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Whether you’re an online blogger in search of a wider audience, a budding entrepreneur looking to scale up a side hustle, or a business owner with designs on market domination, WordPress’s free open-source software comes with a multitude of benefits. It’s easy to install, simple to use, and incredibly adaptable, making it a fantastically-versatile foundation.
Whatever your ambition, though, you should aspire to get the most from WordPress, finding ways to ensure that your blog, ecommerce store or business website (whatever your WordPress site happens to be) is fully optimized for success in 2022. To that end, there are countless apps and plugins (50,000+ and counting!) designed to augment almost every feature and function of a WordPress site, from fundamental concerns to niche factors.
With a baffling amount of choice, though, it can be near-impossible to separate the best-in-class from the second-rate when it comes to the best plugins for your WordPress website. Read on for a run-down of the 10 best plugins available right now, covering the most important aspects of any successful website.
Best for eCommerce: WooCommerce
If you’re running an online store, it goes without saying that you’ll need a robust and high-performance eCommerce platform to manage essential elements such as storefront creation, product listing, and order processing. WooCommerce is a fully customisable and free WordPress-based eCommerce platform, so a WooCommerce integration is a no-brainer for any eCommerce business already using WordPress.
With the WooCommerce plugin, you can access and manage all data (products, orders, reports and more) via an integrated dashboard, so you can oversee all aspects of your online store from one central hub. What’s more, you can easily update and refine your store’s design with access to thousands of store-appropriate WordPress themes.
Best for Hosting: Cloudways WordPress Migrator
This app creates a seamless automation between WordPress and Cloudways, a fully-optimized cloud hosting service. Offering best-in-class managed cloud hosting, Cloudways helps businesses unlock their full potential by taking care of all hosting-related issues so they can focus on building and optimizing their websites.
With the Cloudways WordPress Migrator tool, there’s no need for an in-house technical team to manage the complex process of migrating your website(s) to the Cloudways cloud platform, saving you precious time and allowing your team(s) to effectively prioritize mission-critical projects pertaining to design, development, and even sales.
Best for Analytics: MonsterInsights
Regardless of the nature of your website, you surely want to mine its full potential, and analytics give you the insight you need to make that happen. And if you want to stay on top of your KPIs so you can react accordingly, it’s important that your WordPress site has a powerful analytics integration so you can measure interaction, engagement and performance in real time.
MonsterInsights integrates with Google Analytics to pull up-to-the-minute data directly into your WordPress dashboard, allowing you to closely track performance goals and actionable insights. The GDPR-friendly plugin offers enhanced eCommerce tracking for WooCommerce, detailed page-level analytics, affiliate link and ads tracking, and seamless integration with other plugins and apps.
Best for SEO: Yoast
An effective SEO strategy is essential for any website owner looking to increase visibility, boost rankings and build traffic to their site or online store, but SEO is about more than just keywords. It’s also about building trust, establishing authority and providing a better overall user experience.
Yoast SEO has been helping websites rank higher in search engines since 2008, using an all-in-one solution to manage every aspect of on and off-site SEO. The most widely used SEO plugin for WordPress, it offers advanced XML sitemaps to help Google understand your site structure, automated technical SEO updates, title and meta description templates for consistent branding and many more features besides.
Best for Social Media: Smash Balloon
Online businesses are increasingly leveraging the power of social media to connect with users, build their brand profile and circulate share-worthy content. A great way to boost engagement and ‘social proof’ your website or store is to host content uploaded to your social media platforms directly on your site.
Used by brands such as Coca-Cola and Indeed, the Smash Balloon plugin pulls in feeds from all major social platforms, allowing users to seamlessly display relevant Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube content on their websites. The feeds are fully customisable so you can match the design to your brand, with optimized page speed for minimal load times.
Best for Email: Mailchimp
It’s no coincidence that many online retailers are willing to offer generous discounts in exchange for ‘opt-ins’ to their subscriber databases, as email marketing is still an important and powerful element in any online marketing strategy. Building subscribers and serving them relevant, read-worthy content remains an effective way of building engagement and customer loyalty.
The Mailchimp plugin for WordPress allows you to create user-friendly, mobile-optimized signup forms for enticing new subscribers and build attractive, engaging email content using a multitude of tools and templates. What’s more, its customer journey builder helps deliver personalized experiences based on the way your users interact with your site, driving engagement and helping to build meaningful relationships.
Best for CRM: HubSpot
A dynamic CRM (customer relationship management) strategy helps businesses build relationships with their customers which, over time, can aid in building loyalty and driving customer retention: key qualities that are essential to the success of any online business.
Built natively into WordPress, the HubSpot plugin is a powerful all-in-one tool encompassing CRM, free forms, live chat, email marketing and analytics. The CRM and contact management aspects allow your website forms to automatically sync with HubSpot CRM to easily manage your contacts, segment them into lists, and measure their interactions with your site, enabling you to create more personalized experiences and drive engagement.
Best for Live Chat: LiveChat
Increasingly, online businesses large and small are turning to live chat solutions to instantly connect users with service agents, resolve quick-fix issues and enhance the customer experience. And though it might not win any prizes in the imaginative name stakes, the LiveChat plugin makes this possible with its simple chat box solution, allowing businesses to respond to queries quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
With LiveChat, your customer service team can manage all conversations from a single dashboard (even if you have LiveChat set up on multiple sites) making it even easier to keep on top of customer comms at all hours of the day, while the easily accessible on-site chat box can be opened with a single click, enabling effortless, instant interaction for users.
Best for Search: Ivory Search
According to research, prospects who use a website’s search function are up to 4 times more likely to convert than those who don’t, so an optimized onsite search experience should be high on your agenda if you want to drive engagement, conversion and revenue on your site.
The Ivory Search plugin improves content visibility by allowing you to fully configure the search functionality of your WordPress site, firstly by creating an unlimited number of search forms and displaying them anywhere within the customer journey. You can then fully customize the ordering of search results and maintain total control over which content can and cannot be accessed via search.
Best for Online Security: Wordfence
One aspect of your website that absolutely cannot be overlooked is security. For eCommerce sites particularly, it’s critical to maintain the trust of customers and protect the integrity of your brand by ensuring your website is a safe and secure environment, from the safeguarding of customer data to the prevention of fraudulent transactions.
Wordfence is a comprehensive security solution for WordPress sites. With a global team of security analysts, researchers, software engineers and support staff, Wordfence offers 24/7 incident management with a 1-hour response time for critical security breaches. In addition, the plugin includes secure login controls, two-factor authentication, malware scanning and security firewalls to ensure your site is fully protected from outside threats.
If you are a WordPress user and you want to take full advantage of all the functions and features it has to offer, these invaluable solutions can help you unlock the untapped potential of your website or eCommerce store. And whilst there are (literally) thousands of plugins available right now (from free tools to premium subscription packages), these tried-and-tested options will go a long way toward ensuring your site is fully optimized