Launch Your Online Business in Just 7 Days
So, you want to use WordPress to create your website (or blog)?
Smart move considering that it is, by far, the most popular open-source Content Management System (CMS) available.
It has come a long way since its initial release in 2003, and so has its plugins!
Rest assured, today we are here to help you understand what a plugin is, why you should use it, and the ones we have found to be best suited to help you optimize your online website.
While WordPress started as a blogging tool, it has evolved into much more - a complete website builder.
WordPress is one of the strongest website-creating tools, powering 39.5% of all websites in 2021.
Counting only the sites that use CMS, WordPress has a total market share of 64.1%!
WordPress sites also make up 14.7% of the top 100 websites in the world, so why not aim to climb that rank?
Here are some reasons you might want to consider using WordPress to create a website:
If you are one of their free users or even one of their top billing eCommerce subscribers, you probably want to save some money.
So, here is a list of free plugins you want to start using on WordPress right now.
After all, who doesn’t love free stuff?
A plug-in is essentially software containing a group of functions that can be added to a website.
It is a tool that makes it easy for users to add features to their website without having to know a single line of code.
(Though, if you are interested in coding, we have a few plugins that will make working from the back-end easier!)
As the site admin, you can use plug-ins to your heart’s desire! You simply need to install those you want and uninstall the ones you don’t.
If you are still a bit confused about how to install plug-ins, you can find a step-by-step guide here.
Some plug-ins are also better quality than others. So, let’s hop into the best ones that you can install today.
Here is a list of the 21 best plugins we recommend you use if you want to explore the free options and save money!
As the name states, this is the All-in-One SEO plugin that is easy and powerful to use.
AIOSEO is the original WordPress plugin that helps you improve your website’s search engine optimization (or SEO).
More than 2 million websites already use AIOSEO to optimize their posts, pages, and WooCommerce products.
Here are the features that make AIOSEO one of the best WordPress plugins you can use to date:
It is an all-purpose plugin that will make a variety of tasks much easier, saving you time and energy!
AIOSEO offers a premium version of their plugin. If you want to read more on if it is worth paying for, you can do so here.
If you see a plugin simply called Code Snippets, there is a good chance you know what it does.
(If you have no idea what a snippet is, it’s a term used for a small region of re-usable source code, machine code, or text. It allows the user to avoid repetitive typing of code in the course of routine edit operations.)
The plugin is formatted to read and copy easily.
It even comes with a custom field for a code description that you can easily track which snippet does what.
Code Snippet features include:
Essentially, makes it simple for you to edit or update the code that needs it.
This tool is also super helpful if you are interested in the back-end coding of your website!
If you aren’t up for the challenge of learning coding, then you are going to need a page-builder. Que, Elemetor.
This plugin is going to be your new best front-end drag-and-drop page builder.
The tool allows you to create complicated-looking pages without needing to know a single line of code.
Elementor is equipped with the following tools:
Basically, it’s a great plug-in if you want to control the design for each module that you build for your website.
They offer a pro version if you are interested in more of their premium features, like building your own pop ups, and WooCommerce platforms.
If you are in the business of displaying a lot of great quality images on your website, Envira Gallery will be your new favorite tool.
Envira Gallery is a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to create photo and video galleries using ready-made layouts.
This plugin allows you to add metadata, deep-links, and pagination to your galleries for easier site navigation.
The Gallery Plugin features include:
Envira Gallery is a tool that works great with other page builders (like Elementor) to help you achieve a seamless website design.
Although this is the Lite version, the tool is still effective. If you are interested in purchasing a pro-version, you can look at the prices here.
You can use Google XML Sitemaps to improve your SEO by creating special XML sitemaps.
This tool will help search engines (like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) to better index your site by providing a clear roadmap of what content is available.
You could always build your sitemap manually, but who has time for that?
This plugin automatically notifies search engineswhen you update your website or publish new posts.
This is a must-have tool if you want to save yourself a lot of time while boosting your site’s ranking on search engines.
SMASHballoon makes an incredible plugin that allows you to add a customizable and mobile responsive Instagram feed to any blog post or page on your WordPress website.
This is a great tool if you want followers to be redirected to your Instagram page from your website, as well as integrate stunning imagery!
Instagram Feed lets you do the following:
If you use this plugin you can easily increase your social media engagement, save yourself time, and display content in the way you want to!
A simple, yet effective, tool if you are looking for ways to integrate your Instagram feed into your website!
So, there are more than 52,000 plugins available, but you definitely do not want all of them installed. If you do, you risk slowing down your site’s loading time.
Fortunately for you, Jetpack is here to your rescue.
It is a plugin that you can use for nearly anything. It also adds a feature which most free plugins don’t usually offer, and that is security.
Here are the features that you get with your freemium subscription:
Jetpack aims to be the big bouncer at the club door.
It keeps everything inside running smoothly and prevents anything bad from coming in from the outside.
To strike a balance between speed, security, and functionality, we recommend introducing Jetpack into your website’s plugin options!
If you want to build an email list, the best tool you can use to accomplish that task is MailChimp.
This plugin is one of the most beginner-friendly email marketing services.
It allows you to create newsletters, send out email campaigns to your subscribers, and integrate your WordPress website with your MailChimp account.
This plugin is useful if you are looking to:
If you are just starting out, Mailchimp will help you grow your business.
You can get started right away without paying anything!
Once you are settled and your subscriber count grows past 2,000 users, you will be asked to upgrade your account to a paid plan.
You can read more about setting up your Mailchimp account here.
If you have been looking for a plugin that manages your affiliate links, redirects, and controls your social links then you might want to consider using Pretty Links.
It allows you to turn your long, ugly affiliate links into pretty ones.
You can also use it to shorten your post and page URLs which make it easy to share on your social media platforms and email campaigns.
Pretty Links is a freemium WordPress plugin that you can use on as many sites as you want.
The plugin makes it:
Having shorter URLs makes them user-friendly and easier to share.
You won’t be wasting your time by installing this plugin. After all, who doesn’t love a simple-looking link?
Are you in need of a plugin that will redirect site URLs? Look no further than Redirection.
This is a useful tool if you need to manage 301 redirects, keep track of 404 errors, and fix loose ends.
It can essentially help to reduce errors on your site and improve your ranking.
Redirection is designed to be used on any site. It is there to help you redirect your content links as many times as needed.
In addition to URL matching, you can use Redirection for the following:
It is also completely free to use - no premium version, no money.
Quite a powerful and effective tool, if you ask me!
SharedCounts is an API tool that gives you holistic engagement data on your website content.
It is a social sharing button that allows you to use simple shortcodes to insert share buttons.
If you want to increase user traffic and engagement, I’d suggest you use this tool.
SharedCounts is a social sharing plugin that lets you easily:
One of their biggest features is that you can keep your old counts after changing your URLs.
If you aren’t a fan of cookies (the data type) then you can rest assured that the plugin doesn’t like them either. It alsodoesn’t track scripts, nor store any user data.
Completely free, and aims to help you keep track of your shares?
This plugin is a bargain deal.
Shortcodes Ultimate is a powerful plugin that provides you with a comprehensive collection of visual and functional elements.
It allows you to have control over how your website looks.
You can use it to create tabs, buttons, boxes, sliders, responsive videos, and more!
The plugin also integrates the following tools:
Pretty impressive, don’t you think?
Premium add-ons are available with 15+ additional shortcodes, 60+ additional skins, and shortcode creating tools.
Simple Author Box is another tool that can help you to display an author profile at the end of your post.
You might want to consider using this plugin if you want to add social icons.
It is simple to use and gives your visitors insight into the author of the post.
The main features are simple, and include the following:
Simple Author Box offers a premium service, but the added features simply allow for the positioning of the icons and added customization.
If you’re just after something fun and informative to add to your website, then this might just be the plugin for you!
Smush is a great tool if you want to improve your website’s performance.
We both know that images are vital to ensuring that content remains upbeat and engaging.
However, it can be challenging to integrate images into your site if you want your webpage to load quickly.
This means you should either skimp on images, have a slow loading time, or… use Smush!
This plugin is designed to automatically compress and resize the images you upload to your WordPress site.
This will not only help your website to load faster but can also help to reduce the amount of bandwidth your site uses.
Smush is amazing to use if you are looking for features like:
If you want to improve your page by adding imagery and not affect your site’s speed, then Smush is definitely a tool you want to consider using!
If you need to display any type of table on your WordPress site, TablePress can handle it.
From organizing information to highlighting trends, table charts are commonly used when you want to represent data visually.
Clean tables aren’t exactly the easiest to format in WordPress, that is why we think it is essential to look for a plugin that does all the work for you!
The goal of having a table tool is to get it as Excel-like as possible. This means that you can import data or manually type it in.
TablePress provides you with that Excel-like interface on your WordPress dashboard.
It also allows you to import data from Excel or Google Sheets.
Features that make TablePress one of the best table plugins on the market are:
TablePress also has features like live sorting, pagination, and searching which all aim to make your life easier when creating a table.
The developer of the plugin offers the tool for free and does benefit from donations from users of the plugin.
Another simple, yet effective tool to add to your plugin-arsenal!
Want to create and manage an events calendar on your site?
Look no further than The Events Calendar!
After installing the plugin on your WordPress website, you should be able to create and publish your first event in just a few minutes!
The calendar and events interface is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with the rest of your WordPress dashboard.
With this plugin, you can create multiple venues for your events, you can choose an array of views (including list and day views).
There are also options to display your calendar events on your website.
Some of the features in this event planning plugin include:
This easy-to-use plugin is your free solution to virtual event planning on your website.
If you decide to upgrade to the pro version of the plugin, you can start creating recurring events, handling ticket sales, and using Facebook event integration.
UpdraftPlus is a tool that you do not want to manage your WordPress site without.
Backups are the first layer of security for any WordPress site, and that is exactly what this tool has to offer.
Aside from having automated backups, you also want an easy way to restore that backup if needed.
With data loss and downtime costs coming to a total of $1.7 trillion yearly to the global economy, you want to ensure that you do not suffer the same fate.
All websites are vulnerable to data loss and threats. The best way to protect yourself against these threats is to ensure that you regularly backup your site.
UpdraftPlus allows you to manually or automatically backup your site to your preferred cloud service (like Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive).
It also assures you by knowing that if anything ever goes wrong, you have a working copy of your website!
Some of the plugin features include:
These are all very basic features, but a most definite lifesaver in the case of a crash or data loss.
The premium version also offers cloning, migration, and importer add-ons.
“Everything you need to start selling online” summarizes what kind of plugin WooCommerce is.
If you need to create an eCommerce store, you can join the other 4 million sites that use WooCommerce.
Whether you are launching a business or developing sites for clients, WooCommerce has you covered.
Their built-in tools and integrations help you efficiently manage your business.
Many of their services are also free to add! Helping you to choose how you want to get paid, configure your shipping options, and simplify your sales taxes.
Some of their other features include:
With WooCommerce, you can grow your business, add features, and monitor your store on the go.
Truly, the only tool you need to start selling online.
If you are looking for a way to reduce form abandonment, then WPForms Lite is a plugin you want to consider using.
This drag-and-drop tool helps you to create contact, feedback, subscription, and payment forms.
Why is this helpful?
Well, you will be able to collect information and add it to your contacts database.
With forms, you can reduce spam emails, keep track of inquiries, build an email marketing list, delegate tasks to your team, populate your CRM, offer support to your customers, and make quoting easier.
WPForms integrates seamlessly into your already existing site-builders, and offers the following features:
There is also a premium version of WPForms, which allows you to unlock more features like smart conditional logic, customizable email notifications and multi-page forms.
WP-Optimize is built to help you clean your database.
This plugin started as a database optimization tool and morphed into a more full-service speed optimization plugin.
Other than cleaning your database, it also offers image compression, and caches to your site.
The cache feature is built around the fastest caching engine. It’s a simple, popular, and highly effective tool that can keep your website fast and optimized.
WP-Optimize includes features like:
There is also a premium version that can schedule database cleanups, remove unused images, lazy load images, and optimize individual database tables.
And finally, YoastSEO, the tool that will help you manage all the important aspects of your site’s on-page SEO.
The plugin helps you with everything from controlling your titles and meta descriptions to creating XML sitemaps.
It can even help you to analyze your content for SEO optimization and readability!
It essentially works by selecting a keyword and then optimizing your page around it.
Pretty cool, right?
Yoast SEO remains one of the most popular, thanks to its many automated features.
The fact that they offer virtually all essential on-page SEO functions as a part of their free plugin is probably what sets them apart from their competition.
The plugin also features the following:
The perfect tool to create state-of-the-art content and SEO analysis!
It is also important to always follow SEO best practices.
Don’t forget to set up Google Analytics and be aware of duplicate content!
Here are some additional browser extensions that can aid you and simplify your user experience:
A go-to app for reviewing any writing that might contain spelling and grammar errors.
This tool allows you to search a word without having to open a separate tab.
Simply highlight the word and click on the extension to get the definition.
A tool that connects your email inbox with your CRM. You can transfer contact information from your email directly into your CRM saving you time and providing you with valuable information.
A password manager that auto-fills in passwords for all the accounts you save with this extension.
This extension allows you to collaborate live on documents, edit, and view them without needing the software installed on your hard drive.
You can quickly create Google Docs, Sheets, or Forms from your browser menu, and rest assured that your data will be synced to your Google Drive account.
A project management tool that lets you create organized and appealing to-do lists across your devices.
Avast Online Security is known as a “web reputation plugin” that regulates individual websites for suspicious information.
It also warns you if the site you are visiting has a bad reputation.
Depending on your business, you may not need to use all the plugins mentioned above, but it is pretty common for users to use more than one.
A lot of work goes into designing and maintaining a website.
From optimizing your SEO to improving user experience, plugins are a crucial part of hosting any platform.
Doing all these tasks manually would take a very long time, and most of these tools aim to simplify your life and save you time.
By installing these plugins, you are well on your way to improving your website for your business needs!
Other posts about WordPress plugins and blogging:
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