A lot of efforts and resources go into creating a website that stands out. However, if your site still lacks appropriate design or necessary functionality, you are just shooting in the dark.
While WordPress is a profound and invincible platform, it is unable to do everything you want, which in fact, is a good thing because if it were able to do everything, all the webmasters would be stuck with the same thing.
Indeed, it itself comes with a lot of flexibility and features, there is still tons of functionality missing from the core CMS. Fortunately, it comes with an array of plugins to assist you fill in the missing pieces and extend the functionality of your site and set it apart from others.
These plugins offer every type of customization for webmasters, however, with more than 50,000 options, it is indeed difficult to choose the right plugin for your website.
So, here is a collection of free as well as premium WordPress plugins that are essential for business websites in 2016.
If you are all set to launch a website, then you must be looking forward to having comments on it from your target audience. However, not every comment you will receive would be valuable and genuine. You will encounter numerous spam comments. Therefore, Akismet is the first plugin you would need to keep comments spam at bay.
You probably wonder why you need to get rid of spam comments. Well, spam comments not only make it hard for the webmaster to distinguish between negative and positive feedback but also lower your chances of getting ranked higher in the search engines.
Akismet is one plugin that helps you distinguish between genuine and spam comments.
Additional features of Akismet:
- Automatically monitors all comments and filters out spam comments
- Provides a status history that allows you to see which comments were caught or cleared or marked as spam.
- Displays URLs in the comment body to disclose misleading or hidden links.
- Lets moderators check the number of approved comments for every user.
- Comes with a discard feature that lets you block the worst spam, save you disk space and accelerate your website.
Wordfence Security, as the name suggests, comes as a savior for your WordPress site since it averts all your data secure from the hackers and spammers. It is one of the most downloaded plugins that has been downloaded 15,853,942 times. It renders a profound server-side inspection of the complete source code. It accelerates your website’s speed after cleaning out all the malware. The plugin is available in both free as well as the premium version where the premium version comes with facilities such as Password Auditing, Scheduled Scans, and Country Blocking.
Additional features of Wordfence Security:
- Offers a real-time monitoring of all the traffic driving to your website including automated bots that usually comprise security threats
- Comes with Web Application Firewall which prevents your website from getting hacked by blocking attackers and identifying malicious traffic
- Real-time blocking of known attackers.
- Checks the strength of all user and admin passwords to enhance login security.
- Scans for signatures of over 44,000 known malware variants that are known security threats.
OptinMonster is one of the most popular conversion rate optimization plugins that enables you to change abandoning site traffic into email subscribers. If you are looking to improve your email list, OptinMonster is an essential WordPress plugin in 2016.
Additional features of OptinMonster:
- Comes with Drag and Drop OptinMonster Builder that enables you to build beautiful opt-in forms
- Equipped with Multiple form types such as sidebar forms, slide-ins, floating bars, lightbox popups and more
- Displays targeted messages on particular categories or pages to create a segmented and hyper-targeted email list
- Comes with A/B Split testing to test different content, headlines, and designs.
Google Analytics is a product of Google that is available for free and considered to be the most comprehensive website analytics tool in the global marketplace. In simpler words, it enables you to check where your traffic is coming from as well as their behavior.
As per data received by monitoring the website, you can optimize your website to increase your earnings.
Additional features of Google Analytics:
- Lets you track outbound links to determine where your audience is going
- Offers real-time statistics
- Allows you to monitor social media buttons
- Enables you to create custom campaign URLs to monitor the efficacy of link building campaigns
There are millions of hackers and spammers available out there who are constantly trying to get an access to your website. No matter what type of security you are using, you never know when your website is hacked. Therefore, it is always suggested to keep a backup of your website handy if in case something goes wrong.
Being a business owner, you can’t afford to lose your sensitive information in case of an attack on your host’s servers or hardware failure. Thus set up a backup plugin, BackupBuddy on your website to secure your website for hackers.
Additional features of BackupBuddy:
- Offers Scheduled Backups that allow you to automatic schedule backups.
- Offers Off-site Backups where it automatically sends your backups off-site to your email, an FTP server, BackupBuddy Stash, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and Rackspace Cloud.
- Comes with backup Non-WordPress Tables
- Lets you Choose which directories you do not want to include in your backup.
- Provides Email Notifications – Receive email notifications for the start and completion of backups
6. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is one of the most popular WordPress SEO plugins that enables you to optimize your website for different search engines.
Not only it assists in adding meta tags but also optimizes your website as a whole.
Additional features of Yoast SEO:
- Comes with page analysis option that checks simple things you are bound to forget
- Lets you see a snippet preview to improve your site for search engines
- Comes with the most advanced XML sitemaps functionality
- Lets you automatically add link to RSS feed pointing back to the original blog post
- Comes with inbuilt breadcrumbs functionality
Speed has become one of the most important factors that contribute to the success of your website. Faster loading sites rank higher on Google, which clearly indicates more traffic and more conversions.
W3 Total Cache enables you to offer cached and compressed files to your visitors. This automatically minimizes the load on your server and accelerates your site’s speed and performance.
The plugin is designed to improve the web page load speed for WordPress websites, which will enhance user experience.
Additional features of W3 Total Cache:
- Comes with Transparent content delivery network (CDN)
- Offers Mobile support
- Caching of posts and pages in memory or on disk or on CDN
- Caching of objects or database objects in memory or on disk
- Minification of posts and pages and feeds
Jetpack renders a suite of amazing features for your WordPress website including improved security, visitor engagement features, content tools, and improved site performance features.
The plugin also renders a responsive and lightweight mobile theme option, built for phones and tablets.
Additional features of JetPack:
- Comes with Traffic Growth & Insights that notifies you how many visits your site gets
- Offers utmost security that protect your website against unauthorized logins and brute force attacks
- Comes with image Performance tool that automatically optimizes and accelerate the images loading speed
- Comes with Centralized Management to manage menus and plugins, view improved site stats, and publish posts for all of your sites.
Google XML Sitemaps is a plugin that will automatically generate an XML sitemap for your website. As a matter of fact, adding an XML sitemap is vital for your website that helps search engines better index your site.
A sitemap helps web crawlers determine the structure of your website and get the results more effectively.
Additional features of Google XML Sitemaps:
- Notifies all primary search engines every time you add a post to your website
- Supports all types of WordPress produced custom URLs and pages
10. WP1 Slider
Slider has become a must have entity for any modern website. Working in WordPress platform, there are hundreds of options to create beautiful sliders in your website. Additionally, you can find plenty of awesome free WordPress slider plugins that work pretty amazingly.
Among all, WP1 Slider is a great choice for creating sliders FREE. It is probably the most feature-rich free WordPress slider plugin with premium like features. This responsive plugin is designed after years of experience as per the requirement of our users. With this wonderful plugin, you can easily add unlimited sliders on single or multiple pages or even in the widget area of your website and enhance its functionality. It allows you to customize slider box shadow options, pager setting, caption settings etc. It is a simple and user-friendly plugin.
Additional Features of WP1 Slider:
- Simple and easy user interface – beginner friendly plugin
- Offers four different caption layouts for each slider
- Ability to change the color of title, description, buttons and button hovers on slider image
- Ten different thumbnail pager layouts for each slider
- Allows to change the background color and active color of dot pager navigation on slider image.
WordPress Calls to Action is the simplest way to significantly improve your conversion rate. This plugin is one among those extensions that render you the capability of creating 100% w3c validated buttons. It gives you complete control on text color, text style, color, design and power to add rel no follow or do follow tags.
Additional features of Call to Action Buttons:
- Build Popups Calls to Actions for enhanced conversion rates
- Monitor conversion rates on your calls to action for steady optimization.
- Create beautiful calls to action on your WordPress site.
- Visual Editor to check modifications being made on the fly!
- Conveniently clone existing calls to action and run A/B Split tests on variations.
Monarch is developed and maintain by ElegantThemes, a well-known name in the themes and plugins service providers. This plugin renders completely modern options to display social sharing buttons on your website and improve the share count of your blog posts significantly.
Monarch offers aesthetically appealing buttons which can be placed strategically on your site to drive traffic from social media sites.
Additional features of Monarch:
- Supports more than 20 social networks to display on your website
- Lets you add sharing buttons to 5 different locations
- Comes with 6 automatic popups and fly-in triggers
- Boasts of a clean and customizable design
AccessPress Social Pro is an extremely useful premium social networking WordPress plugin that allows you to make your website Social media friendly. The plugin makes social sharing extremely easy while rendering social media stats on your WordPress website. AccessPress Social Pro also makes your web pages or blog posts social share-friendly with beautiful and visually stunning social share icons.
Additional features of AccessPress Social Pro:
- Comes with 15 Beautiful social shares inbuilt themes
- Offers 9 Beautiful sidebar themes for social share
- Supports 15 major social media platforms
- Is compatible with WooCommerce and BuddyPress
- Have 20 Social profiles available for social counter and 20 Beautiful counter themes
Ultimate Form Builder Lite is quickly becoming a popular choice for many WordPress users. This plugin is extremely simple to use and renders you all the essential features that you may need to develop contact forms, subscription forms, inquiry forms and more. It is basically a drag and drop page builder which allows you to build and customize multiple contact forms.
Additional features of Ultimate Form Builder Lite:
- Allows you to Build unlimited forms
- Enable you to choose from 5 beautiful form designs
- Has many fields
- Provides Form preview
- Is Fully responsive and user-friendly
15. WP Smush.it
Images are an important part of any website. However, they are also responsible for making a website slower. Thus, it’s really imperative for websites to optimize its images speed up the site and improve performance. WP Smush.it is a great plugin to do such a chore where you get to automatically optimize a bundle of images at once.
Additional features of WP Smush.it:
- Optimize your images with the help of advanced lossless compression techniques.
- Process JPEG, GIF and PNG image files.
- Automatically smush your attachments on upload.
- Smush all standard web-sized images 1MB or smaller.
- View advanced compression stats per-attachment and library totals.
The Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is yet another popular plugin to show a list of related posts, pages, and custom post types above or below the current post. The plugin improves your website’s bounce rate as well as conversion rate.
Additional features of Yet another Related Posts Plugin:
- Displays a list view or thumbnail view of related content.
- Offers a templating system which renders an advanced control of how your results are displayed.
- Comes with an advanced and versatile algorithm to find related content on your website.
- Allows you to show related posts in RSS feeds with custom display options.
The aforementioned list of plugins has been enlisted to help you grow your online business and increase conversion rates. We have tried to list as many categories as we could, however, the final call is yours. Prior selecting a plugin for your website, make certain you have researched well.
We would love to know your opinion on the same. Share your experience and opinion in the comments section below.
Mary Scott is a WordPress expert, associated with Stellen Infotech and has a lot of experience in WordPress Development. She has delivered numerous range of quality products related to this. She has a strong passion for writing useful and insights about WordPress tips and tricks.