If you want an impressive and highly functional website, WordPress website plugins can help you do just that. There are plugins for virtually any feature you can think about adding to your website. However, having too many plugins can overburden your site and cause it to run slower.
In this article, we reached out to website development experts and small business owners to get their recommendations on the best plugins, so you can choose the select few that you need for your website. Our list includes paid plugins and some awesome free ones.
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Here are the top 25 WordPress website plugins from the pros:
Mark Aselstine, Founder, Uncorked Ventures
One thing that I can’t do on my own is create landing pages that actually convert. Bring on Instapage, which uses completely customizable templates, that even without any programming knowledge, you can make look pretty darn good. The good news for my business: as soon as I went from a landing page that I had paid a couple of thousand dollars for to the Instapage version, my conversion rate tripled. I am running A/B split testing as we speak on the page, with the hope of seeing even greater results as time goes by.
Fabi Paolini, Brand strategist + Designer, fabipaolini.com
The JQuery Pin It Button for Images allows you to create unique buttons that make your images shareable to Pinterest. Pinterest has been a huge source of traffic for my clients’ businesses. It’s an often underused platform that has the capacity to bring a constant flow of leads to your business. The great thing about jQuery is that it allows you to upload a unique design of your button, making sure it’s tied to your branding while standing out. This allows for your audience to easily and effortlessly share your articles and images on Pinterest, while driving more traffic to your site.
Adam Selsby, Founder & CEO, Treatail
Treatail is the first of its kind, plugin-based, online shopping platform that empowers shoppers to directly negotiate with any website. By profession, I’ve negotiated purchasing contracts for large companies for nearly 20 years using costly online systems. Treatail is free to use for buyers and gets them unpublished deals, just like the discounts that large companies negotiate.. We’re positioned to provide cost savings to small businesses on purchases that are significant but not large enough to warrant a full bid process.
Steve Dolson, Founder, BenchMRK
HotJar is an all-in-one analytics suite of features that standard analytics platforms do not normally provide. It has three main features that I find valuable: Heat mapping, Recordings, and Conversion Funnels.
Heat mapping allows you to find out what your users want and what they care about through clicks, scrolling, and other on page behaviours. Recordings allow you to see live recordings of people’s mouse and click movements on your site. Conversion Funnels help you understand how users are going through your site and where you can improve. With these three key features, HotJar can provide exceptional value for a third-party program that’s free for up to 2,000 page views per month.
Jim Milan, SEO Manager, Auto Accessories Garage
Site speed is a critical factor in improving the positioning of your site’s search engine rankings, as well as enhancing the user experience of your site. W3 Total Cache for WordPress allows WordPress site owners to drastically increase the page speeds of their sites by caching files so that they do not need to be reloaded when visitors return to the site.
W3 Total Cache offers caching abilities like Page Cache, Browser Cache, Database Cache, Object Cache, and CDN integration. With the help of W3 Total Cache, I was able to achieve load times of less than 0.4 seconds on my personal website. Your site’s return visitors will be thrilled when they experience these blazing fast load times and will reward you with increased loyalty and support.
Ryder Meehan, Digital Marketing Professional, Meehan Digital
If your website’s goal is to generate leads and you’re finding only a small percentage of visitors contact sales or fill out your lead form, then you need to take a serious look at Calendly. Calendly is a simple and clean website plugin that allows visitors to see your availability calendar and instantly book a time to talk to you. The customer selects a date and time that’s convenient for them and then adds it to their own calendar as well as yours. No more back and forth emails trying to figure out a time to talk, and the prospect is more invested in taking the meeting because they got to schedule it.
Since I started using Calendly on my own website, we’ve seen conversion rates increase by over 300%, and it only took about 10 minutes to setup and install. There is even a free version that works great!
Earl Choate, CEO, Concrete Camouflage
Our favorite plugin is SimilarWeb, which provides information on website traffic and engagement. It tells you web statistics such as estimated visits within the last month, average amount of time people spent on the site, and the website’s global ranking and its country ranking. It even breaks those stats down with tabs highlighting traffic sources, referrals, and top publishers. This information is extremely helpful for our marketing efforts because it tells us which sites we should pursue for tactics such as guest posts. It also aids our relationship building efforts with bloggers and influencers, because we want to make sure we are creating relationships with those who have a strong and loyal following.
Daniel Davidson, Founder, By Dan Design Co.
Lucky Orange plugin has everything I could ever need from an analytics standpoint. I can view scrolling heatmaps to see how far visitors make it down any particular page on average. I can see what is being clicked on and what isn’t. I can watch live recordings of users progressing through my conversion funnels, easily allowing me to identify where abandonment is occurring. Even better, I can filter these views through nearly any metric I wish. For example, I can view overall traffic behavior, or I can zero in on the referral source and analyze how a particular campaign’s traffic is performing. For any business website, it is necessary to have this data in order to optimize and compete.
Tyler Riddell, Vice President of Marketing, eSUB Construction Software
Jetpack can be a real asset business owners who have a lightweight site, or are managing their website themselves . Jetpack can tackle a wide-array of things from security to customizations, image optimization and analytics. It also offers security features, such as Brute force attack protection, downtime and uptime monitoring, secure logins, and two-factor authentication.
Thomas Jepsen, CEO & Founder, Contractor Quotes
The one plugin that websites ought to install, but don’t, is SEO Smart Links. This plugin will make it a lot easier for you to do internal linking on your site by automatically allowing certain keywords to link to other articles. While a thorough, manual process would still beat this approach, that becomes unfeasible for growing websites with many different contributors. Using such a plugin facilitates good link flow, and let’s users more easily reach different parts of the site they might find interesting, and as a consequence provides more traffic from search engines.
Brendan Binger, Founder, Quarry Design Group
Gravity Forms is a powerful WordPress contact form plugin. It features a user-friendly drag-and-drop form builder, which does not require coding ability. This means that even business owners with basic web abilities can create powerful forms which can improve the quality of their lead captures. Gravity Forms also includes conditional logic fields, notification email routing, use of multiple confirmation emails, form progress bars, and more. In addition, the plugin features a number of extensions which can add additional features. These include payment gateways, which allow for checkout flows to be built using GF, email marketing integrations, CRM integrations, and more.
Ian McClarty, President, PhoenixNAP Global IT Services
As the CEO of a large organization, I understand the potential value of every customer to our website. We have been using the Mouseflow heat map WordPress plugin for about three months. This plugin allows us to track how visitors interact with our website. It helps our team visualize where users click, how far they scroll, and how people use our site. The information is very powerful in improving website conversions. Mouseflow offers click heatmaps, scroll heatmaps, movement heatmaps, and attention heatmaps. It also offers recording of visitor activity. We have found the form analytics to be especially useful; it allows us to see where visitors are abandoning our form and make adjustments.
Nirav Dave, CTO & Co-Founder, Capsicum Mediaworks
Your WordPress site needs to be user-friendly across all devices in order for it to convert better and as such, implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is extremely crucial. There has been a huge rise in the popularity of smartphones, and Google is giving more preference to mobile-friendly websites when it comes to indexing. By not using AMP for your content, you are losing out of potential traffic as well as ranking. Benefits of implementing AMP includes faster website speed and load time on mobile as well as improved ranking on SERPs.
Lydia Sugarman, CEO, Venntive.com
While Venntive is a platform, it can also be considered a website plugin on steroids. When a form built in Venntive is dropped into any website, you don’t just get the data from the form fields, you get a lot more. The email address is verified, and the online reputation/risk score is delivered. Additionally, all publicly available research associated with that email address is automatically added to your CRM, saving time and the cost of independent research. Venntive takes it further with integrated web- and conversion-tracking that is associated with the contacts in the CRM database. It helps create a holistic environment that enables marketing, sales, and customer success to work together seamlessly.
Craig Bloem, Founder, LogoMix
To make our web content more engaging to our multilingual audience, we launched our FreeLogoServices Business Blog in French, Spanish, and Portuguese in addition to English. To do this, we used a WordPress plugin called WordPress Multilingual. This plugin has made it possible for us to translate the blog user interface, site taxonomy, and content. It’s easy to install and it works quite well.. For a more streamlined translation process, you can also connect directly to a larger translation provider. In this process, you send content back and forth to translators at an affordable price, and the content stays in the WordPress CMS.
Rachel Carpenter, Founder & CEO, Intrinio
We use the Yoast SEO plugin to easily optimize each of our blog posts so we can drive the best possible high quality traffic. Yoast enables us to choose a focus keyword and customize our search result snippet. It also alerts us if we’ve broken a cardinal SEO rule so that we can fix it. For example, it’ll tell us if we’ve forgotten to use alt_text tags on our images, if we don’t have enough inbound and outbound links, and if the keyword isn’t used frequently enough. SEO has been such a critical strategy for driving traffic to the Intrinio Fintech Marketplace, and tools like Yoast SEO are incredibly valuable to us. If your company is blogging as part of your content strategy, I would highly recommend leveraging Yoast to increase your search position.
Brad M. Shaw, President, Dallas Web Design Inc.
A great simple plugin to increase social media exposure is Easy Social Share Buttons. It helps you grow your social media following with the click of a single plugin. Recently we installed the plugin on a client’s blog, and shares increased over 120%. We have been using the plugin for two years now and have been very impressed with the variety of display options. It supports more than 40 social platforms, and you can easily customize it to your website to fit your needs. The plugin also works seamlessly on mobile devices.
Janyer Dominguez, Vice President Digital Media, iPartnerMedia
One of the most important WordPress website plugins is Sucuri. Sucuri is a security plugin like no other. In order to be in business, your business users and data must be secure and Sucuri does just that. It makes sure access to your website is controlled and notifies you of any vulnerabilities and gives you options to harden and eliminate those vulnerabilities. In this day and age of website hacking, heightened awareness of the importance of data security, and with Google announcing this year that all websites should have an SSL certificate, Sucuri is another key element for a business to protect its investment in its website and the data that can flow through it.
Rhonda Greene, Creative Director, Houndstooth Media Group
Every business website should have a contact form, but the best contact form plugins do more than just send email. That’s why I love Caldera Forms for WordPress. Their drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to create beautiful forms, and their extensive library of add ons give forms the ability to send email addresses to a mailing list, accept payments, and more. They even offer multiple ways to integrate a wide variety of other services and actions into your forms.
Adam Watson, Director, hollywoodmirrors
Chatra is a live chat function for your website. It allows website visitors to ask you questions and you can reply to them instantly via your mobile phone or have it setup on your desktop computer. After I have left the office I have it linked to my phone so while I’m relaxing in front of the TV, I can answer website visitor queries and close sales we wouldn’t have received otherwise.
The plugin has a free version which is awesome. It generates at least 2 to 3 sales per day for our store and increases our conversions even when website visitors don’t use it as it shows we are a genuine trusted store with real people you can speak to at any time. This customer feedback is also great for knowing what the pain points people have and i can adjust the site accordingly to answer these questions.
Anthony Kane, Sr., Conversion Optimization Strategist, 1SEO Digital Agency
Optinmonster, at its core, is a conversion rate optimization plugin. Optinmonster helps to convert website visitors into subscribers and, ultimately, customers. It is very easy to get started with and to manage. Another big component to the plugin is the ability to easily A/B test various forms, styles, and calls to action. The purpose of the plugin is to capture users who are ready to leave your website with a well-timed, contextual pop-up. Even though most people run the other way when they hear pop-up, Optinmonster is actually incredibly effective.
Melissa Slawsky, Head Brainiac & Business Strategist, Brainiac Bundles
One of the main features of our business is the ability for contributors to generate commissions on every bundle sold through their affiliate link. It was very important for us to find an affiliate program that integrated with WordPress and ensured a secure transaction from start to finish. Due to the powerful all-in-one-features, we chose SamCart to process payments and host our affiliate program.
In addition, we use various Zapier apps to interface with SamCart to automate certain processes, such as sending a text to my phone every time a sale is made, automatically enrolling customers into a membership site, which grants them access to their purchased digital resource library, and importing information about each transaction to QuickBooks, which makes our accounting at the end of the year a breeze.
Jordan Harling, Digital Strategist, Vertical Blinds Direct
With the internet’s transition from desktop to mobile-first we’ve seen website speed become a priority for users, for developers, but most importantly of all – for Google. The search engine’s algorithm takes into account your website speed when determining your rank, and we all know the importance of ranking well on Google. The easiest, yet most time-consuming way of making your site quicker and more efficient is to optimize your images. Instead of having to go through them all manually, resizing and re-editing, you can let EWWW Image Optimizer do all the legwork and see instant results.
Peggy Chang, Co-Founder, ActivityHero.com
Most people who run kids’ camps and classes are juggling many tasks — teaching, training new instructors, answering parent questions, ordering supplies, and more. So it’s no surprise that it’s hard to keep their website updated with the current class and camp schedules and availability.
ActivityHero.com offers a simple website plugin that shows upcoming schedules on your website, real-time availability, and lets families register and pay online. The mobile-friendly plugin is added by pasting one line of code. Businesses can now get more registrations with less work. And their information is also distributed on ActivityHero.com and its network of partners to reach even more families. With the ActivityHero plugin, businesses get help with website updates, registration, and marketing.
David Lockie, Founder & Director, Pragmatic
For any e-commerce website running WooCommerce, there’s nothing better for your reporting than Meteorik. It’s a dashboard for your store that gives you incredible insight into your analytics, allowing you to dig deeper into your metrics and make custom reports that are unique to your business. It’s written by one of the original developers of WooCommerce, and it totally replaces the default WooCommerce reporting to give store owners an unbelievable range of business intelligence about their ecommerce stores.
If you have an ecommerce store, check out Fit Small Business’ article on the Best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin of 2018.
Over To You
WordPress website plugins do more than help business owners efficiently run their websites. At the end of the day, customers will come back to websites that offer the best experience, and these plugins should help to meet that goal.
Did we miss out on your favorite WordPress plugin? Let us know in the comments below.