The WordPress plugin ecosystem boasts over 50,000 installable applications to upgrade your blog, website, or ecommerce store. This incredible number of plugins is a primary driver for users to launch a WordPress site, among other factors like its scalability, usability, and zero dollar cost, if you opt for WordPress.org. With these applications you can avoid paying a costly developer to add new features or getting your hand dirty yourself coding.
With these tens of thousands of WordPress plugins, you can improve your site’s security, improve your marketing, capture leads more easily, and much more. This guide will walk you through the ten plugins you should consider downloading on WordPress whether you want a specific ability like launching an ecommerce store or just want to upgrade your site across the board.
Plugins and their descriptions on the list include must-know features, competing plugins, pricing, and other must-know details. Some plugins are free, paid, or come with a premium upgrade with extended capabilities you should know.
For WordPress site managers who want more control over developing their site’s look and design without learning to code, using a page builder plugin is a perfect solution. With a page builder you can create a custom website or web pages generating and dragging elements like images, text, or interactive experiences to different parts of a custom page.
Two of the best page builders available as plugins are Elementor and Divi. The Santrel Media team uses Elementor because it offers a free version, tons of templates to work off of, and allows you to build a custom website within days without code, instead of weeks or even months. The Pro version is certainly worthwhile at $49 as it offers 270 more professional templates, more widgets,10 full website templates, support, and updates.
Divi offers a similar experience for site creation and comes with 140 layout kits, similar to Elementor’s templates, to get started creating for your WordPress site niche in no time.
Elementor Pricing: Free for basic widgets and templates; Personal: $49 for premium widgets and templates, plus support; Plus: $99 for previous features for 3 sites; Expert: $199 for previous features but for 1,000 sites.
Divi Pricing: Yearly Access: $89 for access to Divi WordPress theme, other theme packs, and unlimited site use; Lifetime Access: $249 for annual features but for life. VISIT DIVI
When managing a website, it’s vital to track how your site’s performing from a traffic perspective. Google Analytics, once connected to your website, helps you understand where people are visiting your website from and what they do when they arrive. To make reviewing Google Analytic’s metrics and insights even clearer, install the Analytify plugin for WordPress.
Analytify displays essential data like people currently on site, where they’re from, and your bounce rate in an easy-to-view format. This data will help you understand data and increase traffic and dwell time for existing pages. One example of how this could work is seeing that particular types of content is performing particularly well from a traffic perspective, leading you to research and publish more content for keywords in that vertical.
The Monster Insights plugin is another great plugin to check out for more analytics insights.
Pricing: Analytify has a free basic version but you could upgrade to Pro for $39 for your WordPress site or for $49 if you have a WooCommerce store.
3. Yoast SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a vital element for any successful site. Even if you’re regularly producing blog content, understanding Google’s search standards for sites and how you can better follow their guidelines will put you head and shoulders above competitors. For SEO, the Yoast SEO plugin is a must-have.
Yoast SEO provides detailed recommendations for how to improve a page’s content for a keyword you’re trying to rank for and the content generally. For example, once you enter a target keyword for a blog post in the Yoast SEO module, it will let you know if you’ve included the keyword too many or too few times within the page’s content. Yoast will also provide recommendations for whether a title or metadescription is too long or short and will make other relevant recommendations like decreasing word complexity.
Yoast SEO’s basic version is stellar but you could upgrade for added benefits like customer support, redirect assistance, and more content insights if you download basic and think you could still benefit from more features.
Pricing: Yoast’s basic mode is free but Yoast SEO Premium for life is about $89, depending on available sales.
4. Constant Contact
When building a website and a community of users, email collection is a must-have. Despite new advances in ways of communicating with customers from text to app notifications, email is still the leading means of delivering messages and offers to prospects and customers. For this purpose, Constant Contact is excellent for collecting customer emails and contact information, and sending them marketing emails they love.
The Constant Contact WordPress plugin simplifies email collection and through their email marketing platform you can effortlessly create and deliver well-designed emails to your entire email list or sub-lists of email subscribers.
Mastering email marketing is a great skill to have and will be a vital part of your business if you get it right. The Constant Contact plugin, or a competitor like Mailchimp, is a must-have for your WordPress plugin stack. Once set up, you can deliver regular emails with your latest blog post, a well-crafted sales email, or relevant newsletters.
Pricing: Email marketing through Constant Contact starts at $20 a month.
5. iThemes Security
WordPress has plenty of perks from its low cost to high customizability through plugins but one glaring issue when compared with all-inclusive website builder platforms like Squarespace is website security. Just like you depend on an antivirus for your computer (or should), similarly you should have a security plugin for your WordPress site. Some WordPress sites can be vulnerable to attack and iThemes Security provides the peace of mind you need by taking the guesswork out of WordPress security.
The iThemes plugin, which was built by WordPress experts, fortifies your sites from hackers and scammers and aligns your WordPress site with the latest security trends. iThemes Security also offers the ability to whitelist IPs or blacklist if you’ve experienced issues with specific addresses. You also are provided the ability to blacklist whole countries if for example you’ve experienced a high number of spam comments or purchase attempts from a specific place.
Security is certainly not a feature you should skimp on, for your site’s security and security of your visitors. Understanding your site’s potential vulnerabilities is made easy by the iThemes Security and other plugins like it, including Wordfence.
Pricing: Free version works great but you can upgrade to Security Pro from the Member Panel.
6. Pretty Links
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way for you to monetize your site’s traffic depending on your space and however else you currently make money. If you’ve been affiliate marketing for a while or are just starting out, you may have learned that managing affiliate links can be a pain.
Keeping track of where you should be adding in affiliate links to different pages is laborious and your visitors likely agree that affiliate links that look like “xyzwebsite.com/referral=48K9?31” aren’t too easy to remember. The basic feature of Pretty Links offers you the ability to change these referral links to “yoursite.com/affiliatepartner,” for example: santrelmedia.com/sitegrounds.
The shareable affiliate links are especially useful when you have a content network across social media, a website, and YouTube channel. You can easily add these branded affiliate links across these places with ease using Pretty Links.
Pretty Links takes the effort out of affiliate link management by cleaning up your links, helping you understand where they should be placed, and helping you better promote them. Another great feature is link tracking so you can cross reference how many users have followed your links versus metrics provided to you by an affiliate partner.
Another WordPress plugin alternative is Thirsty Affiliates but Pretty Links is trusted by Santrel Media.
Pricing: Free for the basic feature of cloaking affiliate links and $50 for Pretty Links premium which offers tracking, link management, recommendations, and more.
7. WP forms
Acquiring customer information for emailing, feedback through surveys, and sign ups for registration can be a pain for business owners. Often you’ll have to go to a third party source to find a solution and you’ll likely need to direct them off your site to provide or fill out information. WP forms offers the solution you need with a plugin which allows you to create the forms you need and collect information effectively right on your website. Designing these forms is a breeze with a simple drag and drop form builder (no code needed) and the ability to add conditional logic to forms to guide those filling out forms through pages seamlessly.
Over 3 million site owners use WP forms to collect information with multi-page forms, helpful templates to get started, and a slew of other features like integrations with Constant Contact, Mailchimp, PayPal, and Stripe, and more. Once you’ve created the form, you can embed your form within posts, in footers, on the sidebar, and other convenient areas.
Pricing: WP forms pricing starts at around $40 a year for unlimited forms, templates, and more. You may end up spending up to around $300 per year if you need more payment integrations, Salesforce integrations, and other features.
8. Tidio (live chat)
A top way to engage new users to your site or provide stellar customer service, besides beautiful design and great copy, is offering live chat on site. Tidio offers this in-demand service as a plugin for your WordPress site, providing the ability to reply to your customers in seconds with live chat, email, and messaging. You or customer support staff can reply quickly from a single dashboard, increasing response speed and showing off how much your business cares about clientele.
If you don’t have the resources to have an agent assigned to support 24/7, you can launch automations to deliver canned responses or allow customers to learn answers to questions on their own. For example, if you operate an ecommerce store, you can allow visitors to check order status right from the live chat popup.
Besides the support aspect of this plugin, being able to respond to potential customer queries is a powerful method for converting visitors by demonstrating your responsiveness and care for their concerns or questions. Tidio does offer a free version which is especially helpful for trying out live chat capabilities for your site but upgrading the Chatbots tier to have a bot answer key questions will help you keep customers engaged even while you and your team are off the job.
Pricing: Free includes live chat, limited chatbot features, and mailing features. Chatbots tier stats at $18 a month as does Communicator which includes more premium features for live chat.
A major metric for positive user experience and the Google search algorithm is site load speed. A number of factors can affect site speed like the hosting service you use but one you may not be aware of is image size. The larger your images are, the longer it will take for your page to render when a user is checking out your site.
Smush offers the solution with a plugin which reduces the size of images on your site to increase site speed. Smush is time tested and is used by millions of site managers to speed up their sites. So if you want to improve your page rankings on Google and make user experience better, consider installing the Smush plugin through WordPress.
Pricing: Smush offers a free version with limited features and the Pro version costs $6 a month.
If you’re considering adding an ecommerce store to your site or even would like to launch an ecommerce store from scratch, WooCommerce is the plugin for you. This open-source tool allows you to launch an online store which will compete with the best store builders out there like Shopify or BigCommerce but without the price tag.
There is less handholding and maintenance with WooCommerce than an all-inclusive store builder but it’s tested by stores across the world and won’t break the bank (or even require a trip to the bank).
WooCommerce is also highly customizable because it’s an open-source plugin, and provides plenty of plugins of its own to upgrade your store or improve user experience. If you’re planning on adding a store or exploring your ecommerce store builder options, place WooCommerce high on your list for consideration.
Final Takeaway: Choosing other WordPress plugins
These 10 WordPress plugins or their alternatives are some of the best you could install for your WordPress site. Your site and business will be improved greatly with these options but there are other WordPress plugins that are well-worth a look as well, especially as your site improves and you need more niche features added on. When searching for these additional plugins, there are a few things you should bear in mind:
- Some WordPress plugins don’t work well with other plugins or even themes. Always review how a plugin will work with your site before installing it.
- While plugins have to be approved for the WordPress plugin marketplace, some of them may be spammy or not do as good of a job as other plugins. Check out other user reviews and listen to them, and avoid plugins with few or no reviews.
WordPress is a best in class website builder because it offers so many exciting features through its extensive plugin offerings. While there may be some plugins that aren’t a good fit for your site, there are many more that will help you earn more customers, keep visitors happy, or gain valuable insights into what you could improve.
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What are the plugins in WordPress?
Plugins are applications you can install on your WordPress site to improve your marketing, user experience, design, and much more. Once you’ve installed WordPress, you can search for relevant plugins in WordPress’ marketplace and pick the right ones for your site.
Are plugins free on WordPress?
Many of the plugins you’ll find in the WordPress plugin marketplace are free or are free with premium paid upgrades available. In the plugin description, you should be able to see the pricing breakdown for different features. You’ll only be charged for a WordPress plugin if you consent or enter your payment information.
How many plugins should I use in WordPress?
Technically you could install as many WordPress plugins as you’d like on your site but there many be interconnectivity issues between different plugins or with how plugins react to your theme or custom code. Before installing a WordPress plugin, always review or investigate how it will interact with your site or other plugins to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect your website.
1 thought on “Ten Best WordPress Plugins (Free and Paid) For 2021”
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