Not a developer? That’s okay thanks to WordPress. It is a dream come true for those who are beginners, looking to create a website that stands out from the pack. The platform offers so many options for customization, including the option of a plugin or a few that add functionality.
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that contains a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. There are plugins for hundreds of functions including SEO, contact forms, e-commerce, and more.
With so many options, it can be difficult to choose which plugins are right for your website. The good news is this guide can help. Let’s start from the beginning and learn which plugins are best to take your website to the next level.
Create a List
Before we get into choosing plugins, it is best to create a list of functionalities and features your website currently needs. For example, if you are a current beginner, you may want a plugin that focuses on SEO or performance. If you are a business, you will want a contact form plugin that does a lot of the heavy lifting, so you can focus on your leads.
If you have had your WordPress website for a while, you may have noticed functionality that is missing or that would make your website better. The goal of this list is to focus on what is a top priority, instead of downloading a ton of plugins that do nothing for your website.
Start Your Search
Once you have your list of features and functions, you can begin your search. The WordPress Directory is a great place to start. WordPress has created an easy-to-navigate marketplace for all their plugins including featured plugins, popular plugins, and plugins that are now in beta. The directory currently offers 55,231 for you to explore.
You can type what feature or functionality you are looking for into the search bar to see options that are available. Once you find an option you want to explore further, you can click and find details, reviews, installation, support, and development information. In the description, you will get a detailed overview of what the plugin does and how it can be useful for your website.
You will want to pay attention to the reviews and the last time the plugin was updated. You will also want a plugin that was updated recently so it is ready to go.
Compare Your Options
During your search, you should keep track of plugins that you feel may fit. Once you have some options, you should go back and compare them with one another. Does one have better reviews than the others? Does one have a newer update? Does one plugin offer the same thing another does, but with a better rating? Take all this information into consideration before making a final decision.
You should also pay attention to the FAQ section where other users have asked questions regarding the plugin. This will give you insight into the usability of the plugin, its difficulty, and the issues others have had with its functionality.
Are you new to WordPress? Are you still wondering which plugin is best for your WordPress site? We’ve compiled four of our favorites for various functions below. Take a look!
For SEO: Yoast SEO
Yoast has been rated the number one SEO plugin for WordPress for good reason. Yoast gives you full control of your website’s SEO while remaining easy to use and manipulate. Yoast boasts:
- The most advanced XML sitemaps functionality
- Full control over site breadcrumbs
- Set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content – something that can ruin your SEO efforts
- Title and meta description templating for better branding
- Content and SEO analysis
- Snippet preview that shows how your post will look in search engines
And so much more! It is by far our favorite tool for SEO purposes, and it is free to download. There are premium upgrades if you choose to use them.
For Contact Forms: Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is the best of the best when it comes to building a contact form for your website. It can:
- Manage multiple contact forms
- Customize contact forms for you
- Allow for CAPTCHA capabilities
- Allow for spam filtering
Contact Form 7 has almost near perfect reviews and is completely up to date for WordPress users. It is the perfect way to generate leads.
For Content Protection: Akismet Anti-Spam
For those of you with blogs or other forms of content, you will want a plugin that protects from comments that involve spam. This plugin runs each comment through a global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. Plus, this plugin allows you to view these comments in your comment admin section in WordPress.
Akismet Anti-Spam also comes with a discard feature that blocks the worst spam, which saves your disk space, resulting in a speedy site.
For Sales: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is by far the best plugin for selling anything. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress and it gives store owners and developers full control. You can sell both physical products and digital products, set multiple configurations, sell affiliate goods, and offer memberships. The options are truly endless with WooCommerce.
With this plugin, there are many different shipping options and payment options, and it is fully customizable to fit your branding. WooCommerce is also built to align with Storefront, the perfect WordPress theme for your e-commerce store.
Choosing the right plugins for your WordPress site is critical for website success. By creating a list of your functions, researching the plugins that might fit, and checking out what others have to say, you are sure to find the perfect fit. Plus, be sure to check out our faves from the list above too. You won’t be disappointed.
To check out some of our other favorite plugins, take a look at these 3 Best Places To Buy WordPress Plugins.