50 Best WordPress Plugins for 2018: A Sumo-Sized Guide

Bonus Material: Top Wordpress Plugins You Need NOW


44,000.

That's how many WordPress plugins have been released into the internet wilds.

With that many plugins, how do you know which are legit? And more importantly, how do you know which plugins you are missing out on?

There's a plugin for everything. And we’re bringing you the most comprehensive guide on the internet to the best WordPress plugins ever made crowdsourced from some of the most successful online entrepreneurs and bloggers we know.

But first, let's define exactly what a plugin is (and how they work with a WordPress website).

If you're already in the know, you can skip down to the best plugins on the web.

What is a WordPress Plugin, Anyway?

Plugins are apps for your WordPress website. WordPress will function on it's own, but you can make it do exactly what you want it to do with plugins:

  • Want to sell digital products on your blog? There's a plugin for that.
  • Want to make sure you never publish anything by accident again? There's a plugin for that.
  • Want to turn your shell of a WordPress theme into a thriving eCommerce store? There's a plugin for that.

But like I said, there are more than 44,000 WordPress plugins out there. And just like the apps in the App Store, there are a few that stand out from the rest.

So we crowdsourced and curated the best plugins out there -- no matter what you need.

Behold, the ultimate list of WordPress plugins to help you start, run, and grow your business, blog or ecommerce website.

Categorized: 

Don't run out and install every single one of these plugins right away. That could crash your website. 

Just install the top 10 plugins, and go through the categories to determine what you need after those are installed.

Click the button below to get the Essential Starter Pack of the top 10 WordPress plugins.

GET THE 10 ESSENTIAL PLUGINS

OK, it’s go time.

WordPress Plugins for List Building

If each email subscriber is worth even just $1 per month, a list of 1,000 email subscribers would earn you $1,000 per month.

Here are the best of the best WordPress plugins for list building.

404Page

Key Takeaway: 404Page allows you to create a custom 404Page for your website so you can capture emails from those "oopsies". Click here to get the 404Page plugin.

When somebody is navigating your website and ends up hitting a 404 page they'll usually bounce, never coming back.

That's why a 404 page is a great place to capture their email address.

Give your visitor the opportunity to opt-in to your email list with an opt-in offer directly on your 404 page with 404Page:

That way, you can continue to communicate with them even after they leave your website.

List Builder 

Key Takeaway: List Builder can help you rapidly grow your email list. Click here to install Sumo to get the List Builder app.

List Builder is an app within Sumo that not only helps you collect emails on your site, but also allows you to send autoresponder emails to the contacts you collect. 

It encompasses hugely popular apps like Welcome Mat, Click Triggers, List Builder pop-ups, and Smart Bar. Check it out:

1. Click Triggers: Many of our customers have reported seeing 30-60% conversion rates on their Click Triggers. Take a look at how Tim from Tar Productions used Click Triggers to create pop-ups that convert at 26 and 39%:

wordpress plugins results

Click Triggers allows you to make any HTML element bring up a pop-up, including a link, an image, and a button. The visitor is asking for the pop-up by clicking the element to bring it up. See how we’ve done this in our Power Words guide?

Because the visitor already took action on clicking the element, they’re likely to enter their email address. Studies (namely, the foot in the door study) prove it.

2. Pop-ups:  List Builder pop-ups allow you to set display rules so your pop-ups appear whenever you want them to (30 seconds after they land on your website? Only on specific pages?), or choose Smart Mode and let Sumo display your pop-up when your visitor goes to leave your website.

That, my friends, is called an “exit intent” pop-up.

3. Welcome Mat: Welcome Mat is Sumo's third best converting app, with a conversion rate of just over 1.75% (and that's accounting for people with poor conversion rates!). But Welcome Mat can also collect far more emails.

This is the plugin Jeff Goins, best selling author and owner of GoinsWriter.com was referring to when he gave us his favorite plugins:

Check out this Welcome Mat for our step-by-step guide to Kickstarter:

It converted over 20% of our visitors into email subscribers:

izzystyle list builder example

Welcome Mat is extra useful, because you can create a full blown landing page out of it, display a Welcome Mat only on specific pages (for example, if you're smart enough to create content upgrades!) and even create launch pages.

4. Scroll Box: Scroll box is a polite pop-up that allows you to capture email addresses from people who are already enjoying your content. 

Sumo is like 5 plugins in one awesome package. 

Simple Alert Boxes

Key Takeaway: Simple Alert Boxes allows you to include call to action boxes within your content to collect emails. Click here to get the Simple Alert Boxes plugin.

This isn't your traditional list building plugin, because it's not actually specifically for list building. In fact, you can use it for a ton of different functions. But by far the most clever way to use this plugin is to build your email list.

The plugin? Simple Alert Boxes.

It allows you to embed an alert box in your content using a shortcode. If you're not aware, an alert box is a colorful box that pops. Check out how this was done for a content upgrade on Noah Kagan's blog, OKDork.com:

Capture the emails of the people who are reading your content as they consume it by embedding your call to action directly in the body of the content.

KingSumo

Key Takeaway: KingSumo makes it stupid easy to grow your email list with viral giveaways. Click here to get the KingSumo plugin.

Giveaways are one of the best ways to build your list. 

Julien added over 2,000 emails to his list in just 3 days with a giveaway.

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That’s exactly what this plugin helps with.

KingSumo may not be your traditional list building plugin, but I’m including it under list building because it helps you grow your traffic and email list rapidly with giveaways.

organic page views

KingSumo is the most comprehensive giveaway WordPress plugin available, allowing you to easily set up, schedule, and manage giveaways.

WordPress Plugins for Search Engine Optimization

You want more traffic.

And the best, most sustainable way to get more traffic consistently is through search engine optimization. But SEO seems complicated, right?

So why not use a plugin or two to make SEO dead simple - even if you don't know anything about SEO?

Yoast SEO

Key Takeaway: Yoast makes it easy to have a fully SEO optimized WordPress site to help you rank at the top of Google. Click here to get the Yoast SEO plugin.

There are only five plugins in existence that have over one million active downloads and one thousand five star reviews. This is one of them.

The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is almost mandatory. It’s the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today on WordPress.

It takes all the SEO stuff you’d pay a developer thousands of dollars to implement on your site and gives it to you for free.

Yoast:

  • Shows you exactly how your page will look on search engines
  • Grades you on your optimization effort
  • Checks if you’re staying focused with your main keyword by checking your heading, title, URL, content and meta description.

There’s a ton of other nerdy SEO stuff that Yoast takes care of automatically, but all you need to know is this is a plugin you have to have on your site if you want more traffic.

Google XML Sitemaps

Key Takeaway: Google XML Sitemaps makes it easier for search engine crawlers to get information from your website so it’s easier to index your blog. Click here to get the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.

If you don’t download Yoast SEO because you don’t want to or you joined a cult that explicitly forbids it, you need to at least install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.

This plugin generates a special XML sitemap that helps search engines better index your site.

The more your site is indexed, the better your chances are of ranking on the first page of search engines.

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Sumo’s website has over 123,000 pages on it. You better believe we don’t make our own sitemaps. That’s ludicrous.

Grab the Google XML Sitemaps plugin so you don’t have to spend hours creating your own sitemap.

WordPress Plugins for Website Protection & Maintenance

It’s every website owner’s biggest nightmare:

Waking up one morning only to realize that your website has been hacked, or crashed, or is otherwise compromised.

Here are the best of the best WordPress plugins to protect and maintain your asset.

Rename WP Login

Key Takeaway: Rename WP Login makes your website more secure by changing your login to something more discreet. Click here to get the Rename WP Login plugin.

If somebody wanted to break into your website, they could be at your admin login page in five seconds flat.

So add an extra layer of security with Rename WP Login. Change your login from "wp-admin" to something a bit more discreet.

Rename WP Login can help you and your site stay that much more secure.

BackUpWordPress

Key Takeaway: BackUpWordPress makes it easy to automatically backup your entire website. Click here to get the BackUpWordPress plugin.

Imagine if your entire site was gone in the blink of an eye.

That's why the BackUpWordPress plugin comes in handy.

BackUpWordPress allows you to backup your website automatically on a schedule, so you don't have to think about it. You can have your backup files emailed to you, or just store them on your server.

headline testing

And if anything happens to your site? You can just restore the backup from the files BackUpWordPress generates for you.

There's no point in making backing up your site more complicated than it needs to be. Let BackUpWordPress worry about the day-to-day and give you peace of mind.

WP Limit Login Attempts

Key Takeaway: WP Limit Login Attempts protects your website from people trying to guess your account and password information. Click here to get the WP Limit Login Attempts plugin.

If you have somebody trying to break into your website by guessing passwords - or, in the more likely case that it's a bunch of bots attacking your website with automated password tries, you need Limit Login Attempts. 

It's a simple plugin that's really good at it's job - limiting login attempts.

You have full control over the settings, including how many times one IP address can attempt to login, how long it locks them out for if they surpass that, and comes equipped with Captcha verification (meaning you have yet another layer of protection against robots).

WP Super Cache

Key Takeaway: WP Super Cache speeds up your website which improves your visitor’s experience and also your site’s search rankings. Click here to get the WP Super Cache plugin.

With over 4 MILLION downloads and a rating of 4.2/5 stars, WP Super Cache is one of the most popular WordPress Plugins available.

WP Super Cache speeds up your website, and load speed is a major factor in SEO.

popup survey example

There have been many before & after tests showing this plugin speeding up websites by an entire 3 seconds.

Redirection

Key Takeaway: Redirection automatically redirects your visitors so they land on the right pages. Click here to get the Redirection plugin.

If you ever have to change the URL of your website, you would have to go into each article manually and update the hyperlinks.

Fortunately, you don’t have to with the Redirection WordPress Plugin. With just a few clicks, this plugin will automatically redirect visitors to the correct URL. 

It also keeps track of any 404 errors you have.

best wordpress plugins

So the next time you migrate pages from an old website, make sure you install Redirection to ensure your site’s traffic is flowing to the right pages.

WordPress Plugins for Stats and Analytics

Studies have shown that if you weigh yourself every day, you lose more weight.[*] 

Similarly, If you pay attention to your website’s stats, you’ll spend more time on the right activities to help it grow. You don’t have to go anywhere to gather those stats with these plugins.

JetPack by WordPress

Key Takeaway: Jetpack allows you to see your website stats right on your WordPress dashboard. Click here to get the Jetpack plugin.

Sometimes you want to just quickly see your stats without going anywhere. So you use Jetpack. 

Jetpack has a lot of functionality beyond stats, the best usage of it is to view your stats right on your WordPress dashboard. You don't even have to go anywhere:

Simple, straightforward WordPress stats for a quick view.

Sumo Analytics

Key Takeaway: Sumo Analytics makes it super easy to view how far your readers are getting down your page, what people are clicking on and exactly what your stats are. Click here to install Sumo to get the Google Analytics app.

There are a lot of individual analytics plugins out there, but only one that bundles 3 functionalities into one and is free to use, and that’s Sumo Analytics. 

Check it: 

1. Content Analytics: Knowing where your readers drop off can help you drastically increase your conversions by tweaking to your content to keep readers on the page, and placing calls to action above the average read rate. Content Analytics tracks how far your readers get down the page, presenting the information visually:

We recently noticed that the average read on one of our guides was only 13% - people were dropping right where we had an image.

We bumped the image down so it didn’t interrupt the reader’s flow so early on, and instantly increasing the read rate to around 23%.

Pro Tip: Use Content Analytics to track read rates on all of your content. Then, trigger a Scroll Box to appear before the average rate percentage for your content upgrades. Watch the email subscribers roll in. You’re welcome!

2. Heat Maps: Heat Maps helps you make sure that every element you’re putting in front of your visitors is pulling its weight, giving you a visual representation of the elements of your website people are clicking on.

login page example

The orange highlights means that people aren’t clicking on those elements, so I’d be smart to remove those elements from my homepage (and any other page!) to ensure I’m not overwhelming my visitors with choices.

3. Sumo Google Analytics: You could go all the way to Google Analytics to see your stats.

Or, you could use Sumo’s Google Analytics app. You can either see on-page stats like this: 

best wordpress plugins

Or you can get an overview of your site-wide analytics in your Sumo dashboard:

Without having to leave your site.

WordPress Plugins for A/B Testing and Marketing

We A/B tested a simple design change on our pop-up:

  1. Version A used a simple, minimalistic design called Default.

  2. Version B used the Refined template in List Builder.

ultimate category excluder options

Version B resulted in over 160% more conversions. 

And we wouldn’t have known this if we didn’t A/B test. Testing what your audience responds to can help you deliver what they want to see every time.

Here are a few plugins that will help you perform A/B tests and get to know your audience even better.

Sumo

Key Takeaway: Sumo A/B Testing will help you figure out which text, size, timing, colors and more will convert best on your site. Click here to install Sumo to A/B test your popups.

Welcome Mat, Scroll Box, List Builder and Smart Bar will allow you to A/B test your calls to action.

  • Aren’t sure whether your audience responds to blue or green buttons more? Test it.
  • Can’t figure out which content upgrade will perform better? Try both and see.
  • Want to see how movement on your background image affects conversions? Sure, why not.

Setting up your Sumo A/B test only takes a few minutes (here’s how). I was able to compare two versions of a popup, one with a moving background, and the other as a static image.

welcome mat how to

The results? The version with a moving background had a 14% conversion, whereas the other version had a 4% conversion.

Based on the valuable insights from the A/B test, we’ve re-designed many of our popups to include a moving background which has boosted our conversion rates.

Typeform Plugin

Key Takeaway: Typeform makes it easy to survey your visitors so you can learn more about your target audience. Click here to get the Typeform plugin.

One of the best ways to get to know your audience’s psychographics is through surveys.

This plugin allows you to create a survey with Typeform, and embed it directly onto a page on your website with a shortcode. 

Check out how HubSpot has done this with their Buyer Persona Generator to survey people about their buyer persona and then generate it for them:

sarah is amazing

To see how HubSpot gets people to fill out surveys like this to generate leads for their business, check out this HubSpot Growth Study

You can get your audience’s feedback quickly and easily without sending them off the page to a third party survey website with the Typeform plugin.

Boom!

WordPress Plugins for Design and User Experience

These plugins are excellent for giving your visitors a better user experience, decreasing page load time, and providing design that communicates a cohesive brand.

Custom Sidebars

Key Takeaway: Custom Sidebars allows you to display custom widget configurations on any page, post, category, post type, or archive page. Click here to get the Custom Sidebars plugin.

Let’s say you created a content upgrade. So you create a custom Welcome Mat and Scroll Box, setting your display rules so that they only show up on the content you’re upgrading.

You want to use your sidebar to get yet another call to action to get your content upgrade in front of your visitor. 

Custom Sidebars allows you to create custom sidebars (duh) for any piece of content or page, so you can make sure that your visitor is taking action only on what you want them to.

Check out how Jill and Josh from Screw the Nine to Five have done this on their sales funnel article:

If you’re interested in creating an automated sales funnel, and you land on the article, how likely would you be to subscribe for resources related to the article?

Pretty likely!

WP Performance Profiler

Key Takeaway: WP Performance Profiler shows you which WordPress plugins are slowing down your website. Click here to get the WP Performance Profiler plugin.

Alright, so you totally ignored my disclaimer at the beginning of this guide and went ahead to furiously install every.single.plugin I’ve mentioned so far.

GET THE 10 ESSENTIAL PLUGINS

Now your website is moving slower than the Sumos after a taco feast. So you’ve gotta disable those plugins that are putting the heaviest burden on your site. 

WP Performance Profiler will scan your website to show you which plugins are slowing it down.

prettylink example

It displays the average load speed in milliseconds. Since your site should load within just a few seconds, your plugins should all load within a couple seconds max

Weigh impact on the performance of your site against the functionality of the plugin. 

Disable and delete the plugins that aren’t worth the lag.

Ultimate Branding

Key Takeaway: Ultimate Branding replaces the generic WordPress logos with your own brand. Click here to get the Ultimate Branding plugin.

Ultimate Branding allows you to replace all of the WordPress branding on your dashboard with your own company branding.

For example, you can change your WordPress login from this generic one:

best wordpress plugins

To a customized login with your own brand elements:

social media sharing buttons

You can add your logo to your admin bar, replace any word or phrase that WordPress uses, and even change the color scheme on your dashboard.

This keeps your brand cohesive.

Widgets on Pages

Key Takeaway: Widgets On Pages makes it easy to add widgets/sidebars to your pages. Click here to get the Widgets On Pages plugin.

Widgets on Pages is a WordPress plugin that not only has the best name ever, but also allows you to...well, put a widget on a page or post. Directly from your editor:

So if there’s something you can put in your sidebar that you want to be able to put directly on a page, you can do that. 

Sweet!

WP User Avatar Plugin

Key Takeaway: WP User Avatar automatically displays your preferred profile image in the comments section. Click here to get the WP User Avatar plugin.

You know when somebody comments on a piece of content on your website, and they show up as a generic box in your comments section? Like this:

That’s because they don’t have their Gravatar set up, so WordPress relies on the default.

But the default is boring and generic. So use your own branding with WP User Avatar to change how that generic avatar appears in your comments section.

Say it with me, folks: brand cohesiveness.

Appointments+

Key Takeaway: Appointments+ allows you to accept, set and manage your bookings on your site. Click here to get the Appointments+ plugin.

There’s nothing worse than going back and forth trying to set an appointment during a time that works for both parties. This leads to a ton of frustration and a full inbox.

Appointments+ is a plugin by wpmudev that allows you to accept appointments directly from your WordPress website.

No more back and forth, and no more being interrupted by phone calls and emails to set appointments.

Ultimate Category Excluder

Key Takeaway: Ultimate Category Excluder allows you to quickly and easily exclude categories from your front page, archives, feeds, and search results. Click here to get the Ultimate Category Excluder plugin.

If you want to control which categories show up on your homepage, what content you publish is pushed to an RSS feed, and how everything appears in your archives, you can with Ultimate Category Excluder.

You can create categories for tutorials, reviews, or even content upgrades and exclude them from displaying on your homepage, in feeds, in search or in archives.

social media sharing

Key Takeaway: If you’re creating a content upgrade and don’t want to have to create a whole new email list in your email service provider to deliver the “asset” to your new subscribers as part of your autoresponder series, post it as content to WordPress and use Ultimate Category Excluder to exclude it from the main page, feeds, archives and search.

Then, do a Success Redirect within Sumo from whichever app you’re using for the content upgrade:

Boom! You have a content upgrade.

Relevanssi

Key Takeaway: Relevanssi replaces the default WordPress search bar with a more powerful and accurate search bar. Click here to get the Relevanssi plugin.

The built-in WordPress site search functionality sort of sucks. It sorts results by date, rather than relevance of the keyword you were searching for.

But Relevanssi? It replaces the WordPress search with a far more powerful search function, giving your users more relevant results (including comments and shortcodes) while searching your site.

how to write great content

It’s simple, and a set-it-and-forget-it type of plugin. Just install it on your site to make your user’s experience better.

Broken Link Checker

Key Takeaway: Broken Link Checker will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found. Click here to get the Broken Link Checker plugin.

Ever click on a link you highly anticipate, and been met with a page like this?

404’ed. You were on a road to nowhere. The link was broken.

Broken links are almost inevitable as pages move, content changes and the websites you’re linking out to change things up. So use Broken Link Checker to clean up all those broken links on your website.

Pretty Link

Key Takeaway: Pretty Link enables you to shorten links using your own domain name (as opposed to using tinyurl.com, bit.ly, or any other link shrinking service). Click here to get the Pretty Link plugin.

Pretty Link is a free plugin that allows you to create custom links without changing your link structure. This is another one of those plugins that should be mandatory on all websites.

Lewis Howes agrees:

I can make short, easy to remember URL links like http://lewishowes.com/book to redirect anywhere I want. This is super helpful to promote things like my books and podcast without the hassle of getting my developer to make special links for me.

And so does Pat Flynn:

It allows me to take long links with lots of characters and quickly create nice looking, short and trackable links that are easy to share and remember. This is handy for me, but also handy for those listening to my podcast or watching my videos who don't have access to a computer or pen and paper!

It's also handy for affiliate link management. Let's say you're an affiliate of Sumo. Maybe you've:

  • Written a review about Sumo
  • Referenced Sumo in 10-20 articles, content upgrades, podcasts episodes and pages
  • Mentioned Sumo on your "start here" and "resources" page
  • Sent an email to your list about Sumo.

And all of that has led to some healthy commissions. But what if Sumo decided to change their affiliate link structure? You'd have to spend hours to find every single instance where you used that link to change it to the new link.

Pretty Link helps prevent sticky situations like these.

Instead of linking out to external sources, you can create links that you use everywhere so that if anything changes, you can create a custom URL and just change it in the one spot.

Plus, this makes your links far easier to refer to and more memorable.

For example, here's my affiliate link for FreshBooks:

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See how messy it looks? But I used Pretty Link to make it far easier to refer to (and to manage):

The best part about Pretty Link is that the light version is 100% free.

SEO Smart Links

Key Takeaway: SEO Smart Links can automatically link keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with other relevant articles on your blog. Click here to get the SEO Smart Links plugin.

SEO Smart Links takes a lot off of your plate as a content creator by allowing you to automatically link keywords, phrases, or even sentences in your content based on parameters that you set.

So, say you’re an affiliate for FreshBooks. 

You can just install SEO Smart Links, and have this bad boy automatically link to “FreshBooks” “cloud accounting”, or any other keyword you want.

Pair this beast with Pretty Link and you’re on top of those affiliate links.

WordPress Plugins for Social Sharing

Social shares drives traffic, additional shares and of course that ever-desirable boost in social proof.

Plus, there are some sources that show that social shares boost search engine visibility.

So, how do you make sure your content is uber-shareable?

Sumo Social 

Key Takeaway: Sumo Social apps make it simple for your readers to share the images on your site and link back to you, driving more traffic and social proof. Click here to install Sumo to get the Share apps.

Social media sharing doesn’t start and stop at your visitors sharing your content. 

There are also other elements of your site for your visitors to share to give you that spike in traffic. Sumo’s social sharing apps are all-encompassing. Here’s what we’ve got: 

1. Share: Sumo creates the best share bar for increasing your social shares, social proof, and the visibility of your content. We’re on so many websites for a reason. Websites like Entrepreneur.com:

comment section example

And “Wait But Why”:

breakfast club gif

Plus hundreds of thousands of other websites. And it’s free. With Sumo Share, you can:

  • Control which pages and content your share buttons show up on (Protip: exclude shopping cart pages and any page where your primary call to action isn’t shares)
  • View clicks and stats specific just to mobile vs. desktop (Pro tip: pay attention to which types of content does the best on each medium)
  • Decide whether you display the share count for social proof - or set a minimum amount of shares before the number displays (Pro tip: set your minimum to 50)
  • Control which social media services show up on mobile versus desktop. For example, maybe your mobile users can share via WhatsApp, but you display Facebook mainly for desktop. Plus, it takes less than 30 seconds to install.

2. Highlighter: If you want more social shares on your content, you need to make it a no brainer to share it by almost doing the work for them. Sumo makes that easy with the Highlighter App.

Your visitors can simply highlight a sentence or portion of your content, and a box will appear to allow them to share it on Twitter of Facebook.

3. Image Sharer: When your audience shares your images (for example, on Pinterest), it can pay off big time. 

Pinterest was the second most popular social sharing platform on the most highly trafficked articles online

Get your readers to share your images by including share buttons on the image itself with Sumo Image Sharer. 

livefyre wordpress plugin

Click to Tweet

Key Takeaway: Click To Tweet allows you to easily create tweetable content for your readers. Click here to get the Click To Tweet plugin.

CoSchedule’s plugin Click to Tweet helps you encourage your audience to share your quotables on Twitter.

Click to Tweet includes a call to action by placing a link next to your quotable that says “Click to Tweet”:

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When the link is clicked, it brings up Twitter with a pre-populated Tweet:

manage WP plugin

Making it super simple for your visitors to press the “Tweet” button and share with their followers.

Yoast SEO for Social Media Cards

Key Takeaway: Yoast SEO makes your content show up exactly as you want it whenever someone links to it on social media. Click here to get the Yoast SEO plugin.

Sometimes content shares nicely on some social channels but not others. 

That’s usually because your Twitter card or meta data is faulty or not setup properly. Yoast SEO allows you to control the way your content and pages display on social media.

This also communicates with Google about your social profiles.

Because each social platform is different, and the audiences of each react to different things, this is a powerful way to control the way your content appears on social for each platform:

WordPress Plugins for Commenting and Discussion

There’s no better social proof than an active comments section.  So how can you make your comments section even more effective?

We’ve got your back.

Disqus

Key Takeaway: Disqus replaces the default WordPress comments section with a more powerful and secure plugin. Click here to get the Disqus plugin.

With 200,000+ downloads, Disqus is the go-to comment plugin. We even use them on this blog.

They make it easy for bloggers and readers to interact, notifying you anytime someone posts a comment, and allowing commenters to sign in via a social media profile or an easy signup process that keeps you on the page.

Plus, they have a slick image sharing widget so you can express your feelings through images and GIFs:

And like other social-based platforms, Disqus lets you upvote/downvote comments. You can then sort your comments based on most popular, newest or even oldest.

Akismet

Key Takeaway: Akismet prevents any spam in your comments section. Click here to get the Akismet plugin.

Well, Disqus was laughing at everyone else except Akismet. That’s because over one million people use Akismet. 

It was the first commenting plugin that offered advanced spam protection. Because no one likes getting these kinds of comments:

Yes, of course. Jackman’s starter mullet would make you doubt the character at first. Good point, rubber sheet.

The best way to explain Akismet is like this:

It’s one of the more secure ways to prevent spammers from hitting your site. 

It comes pre-installed because it’s still a great default starting point for any blogger.

Replyable

Key Takeaway: Replyable sends you emails every time you get a comment so you can reply straight from your inbox. Click here to get the Replyable plugin.

Replyable is a newer kid on the block, and they’re attempting to change the way we interact with content.

Everyone is using a mobile device more than any other device.[*] 

And more people check their mail on mobile than other devices, too.[*]

What Replyable does is it sends every new comment straight to a subscriber’s inbox, and you can reply straight to a comment through your inbox.

adding a new post in wordpress

Now commenting is as easy as hitting “Reply” from your inbox thanks to Replyable.

ManageWP

Key Takeaway: ManageWP lets you manage everything (comments, traffic, SEO, backup, and much more) in one dashboard. Click here to get the ManageWP plugin.

If you have more than one WordPress site, ManageWP is the plugin you’ve got to download.

Think about this: no more remembering login credentials for each site. With all your data on a single dashboard, all it takes is one click to perform plugin and theme updates on multiple websites.

Got comments? Everything is on one single list.

Or maybe you want to clean spam comments, table overhead or post revisions from all of your websites? It takes a single click with ManageWP.

Beacon

Key Takeaway: Beacon allows you to automatically convert blog posts into a beautiful marketing eBook in less than 2 minutes. Click here to get the Beacon plugin.

We stumbled across an extremely well-converting hack to create a content upgrade in 5 minutes:

Turning one of our massive guides into an ebook so readers could download it for keeps. Get a load of this conversion rate on our Welcome Mat for the ebook:

And how about this Click Trigger:

Ebook sound like a slog to create? You can do this in 5 minutes flat with the Beacon plugin.

Enticed? You should be.

It’s stupidly simple to create an ebook now. Give it a try with Beacon.

Visual Composer

Key Takeaway: Visual Composer allows you to design a professional looking website by just dragging and dropping elements into place. Click here to get the Visual Composer plugin.

Want to make a killer website but have no coding or web design skills?

You can do that with Visual Composer. 

autoplay podcast

Visual Composer lets you truly drag and drop your way to a full website.

All you do is select a grid layout, then drag your desired elements into that area. There are over 45 elements to choose from, meaning you’ll be able to build that site YOU always imagined with Visual Composer.

WP Markdown Editor

Key Takeaway: WP Markdown Editor makes it easy for you to turn your blog posts into code so it can be converted into HTML. Click here to get the WP Markdown Editor plugin.

Raise your hand if you’re a developer or coder that has to write for your own blog. 

If you didn’t raise your hand, move on to the next plugin. This’ll make no sense otherwise.

For those that stayed, it sucks writing code all day then having to switch to an unfamiliar WordPress editor to write your post.

It’d be easier if you could just write your posts in code, yeah? WP Markdown Editor lets you do that.

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This plugin replaces the traditional WYSIWYG WordPress editor (What You See Is What You Get) with a Markdown toolbar.

Thanks to the WP Markdown Editor, now all you have to worry about is actually writing the post. #progress

Simple Ads

Key Takeaway: Simple Ads makes it super easy for you to make passive income from your blog. You have total control of which pages and where in the page the ads show up on. Click here to get the Simple Ads plugin.

Simple Ads makes it super easy for you to place the ads exactly where you want them to be.

Want to show the ads to a wider audience to make more money? Simple, just have it set on your main page on the side so it’s not intrusive.

Not completely convinced about including ads? Start with just including ads on certain pages and at the end of the article. From there, you can slowly experiment with more ads until you find the perfect balance for your website.

WooCommerce Plugin

Key Takeaway: WooCommerce makes it super easy for you to sell anything by taking care of shipping, payment options, your storefront, and much more. Click here to get the WooCommerce plugin.

If you’re looking to sell multiple products or you have a lot of variations of one product, then the WooCommerce plugin is your ticket to some e-commerce success.

You can track every single item on your WordPress site and manage pricing, tax, checkouts and shipping all from this plugin.

With WooCommerce, you can sell both physical and digital goods in all shapes and sizes, offer product variations, multiple configurations, and instant downloads to shoppers, and even sell affiliate goods from online marketplaces.

WordPress Plugins for Online Courses

Online education is a great way to monetize your website or blog. 

But you don’t need to submit to Udemy, Lynda or any other existing course repository. You can create your own course with these WordPress plugins.

WP Courseware

Key Takeaway: WP Courseware lets you build and sell online courses straight from WordPress and it’s as easy as drag and drop. Click here to get the WP Courseware plugin.

WP Courseware makes online course-building 10x easier by providing a crazy easy way to structure your courses. 

Most course-based plugins handcuff you depending on your subscription level.

Not WP Courseware. You get unlimited quizzes, courses, modules, lessons, and surveys. 

And if it does get big, there’s no limit on how many students you take on, either. So if (read: WHEN) your course gets hundreds of students, you won’t have to worry about upgrading your service.

Wishlist

Key Takeaway: Wishlist makes it easy to protect your content with a membership style website. Click here to get the Wishlist plugin.

Courses take a ton of time and effort to produce. You’ll want compensation for all that time you put in. 

That means you’ll need to charge students to access restricted parts of your site. Wishlist is the plugin that can easily transform your site into a full-blown membership site. 

You can create membership levels, graduate and manage students, and easily accept payments with Wishlist. 

Most people forget this membership step. They create their course and distribute the link, hoping it stays secure in the hands of their students. Don’t make that mistake. Grab Wishlist and make sure your course is seen only by the people you choose.

Restrict Content Pro

Key Takeaway: Restrict Content Pro keeps your exclusive content locked away so only valued members can access it. Click here to get the Restrict Content Pro plugin.

Instead of gating your content altogether, Restrict Content Pro gives you the ability to show some of the content and gate the rest.

If a visitor wants to see the entirety of your course, they have to sign up.

But there’s much, much more to like about this plugin. They make it easy to create discount codes, pull reports, gather custom data on your members and accept payments with major integrations.

Give ‘em a taste with Restrict Content Pro. Then reel them in.

Zippy Courses

Key Takeaway: Zippy Courses makes it extremely easy to create and automate your online course. Click here to get the Zippy Courses plugin.

How would you like to put together a four module course with four lessons in each module in under 60 seconds?

You can with Zippy Courses.

It comes with everything you’d expect from a top course plugin: module/lesson creation, monitoring students in real time, universal passwords for all users, etc.

But it’s the content delivery that we love the most. Whether you’re selling an ebook, a small video course, or an in-depth 8 week long premium training course, you need to fine-tune how you deliver your content to your students.

You can choose what days your content opens up to students by scheduling the release date ahead of time. And since students can join at different times, you can start the automation once they sign up.

No more monitoring your computer every day. You can put your course on autopilot with Zippy Courses.

WordPress Plugins for Publishing and Content Creation

Other than dealing with those dolla dolla bills, content creation and management is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business or blog.

So anything to make your content-creation life a little easier, right?

These WordPress plugins save you time, organize your life, and save you from feeling like an idiot in front of the interwebz.

CoSchedule

Key Takeaway: CoSchedule is an editorial calendar for your blog and content marketing that keeps you insanely organized while saving you tons of time. Click here to get the CoSchedule plugin.

Content is not just the articles you press "publish" on. It's also the social media posts you create, the YouTube videos you make, and the podcast episodes you record. It includes the emails you send and even the questions you answer on Quora.

This plugin can help you organize all your content. It's not just an editorial calendar.

CoSchedule allows you to post directly to or schedule posts for Facebook (pages, groups, and profiles), Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr - and then organizes it into a beautiful calendar:

It tracks those social media posts to report stats, including when your audience is most active on social media so you can post when they’ll actually see them.

This is truly one of the most comprehensive WordPress content management tools out there, which is why it's a favorite of online biz pros like Pat Flynn:

This tool allows me and my entire team to be on the same page when it comes to our editorial calendar. It can even help you schedule your social media posts to promote your content ahead of time.

It’s a plugin you don’t want to live without.

WordPress Proofreading Settings

Key Takeaway: Enable the WordPress Proofreading settings to help you catch typos, and spelling/grammar mistakes.

Admittedly, this is not a plugin. It's a built-in functionality with WordPress that many people don't know about - and that's a shame.

Sort of like a built in version of Hemmingway or Grammarly, you can enable it in the settings within WordPress to edit not just your spelling like the traditional spellcheck, but also proofread for cliches, double negatives, hidden verbs and more.

The catch is that this isn't automatically enabled within WordPress..

To enable this function, you have to do it within your user profile. So head over to Users > Your Profile in your WordPress dashboard, and scroll down to Proofreading.

Be still, my writer’s heart.

Tick off every box you can - even the most experienced writer sometimes needs an extra safety.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Key Takeaway: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin displays pages, posts, and custom post types related to the current entry, introducing your readers to other relevant content on your site. Click here to get the Yet Another Related Posts plugin.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin is awesome. Why? To quote Mr. Chris Guillebeau of the Art of Nonconformity fame:

“Because it works!”

YARPP can help increase your pageviews, engagement and the time your visitors spend on your website.

Keep the momentum going by giving your readers some more reading material with this bad boy.

Publish Confirm

Key Takeaway: Publish Confirm helps you avoid publishing accidentally by having a permission box popup. Click here to get the Publish Confirm plugin.

Ever publish something accidentally? I have. It sucks. 

Fear not! Publish Confirm has your back.

True story: I totally accidentally published this because I didn’t have Publish Confirm.

When you press the “Publish” button, this plugin quickly asks you if you’re sure you want to make the post live.

Publish Confirm: Saving content creators from themselves.

User Role Editor

Key Takeaway: User Role Editor makes it easy for you to grant certain levels of access of your website to other people. Click here to get the User Role Editor plugin.

Frustratingly, WordPress’s user roles are inflexible. You either have to provide full administrative access, or they won’t have the capability necessary to do the work.

User Role Editor allows you to change the access levels for the users on your website for virtually every function just by checking off a few boxes.

You can create custom capabilities for certain users and create custom roles that aren’t already in WordPress.

Blubrry PowerPress

Key Takeaway: BluBrry PowerPress makes it easy to manage your podcasts straight from your WordPress dashboard. Click here to get the Blubrry PowerPress plugin.

50,000+ active installs. A 4.9 out of 5 stars rating.

There’s a reason the Blubrry PowerPress plugin is a top choice for podcasters using WordPress.

BluBrry allows you to control your information that is relayed to iTunes, SoundCloud and other podcasting services right from your WordPress dashboard.

You can also use Blubrry to publish your podcast episodes to your WordPress website.

Now, you could use the built in Blubrry functionality to display an audio player so your listeners can tune in directly from your site, but we recommend to use the next plugin for that.

Instead, use Blubrry PowerPress to communicate with the important players in the podcasting game.

Smart Podcast Player

Key Takeaway: Smart Podcast Player makes it easy to design and integrate your podcasts into your website. Click here to get the Smart Podcast Player plugin.

Blubrry has some decent capability to display your podcast episodes on your website. It does what it needs to do:

But why settle (see what I did there?!) for functional, when you can have something so much better?

Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income developed the awesome Smart Podcast Player after struggling to find a podcast player that was not only functional, but also looked nice, was mobile friendly, and gave listeners freedom to listen to his episodes at the speed they wanted.

This is hands down the best podcast plugin online, and is a necessity if you have a podcast or any audio on your site.

Venngage Infographics

Key Takeaway: Venngage Infographics makes it easy to create and embed infographics, charts and data visualizations into your WordPress site. Click here to get the Venngage Infographics plugin.

Infographics are a great way to bring new life into your old content.

But I get it. You think it’s a super time consuming process and you don’t have the budget to hire a designer.

With the Venngage Infographics plugin, you can create infographics, charts, and other data visuals. You can then embed the graphics right into your blog to make it look super fancy and impress your visitors.

Turn Your WordPress Website Into a Well Oiled Machine

There’s a reason why WordPress powers 26% of the entire internet.[*] 

It’s an incredibly versatile platform and the gigantic variety of plugins WordPress supports means that you can tailor it exactly to your needs - no matter what type of business you run.

And we just gave you over 57 of the BEST WordPress plugins available.

We literally listed and explained all of the top plugins to do pretty much anything you want to accomplish.

So you may be a little overwhelmed. Where do you start?

Fret not. We’ve got your back.

We’ve asked around and crowdsourced opinions on the essential starter pack of WordPress plugins. If you can only use 10 of the plugins in this guide, it should be these ones. Click the button below and get the starter pack.

GET THE 10 ESSENTIAL PLUGINS