Starting an online business or taking your current business online is no easy feat—you wear a lot of hats to ensure your site or the sites you build are high-performing and user-friendly!
One of the best ways WordPress users can boost site experience and functionality is by tapping into the expansive ecosystem of WordPress plugins available today. From support and chat features to SEO and eCommerce optimization, there are a ton of plugins to choose from.
That said, it can certainly be overwhelming to work your way through the tens of thousands of plugin options out there—and choosing a low-quality plugin, or one that’s not the right fit for your site can create problems down the road rather than solving them.
So which plugins are the best fit?
Rather than spending hours researching the basics, we’ve compiled a list of a few must-have plugins that are great for every business site.
What are WordPress plugins and why do they matter?
If this is your first time building a website, you might not be 100% sure what a WordPress plugin is or does—and that’s okay! A WordPress plugin is an application of code that essentially adds functionality or a specific feature to your website.
There are nearly 60,000 plugins available in the WordPress directory, and that doesn’t take into account the thousands of additional, premium plugins available via specific plugin authors. It’s common for developers or web designers to have several plugins installed to enable a range of basic to professional features such as having a contact page, spam checkpoints, cart check-out, traffic conversion—the list goes on and on!
The main role of using a plugin is to help get the most out of your website for you and your visitors. By giving users the best experience and having the tools to build and nurture that customer relationship, your results will speak for themselves.
12 must-have WordPress plugins for your business site
Having too many plugins will weaken your site performance and negatively impact your overall user experience. Hence, it’s important to choose your plugins wisely. This nifty list checks all the plugin boxes for building and running a thriving business site.
Here are the 12 WordPress plugins I recommend:
Jetpack is a “jack-of-all-trades” plugin that offers a convenient and easy way to get started in using, managing, and customizing your website. It jacks your site with a handful of robust features, including analytics, content tools, social sharing, and more.
From powerful tools that help you customize the design of your site to intuitive services that help boost your marketing efforts, it’s packed with options to optimize your business site.
It’s arguably one of the most versatile plugins available which is why there are more than five million active plugin installations Jetpack to date!
Both you and your potential clients’ credibility is on the line and nothing ruins it faster than spam!
As the name suggests, this top-notch anti-spam plugin will keep your comments clean and free of malicious content. It checks every comment on your site to identify whether or not it’s spam.
If you wanted to be more hands-on with checking, you can adjust the settings so it enables you to manually mark comments as spam, or approve comments that may have accidentally been flagged.
In today’s globalized world, it’s important to speak to your customers in their language. 90% of Internet users prefer to surf online in their native language.
There are major advantages to having a WordPress translation plugin! First, you’ll expand your potential audience by reaching them in the comforts of their own language. Second, introducing additional languages improves your chances of ranking for a specific region and in several languages which will allow even more traffic to flock to your site.
It translates all your WordPress site content including posts, pages, categories, and tags into more than 40 languages.
Design your website with ease thanks to the Elementor plugin (no coding hassle)!
This live page builder allows you to design WordPress sites in real-time and view the updates. With an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface, you can effortlessly create the website of your dreams with advanced design capabilities.
This plugin packs a double-punch when it comes to visual website curb appeal and functionality!
Unlock access to a comprehensive collection of visual and functional shortcodes for your WordPress Dashboard editor!
Installing too many plugins can bog down your site performance so Shortcodes Ultimate provides strategic codes so you can still add the site elements you want without compromising quality.
This shortcodes WordPress plugin offers a list of 50+ shortcodes that can be used to create elements like QR codes, galleries, buttons, tabs, headings, testimonials, progress bars, and many more.
Poor customer service costs businesses over $75 billion per year in the US alone. That’s huge.
Don’t ding your visitors and potential customers with bad support experience – take care of them with a helpdesk ticket system.
To have this plugin installed means you’re proactively ready to support your audience with any hiccups or questions they may have for your services.
No need for the dreaded “on-hold” and phone-cord twirling, consumers enjoy when businesses have live chat touchpoints available.
The plugin Tidio is a live chat service that offers easy and intuitive chat box systems, even offering the help of chatbots too! When you go offline, Tidio allows you to collect messages from your site visitors to follow up as soon as you’re back.
A feature such as live chat is advantageous because it can generate more customer leads for your business!
HubSpot will become your new marketing insights bestie.
This powerful marketing WordPress plugin packs a lot of neat features into one as a Customer Relationship Management system. Turn website visitors into new leads by adding them into forms (thanks to popups) and using the email marketing tools to nurture them into sales.
The handy analytics feature of the plugin helps track growth and measure KPI progress. Building a business website isn’t easy so this helps ensure you’re getting a return on the investment.
I can’t recommend it enough for anyone trying to grow their online business.
Looking for more WordPress CRM plugins? Check out this article!
It’s no secret that there’s a lot of competition in the world of search engines. Yoast is the SEO WordPress plugin that’s here to help visitors find your website through the thick of it so the Google fairies rank your site higher.
SEO is so important to optimize every post and page for maximum exposure! Doing so will ensure you’re getting the most (and more) out of your website traffic.
While you’re editing content, this plugin will help you preview how it’ll display in search engine results and also make suggestions to increase rankings.
Content is king and Yoast is there to get your business on top (of the search results list)!
Another awesome plugin for lead generation is OptinMonster.
Even with the rise of social media and other digital touchpoints, email marketing remains the most effective way to nurture leads and turn them into customers. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers!
This plugin’s specialty is to strategically grow your email marketing list using pop-ups and content upgrades.
You’ll be able to customize the look of each opt-in and then integrate them with email providers for seamless list building. Their dashboard provides plenty of data, so you’ll always be informed about which design decisions matter most!
Looking for more information about email marketing for web designers? Look no further!
Okay, maybe you’re seeing a pattern here — analytics are crucial(!) for determining the opportunities to get the most out of your business site.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights tells you what is and isn’t working for your business strategy!
Take the guesswork out of your business by displaying your Google Analytics data right in WordPress. By housing everything in the same spot, you’ll be able to keep these stats front and center every time you log in to make a change, and in turn, monitor how those changes affect your site traffic.
The plugin is easy to install and features an intuitive dashboard so there’s no technical or coding background required!
Wield the freedom to run your business the way you see fit thanks to this plugin!
WooCommerce is a flexible, open-source eCommerce plugin to integrate your content and commerce needs. Fresh off the download, this plugin offers a range of robust features from turnkey solutions to advanced, customizable setups. Learn more about WooCommerce features here.
It offers essential amenities such as product, cart, and checkout pages with secure payment systems. The plugin is also stocked with several logistic feature options like shipping arrangements, tax calculations, and label printing. WooCommerce is also compatible with other popular plugins/apps like Google Analytics, MailChimp, and Facebook.
Take it a step further with paid plugin extensions and you can accept bookings, open memberships, create subscription boxes, and lots more!
Jumpstart your business site now
That’s a wrap on the must-haves list! I’ve made the whole process easy by giving you the lowdown on which plugins are essential for a successful business site. From security and malware scans, to analytics and sales, you’re now equipped with the best WordPress plugin recommendations for your site to thrive and maintain with basic housekeeping.
With these handy plugins in your toolbelt, I’m confident you can design, build, and manage the most badass website of your business dreams!
Let us know if you have more WordPress plugin recommendations in the comments!
We researched, tested, and compiled the ultimate “bread and butter” WordPress plugins every web designer should be using! Whether you’re in the market for a new anti-spam, page-builder, or SEO plugin, this comprehensive list offers a bit of every plugin for your WordPress needs. Loved by us, our clients, and our client’s clients, these are 20 of the best plugins for WordPress designers. Read the entire list here!