12 Must-Have Plugins for Wonderful WordPress Websites

WordPress is a robust content management system (“CMS”) that allows users to create websites quickly and easily. To create a website using WordPress, users choose a theme, which they are then able to customize using plugins to add various design and functionality elements. Below are our must-have plugins for creating fast, modern, SEO-optimized websites.

Marketing Plugins:

Yoast WordPress Plugin

Yoast SEO

  • What is it: Yoast SEO is the #1 WordPress SEO plugin. Through its suite of features, Yoast can help you get more visitors from Google and Bing, attract more visitors from social media, and increase your readers’ engagement.
  • Why we like it: We like Yoast because it provides a great all-in-one platform for SEO management including a keyword optimization tool, search result description customization, and SEO scoring for website pages and posts. These tools help users optimize their website in order to increase organic traffic.
  • Pricing: There are two levels of pricing for Yoast SEO: free and Premium. The premium version of Yoast SEO is $89 per year for 1 site.
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MonsterInsights

  • What is it: MonsterInsights makes it “effortless” to properly connect your WordPress site with Google Analytics, so you can start making data-driven decisions to grow your business. Simply put, get the stats that matter inside your WordPress admin dashboard!
  • Why we like it: We like the MonsterInsights because it gives users a quick, easy way to implement Google Analytics on their website. Additionally, MonsterInsights’ range of settings give users greater control of the way that the GA code functions on their website.
  • Pricing: There are multiple pricing levels for MonsterInsights including Free, Basic ($39 per year for 1 site), Plus ($99 per year for up to 5 sites), Pro ($199 per year for up to 50 sites), and Agency ($399 per year for up to 100 sites).
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MailPoet

  • What is it: MailPoet is an email marketing plugin that enables users to create newsletters, new post notifications, automated emails, and build/manage a subscription list.
  • Why we like it: MailPoet is an effortless way to build a newsletter subscriber list and distribute your blog content using automated emails. With the drag-and-drop email builder, you can create visually appealing emails within WordPress, eliminating the need for external newsletter systems.
  • Pricing: MailPoet’s free version is pretty robust, but they also offer a premium plugin and a sending service. The premium plugin is $99 (one-time fee for 1 site), $249 (one-time fee for 4 sites), and $499 (one-time fee for unlimited sites). For the premium plugin plus the sending service, the cost starts at $10 per month.

Design and Functionality Plugins:

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Formidable

  • What is it: Formidable Forms will help you build amazing WordPress forms. Build a single contact form or complex multi-page forms with conditional logic, calculations, and file uploads. Then display the collected data with views and graphs.
  • Why we like it: We like Formidable because its drag-and-drop form builder allows users to create customized forms with ease. Additionally, features like hidden fields can give site administrators greater insight into the path a user took to complete a form conversion.
  • Pricing: There are multiple pricing levels for Formidable including Free, Personal ($49 one-time fee for 1 site), Creator ($99 one-time fee for up to 3 sites), Business ($199 one-time fee for up to 15 sites), and Enterprise ($399 one-time fee for unlimited sites).
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Relevanssi

  • What is it: Relevanssi replaces the standard WordPress search with a better search engine, with lots of features and configurable options. You’ll get better results, presented in a better way – your users will thank you.
  • Why we like it: We like Relevanssi because it extends the functionality of WordPress search. Relevanssi gives us greater control over search prioritization, which means we can configure site search to return the most relevant search results to users, thus improving the user experience of the site.
  • Pricing: There are multiple levels of pricing for Relevanssi: free, Standard ($49.95 for personal sites with an unlimited number of sites and support and upgrades for 1 year), Developer ($79.95 for client or commercial sites with an unlimited number of sites and support and upgrades for 1 year), and Permanent ($219.95 for an unlimited number of sites and support and upgrades for life).
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The Events Calendar

  • What is it: Create an events calendar and manage it with ease. The Events Calendar plugin provides professional-level quality and features backed by a team you can trust.
  • Why we like it: The Events Calendar is packed with loads of useful features and makes creating and managing events quick and easy. Additionally, the option to add premium features further extends the functionality of the plugin making it highly customizable and versatile.
  • Pricing: The Events Calendar offers multiple levels of pricing, as well as a variety of paid add-ons. The levels of pricing include free, Personal ($89 one-time fee for 1 site), Business ($149 one-time fee for up to 3 sites), and Agency ($299 for up to 10 sites). Add-ons for The Events Calendar include Event Aggregator, Event Tickets Plus, Filter Bar, Community Events, Community Tickets, Eventbrite Tickets, and Image Widget Plus. Each add-on has their own levels of pricing based on number of sites and years of support and updates.
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WooCommerce

  • What is it: WooCommerce is an open-source, completely customizable eCommerce platform for entrepreneurs worldwide. Go beyond the confines of traditional eCommerce solutions, and be limited only by your own imagination.
  • Why we like it: WooCommerce is one of the most polished and comprehensive WordPress e-commerce solutions. It’s extremely intuitive to use with a variety of features that make managing your inventory organized and straightforward.
  • Pricing: Woocommerce is free but offers a variety of free and paid add-ons. There are almost 300 add-ons available for Woocommerce so we won’t list them all here, but some of the most popular add-ons include WooSubscriptions, Woocommerce Bookings, Square add-on, Stripe add-on, and the Amazon Pay add-on. Some add-ons are free while others have their own pricing ranging from one-time fees to monthly subscriptions.
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Slider Revolution

  • What is it:  Slider Revolution is an innovative, responsive WordPress Slider Plugin that displays your content the beautiful way. Whether it’s a Slider, Carousel, Hero Scene or even a whole Front Page, the visual, drag & drop editor will let you tell your own stories in no time!
  • Why we like it: Slider Revolution’s slide builder is flexible and easy-to-use. With many slider plugins, we’ve found that the options were extremely limited in terms of placement of elements on slides, transition animations, slide timing, etc. but with Slider Revolution the possibilities are endless as the plugin gives you extremely granular control over nearly every element of the slider.
  • Pricing: Because of Slider Revolution’s popularity, it is already included in many themes. That being said, if you’d like to purchase it separately, there are two pricing levels: Regular ($25 one-time fee for one site) and Extended ($120 one-time fee to bundle it with a theme you sell).

Performance Plugins:

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WP Smush

  • What is it: Resize, optimize, and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful and 100% free WordPress image smusher, brought to you by the superteam at WPMU DEV!
  • Why we like it: We like WP Smush because it instantly compresses the files in our Media Library. Large media files are often the culprit when dealing with slow website speeds, so file compression is key in maintaining fast website speeds.
  • Pricing: There are three types of pricing for WP Smush, free, Membership, and Pro. The pro version of WP Smush is $19 per month for unlimited sites. The WP Smush Membership is $24.50 per month but includes unlimited sites plus all of WPMU DEV’s plugins as well.
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WP Super Cache

  • What is it: This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated, your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.
  • Why we like it: WP Super Cache is a must-have plugin for any website that utilizes a high number of images or other static content. By caching pages for repeat visitors, it can decrease the page load time for these visitors because all of the items on every page don’t load on every page visit.
  • Pricing: Free!
WP Manage WordPress Plugin

WP Manage

  • What is it: Forget login spreadsheets, bookmarks and password managers. Once you add your website(s) to the WP Manage dashboard, all are accessible from one place, with a simple click. With features like one-click admin access, unlimited site manager, and team/client collaboration, WP Manage gives users a hub to manage security and performance for their website(s).
  • Why we like it: WP Manage is truly an all-in-one website management system. Unlike most plugins, the benefits of WP Manage are most visible via the external WP Manager website which includes a performance dashboard and tests that you can run on your site, your site back-ups, and more!
  • Pricing: Many of WP Manage’s features are free, but there are also a variety of premium (paid) add-ons including on-demand site back-ups, advanced reporting, automated security checks, SEO ranking, etc. that vary in price from $1-$2 per month. There is also the option to bundle the premium add-ons for users who manage 25+ websites.
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WP SpamShield

  • What is it: Powerful and user-friendly WordPress anti-spam defense that prevents spam on blog comments, contact forms, registrations, and everything else.
  • Why we like it: WP-SpamShield prevents spam without CAPTCHAs, challenge questions, or other inconveniences to site visitors. This plugin works silently in the background, and simply makes WordPress spam disappear.
  • Pricing: Free!

The plugins listed above allow users to have greater control over the design and functionality of their websites beyond what is provided by the selected theme. Especially important are the marketing and performance plugins, as these unseen heroes of WordPress websites drastically improve the user experience of the site and ensure that it is SEO-optimized.

Is your organization considering utilizing WordPress to develop your website? Our consultants can help you create an SEO-optimized, modern website that improves brand awareness and increases website traffic. Reach out today to learn how we can help with website development!

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