While WordPress offers useful widgets and customization within its default dashboard, you’ll surely need to consider downloading a handful of plugins if you want to optimize your website for attention, leads, and conversions.
It’s important to tailor your plugins and widgets to your websites needs, and you’ll notice that some features of the following plugins will have overlap. Also, keep in mind that having too many plugins could slow your site. Ideally, you’ll want to sort through plugins and keep the smallest number of plugins that serve the greatest number of features and utility your site needs. Try to keep your site loading at about 3 seconds, otherwise, users may bounce.
Let this list serve you as a guide for what your website may be lacking. If you’re running a Shopify website, you should be able to find equivalent apps for your needs.
Having a secure website is a must.
Wordfence is one of the most popular plugins to defend against malicious traffic and activity on WordPress websites. The plugin provides a firewall and a malware scanner in its free version. The premium plugin which starts at $99/year offers real-time updates and feeds, blacklist monitoring, and more.
Sucuri is another popular option that lacks firewall protection in its free plan. It’s premium starts at $199/year, offers comparable features to Wordfence and is worth considering since it offers additional performance features like smart caching for a faster loading website.
Jetpack is another very popular and affordable security plugin that also offers performance features and site management in its free version. It will watch your load speeds, minimize data storage by compacting images, backup your site, and give you traffic statistics you should be monitoring. Other pricing options include more security functions and better SEO tools, Google Analytics integration, PayPal integration, and more.
Akismet is a hugely popular plugin that provides spam protection for free. Commercial sites can get further statistics and support for just $5 per month.
There are plenty of plugins that offer caching for better website load speeds, and it’s crucial that your site has one at some capacity.
If the plugins that have caching as an additional feature aren’t cutting it, you should consider WP Fastest Cache or the others listed below. WP Fastest Cache’s outstanding rating is hard to beat. They offer top of the line caching and for free. The paid version is only $39 for a LIFETIME. Like I said, hard to beat.
W3 Total Cache also offers a free option and give you tons of options for customizing you cache needs for $99/year if that’s something your site needs.
WP Super Cache is another free option that’s easy to use and allows you to schedule cache clearing whenever you set it to.
WP Rocket is one of the few paid-only caching plugins. Plans start at a single payment of just $49 and it gives you advanced caching techniques such as loading images as the user scrolls down your web page; it frontloads top of the fold content for great user experience. It’s also seen as very simple to use by its userbase.
You should never hope to resort to backups, but you better be prepared to lose everything if you don’t have one somewhere. Whether its hackers, bugs, server crashes, or whatever else, you need to be prepared.
Starting at $80 for a single site, BackupBuddy will back up everything on your WordPress website with scheduled backups, secure off-site storage, and make it easy to relocate your website to a new host if needed.
UpdraftPlus is another plugin that is great for backing up files to any cloud storage you prefer. Their free option will give you the essential features while their premium will give you safer storage and support for $42/year and a sign-up fee of $28.
Measuring website statistics is crucial for identifying weak points on your site and improving SEO and advertising efforts. Every website should be signed up for Google Analytics. The plugins listed below work with Google Analytics to provide useful dashboards and insights to analyze current and create better marketing strategies.
MonsterInsights is the most popular plugin for analytics and reports. It will allow you to better understand user behavior by displaying top ranking items on your site and other similar features. They offer free services with MonsterInsights Lite for standard reports. Their paid options start at $99/year which gives you better insight to form conversion, advanced tracking, and similar statistics.
ExactMetrics is another free option brought to you by the same people who developed MonsterInsights
Analytify gives additional tools for its free users that will allow you to track individual pages and social media statistics. It will also list top traffic from countries and cities and referral statistics. It also makes it a one-click process to add Google Analytics tracking codes to the pages of your website.
Search Engine Optimization
Yoast gives you the tools you’ll need to improve your search engine quality score that could help you rise to the top of search engine result pages. It will allow you to preview search result snippets, it can improve your XML site map to better allow search engine crawlers to map your website, along with other tools all for free. The premium version gives more insight for Facebook and Twitter, more automation, and more advanced content insights for $89/year.
Google XML Sitemaps is another option for better XML sitemapping if you decide Yoast SEO isn’t for you. This highly rated and free plugin will allow search engine crawlers beyond just Google to more easily read your website.
While a website building assistant may not be essential, creating a sleek mobile-ready website is. This plugin makes that process easier—pick a theme, then drag and drop for your own custom needs without knowing HTML code. It’s free too. Premium features start at $99/year and give additional widgets such as contact forms, social icons, blog posts, subscription forms, a map, pricing tables, and other custom modules.
CSS is another plugin that will make customizing your website easier. With it, easily change font styling, colors for set themes, and adjust measurements for page elements. It can also help you find impressive royalty-free images for your site with straight from its dashboard. It costs just $19 for a year subscription to one site.
From the same people that brought you MonsterInsights, this plugin does exactly what its name implies. Adjusting your headers and footers to address the contents of your page can both make your website’s value more clear to the user and to search engines. Avoid editing theme files and use this simple plugin to get the results you want easily, and use it for free.