At one point in time, as we develop websites with WordPress, we often soon realise that we need our websites to do more than just the basic kinds of stuff; It is no news that the WordPress community has found a way to affect this from the first day it was created correctly, and the use of plugins achieves this process.
I could remember developing a simple website in WordPress. I wanted it to have the functionalities of an online forum; all I did was research plugins that could handle that for me without having to write a single line of code. Fortunately, I found it.
What Is a WordPress plugin ?.
A WordPress plugin is a third-party script that allows the essential WordPress website to carry out more functionality.
For example, an essential WordPress website is designed to handle just a few basic things such as; Posts, pages, and users; but more can be achieved and utilised when plugins are downloaded and installed on the website.
Let’s say we want our website to be able to do more such as extra collect data via the aid of forms or implement a social login like Facebook or Google. Then this is achieved by using their respective plugins.
Benefits Of Using WordPress Plugins.
A lot can be achieved when plugins are used on a website; Plugins also go a long way to help you add complex functionalities to your website without writing a single line of code.
WordPress plugins are part of the WordPress ecosystem, so you don’t have to go too far to be able to make use of one. When you initially set up your website, you get access to either free or paid third-party plugins for use on your website.
1. Plugins Helps You Add Complex Functionalities.
Most people are usually scared when creating multi-functional websites, but with WordPress, it becomes straightforward.
All you need to do to add an extra function to your website is just a search and a single click; then, you have everything set up.
2. Plugins Bring Your Website To Life.
Imagine a website without any added functionality apart from just linking to pages and displaying some dummy data; how boring would that be? Instead, the whole exciting thing about owning a website can be brought to life by using appropriate plugins.
3. Plugins allow you to create a Membership on your website.
When you think of massive forums like Reddit and Facebook, your mind first is how their infrastructure is designed to scale.
If you decide to build something of that kind, you can do that with just the installation of a WordPress Plugin.
4. WordPress Plugins Helps You Create An Online Store To Your Website.
Do you intend to sell kinds of stuff on your website? Then, it can easily be achieved with just an installation of A single WordPress Plugin.
When I start listing these plugins, we will see their implementation and uses in this article.
5. WordPress Plugins Helps You Add SEO To Your Website.
Search engine optimisation is one aspect of web design that requires effort to get into place. Still, with a one-click installation of a WordPress plugin, everything related to search engine optimisation is put in place.
How Should You Choose a WordPress Plugin?
Plugins are usually third-party software, which means that they were created by somebody in a different part of the world and made them open-sourced on the official WordPress listing directory.
As liberal as it seems to start adding WordPress plugins, you should also take note of so many other faults that come with it.
So many websites have gone down due to bad WordPress plugin installation; most times, it’s not your fault, and anybody can make a mistake; I also made such a mistake when I initially started blogging.
Using the wrong WordPress plugin can cause a lot of bad things to your website, and you don’t want that to happen.
In this section, I will be giving you some practical guidelines to help you get started with Choosing the best WordPress plugin for your business.
1. Compatibility Issues.
When you initially decide to download a plugin, make sure that the developer of that plugin is alive and what I mean is that so any changes are being made in the WordPress ecosystem and most of which affect how third-party plugins work; if these plugins are not being constantly updated, then you might be in time for trouble.
2. Number Of active Installations.
The following yardstick to measure the effectiveness of any WordPress plugin is the number of active installations at that period in time.
When you see an active installation count of over 1,000, then that WordPress plugin must be great, and it means that some people are being accounted for.
Be rest assured that this plugin has a vast active installation, and you joining this list makes you safe.
3. Brand Behind This Plugin.
The following essential aspect to watch out for is the brand behind this plugin; a reputable WordPress plugin development should own a website, blog, and an active social media page.
If the theme developer lacks any of this, then you have a lot to question about that theme.
Make sure you are not installing a theme from a random Indian that you will not see again after some time.
4. Recommendation and Reviews.
Another yardstick to leverage is the power of recommendation; most legit plugin developers usually ask for advice and reviews from top blogging experts to validate their presence and build trust.
Make sure to watch out for this, and it can be found on the official website of the plugin developer and the WordPress forum.
How To Start a Blog.
Before consuming this content on what plugin to use and what not to use, It is better to have your website hosted and active; by this, I mean that your website has to be running.
Before understanding what plugins are and how to start integrating them into your website, I wrote an article to help you begin scaling your Blog or website, whichever it may be; click the link to get started now.
Are you just about to buy a Domain and a Webhost? Click this link to get a list of the best Webhost providers you should sign up for.
Best WordPress Plugins
There are over 1 Million plus WordPress plugins presently hosted on WordPress, and more are still being developed every day; the upside of the whole process lies in the fact that they are split across various categories making it very easy to do a quick search on what problem you would like to solve.
This section will make a complete list of essential WordPress plugins you might need as a blogger and a WordPress developer.
1. SEO Plugins For WordPress.
SEO plugins stand for plugins that are designed for search engine optimization purposes.
Do you want to have search engine optimization in control? Then you should install one of these plugins.
SmartCrawl is an SEO plugin that allows you to quickly set your website for search engine optimisation.
It contains incredible features like; Sitemap Creation, one-click setup, SEO Checkup & Reports, Smart Page Analyzer, SEO Crawl 301 Redirect and Quick Setup Import/Export.
2. Rank Math.
Rank Math is another great WordPress plugin created to serve SEO purposes on WordPress websites.
Rank Math comes with a lot of excellent features, which include; Easy setup wizard, Google Schema Markup, Optimize Unlimited Keywords, Google Search Console Integration, Google Keyword Ranking, Smart Redirection Manager, 404 Monitor, Internal Linking Suggestions, Module Based System and the last but not the least is a fast and seamless speed, which makes it load in real-time.
3. Yoast SEO.
Yoast is one of the major WordPress plugins for SEO. Since the days of easily WordPress, it has been trendy, which has made so many bloggers mention or even recommend it.
Yoast SEO WordPress plugin comes with many unique features such as; Cornerstone content checks, Internal linking, XML support, content keyword optimization and many other special features.
Yoast SEO comes with a free and paid version for everyone to use.
2. Payment Gateway Plugins For WordPress.
Payment gateway plugins allow you to integrate various forms of payment into your website.
Let’s say you want to integrate payment into your eCommerce website, Subscription-based website or even collect donations on your website; then you have to seek out these plugins.
Paystack is a payment gateway company based in Lagos, Nigeria; it allows merchants in various parts of Africa to accept payment digitally.
Stripe recently acquired Paystack to become the second-highest startup to be purchased in Africa.
Paystack comes with many excellent features such as; Woocommerce integration, Refunds, Seamless integration, accepts payment via Master Card, Visa cards and verve Cards.
Rave is another Nigerian fintech startup that does the same thing with Paystack.
Do you intend to accept Payments in Africa and Beyond via your WordPress website? Then you can make use of Rave.
Rave is available in various hit nations in Africa, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Sierra Leone.
Rave comes with many excellent features such as; seamless support for Woocommerce and the ability to accept payment via Master, Visa, verve cards, Mpesa, TIGO, Mobile and Barter cards.
VoguePay also allows merchants in Africa to accept payments via their WordPress websites.
It comes with many unique features such as; Woocommerce support, Redirects or Inline payment methods, Sending customer billing information during payment and support for various languages.
Stripe is a global payment processing platform that allows merchants worldwide to accept and process payments.
Stripe is available in every part of the world yet, and I mean places like Africa, South America, and Asia.
You can check out the official website of Stripe and see if their services are currently supported in your country.
Stripes come with excellent features such as; WooCommerce support and support for other payment integrations such as master card, Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners Club, SEPA, Sofort, iDeal, Giropay, Alipay and more.
Paypal is a great way to accept payment via your WordPress website; It comes with many cool features that make it one of the most prefered payment solutions online.
Paypal comes with many cool features, Including the box support for Woocommerce, Paypal easy, which allows customers to check out with their Paypal account and authorisation for Master, Visa and American Express.
3. eCommerce Plugins For WordPress.
eCommerce plugins allow you to sell stuff on your WordPress website; it can be digital or physical Merchandise.
The first and leading plugin for eCommerce on WordPress is WooCommerce, it has been around for a very long time, and it has allowed so many people to set up their stores very quick and fast.
WooCommerce is accessible, flexible, and amplified by a global community, making it an open-source project giving people worldwide the freedom to be able to contribute whatsoever they like.
WooCommerce comes with a lot of unique features such as; lovely and amazing themes to support the development of your online store, search engine optimisation, support for thousands of payment gateway, configure your shipping options and the ability to expand your audience across various social channels such as Google Ads, HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Facebook integrations.
2. Big Commerce.
Big Commerce is a newcomer to eCommerce in WordPress; it is one of the newest WordPress Plugins designed to support eCommerce activities.
One thing about BigCommerce is that it does not sit on your web host, making your website more efficient and faster than any other.
BigCommerce, on the other hand, provides you with a custom backend that helps you in handling all your eCommerce stuff, such as inventory management, Extensive payment gateways, highly scalable product catalogue, multi-channel selling and management, use with your favourite theme, AMP support,
I wrote a guide on how to get started with BigCommerce; I will be dropping a link below; make sure to click.
Most people who have an existing store on Shopify and would like to migrate to WordPress can do this with the Shopify for WordPress plugin.
This plugin comes with many excellent features: Automatic Syncing, Shortcodes, unique Cart Experience, Link to Shopify, Product Detail Pages, Fixed Cart Tab, Filter Products, Image Crop, and Sizing a lot of more exciting features.
4. Membership and community Plugins For WordPress.
This plugin allows you to extend your website to accommodate extra functionalities such as Forums, User feeds and a User profile manager.
If you intend to build social media like Facebook, Twitter or Reddit, you should take note of these plugins seriously.
BBpress remains the foremost WordPress plugin that allows you to integrate social media features into your WordPress website.
BBpress comes with many excellent features such as; Inbuilt theme support, Forum support, subscription support, User login and Logout, password reset and user profile creation and update.
BuddyPress is another excellent WordPress plugin that allows you to integrate community features into your WordPress website.
With BuddyPress, you get access to unique features like; User profiles, making social connections, Registration, Login, Logout, groups and forums. BuddyPress is free to use and can support any WordPress Theme.
3. Ultra Community.
Another plugin created to serve the purpose of creating an online community is called Ultra community.
Ultra community allows you to create a community site without programming knowledge.
With Ultra Community, all you need is just one click install of the official plugin on your website, which settles it.
Ultra Community comes with many excellent features such as; user profiles, login and registration forms, notifications, and many more.
Peepso comes fourth on the list but does not make it less important or less functional than the first three listed plugins.
Peepso allows you to launch your own social media community in just one click.
Peepso comes with a lot of excellent features such as; Frontend user profiles with avatars and cover images, user registration, user login, user listing with search and filtering, User profiles, User Hover cards, Hashtags, Users can create their posts, Unique Views counter on user posts, Custom Reactions on user posts, Scheduled Posts that are published at specified time and date, Customizable Profile Fields, Blog Posts integration with comments and reactions, Activity Stream of the entire community, Users can share their status updates with different privacy settings, Real-time onsite user notifications, User email notifications, Digest notification system, Notification previews, Dedicated user roles, External links redirect warning, Markdown support in Posts, Comments and user Profile Fields, Built-in security including brute force protection and Nested Comments under user posts within yours.
5. Ultimate Member.
Ultimate Member is a fantastic plugin when it comes to the creation of hosted online community; with just one click installation from the WordPress plugin page, you get a lot of exciting features such as; Front-end user profiles, Front-end user registration, Front-end user login, Custom form fields, Conditional logic for form fields, Drag and drop form builder, User account page, Custom user roles, User emails, Content restriction, Show author posts & comments on user profiles, Developer friendly with dozens of actions and filters.
5. Security Plugins For WordPress.
Security plugins allow you to add security functions to your website; as a website administrator, you need to be able to defend your website from external attacks and malicious attempts by hackers.
1. Wordfence Security – Firewall & Malware Scan.
Wordfence Security is the first on the list of best WordPress security plugins, this plugin does a lot in securing your website, and part of what it does includes; a Web Application Firewall, Protects your site at the endpoint, Protection from brute force attacks, and Checks your site for known security vulnerabilities and alerts you of any issues.
2. Limit Login Attempts Reloaded.
Limit Login attempts protect your website from brute force attacks by limiting the number of login attempts.
Limit Login Attempts Reloaded blocks an Internet address from making more attempts after an itemised limit on retries has been given, making a brute-force attack challenging or difficult.
It comes with a lot of other security-based features, which include; Limit the number of retry attempts when logging in, Informs the user about the remaining retries or lockout time on the login page, Optional logging and optional email notification, and It is possible to allowlist/blocklist IPs and Usernames.
3. All In One WP Security & Firewall.
This plugin stands as one of the very most delicate security plugins in WordPress; it comes with a lot of excellent features like; User account security, user log in and registration security, database security, Brute force login and attempts, comment spam security and a security scanner for your website.
4. Defender Security – Malware Scanner, Login Security & Firewall.
Defender security is one of the grated WordPress security plugins of all time; it was created by WMPU dev, one of the significant titans in WordPress plugin development; they have their plugins listed in packs, most of which involve search engine optimisation, Image compression and cache plugins and many more.
Defence security comes with many excellent features such as; brute force attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting XSS, and other WordPress.
6. Email Marketing Plugins For WordPress.
Email marketing plugins allow you to integrate email marketing in your WordPress plugins, such as pop forms, and link an existing or a new list to your WordPress website.
Before going deep down in this article, I wrote a guide on this website to help you get started with email marketing; click the link to get started.
Mailchimp is an exclusive email marketing software that allows online marketers to build a list and send emails.
It is free for lists up to 2000 subscribers, so it is the newsletter service of choice for thousands of businesses.
Mailchimp has an official WordPress plugin called MC4WP that allows you to integrate your existing Mailchimp email list with your WordPress website.
It comes with many unique features such as; Connect with your Mailchimp account, Sign-up forms, Seamless integration, and dozens of other WordPress plugins.
Mailster is another great email marketing plugin for WordPress users; It also makes it very easy to create, send and manage your email newsletter campaigns within WordPress.
Unlike MailChimp, Mailster is explicitly designed for WordPress only.
Mailster comes with many excellent features such as; Track Opens, Clicks, Unsubscriptions and Bounces, Track Countries and Cities, Six types of autoresponders, Send your latest post to your subscribers, WYSIWYG Editor with code view and Import and Export for Subscribers.
Optin Monster is an email marketing standalone plugin for WordPress; it allows you to create beautiful popup forms and email subscription forms.
The central brain behind the Optin monster lies in the fact that it allows you to create unique pop-up forms, which make it different from other WordPress email marketing software on WordPress.
Optin Monster comes with many unique features such as; a drag and Drop pop-up maker, Popup Triggers and Behavior Detection, email marketing and CRM integration which allows you to integrate your existing email marketing list for free.
Another great email marketing WordPress plugin that stands at number four on this list is the Newsletter plugin.
The Newsletter plugin allows WordPress users to list building and send and track e-mails.
It comes with many excellent features: Easy-to-use Drag and drop composer, Unlimited subscribers, Unlimited newsletters, Delivery speed, WordPress Users registration seamless integration, Subscribers import from file, Customizable Themes, and Subscribers lists to target your campaigns.
7. Social Media Plugins For WordPress.
We all love to bring our social media experience to our blog; so many people have massive followership on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and most times are scared to leave all these things behind; the good news is that you don’t have to be scared anymore because you can now successfully unite your Website and your social media community with the use of social media plugins for WordPress that I am about to show to you in the next section of this article.
1. Sassy Social Share.
Sassy social share is a social media sharing plugin developed for WordPress.
It enables your website users to share the content over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit and over 100 more social networks.
Sassy social share comes with a lot of unique features such as; GDPR Compliance, Works with over 100 Social Sharing/Bookmarking services, free Icon Customization options, Url Shortening Service integration, Mobile Responsiveness, Enable Social Sharing at WooCommerce products, Compatible with BuddyPress, BBPress, WooCommerce and many more.
2. WordPress to Buffer.
We all know that Buffer is a social media management software that allows you to manage all your social media accounts in one place.
Most times, switching from your blog to buffer can be tiresome, but with this plugin, you can connect your Buffer account with your WordPress Blog and share all you can see in just a single click.
WordPress to Buffer comes with a lot of excellent features such as; intelligent social media automation, simple social media scheduling, WordPress to Twitter Auto Post, WordPress to LinkedIn Page Auto Pos and Automatically share Posts, Pages and Custom Post Types to social media when scheduling, publishing or updating your WordPress content.
3. Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed.
And for Instagram lovers, I have a lot of exciting news for you because, with the Instagram Feed plugin for WordPress, you can have your Instagram Feed in one place.
This plugin was formerly called Instagram feed, but it has been renamed Smash Ballon social photo Feed.
Smash Ballon’s social photo Feed allows you to be able to; Display photos from multiple Instagram accounts in the same feed or separate feeds, Including a Follow on the Instagram button at the bottom of your meal and Display a beautiful header at the top of your feed.
4. Social Media Share Buttons and Social Sharing Icons.
This plugin allows you to be able to do add more than one social media sharing icon for your favourite social media platform.
It has a free and a premium which offers more features than the other.
Social Media Share Buttons and Social Sharing Icons come with a lot of excellent features, such as; Pick from 16 different designs for your social media share icons, Allowing visitors to subscribe to your blog by Email, Deciding to display sharing buttons and social media icons at the end of every post and Add counts to your social media buttons.
There is even more to this plugin than it meets the eye; download it now to get started.
There are millions of plugins hosted on the official WordPress website; also, make sure that you choose a plugin that will not end up breaking your website.
Once upon a time, I had this affiliate plugin from Bluehost and little did I know that It was affecting my webserver and causing me to lose traffic.
Ensure to seek out the compatibility and update regularities of every WordPress plugin that you are about to install before installing that Plugin on your website.