Note: these are the plugins that you need to install when you start a new blog or make a new website for your own businesses.
WordPress is a free, self-hosted content management system designed with bloggers in mind. Whether your WordPress website is exclusively dedicated to blogging or your blog is just one component of a more complex site, the right combination of plugins can make it run more efficiently and provide a better experience for visitors. WordPress continues to support bloggers, with an array of plugins that enhance the functionality of blogs ranging from small personal sites to the business blogs of large corporations.
WordPress itself is a set of core code that contains all the essential elements for a generic website. Those elements include a content editor with options for customizing the site with a variety of interchangeable themes. You can also install plugins, which are independent pieces of code that can add a variety of specific functions to your WordPress site.
What Kinds of Plugins Do Bloggers Need?
Your self-hosted WordPress blog site needs two kinds of plugins – ones designed to enhance your site’s performance, security, and searchability, and ones that add functions related specifically to blogging.
There are more than 54,000 WordPress plugins created by WordPress users and third-party designers from around the world. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available in nearly every category, and some plugins aren’t trustworthy tools. They can fail to perform with your version of WordPress, break certain parts of your site, or even introduce malware and threaten your WordPress security.
The plugins you choose to install will depend on the specific needs of your site, but these plugins should be compatible with your version of WordPress and with each other. The best plugins also include at least some user support and have a long track record of user downloads and five-star reviews. Some are available for free through the WordPress Plugin Directory, while others are available through third party developers in free and premium versions with more features and support.
Here’s a look at 21 of the best plugins for blogs of all kinds.
Every website needs a contact form because it makes it easy for your visitors to get in touch with you. WPForms is the most user-friendly contact form plugin for WordPress.
This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, online order forms, payment forms,
surveys, polls, and basically all other types of online forms with just a few clicks.
WPForms integrates with all popular marketing and payment platforms, so you can build powerful forms in less than 5 minutes.
It even comes with options to help you create custom WordPress user registration form and login page.
There’s a free WPForms Lite version available for those who are looking for a simple solution.
Alternative: Formidable Forms is an excellent alternative for creating advanced solution-focused WordPress forms.
MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to “properly” connect your website with Google Analytics, so you can see exactly how people find and use your website.
The best part is that it shows you all the important stats that matter right inside your WordPress dashboard.
You can then optimize your website accordingly to increase your traffic, subscribers, and revenue.
MonsterInsights has a free version, but the true power of it only unlocks when you upgrade to the Pro version.
MonsterInsights is used by over 2 million websites.
SEO – (What is SEO?) helps you get more visitors from search engines to your website. While WordPress is SEO friendly out of the box, there is so much more you can do to increase your website traffic using SEO best practices.
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugin of all time. Out of all the WordPress SEO plugins, Yoast offers the most comprehensive solution with all the features and tools that you need to improve your on-page SEO.
It helps you add meta tags, generate sitemaps, connect your site to Google Search Console, optimize it for social media, and more.
Yoast comes with a powerful Redirect feature that lets you easily create 301 redirects which is extremely helpful. It also detects change of URLs and create auto-redirects, so you don’t have any broken links on your website.
Alternative: All in One SEO Pack is a great alternative for Yoast SEO.
4. Constant Contact
Email is the most effective and most reliable marketing tool at your disposal as a business owner. It allows you to stay in touch with your users even after they leave your website.
Constant Contact is one of the most popular email marketing service providers in the world.
Their platform allows you to build an email lists and send beautiful email newsletters to your subscribers.
It is quick and easy setup for non-techy users. It also works well with popular lead generation plugins for WordPress like OptinMonster and WPForms.
Alternatives: SendinBlue and ConvertKit are good alternatives if you want something more advanced, but they are more pricey.
OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software in the market. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers and customers.
This WordPress plugin and application helps you get more email subscribers, fast.
OptinMonster comes with pre-made high-converting opt-in forms that you can easily customize with their drag & drop builder. Their powerful display targeting features allow you to personalize the campaigns for each user, so you can show the right message at the right time.
It’s a great solution for bloggers, business websites, and eCommerce websites. Basically if you want to make more money from your website traffic, then you need OptinMonster.
It helps you recover abandoned cart sales, convert website visitors, and grow your email list.
We use OptinMonster on WPBeginner and our other websites.
Security should be a top priority for all online business owners. Sucuri offers a WordPress security plugin and web application firewall that is probably one of the best protection you can get for your site.
They monitor and protect your site from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and basically every other type of attack. If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then you need to add one today.
Sucuri help us block hundreds of thousands of attacks every month on Shrewd Studio.
UpdraftPlus is the most popular WordPress backup plugin on the market. It allows you to set up automatic backups and safely store them on a remote location like Google Drive, Dropbox, S3, Rackspace, FTP, email, and more.
It also makes it super easy to restore your website from a backup. Their base plugin is free, but they also have a paid plan with extra features and priority support.
Alternative: BackupBuddy and VaultPress (Jetpack Backups) are also excellent solutions, but they are paid only.
8. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is the best WordPress caching plugin on the market. It allows you to instantly improve your WordPress website speed and performance with no technical skills required.
It automatically turns on recommended WordPress caching settings like gzip compression, page cache, and cache pre-loading. You can also turn on optional features like lazy loading images, CDN support, DNS pre-fetching, minification, and more to further improve page load times.
WP-Rocket also offer Imagify which is a free image optimization service to help you speed up your website even further.
This is by far the easiest and most beginner friendly caching plugin. The only downside is that it’s paid only.
Alternative: WP Super Cache is free, but it’s not as powerful or easy.
9. Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder is the best drag and drop page builder for WordPress. It allows you to easily customize your website design and create custom page layouts without writing any code.
Business owners love it because it lets them create completely custom landing pages within minutes without having to hire a developer.
Alternative: Divi page builder plugin is a great alternative.
MemberPress allows you to build online communities and membership sites using WordPress. It is the best WordPress membership plugin in the market.
You can create subscriptions and restrict content to users based on their subscription plans. It works with all popular payment solutions and plays nicely with online stores using WooCommerce.
RafflePress is the best WordPress giveaway plugin on the market. It allows you to instantly increase your website traffic, get more social media followers, and email subscribers with viral giveaways and contests.
RafflePress comes with an easy drag and drop giveaway builder along with proven giveaway templates that you can use to create a giveaway that attracts visitor’s attention.
To enter the giveaway, website visitors must use their email address. This helps you get more subscribers for your email newsletter.
RafflePress incentivizes users to follow your social profiles and share the giveaway with their friends to get more entries into the contest. This helps you increase social media engagement.
The word-of-mouth marketing helps you get more traffic, FASTER! This results in more followers, more sales, and more revenue!
You can easily connect your social profiles, WordPress form plugins, and all popular marketing platforms and CRMs.
12. CSS Hero
WordPress themes rely on CSS for the visual appearance of your website. If you want to make customization to your theme, then you will have to learn CSS. This can be time-consuming for a business owner.
CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing a single line of code.
It’s not a drag & drop page builder like BeaverBuilder that helps you build custom layouts. Rather it helps you customize any WordPress theme available in the market within minutes to match your needs.
SeedProd is the best WordPress maintenance mode and coming soon page plugin that helps you collect leads and grow your followers even when your website is not available.
If your site is under construction, then you can use it to create beautiful coming soon landing pages. It includes features like integration with your email marketing services, countdown timer, social media integration, and dozens of templates to choose from.
LearnDash is the best WordPress LMS plugin to create and sell online courses from your WordPress website. It has a drag and drop course builder that allows you to quickly add lessons, quizzes, and assignments to build your course.
15. G Suite
G Suite is a suite of web applications like email, docs, spreadsheets, etc. Created by Google, this powerful set of office applications is cheaper, easy to deploy, and hassle free.
It allows you to save costs on software licenses, hardware, hiring IT staff, managing backups, and more. Most importantly it allows you to use professional email addresses with your own business domain name right inside Gmail.
Alternative: You can also get a free business email from your WordPress hosting provider or use Microsoft Office365.
SEMRush is an all-in-one marketing toolkit for digital marketing professionals and business owners. It comes with powerful tools to help you improve your SEO, paid traffic strategy, social media, and content & PR strategy.
SEMRush also helps you gather competitive intelligence on your competitors, so you can outrank them and dominate your industry.
It helps you do keyword research, backlink audit, track brand mentions, spy on competitors, discover best-performing posts on social media, ad strategy analysis, and more.
These short paragraphs are not enough to describe the true power of SEMRush. It’s a must have tool in our list for serious business owners.
Alternative: Ahrefs is an excellent alternative.
LiveChat Inc is the best live chat support software for businesses and e-commerce websites. It’s super easy to use and allows you to quickly add live chat on your WordPress website.
LiveChat has tons of customization options, and it comes with a mobile app, so you can stay connected while on the go.
Also, it integrates with your existing support software, CRM, email marketing, and other tools. Most importantly, it loads fast and offers a great user experience.
Alternative: Sendinblue Chat is another popular service which lets you connect chat, CRM, SMS, Facebook, and email in one platform.
18. Pretty Links Pro
Pretty Links Pro is one of the best link management plugins for WordPress. It allows you to easily manage affiliate links while making it easy make your affiliate links short and memorable for sharing.
It is the perfect tool for affiliate marketers, podcasters, business owners, and others who want to easily create short URLs in WordPress.
Alternative: ThirstyAffiliates is an excellent alternative with lots of powerful features.
Shared Counts is the best WordPress social media plugin that allows you to easily add beautiful social sharing buttons on your website.
It also shows share counts, which helps you add social proof to your website.
While there are many paid solutions available, this free plugin beats them all in code quality and performance.
We use SharedCount on a lot of our website because it offers an easy out of the box solution for both beginners and developers.
By default, WordPress uses the PHP mail function to send emails. The problem is that either WordPress hosting companies don’t have this feature setup properly, or they block it to prevent abuse.
This basically means that you and your users may not receive important email notifications from your WordPress site.
WP Mail SMTP solves this problem by sending WordPress emails using a proper SMTP mail server. To learn more, see our article on how to fix WordPress not sending email issue.
Pro tip: The paid version called WP Mail SMTP Pro comes with white glove setup and more features. Basically, their support staff will set it up and connect it to use your SMTP service provider.
While managing your WordPress site, you may sometimes need to add code snippets to your WordPress header or footer for verification, inserting ad retargeting scripts, etc.
Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files. Take a look at our tutorial on how to add header and footer code in WordPress.
This free plugin is extremely handy for business owners.
By default, WordPress does not allow you to easily create a multilingual website. This is a challenge for businesses who cater to a multi-lingual customer base in different geographic locations.
This is where you’ll need WPML. It is a WordPress multi-lingual plugin that allows you to easily create multi-lingual websites with WordPress.
It is very easy to use, SEO friendly, and helps you easily create content in different languages.
Alternative: TranslatePress is an excellent alternative that’s growing fast.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress used by over 4 million websites.
It comes with all the powerful features that you need to create an online store.
Over the last few years, WooCommerce has established itself as the most dominant eCommerce plugin for WordPress. There’s even a WooCommerce ecosystem now with dedicated WooCommerce hosting, WooCommerce themes, and WooCommerce plugins available.
Companion plugin: TrustPulse helps you instantly win customer trust with social proof and FOMO.
Alternative: BigCommerce is a fully-hosted headless eCommerce platform for WordPress. It offers high scalability and low maintenance for serious store owners.
Nextiva is the best business phone service in terms of features and ease of use. They allow you to get a business phone number for your website which comes with advanced call routing, unlimited free domestic calling, voicemail to email or text, online faxing, and more.
The best part is that you can receive calls from your business phone number straight to your cell phone which is excellent for small businesses. You can also set business hours, so you are not getting disturbed during holidays or non-work hours.
Their platform also offers CRM, live chat, online surveys, and other communication features. You can manage it all in a simple web-based admin panel which makes it easy for small business owners to easily manage everything like a pro.
We use Nextiva VOIP for our business because it’s one of the most affordable and most reliable business phone service that grows with your business.
Related: How to Install WordPress Plugins