As creators of the best WordPress social sharing plugin we know a thing or two about what goes into a great WordPress Plugin. Here’s our hand-curated list of the best of the best.
WordPress has now surpassed 26% in worldwide market share. That is to say that more than 26% of all websites are now proudly powered by WordPress. The next closest content management systems aren’t even close to that number.
Suffice it to say that WordPress is incredibly popular. And one of the reasons it is so popular is because of the robust number of plugins for the system that allows webmasters to optimize and customize the system to do anything they need it to do.
There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins. Some are universal in nature in that they are useful for the vast majority of WordPress users. Others are very specific in nature in that they provide solutions to very specific use cases.
In this post, we’re highlighting a few of the best, most-loved, most-important WordPress plugins in existence. So without further ado, here’s the first plugin:
1: Best Caching Plugin – W3 Total Cache
Easy Performance Optimization using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and CDN support.
The speed at which pages on your site load is a huge factor both for SEO and for the user experience of your site’s visitors. If your site takes too long to load, your site visitors will leave before they even fully arrive.
The problem is that every page load on WordPress requires the system to run functions, hooks, and database calls. The pages aren’t just static HTML files ready to be handed to your visitors…that is, until now.
W3 Total Cache is the best WordPress plugin on the market for caching. This is the go-to caching plugin used by some of the biggest websites on the web.
Runner Up: WP Rocket is a great paid solution for a caching plugin. If you want minimal setup and instant results, WP Rocket is a great solution.
They’ve also got a great support team, and have high marks from several members of our own team who use it.
Where W3 Total Cache offers incredible versatility, it’s the simplicity that most people love about WP Rocket.
2: Best SEO Plugin – Yoast SEO
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast SEO is the undisputed world champion of all WordPress SEO plugins. The creators of this plugin have gone to extreme lengths to take all the complications out of SEO.
They provide step-by-step instructions on each facet of SEO including real-time feedback as you type into each field with colors and additional instructions that guide you right to where you need to be. This plugin analyzes your titles, descriptions, and content for length, keywords, and so much more.
This is the plugin that the professionals and experts use, and it’s the easiest, most intuitive plugin for novices as well.
Runner Up: All-in-one SEO is probably the second most popular WordPres SEO solution. With easy setup, and a solid track record, this might be a great alternative if Yoast seems like a bit too much.
3: Best Forms Plugins – Ninjas Forms
Manage forms easily with a simple drag and drop interface. Contact, subscription, or any other form for WordPress.
Ninja Forms offers intuitive and powerful form building. Even in its free version, you have everything you need to build beautiful and highly functional forms inside WordPress with a simple and straight-forward builder interface that any beginner can pick up in no time.
The level of customization of each form is also highly attractive to advanced users who want to create multiple complex forms with fine-tuned settings. And because it’s built to be developer-friendly, the growing number of add-ons makes it possible to do anything you can imagine with these forms.
Runner Up: Contact Form 7 is a staple in the WordPress community. It’s probably the most widely used of all WordPress forms plugins, and has been around for a very long time.
4: Best eCommerce Plugin: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a powerful, extendable eCommerce plugin that helps you sell anything. Beautifully.
Right out of the box, WooCommerce is by far the most robust eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Not only that, but there is also a huge collection of WooCommerce addons and specialized themes that have been created allowing WooCommerce to take care of anything you can possibly imagine.
This plugin makes it incredibly easy to get a shop setup with your products in it and to start selling fast. It can handle just about any payment gateway. It provides robust reporting options that allow you to see exactly how sales are performing at any given moment.
We began our business using WooCommerce here at Warfare Plugins, and we can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone who’s serious about conducting eCommerce on their website.
Runner Up: Easy Digital Downloads is the solution we changed to last year after much debate and consideration among our team. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that EDD had a much simpler and versitle setup for ecommerce shops who strictly have digital products.
We highly recommend checking out Easy Digital Downloads first if you plan on only selling digital goods.
5: Best Redirection Plugin – Redirection
Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirects and keep track of 404 errors without requiring knowledge of Apache.
Redirection is the go-to plugin for creating and managing 301 redirects across your site. It’s also incredibly terrific for personally branded affiliate links.
The plugin also tracks and logs 404 errors showing you which pages users have visited that don’t actually exist. You can then use that knowledge to create 301 redirects so that future visitors who land on those pages will be redirected to the appropriate post or page.
Redirection also automatically takes care of 301 redirects if you change the permalink of a post or page and even if you change the permalinks across your entire site.
6: Best Editorial Calendar Plugin – Co-Schedule
“This plugin connects to CoSchedule, a team content marketing editorial calendar. Send unlimited social messages with each post.”
Getting serious about your blog means you need a plan of attack. If you’re like me, it’s crucial to be able to visually map out and see what your plan is. It not only helps you stay on track, but it gives you an extra boost of motivation.
There is no better plugin for visually planning and coordinating your blog’s content than CoSchedule.
It not only allows you to visually manage your editorial calendar in a beautiful interface, but you can also do things like:
- Easily drag/drop blog posts and social media posts onto your calendar
- Add team members to collaborate with
- Assign and delegate tasks
- Collaborate with tools like Google Drive and Evernote
- Schedule posts to social media (even before the blog posts are published!)
- See your most popular posts and schedule them for social media promotion again
- Much more…
For anyone who wants to take their blog seriously with an editorial calendar strategy, CoSchedule is an indispensable tool.
Runner up: Editorial Calendar is a functional and free alternative if you’re just looking for a simple drag and drop calendar for your WordPress content. For many, CoSchedule may just be overkill but Editorial Calendar is just right.
7: Best Backup Plugin – Updraft Plus
Backup and restoration made easy. Complete manual or scheduled backups stored both on-site or off.
With the rise of website attacks taking place across the World Wide Web, it simply can’t be emphasized enough how important it is to have backups of your website in place. Updraft Plus takes care of this for you.
You can manually create backups of your complete website or you can schedule backups to be created at particular intervals. It even allows you to create off-site backups by storing the backups on Google Drive, Dropbox, or any of several other options. This means that if your site gets attacked, your backup won’t be touched.
Having your files and database backed up can allow you to restore your site after an attack in a matter of minutes so you can have peace of mind.
Updraft Plus is the best WordPress backup plugin on the market and currently sports over 600,000 active installs.
8: Best Security Plugin – Wordfence Security
Providing free enterprise-class WordPress security, protecting your website from hacks and malware.
Wordfence is a free, open-source security plugin for WordPress that provides enterprise-level security. It can scan your entire file system comparing files to the core WordPress repository including themes and plugins. This is excellent for detecting altered files which is almost always an indication of a hack or security breach.
It not only detects existing breaches, but it also works proactively to harden your WordPress from attacks.
9: Best Social Sharing Plugin – Social Warfare
Social Warfare allows you to have your content shared the way that you want it to be shared.
Social Warfare is our flagship product here at Warfare Plugins. You see, we couldn’t find a WordPress plugin that did everything that we needed a social sharing plugin to do so we decided to go ahead and create one ourselves.
Social Warfare allows you to set custom titles, descriptions and images that will be used when visitors share articles from your website. It even allows you to craft custom tweets and custom Pinterest images that will pre-populate the share boxes for your site visitors.
It’s easily the fastest social sharing plugin on the market. It has thousands of visual design combinations to choose from. It offers floating share buttons. It offers a popular posts widget that sort the posts by the number of shares. It offers tweet counts even though Twitter discontinued those counts. It offers in-article click-to-tweets calling users to share the article with stylish quotes.
10: Best Email Opt-in Plugin – OptinMonster
OptinMonster helps you grow your email list by converting visitors into subscribers and customers. Get more email subscribers now!
Popups sure are hotly debated. On one hand, a lot of folks sure do find them annoying. On the other hand, when used right, they double, triple, or even quadruple email subscriber opt-ins.
OptinMonster does all the heavy lifting for you making it easier than ever to create stylish popups that compel visitors to want to sign up to your email newsletter.
This plugin includes lots of customization options that allow you to create an opt-in that works for your site. You can create traditional popups, floating bars in the header or footer, forms that slide into view after the user has scrolled a certain distance, and more.
Runner up: PopupAlly is a great tool if you’re a beginner getting started with pop-up opt-in forms. You can get a good amount of functionality for free, and get your feet wet in the world of advanced lead capture.
11: Best Custom Fields Plugin – Advanced Custom Fields
Customize WordPress with powerful, professional and intuitive fields
Advanced Custom Fields allows you to take full control over the WordPress post editor screen, and it’s the ideal solution for custom data management. It makes it incredibly easy to create field groups, add your fields, and have it ready for data in a matter of minutes.
It comes with over 20 types of fields including text, textarea, checkbox, select, True/False, file, gallery, image, oEmbed, wysiwyg editor, color picker, date picker, Google maps, repeater fields, tabs, and relational fields.
Advanced Custom Fields is created for developers. Once the fields are in place, it has incredibly simple and intuitive functions for retrieving the field data and outputting it in your theme.
The bottom line is that if you enjoy working with custom fields or making customizations to your site’s themes, this is a must-have plugin!
12: Best Analytics Plugin – Monster Insights
Monster Insights allow you to connect your WordPress website with Google Analytics, so you can see how visitors find and use your website, so you can keep them coming back. Simply put, we show you the stats that matter.
Using Google Analytics to track crucial metrics for your blog is a given these days. There’s no such thing as having a website without installing Google Analytics.
In order to do this though, traditionally you would need to add a line of code to the header of your website or WordPress theme. That means if you ever change your WordPress theme, you’d need to remember to do that all over again. This is why we recommend Monster Insights–from the same people behind Optin Monster.
Since the plugin handles the Google Analytics integration, you only need to set it up once and even if you change themes, you don’t have to set it up again.
On top of that, it also allows you to add a few extra tracking parameters for events, downloads, and even which users should be ignored from tracking (like Administrators). It’s the perfect Analytics integration, and we don’t even have a runner-up for it.
Wrapping This Up
I hope you found at least a few plugins that will help you in your journey to creating a rock-solid, power-house WordPress powered site.
If there are any plugins that you think deserve to be on this list but were left out, please let us know in the comments below!