It allows anyone to create a professional website at a fraction of the cost of hiring a designer.
21. WP Subscribe Pro
An email subscription plugin is a must-have plugin for any site, and WP Subscribe Pro is an excellent choice thanks to its customization options.
You can choose exactly where to place the email subscription widget on the page, acutely adjust the colors, set pop-ups to capture user attention, and even set the trigger timing to alert users at the optimal time.
If you want to create a community site on the WordPress platform, BuddyPress has the most effective and easiest tools to create a social networking site. With BuddyPress, your site users can create profiles, chat with one another, interact in groups, and more.
If you want to provide a space for your visitors to discuss your content and/or your product, bbPress can help with that. This plugin adds a simple forum to your site with no manual code tweaking necessary — users can sign up for accounts and make posts about related topics. You can also segment discussion threads by category and moderate your contributors through the plugin.
You’ve posted a new blog to your website, but how will anyone know? With the PubSubHubbub plugin, you can automatically let people know when your blog is updated.
After your blog has been updated, the plugin will notify hubs like Google Reader and Google Alerts that new content is available, and these hubs will, in turn, let subscribers know to check out your site.
Redirection is a WordPress plugin that manages 301 redirects, keeps track of 404 errors, and tidies up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website or changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
Who doesn’t love a giveaway? Giveaways are a great way to reach new audiences, connect with current users, and deepen engagement. The RafflePress plugin offers a drag-and-drop campaign builder, so you can set up your giveaway in no time.
You can create a landing page specifically for a certain giveaway, plus prevent fraud with one-time entries. Users can also easily refer your contest or share it on social media.
Improve your website with WordPress plugins.
It’s nearly impossible to run a WordPress website without adding functionality through plugins. Whether you want to engage users through email opt-in forms, add social sharing buttons, compress images to improve website speed, or optimize your content to rank in search engines, there’s a plugin for just about anything you can think of on your website.
Plus, plugins greatly improve the user experience, meaning higher engagement and better chances of reaching wider audiences.
If you're stumped on which plugins to add first, these popular, trusted plugins will help you get started.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Mar 17, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated March 17 2021