11 Essential WordPress Plugins in 2016
WordPress, since its release in 2003, has grown to be the most popular and versatile website solution in the world, with more than 26% of the top 10 million sites powered by it.
With an ever-growing online presence and consumer interactions powered by the data and smartphone revolutions, a properly designed and maintained site or blog is a great source of income. One of the reasons for the popularity of WordPress is due to its vast array of high quality customizable plugins designed to satisfy the needs of the modern business websites.
Users can select from a number of WordPress plugins to suit their site requirements. We have compiled a list with some of the best WordPress plugins which you can use to build a truly professional website to boost your online business and please your visitors.
The plugins can vastly improve your experience of your WordPress website and will help you to improve visitor engagement and retention.
Plugin Features Table
Pro Versions / Price Plans
42 million +
Plus-$5 / month
Backup-$9 / month
Enterprise-$50 / month
32 million +
5 million +
Premium Services from $100
17 million +
Premium - $99/key/year
Premium - $60/5 keys/year
33 million +
21 million +
10 million +
14 Day Free Trial
5 million +
12 million +
Single site -$67 one time
Unlimited sites -$97 one time
Akismet is the best anti-spam service for WordPress. It is the most popular and is among the best WordPress plugins with over 35 million downloads.
Akismet verifies your sites’ comments against the Akismet Web service to check if it is spam or not and lets you review the spam content it identifies under "Comments" section.
Main features of Akismet are:
- Automatic checking for all comments and filters out the spam comments.
- Compiling a status history for every comment, so that the moderator can see which comments were identified or cleared by Akismet.
- Allowing moderators to see the number of approved comments for each user.
- Saving you disk space and also speeding up your site by directly blocking the worst spam.
- Integration with top WordPress plugins, such as Jetpack and Contact Form 7.
2. Yoast SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plays an essential role in the ranking of your site in search engine page results. So it is essential to have your site SEO optimized from the beginning itself. Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin for WordPress and helps you optimize page content, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, images and real time page analysis. It can even get you verified google authorship for your site.
Yoast SEO features include:
- Adding and optimizing custom post titles and meta descriptions using snippet editor functionality.
- Analysis, canonical and breadcrumbs support, and other SEO features.
- Notifying search engines automatically once your content is published.
- Creating XML sitemaps which has image support also.
- Easy editing of your robots.txt and .htaccess
W3 Total Cache is one of the top plugins for WordPress. A faster loading site is crucial in keeping the visitors engaged on a site and if the speed at which the site content and images load is noticeably slow, it can affect your business as well as site SEO.
Page caching is used to avoid the delay by creating static cache pages for each page so that there is no need to dynamically load the contents each time.
W3 Total Cache is the best WordPress plugin on the market for caching. W3 Total Cache enables caching on your website and static resources such as theme files and configuration files are compressed and loaded faster than usual, providing you the necessary speed for better user experience.
Some of its features are:
- Improving overall site performance by 10 times
- Reducing page load time thereby increasing visitor time on site and also visitors can view more pages as a result.
- Compatibility with shared hosting and virtual private dedicated servers.
- Concise content delivery network (CDN) management with media Library and WordPress.
- Caching of pages and posts in memory or on disk.
This premium WordPress plugin gives you enterprise-level security. It offers two-factor authentication with a mobile login, integrity checking and real-time blocking of known attackers. It is the most downloaded WordPress security plugin. The live traffic view gives you real time traffic and hack attempts on your website.
Wordfence Security features are:
- Real-time blocking of known attackers. It uses real time data of attackers from other sites using Wordfence, to automatically protect your site.
- Web firewall that prevents you from getting hacked by identifying malicious traffic, blocking the attackers before they can access your site.
- Two-factor authentication which combines your password and verification key on your mobile to improve login security.
- Blocking fake Google crawlers and separating page views generated by crawlers from humans.
- Viewing and repairing your corrupted theme, plugin and core files with source code verification feature.
There's both a free and a premium version of the plugin; and both free and paid plugins offer complete firewall, blocking of brute-force attacks, backdoor vulnerabilities, malware, and technical support.
Contact forms provide a neat, clean, and simple to use interface that enables your site’s viewership to contact you and is a must for professional websites.
Contact Form 7 is easily the most popular contact form plugin in WordPress with over 30 million downloads. It is totally free and you can install it easily in any number of sites. If you are planning to create a basic contact form, then this plugin is the right choice.
The important features are:
- Easy creation of new forms, just by copying the short code and pasting to a page or post and visitors will be able to contact you by mail.
- Supporting unlimited number of forms and sites.
- Good selection of field types like dates, drop down menus, quizzes, checkboxes with which you can create variety of forms.
- Plenty of free extensions which can be used to create advanced contact forms.
Jetpack is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs, providing a wide variety of features like visitor and site analytics, security services, site management, social network sharing and engagement tools.
Below are some of the cool features of this versatile plugin:
- It provides traffic details such as visit numbers and helps you get more traffic with tools like related posts and social network sharing.
- Jetpack protects against brute force attacks, unauthorized logins and also monitor your site for downtime and keep the plugins updated.
- Jetpack optimizes and speeds up image loading using the global WordPress content delivery network. This saves you hosting costs by reducing bandwidth.
- With Jetpack comes a centralized dashboard. You can easily manage the plugins and menus, publish posts, and view complete site statistics.
- Jetpack includes other features that help you customize your site including contact forms, galleries, notifications, subscriptions and configurable widgets.
Social Warfare can add impressive social sharing buttons to your website, with a wide selection of button designs and positioning options to select from.
Social Warfare also allow you to create custom content for each of the most popular social networks, which can be used whenever one of your posts gets shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus and LinkedIn. You can upload images for each post on your site, specifically for using in content that gets shared.
Features of Social Warfare for WordPress:
- Attractive and customizable buttons supporting up to 10 popular social media platforms.
- Displays the total social share counts for each button.
- You can specify a unique tweet message that can be shared on Twitter.
- Great performance and optimized for mobile devices.
- Ability to show the number of tweet counts.
8. Updraft Plus
If you are running a commercial site or simple blog, it is essential to take backups of the complete site to minimize loss in case of site attack or crash. Updraft Plus is amongst WordPress best plugins for site backup.
You can manually create backups of your complete website or you can schedule backups to be created at specific time intervals. It also allows you to create off-site backups by storing the backups on Google Drive, Dropbox and other options. This means that, if your site gets attacked, your backup won’t be touched.
Its features are:
- Completing file and database backups or customizing the files to backup.
- Scheduling of automatic backups.
- Multiple offsite storage options like the Updraft Plus Vault, Amazon S3, Dropbox and Google Drive.
- Downloading backup archives present on WordPress dashboard.
- Super easy one-click restore option for recovery.
A newsletter is the smartest way to stay in touch with your subscribers. It doesn’t matter what type of site you run, a newsletter can easily increase product or subscription sales and bring more visitor to the website on a regular basis. MailChimp is a popular newsletter service that allows you to send out email campaigns to a list of email subscribers.
With MailChimp, you can easily create an enticing newsletter mail and send it to all the subscribers with just one click. MailChimp is free for lists having 2,000 subscribers, which is why it is a popular choice among newsletter plugins.
Some of the MailChimp features are:
- Robust marketing automation feature to make sure your emails reach the desired list of people at the right time. You can also target visitors based on behavior, preferences, and previous sales.
- Good looking, user-friendly and mobile optimized sign-up forms. You can customize the form fields and send anything you like to MailChimp.
- Working seamlessly with some of the best plugins for WordPress like Contact Form 7, Salesforce, Eventbrite, BuddyPress, Easy Digital Downloads, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey.
- Reporting features like sales monitoring and website activity along with revenue reports.
- Checkbox settings for visitors who leave a comment or register to your website. Also allows opting in to your email list.
A landing page is a standalone web page, distinct from your main website which has been designed for a single goal to convert. There are different types of landing pages like a course page, webinar page, download page etc.
Thrive Landing Pages is the best WordPress landing page plugin which can create high converting landing pages for you.
Main features are:
- Over 100 landing page templates to choose from like webinar pages, sales pages & video sales pages, email sign-up, download and thank you pages.
- Simple drag and drop editor that lets you create pages quickly.
- Easy integration with any email service.
- Good collection of conversion focused elements that can be added to the landing page.
- High level of customization allowing you to create 100 % custom landing pages.
Analytics is becoming more and more essential these days as they provide insights about visitor details, what time they visit, which are the engaging contents, bounce rate and conversion details. This data helps you to design the desired content and to improve the site business and popularity.
The Google Analytics plugin is one of the best plugins for WordPress that allows you to track your site easily and always stays up to date with the newest features.
Just add your Google tracking code and start knowing about your traffic, track demographics, and outbound links.
Some of the important features are:
- Easy tracking of your sales, downloads, user searches, outbound links, affiliate links and emails which is very useful for e-commerce sites.
- Dashboards to easily see visitor stats such as most visited pages, page view duration, visited pages etc.
- Finding where people are coming from and going to your site, through a referral detection feature.
- Showing the most popular posts, pages and website sections which can drive site and content design.
- Ability to track search results pages and 404 pages.
There are many more specific plugins depending on the purpose of your site.If you are looking to build an online store then check out our list of the best store plugins.You can also easily start earning from subscriptions by adding these excellent membership plugins.
Make your site more engaging by using these best rating or review plugins that can build authenticity and also increase viewership and conversion .
Even though there are many other great plugins that have not made it into our list, we believe that these top essential plugins can get you going and achieve most out of your WordPress site.