WordPress is the most popular content management system for SME’s. It has a standard CMS (Customer Management System) dashboard with the use of simple templates, making it easy for non-technical people to use it. Most basic changes can be done within the WordPress dashboard and with the advantage of over 55,000+ WordPress plugins available, there really is a plugin for every need.
With the amount of WordPress plugins available, it can become overwhelming to someone who has never built or used a website CMS before, so I wanted to share my top 20 WordPress ‘must-have’ plugins to allow your website to run the best it can.
In my 10 years as a digital marketing manager, I have created and managed many WordPress websites, these plugins I am sharing with you are always part of my initial set-up process.
1. Insert Headers and Footers
Insert Headers and Footers is a simple, free WordPress plugin that lets you insert code snippets such as Google Analytics, custom CSS, Facebook Pixel, and more to your WordPress site header and footer, without the need to edit your theme files. Simply download the plugin, activate it and insert any code into the dedicated ‘header’ or ‘footer’ section and save!
2. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO manages your individual page’s SEO performance. From targeted page keywords, to meta descriptions, titles and ALT attributes. Yoast SEO scores your on-page SEO using a traffic light system, and gives you to ways to improve it. There is a lot to SEO, which I have talked about in a previous blog, SEO – The Basics, but with Yoast SEO plugin, it will allow you to improve your SEO so that you are more likely to be found on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) by your customers.
3. Contact Form7
MonsterInsights is an excellent plugin which allows you to integrate Google Analytics and analyse your website traffic more effectively. The best part is, rather than logging into your Google Analytics separately, you can track all your analytics within your WordPress dashboard. MonsterInsights is a free plugin, which allows the basics, however, I personally would recommend the pro version to discover more with your website analytics.
WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress, which is currently used by over 4million websites. This plugin allows you to turn your existing basic brochure website into an online store, selling products or services. WooCommerce works with most payment gateways, allowing you to take transactional payments directly through your website.
6. Akismet Anti-Spam
Security should be one of the top priorities when it comes to your businesses’ website. There are numerous plugins on the market, some free, some paid. With anything, the free version of Akismet Anti-Spam has its restrictions. As with Monster Insights, I would recommend using the paid version to get the most from this plugin, and your websites’ security.
All websites must now have privacy and cookie policies on there website, which needs to allow the website visitor to agree to them. Consent forms must not be automatically clicked and must remain empty, until the user manually clicks the consent in agreement.
A website cookie is a small piece of data sent from your website and stored on the user’s computer. Cookie’s allow a website to keep track of their movement across the site.
Cookiebot is a great one and depending on your WordPress theme, most theme’s come with a cookie consent plugin feature – which will just need to be activated within your dashboard. Personally, I am huge fan of the Divi theme, which also comes with its own cookie plugin.
8. Really Simple SSL
As with cookie consent, all websites must be secure. This means your website must show a secure padlock in the web browser and your website address should show https:// and not, http://. Some websites, if not secure, now show a warning message to the user advising them to ‘go back to safety’. This will be rolling out across all websites eventually, so, if your current website is not secure, now is the time. Really Simple SSL allows you to configure your SSL certificate with your website, without the need to update any CSS files.
9. Duplicate Page
Duplicate page plugin is a quick tip plugin, I couldn’t live without. With many websites, you can use either CSS, HTML or visual builders to build your individual web pages. Duplicating newly created pages is great if you have spent a long ensuring your page layout is just right, you can duplicate it to use that same layout on other pages. Not only does this plugin make life much easier, it also allows you to keep your website’s function, design and layout consistent throughout.
Elementor is a very popular, free plugin with over 3 million active users. This plugin is a simple drag and drop front-end visual website page builder, which means you can create website page layouts live, without having to go back to your WordPress editor and preview mode. Elementor is compatible with most website themes, so can be used to build pages easily and efficiently, no matter what design your website is.
These are just 10 of my favourite WordPress plugins, I could continue with a list as long as my arm for my own ‘must-haves’, but maybe that’s a blog for another time… ?
What are your favourite plugins that I haven’t mentioned? I am always excited to learn about new plugins that will benefit my own website, and my clients’ websites, so please drop them in the comments below.