One beautiful thing about a WordPress blog is the never-ending ability to add plugins that completely change the way your blog looks and functions. It’s absolutely essential for successful blogging.
A lot of these plugins would cost thousands (or even tens of thousands) if you wanted to pay someone to build those features in to your blog individually.
For example, before e-commerce plugins came about, you’d need a team of developers constantly working on your online store. These days you can do it with a few clicks.
How to install a WordPress plugin
If you’re new to WordPress then you might not know about the absolutely wonderful world of plugins yet. Basically, they are bits of code that developers have written that allow you to change the way your blog works.
They cover all sorts of features from photo galleries and security to social media buttons and design changes. how to install a WordPress plugin quickly
Before installing any plugin on your blog you should do a few basic checks. Make sure it is compatible with your version of WordPress, make sure it has good reviews from users, and make sure it has been recently updated.
Here are some of the best WordPress plugins that you can install to make your blog instantly more professional. It’s not the biggest list in the world, but we’ve only selected the very best.
The best WordPress plugins for 2018
Let’s dive in now and have a look at some of the plugins we’ve chosen that will help you to build a more professional blog in just a few clicks. As always, let us know what we’ve missed in the comments below.
- SEO by Yoast
Having an SEO plugin is essential for any WordPress blog to rank higher in search engines. This helps you to drive free traffic from search engines. This plugin is a serious must-have for every WordPress blog out there. I have never seen any other free SEO plugin come even close to being as powerful and effective. With this one plugin, you can cover all of your on-site and on-page SEO.This plugin comes in free & pro versions
Those pesky little emails and junk mail that come flooding in at every turn are just so much fun…. Sarcasm aside, spam really is very irritating. And spam comments in WordPress are the most irritating of all. If you want to save yourself a serious headache, then Akismet is the must have WordPress plugin. This blog plugin helps stave off comment spam and even has the ability to delete all the junk comments on its own so you never have to even see those digital vermin.
My favorite basic security plugin, Wordfence adds an extra layer of protection by locking out people who try to hack their way into your website, even blocking IP addresses of bots trying to access your site. You can customize email alerts to be sent to you if anything suspicious is going on, and they offer a premium version that gives you access to support if you need it.
Boxzila is the successor to the very popular plugin, Scroll Triggered Boxes, and is an improved version that allows you to create a variety of scroll and pop up boxes for your blog. For example, you can see on in action on this post. You can set it to open when people exit the blog, after a certain amount of time, and you can build boxes that only appear on certain pages.
OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers. If you want to grow your email list, then this is a must have WordPress plugin in 2017.
WordPress is memory-hogging blogging software. The best way to make sure WordPress doesn’t make your web server crash is by using a cache plugin.
Whenever a user browses your blog post, WordPress has to fetch that post from the WordPress database. This process needs far too many PHP calls. Imagine if 100 visitors tried visiting your blog, WordPress would be running 100x PHP calls to serve these web pages to everyone. When you use a cache plugin, it creates a static HTML file of the web page & and allows WordPress to serve a page from this cache. This reduces the server load drastically & allows your pages to be served within a few seconds. If you are on a shared hosting or VPS, you should be using a cache plugin. The only exception is when you are using managed WordPress hosting.
WooCommerce recently celebrated its ninth birthday and has grown to be one of the best-loved and most trusted plugins for building an online store with your WordPress installation. While it’s not the most simple plugin to use, the list of features are absolutely phenomenal and the support and community makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a way to get started selling physical products online.
As a business owner, allowing your customers to contact you should be your top priority. WPForms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, and other types of online forms with just a few clicks.
Believe it or not, even if you’ve done everything you can to optimize your posts for SEO, your site itself might be what is causing the biggest issues for it not ranking…
The likely solution?
And the Google XML Sitemaps plugin is one of the top WordPress plugins for giving your site just what it needs. By creating an XML sitemap, your site is much easier for Google to crawl and read, thus helping your site rank higher.
- Pretty Link
Pretty Link is a plugin that allows you to change the way your URLs look. For example, if you’re directing people to an affiliate product that has a horrible looking address that might put some people off, you can use Pretty Link to set up a URL that incorporates your own address so that it looks a bit more friendly to users. Also gives stats on how many people click the link and so on.
Constant Contact is one of the best email marketing service providers. It allows you to build an email lists and send emails to your subscribers.
It is by far the most beginner friendly platform, with a quick and easy setup. It comes with built-in tools to add signup forms and also works well with lead generation software like OptinMonster.
MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your website with Google Analytics, so you can learn more about your website visitors such as where are they coming from and what are they doing on your website.
W3 Total Cache (Freemium)
WordPress caching is one of the best ways to improve website performance. The general idea of caching is storing the website data temporarily in the cache so that it loads faster the next time the user opens the same page. Cache is a place to store something temporarily in the computing environment.
VaultPress is a security-oriented WordPress plugin built to create real-time automated backups for your website. The Jetpack powered theme easily syncs up every content, post, comment and media file on your website seamless and furthermore provides protection from many web issues and attacks.
WP Smush (Freemium)
Images are the great assets for your post/ page which easily grab the users’ attention. Uploading images helps you deliver the message many times better that simply the texts can. They make your page look attractive, catchy and engaging.
While being so helpful to make you site more appealing to users, images also take up a lot of storage space and slow down your website. You can’t simply afford to ignore the slow site speed and look for the disaster to happen. Wait a while, here’s good news – you can compress images!
Security is going to be a big concern for online business owners in 2017. Sucuri’s web application firewall 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 add one today.
WP-Optimize is a great tool for cleaning up WordPress database and optimizing WordPress. It automatically removes the unnecessary data from the WordPress without manual queries. The plugin always keeps your database optimized for the best performance.
There may be a lot of useless data in your website which weighs down your site while you may not be even aware of it. With the plugin installed, you have lots of work done automatically. It removes all the spammy and un-approved comments, trash posts, and comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks etc. It will keep your database always clean and optimized.
When launching a new product or website, you may need to add a FAQs section in WordPress. You can add a new page with all the frequently asked questions (FAQs), but in most cases FAQs grows as your product evolves and as your customer base grows.
By adding the FAQ section, you can significantly reduce your support overhead and improve conversion.
You might have seen extra pieces of information like star ratings, images, number of reviews etc. below some of the pages on the search results. They provide further information about the post/ page which users may want to know. Such brief extracts/ pieces of information like ratings are called Rich Snippets.
If you have a lot of images used in your site, it may take hours to load. That is annoying to users which often results in higher bounce rates. However, there is a solution to every problem and mostly in WordPress. Lazy loading is the mantra to make your site load faster with lots of images in the page.
While managing your WordPress sites, you may sometimes need to add code snippets to your WordPress site’s header or footer. This means you will have to edit the theme files which could get messy and break up your WordPress theme. Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files.
There are times when you have to change the permalinks of your posts/ pages but you forget to redirect them. That is when users will land on a not available page following the old URL which doesn’t exist anymore. And, it is another way you are making your visitors upset.
It’s a very simple and essential WordPress plugin for creating different types of contact forms. In contact form 7, you will be able to add different forms and give them names. You can also make some of the boxes as “required” with this plugin, for example the email address or phone number box. No need for special CSS coding.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing services to manage subscribers, send emails and track results in the bulk. It is no doubt a great marketing tool for the webmasters and business owners. To integrate MailChimp for a WordPress site is really easy with the plugin MailChimp for WordPress. It is a free plugin which allows you to add beautiful subscription forms in your WP blog. If you want to use the plugin for commercial purpose, you can try the premium version.
You decide to give your site a facelift and so you switch themes to change the look of it. Then, come to find out, all your featured images and thumbnails look terrible.
Enter the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin!
When you run into this WordPress blog plugin, just run it and it will regenerate your media as needed.
Undoubtedly, social media is the most populated platform in the recent years. The number of social media users is ever increasing – more people obtain news and other information through social media. So, social media marketing is a vital part of content marketing these days. To boost your social media marketing, you can use a social media plugin like Social Icons.
This simple plugin saves you from a lot of headaches.
When you link to any post from any other post on your blog, it sends a pingback. You don’t need such pingbacks & you sill have to manually delete them. With this plugin, your blog will stop sending pingbacks from the blog itself.
This is a plug & play plugin without any extra configuration needed.
As the name suggests, Disable Comments is useful to globally disable comments on your entire site or certain post types. Considering that all the pages/ posts are not likely to accept user comments, the plugin provides an easy solution for disabling comments on post types, pages, and attachments. Besides, comments sometimes contain spam and unnecessary stuff.
- Social Warfare
Social Warfare is the plugin that I use here on Blog Tyrant to add scrolling social media buttons in the sidebar and to manage social buttons on the site as a whole. It has good options for setting your style and colors and allows you to make a lot of optimizations. For example, you can have different settings for mobile vs desktop social buttons.
- Better Click to Tweet
This is a very cool plugin that allows you to add a click to tweet quote box within your posts. It styles the box according to the format of your choice, and lets you set things like the tweet text itself, the display text, and the Twitter handle that gets mentioned.This is a really simple yet beautiful plugin that can add some nice extra functionality to your blog without having to use an external site like the old days.
- To Top
This is a very simple plugin that allows you to add a little arrow on your blog so people can scroll back up to the top with one click. This is quite a useful feature if you have a lot of long-form content or a list post where people might need to go up and down frequently. You can style the look and feel to make it fit with your design.
- WishList Member
This is a very comprehensive plugin that allows you to lock content on your blog in order to create a membership site, school, or paid training course without needing to send visitors to a separate site or company.It has over 80,000 active customers and has been used by some really popular bloggers to extend their content into a paid arena – a very good way to make some extra money from your blog if you have a unique offering. Allows you to drip content to students, password protect different areas, sneak peak content, and much more.
This is a beautifully simple forum-building plugin in its setup and technology, while still having so many levels of comprehensive features that it impresses everyone who tries it.If you’ve ever wanted to add a forum or bulletin board element to your blog then this is the place to start. It’s had over 300,000 installs and is used by some of the biggest forums in the world. A great way to add extra community to your blog without needing to develop a whole forum from scratch somewhere else.
- Visual Composer
This plugin really is a game changer when it comes to how the back end of WordPress works. I’ve been using it for a few months now on a few side projects, and it’s safe to say it has totally transformed the way I use WordPress.With a simple drag and drop editor, you can now change how WordPress looks and is structured without needing a new theme. You can build landing pages or buttons or full screen photo banners without any coding. Absolutely wonderful plugin and worth the fees simply in the amount you save by no longer needing a coder.
- Yoast Comment Hacks
If you’ve ever left a comment on Blog Tyrant you’ll see that you get redirected to a little thank you page that encourages you to sign up. That is done with this plugin, which has now been expanded to include other features like emailing people who leave a comment, disallowing comments if they are too short or too long, etc.If it’s by the team at Yoast you know it is trustworthy. We’ve been using this for years and highly recommend it for some really cool and necessary comment features.
- Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads is a really comprehensive, paid plugin that allows you to build some incredibly powerful opt-in forms and screen takeovers. These are excellent ways to grow your mailing list, and the good thing about Thrive is that it allows you to test and track them all with in-built stats.The best thing about this is that it has all your opt-in form options built in to one plugin so you can switch from a lightbox to a floating footer to a screen take over with ease. I’ve found the dashboard area a little bit slow, but that might be mainly due to my server. Well worth a look.
What’s your site’s best WordPress plugin?
We’ll love to know whether you think there are any awesome plugins that absolutely must be included on this list. Do you use anything that really transforms your blog and makes it feel or look more professional?