9 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Your Business Website

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9 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Your Business Website

by | Apr 10, 2020 | Website

Installing the right combination of WordPress plugins and tools on the backend of your website can dramatically help improve the functionality, look and feel, efficiency, and search engine optimization of your site for both you and your viewers.

One of the reasons WordPress is the most popular website builder in the world is because it’s flexible and extensible. The vast array of WordPress themes and plugins allow users to build websites for any industry with pretty much any functionality.

However, with more than 55,000 plugins available, the plugin library can be daunting for even the most experienced WordPress creators.

How do I choose a plugin?

Once you decide on what functionality you need from a plugin, the first rule of thumb we use when deciding on which plugin to use is how many active installations it has. If the plugin has 1+ million active installations then it’s probably safe to use. If the plugin has less than 100,000, we urge caution. That’s not to say plugins with less than 100,000 installations should never be used; in fact, we have made recommendations to use plugins with as few as 300 installations, but typically, the more people who use the plugin, the more you can trust it.

Additionally, you should check if the plugin is compatible with the most up-to-date version of WordPress, and when the last update was made to the plugin itself. WordPress.org does a nice job of letting you know if the plugin creator seems to have stopped supporting the plugin which means there are certainly security vulnerabilities and the plugin might not be compatible with future WordPress core updates.

What are some must have WordPress plugins?

There are several WordPress plugins we recommend no matter what industry your business is in. These plugins will help with your SEO, security, caching, lead generation, and more.

1. UpdraftPlus

The UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin is an easy to use plugin that simplifies the backup and restoration of your WordPress files and databases. Set up of the free version takes about 3 minutes and allows you to schedule hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly backups which save directly to the cloud via Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, FTP, email, and more.

Website hosting providers like DreamHost and GoDaddy often offer automatic backups of your website – which have saved us more than once – but even the most secure websites have vulnerabilities such as server crashes, security flaws, and faulty plugin and theme updates. With the hefty investment you made in designing and developing your website, it’s a no brainer to “belt and suspenders” your WordPress backups with just a few easy clicks using UpdraftPlus.

Price: Free, with premium upgrade options

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/updraftplus/

Alternative: BackupBuddy

2. Wordfence Security

An endpoint firewall, malware scanner, two-factor authentication, and email notifications put Wordfence at the top of my list of WordPress security plugins. The Wordfence Threat Defense Feed provides you with the most up-to-date firewall rules, malware signatures, and malicious IP addresses it needs to keep your website safe. The firewall helps prevent brute force attacks, and you can customize how you want to lock out suspicious users. The malware scanner checks core files, themes, and plugins for malware, as well as checking for bad URLs, backdoors, SEO spam, malicious redirects, and code injections.

Previously, two-factor authentication (2FA) was only available with the premium version of Wordfence, but now you can require your site administrators to enable 2FA using the free version of Wordfence, while giving other user roles the ability to turn on two-factor authentication if they choose to.

Price: Free, with premium upgrade options

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/

Alternative: Sucuri

3. Yoast SEO

With more than 5 million active installs, Yoast SEO has become the standard in WordPress search engine optimization plugins. Yoast allows you to set default title and meta descriptions for your website, while offering you complete customization of those titles and descriptions on every page and post on your website. Yoast allows features a state-of-the-art schema implementation and extremely advanced XML sitemaps functionality, which helps search engines make better sense of your website and increases the opportunity to boost your website to the top of the results pages on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other popular search engines.

Yoast SEO also allows you to customize your title and featured image for different social media platforms, giving you the ultimate flexibility on how you share your content with your community.

Price: Free, with premium upgrade options

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

Alternative: All in One SEO Pack

4. Insert Headers and Footers

Insert Headers and Footers is an extremely simple plugin created by Syed Balkhi and the WPBeginner team, which happens to be my favorite WordPress resource. This plugin allows you to insert code, like Google Analytics, custom CSS, Facebook Pixel, and more, into the header and footer of your WordPress website. There’s not much more to it than that. By inserting the code via this plugin, you avoid needing to make edits to your theme files, which can cause potential headaches when you go to update those theme files down the road.

Price: Free

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/insert-headers-and-footers/

Alternative: Header and Footer Scripts

5. WP Mail SMTP

If you use different hosting and email services (for example, you use GoDaddy to host your website and GMail for email), you will probably run into issues with your WordPress website not sending emails. Not to worry, WP Mail SMTP is here to help. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is an industry standard for sending emails which helps increase email deliverability through authentication. Most popular email clients are constantly battling email spammers, so proper SMTP configuration helps authenticate that emails are originating from where they claim to be originating from.

The WP Mail SMTP plugin includes different SMTP set-up options through Pepipost, Sendinblue, Gmail, and more, and the pro version allows SMTP set-up through Amazon and Microsoft. In our experience, it’s not the most straightforward set up, but it allows us to send and receive emails from our WordPress website directly to our Gmail inbox.

Price: Free, with premium upgrade options

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-mail-smtp/

Alternative: Post SMTP Mailer/Email Log

6. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is the most popular contact form plugin on the market. It’s extremely basic with no bells and whistles, but in almost every circumstance, it gets the job done. You set up your contact forms in the WordPress backend then use shortcodes to embed them anywhere on your website. You can require certain fields, customize the layout through HTML and design through CSS, and get emails with attachments delivered directly to your inbox. You can also send confirmation emails to your website visitors who fill out the form.

There are more visually appealing drag and drop contact form builders on the market, but when it gets down to it CF7 is all you really need.

Price: Free

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/

Alternative: WPForms

7. Divi Builder

We’ve used a bunch of different website page builders over the years, and now we use Divi Builder almost exclusively. Divi Builder is relatively easy to learn, allows complete customization of your entire website from page layout to CSS to contact forms to eCommerce and more. The Elegant Themes team makes constant improvements to its products, and Divi Builder has improved vastly—from an already great page builder to the absolute best—over the last two years. The Divi theme allows you to set global styles across your entire website, while Divi Builder gives you the flexibility to make module specific modifications to best support the look, feel, functionality, and user experience of your website. Divi Builder also allows you to download and re-upload .json files of pages making changing hosts extremely doable without the support of a third-party website provider.

Price: $89/year or $249 lifetime membership, includes unlimited access to and use of all Elegant Themes themes and plugins

Where to Download: https://www.elegantthemes.com/join/

Alternative: Beaver Builder

8. WP Super Cache

Some WordPress hosts, like GoDaddy, won’t allow you to install caching plugins, but if you can, WP Super Cache is a must. Created by the developers of WordPress itself, this plugin generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress website, then serves that static HTML file instead of processing the WordPress PHP scripts, making your page load noticeably faster.

Most of your website visitors will be served a cached version of your website, but WP Super Cache goes a step further and serves custom cached files to users who have taken certain actions on your website to enhance their user experience.

Price: Free

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-super-cache/

Alternative: WP Rocket

9. MonsterInsights

The Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights takes the hassle out of connecting Google Analytics to your website, and makes it easy to view your high-level Google Analytics on your WordPress dashboard at just a glance. The MonsterInsights dashboard shows you the website metrics that matter, making it easier for you to make data-driven decisions to grow your business.

Price: Free, with premium upgrade options

Where to Download: https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/

Alternative: Google Analytics Dashboard for WP by ExactMetrics

Do I need all these plugins?

Not every WordPress sites will need all these plugins, but it’s a pretty good idea to make sure you can easily customize the functionality, SEO, security, caching, and lead generation on your website, and these plugins make those tasks a whole lot easier.

Do you have any recommendations for must-have WordPress plugins?