Updated June 2019
The advantage of WordPress over website builders like Wix and Squarespace who sell the CMS as a service and take a “one size fits all” approach to your website, is the fact that you can install plugins and themes to customize your website.
Because, let’s be honest – one size does not fit all.
There are a staggering 50,000+ WordPress plugins to choose from – all independently made and maintained. So lets’s take a look at some of the most useful WordPress plugins available right now.
Make sure to share this page or bookmark it if you found it helpful as it’s updated on a regular basis.
BEST WORDPRESS PLUGINS
There are numerous plugins (free and paid) that most would agree are essential for your blog or website. The following plugins simply make your website and blog better in some significant way. With that said, here is our list of the BEST WordPress plugins:
- Yoast SEO
- WP Smush
- Learn Dash
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Headers and Footers
- W3 Total Cache
- Contact Form 7
- UP Draft
- WP Link Status
- PRyC WP
- Fixed Widget
- WOO Commerce
YOAST SEO – Must Have For All Websites
Yoas SEO is the most popular plugin for WordPress and it’s a must have for ALL WordPress websites. What it does is that it makes managing your on-page SEO a quick and easy process for experts and beginners alike.
Yoast SEO does everything you would want and need from an SEO perspective. It allows you to redirect pages (the premium version does, not the free version), builds out your sitemap, heslps you craft titles and meta data, tells search engines what to index and what to ignore and so forth.
Yoast SEO is an essential plugin for all blogs and websites. Learn more about it here.
WP Smush – The Other Must Have Plugin
Smush is an award winning image optimization plugin. What does it do? It compresses your images to make them a smaller file size. Why is that important? Image size effects page load speed which affects your SEO and rankings.
Installing this free plugin is one of the simplest things you can do to boost your page speed. Smush is an essential plugin for any website because no matter the website, you’re going to be uploading images. Compressing them makes it so your website loads fast and provides a good user experience.
Elementor – The Page Building Plugin of Choice
Elementor is a top 20 WordPress plugin. What it does is that it enables various page building features for your website. This is helpful because you can quickly and easily add a lot of design and detail to pages and posts with ease. All with a drag and drop editor.
Elementor can also be used with specific themes to completely build out a website from scratch. While not an essential plugin, the drag and drop block editor comes in really handy when designing product review pages, sales pages and other types of content that require something more dynamic than simply text.
AAWP – Essential For Amazon Associates Affiliate Marketing
AAWP is a premium plugin designed to hep you make more money with the Amazon Associates program. When you sign up for Amazon Associates you’re able to to get various links to products people can buy on Amazon.
What this plugin specifically does is that it makes creating product review tables and real time visual product boxes that show prices that have a better click through rates than a standard hyperlink.
If leveraging Amazon Associates is going to be a significant part of your monetization strategy you’re going to want to get AAWP.
MemberPress – Create a Membership Site With Ease
MemberPress is a premium plugin that allows you to create a membership website. MemberPress makes managing payments and subscriptions a simple process. It also enables you to have complete control over the type of content that is within your membership website and what tier has access to what.
With MemberPress you’re also able to accept credit cards or PayPal and implement recurring payments. If you’re wanting to create a premium community, you’re going to want to use MemberPress.
Learn Dash – Create Online Courses
Learn Dash is an LMS plugin. LMS is short for learning management system. With online courses you have a lot of options today. Udemy, Teachable, Gumroad. If you’re curious about how to implement it from a self host perspective, you can use the Lean Dash plugin.
Learn Dash integrates into any WordPress website and allows you to start hosting your own online courses on your own website. If you want to sell digital courses but want to do it 100% on your own platform, the Learn Dash plugin is for you.
Easy Digital Downloads -Sell Ebooks and Video Courses
Easy Digital Downloads is the go to plugin for anyone looking to sell digital products on a WordPress website. With this plugin you can sell courses, ebooks, physical products, pictures, you name it. This plugin has a free and a paid version as well as numerous extensions to enable more advanced capabilities like recurring payments for example.
This plugin is a generalist plugin. It’s not designed to do any one thing specifically like Learn Dash or MemberPress. It does however enable you to engage in ecommerce with your website. If you’re looking to sell digital products of any type be sure to keep Easy Digital Downloads in mind.
Jetpack – The WordPress Suite of Tools
Jetpack is created and maintained by the development team behind the WordPress CMS. Jetpack offers a suite of helpful tools you may want to implement on your website.
Tools like security enhancements for your website, related posts at the bottom of each blog post, a simple way for users to subscribe to your website (and get emails when you release a new blog post), social sharing plugins added to your content, site backups, brute force protection and down time monitoring.
Headers and Footers – The Super Simple Plugin
Headers and Footers adds a space in your WordPress dashboard to copy and paste scripts in with ease. Say you’re trying to install Google Analytics, custom CSS or the Facebook pixle on your website, but the theme you’re using does not have a a place to easily copy and paste the Google Analytics code in.
Instead of fumbling around in the actual .php files of your theme you can simply install headers and footers and it will add the needed area to copy and paste code in.
Side note: MOST themes have a place to copy code in. It’s normally under appearance >> theme options or customize or something like that. If your theme has a place to copy and paste code in, you don’t need this plugin. If however your theme does not have a dedicated area this plugin is a life saver.
W3 Total Cache – WordPress Speed Simplified
W3 Total Cache is a free plugin that caches your website. Great, so what exactly does that mean?
Every time someone accesses your website from a laptop or mobile device they are sending a request to the server where your website is currently hosted. WordPress then fetches your websites information from a database and then goes through various technical steps before the requested page is delivered to the end user.
Caching your website simply allows your server to skip a lot of steps – which reduces the load on your server and makes your website load faster.
Contact Form 7 – The Original and Still Best Contact From Builder
Contact Form 7 allows you to quickly add a contact form to your contact page. While the user interface has not been updated in years, the plugin has been well maintained as is still one of the most feature rich contact form plugins out there.
Other contact form plugins are a lot fancier, but Contact Form 7 is still the best if you’re simply wanting to add a contact form to a contact page on your website.
Updraft Plus – The Free Backup Plugin
Updraft Plus is a WordPress database backup plugin. When you’re on a shared hosting account it’s standard policy to provide a weekly or even monthly backup of your website. What a backup is specifically is a copy of your website.
So if you make a change that breaks your website or worse, if your web host has some sort of server issue – having a backup of your website makes your life worry free if anything goes wrong.
The useful thing about Updraft as well is that it can be setup to automatically send backups right to your email. Set it once and forget it.
WP Link Status – Keep Your Site Current
WP Link Status is a plugin that that checks the status of ALL your links on your website. Linked to a blog post 6 months ago that no longer exists? This plugin will tell you links you need to keep updated. While there are various SEO tools that allow you to scan the links on your website, this is a plugin that allows you to do it directly in WordPress.
I would suggest running this plugin once or twice a month to check any potential links you should update.
PRyC WP – Add Content To The Bottom of Every Post
PRyC WP is a simple plugin that does something very helpful. It allows you to add content to the bottom or top of any and all blog posts from one simple interface. When you start to have 50+ blog posts and are wanting to add an email opt-in form to the bottom of each post, it’s unreasonable (and insane) to go into every single post and manually add in the short code for your email opt-in form.
What if later you want to switch it out for an ad unit or something else? This plugin allows you to automatically add text or short codes to the top and bottom of all your blog posts.
Fixed Widget – Make a Widget Sticky
Fixed Widget makes a widget in your sidebar sticky. That means when a user visits your website on a laptop, the widget item in your side bar can be sticky so it follows the user as they scroll down the page. Most use the sticky widget for things like an email opt-in form or for a an advertisement.
If you’ve been looking for a way to create one of those sidebar widgets that follows you as you scroll down, you can do so with this plugin.
Akismet – Spam Protection
Akismet is a spam blocking plugin for WordPress. If you intend on blogging and allowing comments, you blog is going to get hit regularly with comments from spam bots trying to get links from your site back to something seedy like a casino website or something more adult themed.
While WordPress is pretty good at sorting these types of comments, having a plugin like Akismet provides a whole new level of protection.
WOO Commerce – The Shopify Alternative
WOO Commerce adds e-commerce functionality to your WordPress website. You can sell any type of product, physical or digital and accept payments through various payment gate ways.
If you’re wanting to build a store but you don’t want to go with Shopify, or you want way to sell a handful of products like physical goods or digital downloads WOO Commerce may be right for you.
Sucuri – WordPress Security
Sucuri is a WordPress security plugin that protects your blog or website against bots, hacks, various exploits, brute force attacks, and malware. It also has a built in auditing feature that will inform you of various ways you can improve your websites security.
Sucuri is designed to be an added layer of defense in addition to following WordPress best practices like keeping your WordPress installation and your theme and plugins updated.
BEST WORDPRESS PLUGINS CONCLUSION
So there you have it. Some of the best WordPress plugins for WordPress out of the some odd, 50,000 available plugins for download. You don’t need to install all of them of course, but it is good to know when you’re wanting to sell an ebook or an online course what tools are available for you.