11 Must Have WordPress Plugins For 2023

Must have WordPress plugins

Ah, the dreaded WordPress plugin search. We’ve all been there: scrolling through hundreds of options, trying to find that perfect combination of features and usability to make your website run like a well-oiled machine.

Well, if you’re looking for some help narrowing down your choices, look no further!

It’s hard to believe we’re already at WordPress’ 20th anniversary with no signs of slowing down.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we thought it would be fun to reflect on some of the most popular and must-have plugins that have kept us going year after year.

These essential plugins will take your WordPress site to new heights from SEO to security and beyond!

So, break out the cake and get ready for a trip down memory lane as we remember some of the best WordPress plugins ever created.

Without them, our sites would never have become so powerful and efficient.

But enough reminiscing – let’s start exploring what makes these must-have plugins so special.

What Are the Top Must-Have WordPress Plugins?

Here are our top 11 must-have WordPress plugins you should install on your website.

1. Elementor Page Builder.

Elementor | Must have wordpress plugins

Elementor Page Builder is a must-have plugin for creating beautiful WordPress websites without having to write any code.

One of the great things about this plugin is its customization level. You have over 200+ pre-made page templates and 90+ widget options, and the Elementor theme builder allows you to customize your site’s look and feel from scratch.

Elementor’s drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to build pages even if you’re not tech-savvy. The widgets are super versatile and make it easy to create any layout you can imagine.

You can also add your custom CSS if desired, making Elementor an incredibly powerful tool for web professionals as well.

If you’re starting out, the free version of Elementor offers plenty of features for customizing content, plus access to several helpful tutorials.

But if you want more advanced features, the premium version includes many extras, such as WooCommerce integration, Theme Builder support, and more.

Key Features of Elementor:

  • Responsive design: Design your pages for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices with responsive design tools.
  • No coding required: Create pages with no coding skills necessary.
  • Templates & widgets: Use pre-made templates or your own custom widgets to enhance your content.
  • Animations & Effects: Add animations and effects to make your content stand out.
  • Forms & Surveys: Create forms and surveys to capture data from visitors.
  • Custom CSS: Add custom CSS for advanced customization.
  • WooCommerce integration: Integrate your WordPress site with the popular ecommerce platform WooCommerce.
  • Theme Builder support: Use the Elementor theme builder to create a custom look and feel for your website.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Responsive design
  • No coding is required
  • Lots of templates and widgets are available
  • You can create your pages or use templates
  • Some users have reported glitches with the plugin
  • Too simple for some users’ needs

Cons:

  • Some users have reported glitches with the plugin
  • It may be too simple for a beginner’s needs

2. Wp Rocket.

Wp Rocket

WP Rocket is undoubtedly the top performance-enhancing plugin that instantly improves your site’s speed and performance and comes with a free image optimizer- Imagify.

The plugin’s user interface is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Even if you are not a tech genius or have no prior knowledge of WordPress caching plugins, you can still get up and running in under five minutes.

That’s right- you just need to install the plugin, activate it, and your website will perform like never before.

Unlike most other caching plugins on the market today, WP Rocket does not require additional setup or coding changes. It works out of the box – just as advertised by its French founders.

WP Rocket comes with minification options for HTML/CSS/JavaScript files; lazy loading for images; database optimization tools; Cloudflare integration; GZIP compression; CDN support; DNS prefetching; Browser caching, and many more.

And if that wasn’t enough, WP Rocket also provides detailed documentation on how to further maximize your site’s performance through advanced techniques such as setting up server-level page caching, using Varnish with Nginx servers, etc.

In fact, users have reported seeing up to 200% improvement in their page load speed after configuring WP Rocket according to their needs.

Now let’s talk about pricing – WP Rocket starts at $49 per year, but if you want access to all its features, you can opt for the Plus plan, which costs $99 per year.

Key Features of WP Rocket:

  • Lazy-load images: Reduce page size and strain on your server by lazy-loading images when needed.
  • Defer loading of JavaScript: Avoid conflicts between your plugins and scripts by deferring the loading of JavaScript files.
  • Preloading the cache: Ensure that pages are ready for visitors to access quickly by preloading the entire cache.
  • Decreasing bandwidth: Minimize strain on your server with decreased bandwidth usage.
  • CDN support: Support for Cloudflare, Amazon S3, and other CDN services.
  • GZIP compression: Compress scripts and files to reduce data transfer time.
  • Database optimization tools: Clean up redundant data and optimize your site for speed.
  • Multisite compatibility: Manage multiple WordPress websites with a single license of WP Rocket.

Pros:

  • Constant updates
  • It makes your website faster
  • 14 days refunds are offered
  • Easy user interface
  • Great support, tutorials, and plugin documentation

Cons:

  • Lazy loading of images can slow down your website if not used correctly.
  • Deferring the loading of JavaScript can also slow down your website if not used correctly.

3. Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO - must have WordPress plugin

If you don’t want to spend hours and hours of your precious time trying to figure out the ins and outs of SEO, then I’ve got a solution for you:

Yoast SEO.

This amazing plugin is designed to make on-page SEO easier than ever, so you can get on with the fun stuff like building content and growing your audience.

Let’s start with the basics: how does it work? Well, Yoast SEO uses a traffic-light system to show you where improvements can be made on the page.

Green means all good, yellow means some improvements are needed, and red means a major issue needs tackling. So, it’s easy to see what needs improving quickly.

The free version of Yoast is more than enough to help you do all the basic stuff right when it comes to optimizing your site or blog posts. If you need extra hands-on help with your SEO efforts, they also have a premium version of Yoast, which gives you access to even more tools and features.

Yoast SEO also provides helpful templates for titles and meta descriptions – so say goodbye to having to search around for ideas.

It also offers content analysis tools that help identify readability issues and keyword optimization – both crucial aspects of successful SEO.

On top of this, it helps with tactical elements, such as creating an XML sitemap or setting up specific content types within WordPress.

Key Features of Yoast SEO:

  • Keyword rank tracking: Receive notifications of how your keywords rank in search engine results.
  • Paragraph structure: Automatically checks the length and structure of your paragraphs to ensure readability.
  • Creates XML sitemaps: Builds an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl your site more effectively.
  • Link suggestions: Helps you create effective internal and external links to enhance your SEO further.
  • Meta Descriptions: Checks meta descriptions for you which helps search engines understand the content of your page more accurately
  • Permalink Cleanups: Automatically checks for any broken or outdated permalinks so that you can fix them before they cause problems with indexing on search engine results pages.

Pros:

  • Very user-friendly
  • Feedback on how well your website is optimized
  • Great SEO tool for Writing Amazing Website Content
  • And robots.txt files

Cons:

  • Displays ads in the backend
  • The free version is limited

4. Constant Contact Forms.

Constant Contact Forms

If you’re looking for a simple and quick way to stay connected and keep your customers up to date on the latest news, then the Constant Contact Forms is the plugin you need.

This amazing plugin has everything you need to quickly create custom newsletter signup forms that are attractive and perfectly tailored to meet your individual needs.

With its drag and drop page builder, building a signup form takes just seconds – no coding required. Its customization options include adding images, adjusting colors and fonts, design background visuals; the possibilities are endless.

The plugin integrates with your Constant Contact lists directly into your WordPress account.

A WordPress admin can even set up the server to use the signup notification feature, so you never miss out on a single customer.

The convenience of this plugin is hard to beat. By adding it to your site, you can save time by not having to manually input data from visitors who have signed up for your newsletter.

But don’t just take my word for it – try it out yourself. Downloading and installing the plugin is a breeze, so there’s no excuse not to give it a go. Whether you need a simple opt-in box, or an advanced newsletter signup form tailored to your needs, Constant Contact Forms ensures that everything runs smoothly and efficiently while staying true to its name: constant contact!

Key Features of Constant Contact Forms:

  • Easy signup form: Design stunning signup forms in just a few clicks.
  • Pop-up forms: Display multiple forms on your website as pop-ups.
  • Mobile optimized: Perfectly formatted for mobile devices, so customers can join your list even while on the go.
  • Beautiful templates: Comes with an array of attractive and professionally designed templates to choose from
  • Generate leads: Gather information about your customers as they sign up so that you can create more targeted campaigns in the future.

Pros:

  • Brief and easy to install and set up
  • Mobile-friendly and optimized for smartphones
  • Generates leads with ease
  • Automatically syncs with your Constant Contact
  • Import Constant Contact forms from existing Constant Contact account

Cons:

  • Limited automation
  • Difficult to cancel accounts

5. MonsterInsights.

Must have WordPress plugins

MonsterInsights is a must have WordPress plugin if you want to get better insights into your website’s performance.

With a whopping three million websites already using it to track their data, MonsterInsights is quickly becoming one of the most popular analytics plugins out there.

But what exactly does MonsterInsights offer?

This plugin is super versatile, allowing you to customize and manage your Google Analytics website-tracking services directly from your WordPress dashboard.

You can view all the basic statistics, such as sessions and bounce rate. It offers more advanced features such as tracking outbound links, internal links, and downloads to let you do an in-depth review of your website’s performance over time and truly optimize for success.

MonsterInsights makes it easy to keep track of things like pageviews so that you can see how much traffic each post or page gets in real-time. You can also use the powerful dashboard widget to monitor stats such as top posts and pages, top source of referrals, search engine queries bringing visitors to your site, number of visits by device type (desktop/mobile), and more.

It even helps you identify which countries are sending you visitors so that you can increase traffic from those areas. If you have an ecommerce store with WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads installed on your site, MonsterInsights will track sales data too.

In other words, MonsterInsights is the ultimate tool for anyone who wants to take their website analytics game up a notch.

So, if you’re serious about improving user experience and optimizing content for success – step away from Excel spreadsheets and give this amazing plugin a try! We guarantee it won’t disappoint – after all, three million people already swear by its awesome features.

Key Features of MonsterInsights:

  • Real-time Stats: Get a full view of your website’s performance with up-to-the-minute stats
  • Google Universal Analytics & GA4 Integration: Connect your site with Google Analytics in just a few clicks
  • GDPR Compliance: Ensure that your data is safe and secure with full GDPR compliance
  • Ecommerce Tracking: Track sales and conversions from WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, etc.
  • Custom Dimensions & Events Tracking: Track custom events such as downloads, outbound links, etc.
  • AdSense & Ads Tracking: Track your ads to see which are performing best.

Pros:

  • Easy setup wizard
  • Comprehensive dashboard with a wealth of analytics and insights
  • Insights on link building
  • Easy Analytics Set Up
  • Saves time on viewing reports
  • Advanced tracking helps you understand your audience

Cons:

  • MonsterInsights free version is limited to a few features
  • The paid version is expensive

6. WooCommerce.

Must have WordPress plugins | WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a truly revolutionary WordPress plugin for online store owners. It’s the perfect combination of ease of use and powerful features, allowing users to create amazing eCommerce stores without any coding knowledge.

The setup process is incredibly simple: just like with other WordPress plugins, you download and install it from the official WordPress repository and then follow the quick setup wizard. This makes it easy to get up and running with WooCommerce in no time.

With WooCommerce, your store is powered by the same technology as WordPress – so you know it’s reliable and secure. And since it’s made by Automattic, the same corporation that created WordPress, you can rest assured that WooCommerce is a high-quality product.

Once your store is set up, product management couldn’t be easier. With WooCommerce, you can quickly add products to your store, keep track of inventory levels, manage orders, and more.

You can even accept major credit cards, bank transfers, and 140 region-specific payment gateways, making it easy to offer customers their preferred payment methods.

What really sets WooCommerce apart from other eCommerce platforms is its intuitive interface; it doesn’t take long for new users to get comfortable with the dashboard.

Plus, all the core features are free, making this plugin an incredible value for businesses on a budget!

In short: if you’re looking for an easy-to-use eCommerce solution that packs quite a punch in terms of features, look no further than WooCommerce.

Key Features of WooCommerce:

  • Quick setup wizard: Get your store up and running quickly with the easy setup wizard.
  • Integrated WooCommerce dashboard: Manage orders, products, and inventory seamlessly using the intuitive interface.
  • Supports multiple payment gateways: Accept major credit cards and bank transfers as well as 140 region-specific payment gateways – making it easy to offer customers their preferred payment methods.
  • Sell anything, anywhere: No matter what type of products you’re selling, WooCommerce lets you do it from the comfort of your website.
  • Easy store setup: It’s incredibly easy to start with WooCommerce – just follow the setup wizard and start selling.

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • A massive community of supporters
  • Integrates with a wide range of payment processors
  • Configurable to fit your needs

Cons:

  • Not as easy to use as some other eCommerce solutions
  • It can be tricky to set up correctly
  • No built-in support for shipping or tax

7. UpdraftPlus.

UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus is the premiere WordPress backup plugin on the market today, for a good reason. Not only does it make backing up your website a breeze, but it also makes restoring your data super easy when you need to do so.

Backing up your WP site regularly is incredibly important—especially if you want to prevent data loss due to system crashes, hard drive failures, or security breaches.

With UpdraftPlus, you can schedule automatic backups and store them safely in a remote location like Google Drive, Dropbox, S3, Rackspace, FTP, email, or anywhere else you choose. It even allows you to restore your site from any prior backup with just a few clicks.

One of the best things about UpdraftPlus is that the base plugin is free (though an upgrade plan is also available with extra features and priority support). That means that anyone can get started right away without spending a penny.

The intuitive user interface means creating and restoring backups and doesn’t require technical know-how or coding skills.

In short: If you care about keeping your data safe while using WordPress (and why wouldn’t you?), then UpdraftPlus is a must have WordPress plugin.

With its simple setup process and straightforward user interface, this plugin makes backing up and restoring websites easier. So don’t waste another minute—get UpdraftPlus today and start protecting yourself against data loss if something goes wrong.

Key Features of UpdraftPlus:

  • Scheduled backups: Automatically backs up your WordPress site at regular intervals.
  • Prunes old backups: Allows you to configure how many backups are stored, so only the most recent ones are kept safe.
  • Easy restoration process: Quickly restore your site from any backup with just a few clicks.
  • Comprehensive security: Secures your data with encryption before it is sent offsite, so you can be sure that your backups are safe.
  • Intuitive user interface: No technical know-how or coding skills are required to use UpdraftPlus.
  • Cloud-based storage integration: Safely store backups in remote locations like Google Drive, Dropbox, S3, FTP, email, or any other cloud-based storage service.

Pros

  • It can be configured to back up your website manually
  • High backup and restore rate
  • Compatible with multi-WordPress sites

Cons:

  • The free version is limited
  • No real-time backup options

8. PushEngage.

PushEngage - Must have WordPress plugins

PushEngage is one of the revolutionary must have WordPress plugins that allow you to send targeted messages and notifications to visitors of your website.

With the plugin’s tracking capabilities, you can measure the effectiveness of your push notifications in terms of open and click rates. And if you’re looking for more advanced features, such as targeted messages and A/B testing, you can upgrade to the premium version of PushEngage.

Additionally, if you run an eCommerce website, PushEngage can automatically trigger cart abandonment notifications, price drop alerts, inventory alert notifications, and more. Plus, it works with various platforms, including WordPress, Shopify, Bigcommerce, and many others.

PushEngage allows you to measure notification performance and boasts special features like automatic triggers for eCommerce sites.

Installing and configuring the PushEngage plugin is incredibly easy, making it an ideal choice for those who want to maximize their website’s potential.

Key Features of PushEngage:

  • Drip campaigns: Automate personalized messages based on user behavior.
  • Dynamic user segmentation: Easily create audience segments to send targeted notifications.
  • Powerful analytics: Track open and click rates and revenue generated from campaigns.
  • Opt-in reminders: Automatically remind users to opt-in to your notifications.
  • A/B testing: Test different messages to see what works best with your audience.
  • Goal tracking: Track progress towards set goals and optimize campaigns accordingly.

Pros

  • Easy to install and configure
  • Send targeted messages to specific segments of your audience
  • Track open and click rates for your push notifications
  • Send push notifications to iOS and Android app users

Cons:

  • Sending many notifications takes a few minutes

9. Akismet Spam Protection.

Akismet Spam Protection | Must have WordPress plugins

Most people who have taken the plunge and set up a website with WordPress are aware of the hassle that comes with it: SPAM.

It’s the bane of our existence, and it can be difficult to sift through all those unwanted comments to find genuine ones. Akismet is the answer!

Akismet is a must-have spam protection plugin available for WordPress, and with over 35 million downloads, it certainly has proven its worth.

So, what makes Akismet so great?

Well, firstly, it allows you to filter out any comments that seem like they might be spammy and warn you when URLs are present in comment bodies that could potentially lead to malicious sites.

Secondly, its discard feature permanently deletes all comments that don’t make the cut right away – no need for manually deleting them one at a time!

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to keep your options open for a while longer, Akismet also lets you store all those unsavory messages in a separate folder for 15 days before doing away with them completely.

Finally, this mighty plugin works well with contact form plugins, so you don’t have to miss out on genuine inquiries from potential customers or readers.

Overall, Akismet is an awesome tool and easily one of my favorite features on WordPress. This handy-dandy piece of software will make sure your site stays sparkling clean without having to put too much effort into it yourself.

Key features of Akismet:

  • Comment status history: Get an overview of all comment statuses and act as needed.
  • Statistical data: See how many comments have been blocked, approved, or discarded.
  • Comment discard: Automatically delete unwanted comments after a certain amount of time.
  • Displaying URLs: Get notified when the body of a comment contains a URL.

Pros

  • Limiting spam and saving you time and busy work
  • Install it, and it starts working
  • Trackbacks effectively
  • Works with many comments’ forms
  • Helps protect your site from malicious content.

Cons

  • Sometimes block legitimate comments by mistake
  • Requires a subscription for larger sites with lots of traffic
  • Akismet is not free for commercial sites
  • Setup requires having a WordPress account

10. iThemes Security.

iThemes Security

If you’re like me, the thought of your website getting hacked is a nightmare – and one that comes true for 30,000 sites every day. But fear not! iThemes is here to save the day with its helpful plugin.

iThemes Security is a powerful WordPress plugin that can help protect your site from malicious attacks and offers over thirty different security options.

Let’s start with its basic features:

Password expiration. This feature requires users to change their passwords periodically – a great way to ensure unauthorized individuals can’t access your site.

You also have the option of two-factor authentication for an added layer of security. If someone does manage to get your password, they still won’t be able to sign in unless they have access to a second factor (like a code sent via SMS).

Additionally, iThemes provides reCAPTCHA integration which helps block automated programs from accessing your site.

Finally, malware scanning keeps an eye out for malicious activity on your website.

Here’s the best part – more than half of these features are available in the free version! The Pro version (which starts at $80/year) adds features such as two-factor authentication and advanced server settings.

And if you don’t want to build security templates yourself, no problemo! The plugin also offers pre-configured templates tailored specifically for blogs, e-commerce sites, or portfolios.

Key features of iThemes Security.

  • Two-Factor Authentication: Add a supplementary layer of security to your accounts with two-factor authentication.
  • reCAPTCHA: Help prevent bots from accessing your site by integrating reCAPTCHA.
  • Password Expiration: Require users to change their passwords periodically, making it harder for unauthorized individuals to access your account.
  • Away Mode: Automatically lockout suspicious users after a certain number of failed login attempts.
  • Malware Scanning: Get notified if malicious activity is detected on your website.
  • Passwordless Login: Enable Passwordless logins for added convenience and security.

Pros:

  • Scans expired passwords
  • Offers additional firewall
  • Can block specific IP addresses

Cons:

  • It may break your site if not installed incorrectly
  • Some hosting providers don’t support iThemes Security
  • It can be heavy for shared hosting sites

11. Smush.

Smush - Must have WordPress plugins

The loading speed of your site can significantly reduce bounce rates, which is essential if you want to keep visitors coming back for more. Plus, reducing the size of your images helps ensure that they don’t take up too much space on your server – leaving room for other important files.

Smush is a must-have plugin for any WordPress site. It is the ultimate image optimization tool, allowing you to compress images to the site as you upload them to your media folder. It does all this without compromising on quality – so no one can tell you that you have compressed your images.

WPMU DEV’s Smash optimizes images quickly and efficiently, automatically turning on lazy load and resizing and compressing each image precisely.

You can even optimize multiple images at once by selecting a whole bunch and clicking ‘Smush. This makes it easy for even those who aren’t tech-savvy to get their site running smoothly in no time.

If there were an award for the most efficient plugin ever created, Smush would surely win.

Image optimization has never been easier or quicker than with this amazing plugin; it’s like having a supercharged image-shrinking ninja in your pocket (only way less noisy).

Key Features of Smush:

  • Image Resizing: Automatically resizes images as you upload them to the media library.
  • Lazy Load: Decreases page load times by loading images only when they appear in viewport.
  • Automated Optimization: Automatically optimizes each image for better quality and size without manual intervention.
  • Bulk Smush: Easily optimize multiple images at once by selecting a whole bunch and clicking ‘Smush.’
  • Super Smush: Optimizes images up to 2x more than the standard Smush setting without compromising quality.

Pros:

  • Improve your Google Page Speed
  • Smush is a 100% free WordPress

What Are WordPress Plugins, And Why Do You Need Them?

A plugin is a piece of software written in PHP that adds new features and better functionality to your WordPress website.

For example, plugins allow you to create contact forms, add social media buttons, optimize your site for search engines (SEO), add sliders and galleries, create a membership system, or even turn your website into an eCommerce store. The possibilities are virtually endless!

The Benefits of Using Plugins?

WordPress plugins offer numerous benefits for website owners. They allow you to extend the functionality of your site quickly and easily without needing any coding knowledge. You can quickly install and configure plugins on your site without relying on a developer or Webmaster.

Additionally, since there are 50,000 plugins available in the WordPress repository (and even more if you look outside of it), chances are there’s already something out there that can do what you need.

How to choose the best WordPress plugin?

Alright, before we close it out, let’s look at how to choose the must have WordPress plugins for specific needs.

Do your research

The first step in choosing the best WordPress plugin is researching. There are a variety of plugins available for WordPress, so finding one that offers the features you need is so important.

You can start by reading reviews or searching for plugins that offer the features you’re looking for.

Consider your budget

Both free and premium plugins are available, so you’ll need to decide which type is right for you.

If you’re on a tight budget, plenty of great free plugins are available. However, if you’re ready to spend a bit more, premium plugins often offer more features and better support.

Compare features

Once you’ve narrowed your choices, it’s time to compare features. Make sure to look at the list of features each plugin offers and compare them to your needs. This will help you pick which plugin is the best fit for you.

Check for updates

Finally, be sure to check for updates before choosing a WordPress plugin. While most plugins are regularly updated, some may not be compatible with the latest version of WordPress.

Checking for updates will ensure that you don’t run into any compatibility issues down the road.

Must have WordPress plugins Wrap up.

WordPress plugins are a dime a dozen. But there is only a handful that you really need to run a successful website or blog.

From page builders and security plugins to SEO, forms, and analytics, there are plenty of options at your disposal. Elementor, Wp Rocket, Yoast SEO, Constant Contact Forms, and more on this list will help you with everything from security to SEO to creating forms and boosting engagement.

So, what are you waiting for? Install these plugins on your site today and see how they can help take your business or blog to the next level!

Last Updated on 12/20/2022 by Isaac Sseyonga

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