Originally posted on pcmag.
Boost your WordPress-powered site’s e-commerce potential, SEO, and security with these top add-ons.
WordPress is so much more than a blogging tool. Since its launch more than a decade ago, this flexible, easy-to-set-up web publishing platform has served as the foundation for anywhere between 500 million to nearly a billion websites, a staggering total. In fact, WordPress is estimated to power more than 40% of all websites(Opens in a new window)! Its popularity has spawned an incredibly rich plug-in ecosystem that helps webmasters improve their sites in many ways. From search engine optimization (SEO), to article enhancement, to comments management, you’ll find an amazing number of ways to trick out your WordPress installation’s base functionality, whether you’re hosting your own website or using a managed WordPress hosting service.
There are more than 60,000 WordPress plug-ins(Opens in a new window) available as of this writing. The upside? You’ll never run out of plug-ins to choose from. The downside? You don’t even know where to start. As with the Android and iOS app stores, the WordPress plug-in catalog houses countless goodies mixed in with even more duds. Our goal is to highlight those that will most benefit your website. You can, of course, visit WordPress’ Most Popular Plug-in Directory(Opens in a new window) to see the most downloaded plug-ins of the moment, but you’ll miss many great potential additions by not digging deeper. That, however, is a potentially massive time sink, so we’ve done the digging on your behalf.
These top WordPress plug-ins will help your site perform like a champ. And they do it without costing you a cent because these plug-ins are all free (although some offer premium tiers with additional functionality). We’ll regularly refresh this list to ensure these plug-ins are all freshly updated. An out-of-date plug-in may work with your recently updated WordPress installation, but it’s not guaranteed to do so. Every plug-in featured here has been updated within the past two months as of this writing. Many were updated last week.
Contact Form 7
Sometimes a site simply needs a solid contact form. You can add one to your WordPress-powered blog with this useful, customizable plug-in. Contact Form 7(Opens in a new window) supports Akismet and CAPTCHA spam filtering, too, so that you don’t have to deal with the bots and other shenanigans that plague the online space.
Elementor Website Builder
Elementor(Opens in a new window) offers numerous tools to make your WordPress site as robust and attractive as possible. Add video and image galleries. Integrate services, such as Google Maps and SoundCloud. Display your social media icons. Insert custom HTML code to further expand your site’s functionality.
Jetpack(Opens in a new window) is an official WordPress.com plug-in that gives your self-hosted WordPress blog a truckload of extra features. The plug-in serves up visitor stats, social media sharing options, and After The Deadline (a grammar and spell checker). Featuring design, marketing, performance, and security tools, Jetpack gets you started with a little bit of everything.
It’s pretty hard to build a website if you can’t even read what’s on your screen. Loco Translate(Opens in a new window) helps you edit WordPress translation files right in your browser. It integrates with existing automatic translation APIs from DeepL, Google, Microsoft, and other notable companies. Using Loco Translate, you can update and customize language files, and save them to a protected directory.
Redirection(Opens in a new window) is a plugin that lets you redirect links, track 404 (“page not found”) errors, and fix other link-based issues. The plug-in is incredibly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website or making changes to your site’s WordPress directory.
Want to add a forum to your WordPress setup? Simple:Press(Opens in a new window) lets you do just that. Don’t underestimate its capabilities; with Simple:Press, you can customize the forum with skins, create sub-forums, grant user rankings based on post numbers, and more.
The Events Calendar
You don’t want to miss important events, no matter if they’re offline or online. With the Events Calendar(Opens in a new window) plug-in, you can create and view events, coordinate with venues and fellow organizers, and publish your schedule for visitors to browse.
Because you put so much effort into building a website, the last thing you want to do is lose it. UpdraftPlus(Opens in a new window), lets you back up your WordPress site and files into cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Rest easy knowing you can restore your site whenever you want.
The internet can be a dangerous place. Wordfence Security(Opens in a new window) protects your WordPress site and keeps your visitors safe from malicious attacks. A strong firewall filters out known suspicious IP addresses, deeply integrated encryption thwarts data leaks, and multifactor authentication adds that last extra safeguard for your WordPress login. You owe it to your users to keep your site safe and sound.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the single most important thing for getting your website in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Millions of WordPress sites trust Yoast SEO(Opens in a new window) to offer all the insight they need to keep their SEO game on point. This tool analyzes your content for keywords, monitors your ranking, and helps you clean up your URLs. Premium users can even preview how their site appears on social media.