WordPress is the most used open-source CMS currently. It powers millions of websites worldwide. We like WordPress because of its flexibility, customizability, and scalability with the help of themes and plugins. While you get to choose the suitable plugins for your website, it becomes hard to choose the one due to the availability of thousands of plugins. To address this situation, I am writing this article which includes 15+ must have WordPress plugins and tools you would need for the initial setup of your website.
15+ MUST HAVE WORDPRESS PLUGINS AND TOOLS – 2020
I have divided these must have WordPress plugins and tools into categories, to make it easy to choose the right one. You can use these plugins to start a blog or make a website. If you don't know How to install a WordPress Plugin? check the below guide.
- Read here: How to install a WordPress plugin?
WordPress Design Plugins
This category has all the must have WordPress plugins or tools you would need to design your website. From page builders to form builders, I have listed the plugins for everything you need to design a website.
It is a drag and drop page builder for WordPress which helps you design any kind of website. Elementor was launched in 2016 which makes it a younger addition to page builders. But it quickly managed to have over 5 million active installations. It is an all in one solution for your website design needs.
The good thing about Elementor is that it works with any theme and plugin. So, you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues. It’s a live page builder plugin that allows you to experience the changes in real-time. You can also use pre-built website demos and layouts which makes the process of designing a website less time-consuming.
Elementor comes in both Free and premium versions but the real power is unlocked when you purchase the premium version.
Thrive Architect is a visual page builder to create conversion-focused websites. Like Elementor, it has drag and drop functionality and the user interface is also like that of Elementor. Its focus on business and conversion-based designs are what makes it stand out from others. Prebuilt landing pages help you go live in no time or if you want you can also use specific section layouts. Just change the content and publish your website.
Gravity forms is a feature-rich form builder plugin for WordPress. You can create anything from the contact form to payment calculation forms. Drag and drop builder, form control settings, advanced fields, conditional logic, and third-party tool integration are some of the great features of Gravity Forms. It has everything you will need to build a simple or advanced feature reach form on your website,
It can be a bit expansive but look no further if you want a complete form builder solution for your website.
WordPress SEO & Performance Plugins
SEO and performance improvements are the ongoing tasks for any kind of website. Hence you would need the plugins and tools which have long term support, great features, and regular updates. Here are the must have WordPress plugins and tools that I recommend:
There are several SEO plugins available for WordPress. Plugins like Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack are great but they lack the basic needs of a website. I have been using Yoast SEO for a long time. The problem that I faced was a slow website. Then I switched to SEOPress and trust me, I was surprised by it. SEOPress is a lightweight, yet full-featured plugin that won’t slow down your website. It is a newcomer, but it has all the features you would need for your website SEO.
The publishers of the most popular WordPress theme Astra launched the Schema Pro plugin to help website owners to automate the schema markup of your website. If you are new to the website world, the schema provides the ability to add structured data to websites. Schema markup helps in performing better in search engine rankings. Adding schema markup to a website can be a daunting task. But Schema Pro makes it so simple that whatever markup setting you configure, will be applied to all selected webpages and blog posts.
It is an important tool that helps you optimize the images for the web. Images are important for supporting and separating the website content. However, if you upload unoptimized images to your website, you will find it hard to improve your website. Don’t worry! ShortPixel will help you optimize the images in PNG or JPG format. It decreases the color levels in the image and decreases the overall file size. The images optimized with ShortPixel will also not lose much of quality as it uses a smart lossy compression technique.
If you are not familiar with web technologies, I am sure that you are not familiar with caching. Don’t worry! I will explain that to you. Caching is the process of storing copies of your webpages to serve them quickly.
WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins for WordPress. With this plugin, you don’t need more than a click to instantly cache your website. It automatically crawls your WordPress pages to store them in the cache. I also help you set the WordPress caching settings like gzip compression, page cache, and cache pre-loading. It also has some optional features for website performance improvement like lazy loading images, CDN support, minification, and more.
StackPath is an easy to use CDN that provides incredible performance. A CDN is a network of servers which helps in fast delivery of content. Major security features like network application firewall and DDoS control are incorporated into StackPath CDN. Besides, it offers strong integration with WordPress and makes the setup process easy to follow.
Cloudflare is another CDN that helps in optimizing website speed and security. It is designed to optimize site loading times and offers security benefits as well.
WordPress Backup & Security plugins
Website security is a complicated topic and often requires technical knowledge. But we must secure our website completely. Here are the recommended must have WordPress plugins for security.
Sucuri is one of the top web security companies in the world. The Sucuri WordPress plugin helps you protect your website from malware and hacks. It safeguards your website by creating multiple security layers. Sucuri also has a cloud proxy firewall to bypass the traffic to their servers before it reaches your hosting server. While the plugin is free with basic features, you can register for their platform plans for additional features.
iThemes Security is one of the best security plugins for WordPress. It helps protect your website from security threats of any level. In addition to fixing common security issues, it protects your website from hacks, malware, and breaches. The major features of the iThemes Security Pro plugin are brute force protection, 404 detection, strong password enforcement, file change detection, and database backups. Above all, it sends instant email notifications in event of any threat identification.
UpdraftPlus is the most popular backup plugin available for WordPress with over 2 million installations. It allows you to backup your WordPress website completely and store it anywhere you want, from cloud to your own computer. With this plugin, you get to choose which files to backup and if you want a scheduled backup or on-demand backups. In case you need to restore your website from backup, simply do it from your WordPress admin dashboard. While UpdraftPlus has so many features available for free, I would recommend the premium version that gives addons to migrate or clone websites and priority support.
Social Media WordPress Plugins and Tools
Whether you are a beginner or experienced website owner, social media marketing is a good source for growing traffic. But if you want to handle it manually, it is going to be a cumbersome task. In this section, I will share the tools and plugins you will need to promote your website and content on social media.
To attract traffic from social media websites, you must share your website content with potential visitors. We know that doing this task manually is not feasible for your visitors. You can use Social Snap plugin for WordPress, which will help you add social share buttons anywhere on your website. It also offers the core features like Share count, Social Meta, Click-to-Tweet, Social Follow Buttons, and analytics. However, you can extend these features by opting for a premium plan of Social Snap plugin.
Buffer is a social media management tool. It allows you to schedule and publishes your content on different social media websites. You just need a single Buffer account and it will publish your content on all the social media sites. Account integration and management are also easy with Buffer. It doesn’t only help you to share your content on social media websites, but also helps in engagement and brand building through social media.
Tailwind is an alternative to Buffer which focuses on Pinterest and Instagram only. It is a great tool for bloggers and online businesses with or without online shops. This tool helps in simplifying the social media marketing process for Pinterest and Instagram. With Tailwind, you get access to features like content discovery, post scheduling, and conversation tracking. It also lets you see your real-time results to give you better insights on your social media strategies.
Email Marketing WordPress Plugins & Tools
Email marketing is one of the oldest and best ways of generating traffic to a website. While n social media people may ignore your post however if you send an email there are higher chances that will go through that email. Let’s see some of the best tools for email marketing:
GetResponse has been around for more than 15 years now. In my opinion, it is one of the easiest to use platform for creating email campaigns and landing pages. In addition to that, it also provides analytics. The major feature that has made it famous is its marketing automation process to target customers with relevant and valuable information. With over 300K users and over a billion subscribers every month, GetResponse is one of the best email marketing tools.
AWeber is another email marketing tool that helps you with creating mailing lists and capturing data into them. Other notable features of AWeber are designing newsletters, email marketing automation, and campaign analytics. There is no restriction on features with there plans. Every plan has all the features, but the number of subscribers will be limited according to the pricing plans.
It has all the features that are offered by Aweber or any other email marketing tool. However, ActiveCampaign’s CRM plan gives better control over your contacts, that most of the other tools don’t offer. ActiveCampaign stands out due to its impressive automation feature. You can build any email automation with its visual automation editor.
It is a WordPress plugin that helps you convert your website visitors into subscribers and customers. The features that make it a great tool for website owners are drag and drop form builder, exit-intent technology, show-specific messages for campaigns, analytics, and A/B split testing. OptinMonster allows website owners to create high converting lead generation campaigns, in no time. Its simplicity and easy to use features make it the best WordPress plugin for lead generation.
Must have WordPress plugins: Conclusion
I have shared all the Must have WordPress plugins and tools which you would need for your website. Some sections may have more than one tool or plugin for the same purpose, it's entirely up to you which one you choose. All of them are great and I could not leave one or more of them. Depending on your business needs, you may need some additional plugins that are not on this list. If you want them to be on this list, let me know in the comments section.
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