Powering more than 35% of the web, WordPress is a content management system used for personal blogs, small business websites, and corporate publications. Its versatility offers endless opportunities for organizations to promote their brands and products.
Moreover, WordPress plugins provide the flexibility to add functionality to your site. No more hiring a developer to add a blog or a video carousel. Instead, you can accomplish these tasks in just a few simple steps.
After thorough research, we’ve gathered the best WordPress plugins in the industry including how you can select the right ones for your website. Let’s start with the most popular WordPress plugins.
The 20 Most Popular Plugins for Any WordPress Site
The most effective WordPress websites create an enjoyable visitor experience. Whether you’re blogging about the latest fashion trends or selling products for your brand, you can enhance your website with these plugins below.
1. Ultimate Member
Membership websites are essential for building online communities. It’s a chance for people to build fellowship around a common cause. Miranda Hill, a contributor at SmartBlogger, agrees:
“People love being surrounded by a tribe of people just like them, united by a common interest, with similar problems and worries to chat about. And membership sites build tribes.”
You can create your community with the help of Ultimate Member. This plugin allows visitors to register on your site and build customized user profiles. You can even trigger emails to send announcements to specific members. Free extensions also are available to add a terms and conditions checkbox to your registration forms.
One of the main benefits of WordPress is the ability to transform your website into an online store. You can not only set up a blog, but you also can sell products and services. From digital downloads to physical goods, you can start accepting orders in a matter of hours.
WooCommerce is a well-known eCommerce plugin for building a fully customizable online store. With the plugin’s guided tour, you can add product and checkout pages, configure shipping options, and modify design layouts.
This tool integrates with more than 100 payment gateways, including Stripe, PayPal, Square, and Amazon Pay. Premium add-ons make it possible to sell subscriptions and offer coupons.
3. NextGEN Gallery
Research shows that 81% of people only skim the content they read online. People are multi-tasking when they visit your site and can get easily distracted. Your goal is to maintain their attention, and visuals can help keep people tuned into your website.
With the NextGEN Gallery plugin, you can create an attractive photo gallery. Display your images in three main gallery styles, including slideshow, thumbnail, and image browser. Then, adjust the gallery by selecting the size, timing, transitions, and lightbox effects.
Built for photographers and visual artists, this WordPress plugin also is useful for novices who want to build a simple photo gallery. The user-friendly backend allows you to import metadata, sort photos, and group galleries into albums.
4. Constant Contact Forms
Your email list serves as a bridge between your brand and customers. A high-quality email list can earn your business a loyal following as well as more product sales. To build an email list, you need to add several forms to your website.
Constant Contact Forms allows you to create customized forms to capture visitors’ information, like names, email addresses, and locations. A big plus is that all the forms automatically adjust to the theme and style of your WordPress site.
If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you also can connect your account to send new leads directly to your email list. You can even create a new email list without leaving the WordPress dashboard.
5. Yoast SEO
Search engine optimization continues to be a powerful channel to increase website traffic. As people search on Google and Bing, relevant keywords can bring new visitors to your site. Sam Hollingsworth, director of search, at Elevation Ten Thousand, explains:
“Implementing strong, quality SEO on a brand’s website and digital properties is always going to be beneficial to that brand and its marketing efforts. It’s considered a ‘new age’ marketing technique, but it’s critical to a brand’s web presence in this day and age.”
Yoast SEO gives you full control to rank higher in search engines. The tool offers title and meta description templating for consistent featured snippets, and it automatically sets canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content.
Spam is like unwelcome guests attending your birthday party. These party crashers can slow down your website performance and ruin the celebration for your invited guests.
This scenario is especially true for spam in the comment section of your blog. No one likes seeing spam messages with random letters or explicit language.
Akismet aims to prevent your site from publishing malicious content by checking your comments and form submissions. This popular WordPress plugin’s discard feature blocks the worst spam to speed up your website.
Akismet keeps a status history for each comment, so you can get a complete picture of which comments were cleared. Moderators can view the number of approved comments for each user, too.
According to a study, 79% of enterprise executives say that not embracing big data will cause companies to lose competitive position and risk extinction. Data can provide a full perspective of your website traffic and sales.
Tracking data is crucial, so you’ll want to use a plugin like MonsterInsights to show you the stats that matter. This tool connects WordPress with Google Analytics to provide customized audience, behavior, and eCommerce reports. For instance, you can discover exactly how visitors found your website and which keyword they searched.
The plugin also includes universal tracking to monitor visitors across multiple devices and platforms. That way, you can attribute your marketing efforts to the right campaigns.
Communication is vital when building ongoing customer relationships. You want to inform your audience about product launches and any upcoming events. Email newsletters are an easy way to bring that valuable content to your customers.
With the Newsletter WordPress plugin, you’ll get access to an entire email marketing system within your WordPress dashboard. The drag-and-drop composer works well for novice designers who need to quickly create responsive emails. Advanced targeting also helps you personalize campaigns to specific subscribers.
You can send your newsletters in HTML or plain-text format. You’ll have access to email statistics to review total emails sent, open and click rates, and overall interactions.
9. W3 Total Cache
Website load speed is critical to the visitor experience. If a page takes too long to load, visitors will abandon your site and seek out an alternative option.
“Search engines want to deliver results that provide a great experience for their users, so they prefer to rank fast-loading websites. To appeal to search engines, a site should always incorporate page speed SEO into their strategy,” states Jennifer Yesbeck, a marketing manager at Alexa.
W3 Total Cache is a WordPress caching plugin that helps you boost your site’s performance. It seamlessly integrates with your content delivery network and saves bandwidth by minifying and compressing your website’s files.
10. The Events Calendar
Whether you run a community group or a business, your objective as an event organizer is to encourage people to sign up. Both online and offline events can help boost your brand authority and encourage your target audience to participate.
You can streamline the process with The Events Calendar. This popular WordPress plugin integrates with any WordPress theme to display your upcoming events. Choose between a variety of calendar views: day, month, or list.
When you upgrade to the Pro version, you get extra features, including recurring events, calendar shortcodes, and custom event fields. Also, if you integrate it with the Event Tickets plugin, you can create tickets for events and collect payments via PayPal.
The current trend is to add lots of visuals to a website to keep visitors engaged. However, larger pages take 318% longer to visually load compared to smaller pages, and longer site load times increase bounce rates. The solution is to optimize your images without sacrificing quality.
Smush offers a robust WordPress plugin that compresses and optimizes images. With image resizing, you can set a maximum width and height to scale down all your images. The image detection feature quickly pinpoints images that are slowing down your site. Processing PNG, JPEG, and GIF files, this plugin also allows you to optimize up to 50 images with just one click.
12. Seriously Simple Podcasting
Podcasting is growing as a popular content platform for consumers. Listeners are engaging with all types of topics, from news to pottery to TV shows. People like this on-demand content because they can listen at the gym, on their commute, or on their patio.
Take advantage of this content opportunity with Seriously Simple Podcasting. This tool makes it easy to submit an RSS feed from your WordPress site to several podcast directories. Your episodes will be fully compliant for Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.
You can customize your RSS feed details by updating the podcast’s name, description, cover art, and category. There’s also an option to create password-protected RSS feeds to restrict access to premium content.
A 404 error occurs when a requested URL cannot be found. Many visitors will land on the broken link and then immediately leave. These error pages also minimize SEO efforts.
“The bad news about 404s is if you have an irregular volume of 404 redirects in a short period of time on your site, this could cause a negative effect on your site’s overall search rating,” writes Ryan Skidmore, digital marketing director at Big Leap.
The Redirection plugin keeps track of your 404 errors and redirects the broken link to a new page. You don’t need any technical knowledge for the setup. Plus, this WordPress plugin will monitor when your permalinks change, so it can automatically create a redirect to the new URL.
Online giveaways benefit your brand by increasing site traffic, growing your email list, and generating targeted leads. These fun contests get visitors excited to learn more about your business in exchange for the chance to win a really cool prize.
RafflePress can help you facilitate your next online giveaway. This WordPress plugin comes with pre-built contest templates and a drag-and-drop sweepstakes builder. In under five minutes, you add prizes with images, configure viral sharing actions, and customize the style to match your brand.
The tool rewards extra entries to participants for completing bonus actions, such as liking your Facebook page, following your Twitter account, or watching your YouTube videos. Most social actions are verified using API to ensure high-quality social media engagement.
Cybersecurity is a growing issue for brands across all industries. Research found that hackers attack every 39 seconds, an average of 2,244 times a day. The logical step is to install a tool that will keep all your website files safe.
Built to protect your WordPress site, Wordfence offers a firewall that identifies and blocks malicious traffic. This comprehensive solution scans your core files, themes, and plugins for malware, bad URLs, backdoors, SEO spam, malicious redirects, and code injections.
The live traffic feature also monitors visits and hack attempts in real-time. More importantly, the plugin doesn’t break the encryption or leak data, so hackers can’t bypass it.
16. Tutor LMS
Traditional learning is taking a backseat due to the arrival of online learning. People enjoy the convenience of learning in the comfort of their homes. Plus, there are opportunities to gain new skills from masters in the field, like learning tennis from Serena Williams.
With Tutor LMS, you can build and sell online courses without writing a single line of code. This WordPress plugin comes with an intuitive course builder for adding video lessons and amusing quizzes.
Each registered student in your learning system will have a frontend dashboard to review their course status, receive notifications, and read announcements. You also can send emails to students about course enrollment and quiz completion.
Unfortunately, a lot of unexpected circumstances can cause your website to shut down. So, it’s critical to take precautionary measures to back up your site.
UpdraftPlus helps you back up your site directly to the cloud on Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3. Unlike many other WordPress backup plugins, it also restores your website with one click and allows you to set up automatic backup schedules. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can always retrieve your website.
With so many brands competing in the marketplace, businesses are seeking innovative ways to differentiate themselves from competitors. One recommendation is to deliver superb customer support.
LiveChat makes this possible by adding live chat support to your WordPress website. You can talk directly to visitors and quickly answer their questions. The plugin also includes a proactive chat invitation feature where you can automatically send personalized messages based on predefined criteria.
The built-in ticketing system allows your brand to provide customer support around the clock. LiveChat collects customer messages when you’re away; then, you can respond to them when you’re back online and prioritize the most time-intensive tickets.
19. Beaver Builder
Sweor reports that “38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.” Your visitors expect a visually-appealing site to capture their attention.
They also want an organized layout to help them quickly find information. Anything less makes looking at your website a chore and places an undue burden on the visitor to find what they need.
With the Beaver Builder plugin, you can create a beautiful, professional WordPress website with no coding expertise. You can choose to add video row backgrounds, full-width layouts, and several content modules. This flexible drag-and-drop page builder simplifies the design process.
20. Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode
Coming soon pages help you market your website before it actually launches. You can get a head start on building brand awareness, collecting visitors’ emails, and promoting your social media pages. Similarly, maintenance pages explain to visitors why your website is temporarily unavailable.
The Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode plugin offers a variety of themes and images to create a unique page. You can rearrange the position of the page elements and preview the page before you hit publish.
Your page will be visible to only non-logged-in users, so you can build your site without any worries. You also can track visitors with support from Google Analytics.
More Popular Plugins to Explore for Your WordPress Site
As you continue to build your WordPress website, you’ll probably want to add new features to attract more visitors. Below we’ve highlighted additional WordPress plugins to get visitors excited about your site.
WordPress Video Plugins
Videos break up the monotony of text on your website. It’s a visual medium for you to connect with your audience and showcase your brand’s personality. Take a look at these recommended video plugins.
1. WP Video Lightbox
Using this plugin, you can embed videos on a page using a lightbox overlay display. You also can automatically retrieve the thumbnail for your video and add it to the lightbox.
2. Video Gallery
This responsive gallery plugin allows you to upload and display any video of your choice. In just a few minutes, you can showcase videos on any page or post via a simple shortcode.
3. Easy Video Player
Embed both self-hosted videos or external videos on your WordPress site with this user-friendly tool. You have control over multiple video settings, including autoplay, loop, templates, and poster images.
4. Video Slider
Show off your video in a stunning way with this video slider plugin. You can choose from a responsive slideshow, thumbnail slider, or slider post feed. You can add animation effects, too.
5. All-in-One Video Gallery
This lightweight video gallery plugin comes with a modern design and unlimited categories to display your videos. Your visitors can search for videos on your site and share them on social media.
Check out more WordPress video plugins.
WordPress SEO Plugins
Search engine optimization allows your target audience to easily find your website. With more website traffic, you’ll gain more opportunities to influence visitors.
1. Rank Math
This easy-to-install tool includes a step-by-step wizard to set up SEO on your WordPress site. You can optimize your posts for unlimited keywords and track your keyword rankings in Google.
2. The SEO Framework
This WordPress plugin generates SEO meta tags in any language by scanning your website. Plus, for SEO beginners, it offers color-coded guidelines with suggestions on how to improve your pages.
Get powerful SEO features to help you with meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, and canonical URLs. It includes a built-in content analysis tool to optimize content and boost your site traffic.
4. BoldGrid Easy SEO
With this WordPress plugin, you get a real-time analysis of your page content along with recommendations to maintain SEO practices. It also automatically checks your images for alt tags.
5. WP Meta SEO
Exceed your SEO standards with a tool that offers bulk editing, 404 error redirects, and a breadcrumb generator. You also can add Google Analytics tracking to display statistics in the WordPress dashboard.
Learn more about WordPress SEO plugins.
WordPress Blog Plugins
Blogging is a useful medium to communicate upcoming events or new products to your visitors. With WordPress blog plugins, you can increase your blog engagement and keep people’s attention.
1. Blog Designer
Get 10 different templates to set up a blog on your WordPress website. You can easily manage the number of posts per page and determine the content length with summary text.
Promoting user engagement, this WordPress plugin offers three modern comment layouts with an interactive comment box on each post. There’s also the option to allow users to rate posts with stars.
3. Blog Filter
In a beautiful grid layout, this tool filters your blog posts according to categories and tags. Just generate a shortcode and paste it on your site. It’ll help visitors locate your content more efficiently.
With this live-blogging platform, you can stream real-time content on your website. It’s designed specifically to give play-by-play updates of sporting events. It also includes a live chat and sports calendar integration.
5. Auto Post Scheduler
Want to schedule your blog posts in advance? This tool automatically publishes your new posts and recycles your old posts. You have complete control of the posting frequency.
Get more details about WordPress blog plugins.
WordPress Email Plugins
Email marketing helps your brand nurture the visitor relationship beyond the website experience. That way, you can send personalized messages to fit each visitors’ interests.
Install this newsletter builder to create beautiful emails from scratch or with ready-made responsive templates. In your WordPress dashboard, you can manage your subscribers, send new post notifications, and monitor audience engagement.
With this email management tool, you can create all of your marketing and transactional email campaigns. Get access to real-time statistics on your campaigns—everything from opens, clicks, and the average time to click.
3. WP HTML Mail
Within a few minutes, you can create your own professional email template. Choose to style your email headers with colors and text or add your own logo. Plus, immediately see all your changes in the live preview feature.
4. Kadence WooCommerce Email Designer
Customize transactional WooCommerce email templates for your subscribers. You can import pre-built email designs, make instant visual edits, and send test emails to your inbox.
5. Email Log
Easily log and view all emails sent from your WordPress account. The emails can be filtered based on the date and subject line. This tool is effective for debugging and auditing emails.
Here’s a full list of WordPress email plugins.
WordPress Social Media Plugins
Social media increases your website’s visibility to the public. Whether you’re on LinkedIn or Instagram, you now have the power to interact directly with potential visitors and gain their trust.
1. Simple Social Buttons
Add social media sharing buttons, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WhatsApp, and Twitter, to your WordPress website. You can choose the button position and hide them on mobile devices.
2. Nelio Content
This WordPress plugin helps you to automatically schedule, create, and promote content to your social media accounts. Built-in analytics allow you to discover the best content on your blog.
3. Thumb Fixer for Social Media
Use this plugin to display thumbnail images when sharing Facebook posts. If a post doesn’t have a featured image, you can specify a default image for your social share.
4. Social Feed
Showcase your social media feed on your WordPress website. Using a shortcode, you can insert multiple feeds and customize the colors and fonts to engage your visitors.
5. Social Media Auto Publish
Publish blog posts automatically to social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can choose to filter posts based on categories or change post settings to fit your brand’s message.
Check out more WordPress social media plugins.
WordPress Affiliate Marketing Plugins
Affiliate marketing opens the door to monetizing your website. Through referral links, you can encourage visitors to purchase other brand’s products or start your own affiliate program.
1. Affiliates Manager
This tool facilitates your affiliates’ recruitment, registration, login, and management process. You also can track the referrals sent to your website and payout commissions.
2. Amazon Auto Links
Say goodbye to manually searching for products and pasting affiliate links. This plugin will automatically display links to the latest Amazon products on your site. Just insert the ads via widget or shortcode.
No complex setup required to manage your affiliate links. You can even group your affiliate links into hierarchical categories. Bring more attention to your links by adding images and banners.
4. Easy Affiliate Links
Track all your affiliate links automatically and get insights on click statistics. Links are accessible via both the visual and HTML editors, and you have the ability to assign categories to your links.
5. Auto Affiliate Links
Let this plugin automatically extract and display links from Amazon, Clickbank, Shareasale, and eBay. Also, you can limit the number of links that appear on a page.
WordPress Form Plugins
You can generate high-quality leads for your brand with the help of forms. Use these form plugins to entice visitors to submit their names and email addresses.
Try this drag-and-drop WordPress form builder to create a variety of contact, feedback, and payment forms. Pre-built templates save you time and make it easy to add, remove, or rearrange fields.
2. Form Maker
This WordPress plugin comes with an intuitive interface to build complex forms. You can display your forms as pop-ups, top bars, or scroll boxes, or embed them into blog posts.
3. Formidable Form Builder
This solutions-focused plugin offers mobile-responsive forms that look great on all devices. Choose from a variety of form fields: email, website, paragraph text, radio buttons, and checkboxes.
4. Everest Forms
Design multiple-column forms on your WordPress site in a couple of clicks. This drag-and-drop tool offers unlimited forms, a preview option, and editable email settings. You’ll get spam protection, too.
With this tool, you can collect emails from your visitors to grow your list. Select customizable themes for your opt-in popup and use A/B testing to find which form gets more email subscribers.
Get more details about WordPress form plugins.
WordPress eCommerce Plugins
eCommerce is a popular method for shoppers to buy their favorite products. With an online storefront, your brand can sell merchandise directly to consumers in the comfort of their homes.
1. Paid Memberships Pro
Get all the tools you need to start, manage, and grow your membership website. You control who has access to what content. Also, you can view reports on your sales, cancellations, and signups.
2. WC Marketplace
Build your own marketplace where multiple merchants and vendors can sell goods or services to customers. Under your supervision, you can add, manage, or reject a vendor’s application.
3. Music Store
Looking to open your own music store? This WordPress plugin provides an online store for selling audio files: music, speeches, and narratives. Your visitors can sort the files by popularity or price.
This plugin creates instant credibility for your eCommerce business. Using the FOMO technique, your visitors will see real-time sales and engagement notifications You’ll also get detailed analytics on how your notifications perform.
5. DHL for WooCommerce
Configure your eCommerce store to manage your national and international shipments. This plugin allows you to quickly create labels, receive a tracking code for each label, and set up handling costs for each DHL shipping service.
Here’s a full list of WordPress eCommerce plugins.
WordPress Appointment Booking Plugins
Online appointment booking systems make it easier for visitors to sign up for events or schedule specific business services. With these plugins, you’ll have more control of your bookings.
1. Appointment Hour Booking
This WordPress plugin is built for appointments with a start time and a defined duration. You can set open hours, state the price of a specific service, and avoid double-booking.
2. Booking Calendar
Show your availability and receive bookings from customers. This tool’s interface offers sleek, customizable calendar designs, and you can send email notifications about specific booking actions.
Get a complete, automated reservation system on your website. You can add an unlimited number of clients, automatically approve or cancel appointments, and notify customers via SMS.
4. Amelia Lite
This handy tool is convenient for small businesses needing a reliable appointment booking process. It supports a backend calendar view, customer notifications, and responsive interface.
5. WP Booking System
Get easy online booking with this lightweight plugin. Just generate a shortcode to insert the booking calendar and form onto your page. It also translates into several languages.
Check out more WordPress appointment booking plugins.
How to Choose the Best WordPress Plugin for Your Site
With so many plugins to choose from, you may find it overwhelming to select the right ones for your website. In this final section, we’re offering the best tips to help you with your decision.
1. Check for the Latest Updates
WordPress’s core files are frequently updated to improve its functionality. As a result, plugins also must be updated to ensure compatibility and to eliminate any potential security risks.
“If you are going to install a plugin on your website, look at its development pace. The fact that a plugin hasn’t been updated for a long time can be a bad indicator,” says David Aguilera, co-founder of Nelio Software.
Check to see if the plugin has been updated within the last few months. Recent updates verify that the developer is maintaining and upgrading the plugin.
2. Consider the Plugin Rating
When you’re evaluating dozens of plugins, it’s a time-consuming task to read every plugin description. You want a quick way to assess a plugin and maybe move it to your top 5 list.
Plugin ratings can help you with the evaluation process. These star ratings listed on the WordPress plugin directory can give you a consensus of what users think about a specific plugin.
A five-star rating means users really like the quality of the plugin. You should aim to install plugins with no less than three stars.
3. Read Plugin Reviews
Reviews from actual users can offer valuable insight into a plugin. The feedback can uncover technical issues or recurring compatibility problems.
“While reading each review, watch out for common grievances, as they will often reveal the weakest areas of the plugin. For example, if multiple reviewers mention that their website is significantly slower post-installation, you would do well to avoid that particular plugin,” states Tom Ewer, founder of WordCandy.co.
However, be mindful of the total number of reviews. A small number of reviews will make it difficult to determine if a plugin is worth installing.
4. Find the Number of Active Installations
If you’ve already begun your research for the perfect plugin, you’ve learned that thousands of plugins exist in every category. You may even find hundreds of plugins just to protect your site from hackers.
Social proof can help you determine whether to install a plugin. You can determine a plugin’s popularity amongst users. You’re looking for the number of active installations.
It’s very rare that a large number of users would install a low-quality plugin. Therefore, you can use the number of active installations as a guide. Most users select plugins with more than 5,000 active installations.
5. Review the Support Forum
Plugins can play an integral part of your website. For instance, a single membership plugin may operate your entire subscription business. That’s why it’s important to review the level of support offered by the plugin’s developers.
You want to know that if something goes wrong, you’ll be able to get help.
Check the plugin’s support threads to see how frequently support requests are resolved. You also want to identify a contact name and email address where users can send their questions.
6. Look for FAQs or Tutorials
Most plugin descriptions will include basic information about the tool and its benefits. The top-performing WordPress plugins usually provide more details, like specific features, the latest updates, and even backend screenshots.
You’ll also want to look for a FAQ section or video tutorials about the plugin. This documentation is useful if you ever need answers to technical issues or need extra assistance with the setup process.
Moreover, self-help materials mean you don’t have to wait for a response from a developer. You can simply read step-by-step instructions and get back to improving your website experience.
7. Download From Reliable Sources
The Internet offers many different places for you to download WordPress plugins. The only issue is that many of those sites aren’t reputable. Similar to buying a new sweatshirt or sofa, you want to install plugins from reliable sources.
Upgrade Your Website with WordPress Plugins
WordPress plugins are an effective way to enhance your site. From video to eCommerce to appointment scheduling features, try one (or a few) of the above-mentioned plugins to engage new visitors. You can start building your WordPress site today with HostGator’s WordPress hosting.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.