Looking for the best WordPress plugins to install on your WordPress site? In this post, we list the must have WordPress plugins to make your website stand above the rest.
Plugins are considered add-ons for your website, but the truth is they are much more valuable than just an additional feature. The plugins you use on your website can dictate your success, based on how you use them.
The problem is that at the time of this writing, WordPress has nearly 60,000 plugins available for website developers. That number is likely daunting to newbies and veterans alike on their site.
Luckily, we are here to help break down the top plugins for WordPress you can download this year. These tools all have great features and customer service so you can be sure you’ll get the full experience and benefits every time you log in.
Before we continue, a word of warning. Just because all these "must have" plugins are great, doesn't mean you need all of them on the same site! Having too many plugins installed on a single WordPress site could cause problems.
What to look for in the best WordPress plugins
If you head to the WordPress.org plugin directory, you'll find one thing to be true. There are a lot of choices! So what should you look for in the best WordPress plugins? Consider the following:
- Do they have a lot of positive reviews?
- Are there unanswered questions in the support area?
- Is there a premium plugin or just a free plugin?
- Does the plugin have blog and support content?
- Has the plugin been updated recently and tested with the latest WordPress versions?
Use these questions to screen plugins before wasting time! There's nothing worse than investing time in a plugin you don't end up using.
Of course, if you combine the above questions with the info in our curated list below? Then you'll be on easy street. Now that the serious business is out of the way, let’s dive in!
The first plugin we are going to look at today is none other than Formidable Forms. If you’re looking for the best WordPress form builder that’s designed for those who want to create complex, compelling forms, this plugin is the perfect choice for you.
After you install Formidable Forms on your website, you’ll have access to a slew of tools and form types ranging from simple forms with a couple of questions to complex, engaging surveys that allow users to upload files and go through multiple pages based on conditional logic.
The design menu is sleek and easy to navigate, making this a must-have plugin for creators who want to build awesome input forms, but aren’t sure where to start. Formidable forms are also ADA compliant, which is a huge plus for website accessibility.
Formidable is also one of the best free WordPress plugins too. Its form builder has a free plugin version that is also very powerful. Don't miss it!
👉 Read more: 13 Powerful Ways to Use WordPress Forms
OptinMonster is the best plugin to use for people who want to generate more leads (and sales!) on their website. Out of the box, this plugin allows you to create custom lead magnets. OptinMonster boasts that over 1 million websites currently use their software as a means of getting more conversions and connecting with customers.
You can use this plugin to design visually stunning offers for people who land on your page. The technology targets customers who meet certain requirements, like landing on a certain page or are getting ready to leave your site.
As the customer gets ready to leave, lands on the page of your choice, or meets any of the other conditions you set, your lead magnet will pop up. If you’ve been struggling to reach your audience, this is a valuable and affordable resource.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the oldest tricks in the book to generate more leads by putting businesses that use good practices towards the top of the search results. All in One SEO helps even the most novice website owner ace their SEO efforts.
Out of the box, All in One SEO comes with a variety of tools that monitors and updates you on the status of your SEO while you are creating the content. You can reference the quality of your SEO, see whether you’re putting keywords in the proper place, and even check the readability of your content before you publish it.
Features include XML sitemaps, image optimization, and a user-friendly interface too.
For a long while, Yoast SEO was the only choice for WordPress SEO plugins. No longer! All in One SEO has both a free and premium version. It’s worth noting that the premium version of this plugin is well worth the investment for those looking to become successful online.
👉 Read more: Ultimate WordPress SEO Guide for Beginners
A shocking number of people could benefit from this next plugin. Most folks design a website, wait until it’s ready, and put it online only to see no traffic for the first few days, weeks, or even months. SeedProd can help you change that.
SeedProd is a plugin that allows you to build a professional and functioning coming soon page for your product, brand, or blog. You can easily create a page to accompany your social media efforts to build an audience before your website officially launches.
There are a whole host of great features included with this plugin. One of our favorites includes the ability to create a Contact Page so customers can reach out early. We also love the fact that you can entice your readers and give them a taste of things to come by adding subscriber opt-ins for news on the site as well as a countdown timer to keep people excited for launch day.
Are you thinking about opening an online store? If so, WooCommerce is your ticket to an excellent eCommerce experience.
The WooCommerce plugin has over 4 million installations and to this day, more people are integrating it with their website in order to generate sales. It plays well with other plugins and themes, so you’ll still have full creative control when creating your shop.
One of the selling points of WooCommerce is that they let you start out for free. As your business grows and you start getting sales, you can buy paid upgrades to improve your store and generate even more sales. This is one of the only plugins that grows right alongside your business.
👉 Read more: The Formidable WooCommerce Add-On
MemberPress is an excellent choice for those developers interested in creating a website with membership access. This plugin is a breeze to install and use, and the features included certainly make this resource an asset.
You’ll be able to instantly set up and accept payment methods, gate off content to subscribers, and track your members in real-time. If you sell digital content like music or ebooks, setting up your products for sale is simple. Users will be able to get to your site, pay, then download their content in just a few minutes.
The most unique feature of this plugin is the ability to create custom communities for your subscribers. MemberPress offers all of these features and more. If you’ve been thinking about starting a members-only site, here’s the plugin you’ve been looking for.
Google Analytics is vital to the success of virtually all websites. The data provided from your analytics helps you form and structure your marketing plan, your content, and more. MonsterInsights makes it easy for you to integrate your Google Analytics right into your WordPress site.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed MonsterInsights, all you do is link your Google Analytics account to the plugin. After they have been linked together you’ll be able to monitor things like your page views, bounce rate, how people are finding your site, and their demographics in seconds.
If you want to have more control over your analytics and use this information to grow your website, MonsterInsights is the way to go.
Read more: See the best WordPress Google Analytics plugins.
8. Pretty Links
Pretty Links is a plugin with a super-specific, but important, purpose. The whole goal of this plugin is to help you create and manage your links on your website.
Essentially, you can take any link to any part of your site, and change it so that it is short, sweet, and memorable. Where Pretty Links really shines is the ability to track your links once you’ve created them. This is really helpful when it comes to affiliate links too.
You can make multiple links for various social media accounts, and then put them out on your business page and track in real-time how many people are clicking the links in your post. It’s then possible to see how many of those people converted, whether it’s subscribing to your email list or making a purchase, Pretty Links helps you get the most from your website links.
SEMRush is a digital marketer’s dream. There are many features included with this plugin, and all of them are designed to help you make the most of your site.
For example, with SEMRush you’ll be able to get insights into your social media strategies, all while seeing what your competition is doing. This is an amazing benefit for those who are trying to emerge in a crowded market and want to stand out from everyone else.
SEMRush also allows you to reference your social mentions and links to see if people are mentioning your brand and if there are people landing on your website from these mentions. Top all that off with the ability to run an SEO audit on your site and the fact that this plugin allows you to discover ways to bring in more organic traffic, and it’s no wonder people love combining this plugin with their website.
WPForms is an excellent form builder that you can use regardless of the size of your site or how well-versed you are in code. This plugin comes out of the box and ready to use with a whole host of pre-made templates and forms.
If you’re into tech, that’s perfectly fine too. WPForms gives developers the freedom to make the form that’s perfect for their website. You can create contact forms, integrate payments with Paypal, allow file uploads, and much, much more.
There are multiple versions of WPForms, we have found success with the Pro version as it offers a number of features that make form building fun, fast, and easy.
👉 Read more: 7 Best Free Form Builder Plugins for WordPress
11. Beaver Builder
Building a website from the ground up can be a real challenge if you’re not great with code. Beaver Builder makes web design easier than it has ever been before.
The Beaver Builder plugin is a drag and drop plugin that integrates with WordPress and helps you design wonderful looking websites in no time. You can make simple or complex blocks, customize them with your own colors, text, images, and more.
There are very few plugins that literally anyone can use, and Beaver Builder makes that list. If you’ve tried to make a website in the past but felt overwhelmed, this plugin can make your next crack at web design a breeze.
Here's a WordPress backup plugin with a lot of power!
Technology is great, there’s no doubt about it. However, one of the problems we run into with technology is that things fail. There’s nothing quite as terrifying as realizing the website you spent years developing is suddenly down with no clear solution on how to get it up and running again.
UpdraftPlus lets you kick back and relax knowing that your website is always backed up. The free version of this plugin gives you the ability to save your website and emails to their backup server and if something happens, you can bring it back.
The premium version had additional features like priority website retrieval for those who are afraid of ruining their customer’s experience because their site has been down for an extended period of time. All in all, both versions are great, but as expected, the premium version has a worthwhile edge.
13. WP Rocket
Your website speed can have a serious negative impact on how customers perceive your website. Most people browsing the internet get discouraged if a page takes longer than two seconds to load. The end result is they bounce from the website and may never come back.
The solution? Dramatically reduce your page load times with the WP Rocket plugin.
WP Rocket helps WordPress website owners speed up their sites by focusing on things like cached data and keeping large files compressed. You can check the performance of your site in real-time and see your site’s areas of opportunity.
If you want to boost your website speed and get more happy customers, WP Rocket is an excellent choice for novice website creators and professionals alike.
14. Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to create beautiful, fully customized photo galleries in minutes.
This is a super simple plugin to use. Envira Gallery comes with pre-built templates and a drag and drop builder that makes it easy for people who are not experienced in coding to create awesome, shareable galleries.
If you do know how to code, you’ll be happy to know that this plugin allows you to go in and customize your galleries so they precisely fit your needs. It comes out of the box, ready to go and blends seamlessly with other WordPress plugins.
Is your goal to reach a global audience, regardless of the language they speak? If you want everyone who comes to your website to have an excellent experience, TranslatePress can help.
This plugin is unique because it allows you to translate your pages on the front end of your website. After your page has been translated, you’ll own full rights to the translated versions of your website -- forever. Furthermore, this plugin works seamlessly with WooCommerce, making it an asset for those who own online shops.
If the customers are interested in reading your website, but you don’t have the website available in their language, you could lose potential subscribers and sales. Don’t let that happen to you by using TranslatePress.
16. WP Mail SMTP
There’s an odd issue with WordPress’s default mailer option that results in you not getting all the emails sent out from your customers. WP Mail SMTP integrates with your WordPress site and allows you to get all of your emails as soon as they are sent out.
The reason this problem pops up is that the emails are being sent to you through a PHP email type, which isn’t always reliable. WP Mail SMTP uses Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to deliver your emails.
This plugin ensures that you’ll be able to respond to customer questions and concerns without fear that you missed an email.
👉 Read more: How to Use the WP Mail SMTP Plugin in WordPress
17. Live Chat
Good customer service is a vital part of every successful business. Live Chat gives you the freedom to have your own live customer support line on your website, without taking the time to sit down and build your own chat code from scratch.
You can use Live Chat on any of your devices, making it perfect for those who are often on the go but still want to be able to talk to their customers if there is a question or concern.
Out of the box, Live Chat allows you to blend your current marketing plan and WordPress website with this chat service so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll always be in the loop.
Everyone loves a sense of security in their home or office, but what about your website? Sucuri is a plugin that is essentially a home security device for your website.
You’ll have access to a whole suite of security options designed to help you fight back against spammers, people trying to hack into your site, or those people looking for weak websites that they can attack with malware.
There’s no doubt a serious concern for the integrity and safety of your website, and Sucuri delivers. You can create multiple website backups, restore from a previous state, and identify when it appears that someone is trying to “break-in” your site.
19. Shared Counts
Social media is all the craze, so it’s no wonder that the Shared Counts plugin would pop up eventually. If you’re in the market of creating unique, shareable content, but don’t have share buttons you like, Shared Counts can change that for you.
This plugin comes with a variety of different social share buttons that you can add directly to any, or all, of your pages on-site. As of now, Shared Counts supports Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yummly, and more.
The best part about this plugin is the ability to track your shares in real-time, even after you make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Everyone loves social proof these days! Take your social media to the next level with Shared Counts.
Data tables are a notoriously difficult thing to code & display responsively on any website. Just when you have things looking right on your site's desktop version, you realize that they are beyond clunky on mobile.
This is where wpDataTables comes to the rescue. In wpDataTables, you can create responsive WordPress tables & charts with ease. To see how things look across different devices, just resize your browser window!
The process of making tables has never been easier. It's no wonder they are the best-selling WordPress table plugin on the market. With plugins like this, making data tables could become fun!
One of the biggest problems website creators face is spelling and grammatical errors in their blog posts and emails. Grammarly makes it super simple to avoid making mistakes when you’re writing. After you install the extension, you can pick either the free version of Grammarly or the paid version.
The free and paid versions both do the same thing, but the paid version of this software examines everything you type out in real-time and gives you suggestions on spelling/grammatical errors, punctuation changes, and even includes an on the fly thesaurus so you can rest easy knowing you’re always delivering your best content to the people who subscribe to you or visit your website.
If you want to create any kind of business directory on your WordPress website, the Business Directory plugin is a great choice. Using this plugin, you can create many different types of directory site, like restaurant directories or local business directories.
The BD plugin even has a powerful free version where you can get a feel for how the plugin works. The plugin has over 20,000 users in total and has a great support team to help out new users. Check this one out if you are planning to make a business directory site!
Another WordPress Classifieds Plugin is... well, another option if you want to create classified style ads on your WordPress site. Don’t let the straightforward name fool you though. This is one of the most popular WordPress plugins for those looking to make a classifieds site. Users can create a listings site where buyers can search by directory by city, state, country, username, or keyword.
The free version of the plugin gives plenty of control over the classified ad options too. For example, you can choose to limit the text size of ad postings or allow/disallow images. You can also choose to allow AdSense ads to be displayed in your classified directory with configurable ad placement. This makes it even easier to monetize your classified site!
After the best WordPress plugins, what's next?
So there you have it! Our top picks for the best WordPress plugins to download. We hope this has helped you make some decisions and guided you in the right direction. Many of the options above are available free so there's nothing to lose if you want to try them out.
There's a lot more to WordPress than just plugins. If you want more WordPress tips, be sure to follow us on the Formidable blog. Until next time, see ya!
More WordPress plugin posts
If you'd like to learn more about what Formidable Forms can do for you, check out our list of features. Our form maker plugin is one of the best choices, even if you are just getting started with your WordPress site. Formidable is much more than a form builder - take advantage of our 14-day money-back guarantee and see for yourself!