16 WordPress Plugins That Will Rock Your Website
Here is a list of WordPress plugins which helped us generate 100K in 2016. WordPress plugins which will help your website work smarter for your business and not harder.
WordPress powers more than 25% of the web, which is quite a lot of websites. The numbers make it clear that WordPress is certainly a good choice for a content management system which is easy to use.
Some popular websites that are powered by WordPress include:
- The New York Times
- Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy
- People Magazine
- National Geographic
Now if your business website is built on WordPress, below are a few plugins which we recommend. These are also the plugins which we use on many of our clients’ websites to help their businesses get new leads through the web.
1. Yoast SEO
WordPress out of the box is technically quite SEO-friendly, but if you would prefer search engines to love your website then Yoast SEO is surely recommended.
Joost de Valk who developed Yoast SEO is also one of the very few plugin authors who has updated the plugin every few months since 2013 when it was first launched. Just shows the amount of work which has gone into the plugin and how powerful it could be.
Having tried various plugins, my personal favourite is Yoast SEO. It has 14,000+ five-star ratings and more than 5+ million installs – even if it was not my favourite, the numbers say it all.
This is certainly one of the most recommended plugins if you are serious about your business website to generate some leads for you. This plugin helps search engines love your website.
Schema is another plugin we use for SEO. This lightweight tool is all you need to manage the structured data you add to your website.
Structured data is important as it allows search engines to better understand your website. Use Schema to mark up your products, events, reviews, and menu items so search engines know what your site is about. If done right, search engines will present more informative and enhanced results to searchers, such as in the form of rich snippets or rich cards.
I find Schema really easy to use. After you’ve set it up, you can forget about it and let it do its job. I like it because it benefits businesses and searchers alike.
2. SEO Internal Links
The best chance of your website reaching page one in Google is if you have fresh well-written content which is organised and linked effectively. This plugin pretty much helps to do the same. It helps you to organise and link internal or external pages easily and effectively.
I am sure we all have come across websites where we have tried to click a text repetitively just to realise that it was not a link. If appropriate links are in place, it makes user experience pleasant and reduces the bounce rate.
For example, on our website wherever I type “Meet a Cheetah” it will automatically link to the appropriate post, as I have updated the keyword and link using this plugin. If you make it a habit of updating the options page of this plugin once every month, a) with the additional keywords and the links and b) as and when you add a new blog post, it will take off the load from you to update the links on old posts and on the future posts where relevant keywords are mentioned.
It is simply super powerful if done right and the results will just speak for itself.
3. Editorial Calendar
“The Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.”
We all are different and have our strengths. While some people can easily write a blog post in under 60 minutes, I struggle to finish a blog post in a week or at times even in a month.
The more I write, the better I am getting at it. However when you need to juggle tasks like writing rich content or taking tech support calls, the former usually takes low priority as the results are not very immediate.
Editorial Calendar provides a straightforward and easy visual schedule which helps in:
- Having a bird’s-eye view of content which is scheduled based on month.
- Setting a schedule when the post needs to go live. (Simply drag and drop to change the date.)
20% of the effort is to create beautiful content and 80% is to promote the content.
Now that we have a visual idea of the schedule we can plan and manage the content distribution activities. We can also plan possibly 6 months in advance the various blog posts we need to work upon.
4. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
“Display a list of related posts on your site based on a powerful unique algorithm.”
We have put in all these efforts to create quality content and to distribute the content. The visitor reads the beautiful content which you have created and comes towards to the end of the page and closes the tab – that will be a bit painful.
However if we are also able to provide relevant content to the user at the end of the blog post, chances are high that they may read further and try to get in touch with you. This is what YARPP does and also helps reduce the bounce rate.
Both these are positive signals to search engines about your website and shows that your website has a lot to offer. The list view and thumbnail view can be easily adjusted in the YARPP panel which is on the left menu, under the settings tab.
5. Instant Articles for WP
If you’re an active Facebook user, then you’ve seen those articles with a little lightning bolt icon. These are called Instant Articles, which load 10 times faster than regular web pages thanks to a customizable mobile format. Because they load faster, Instant Articles provide a better user experience and are more likely to get shared.
Instant Articles for WP offers support for Instant Articles for Facebook. After installing this plugin, you can connect your WordPress account to your Facebook page and start publishing. Instant Articles are preloaded in the Facbeook mobile app so they load right away.
Publishing Instant Articles opens up your business to Facebook’s enormous user base and monetization options. However, your sidebars and email list forms will not be shown and images and videos are limited. Still, it is a great plugin to use for increasing your reach and website traffic.
6. WordPress Social Share, Social Login and Social Comments Plugin – Super Socializer
“Adds links to all of your social media and sharing site profiles.”
As mentioned earlier, 20% of efforts is to create excellent, valuable content and 80% is towards the distribution of content.
The Super Socializer plugin takes care of two important aspects: a) placing social sharing icons on the page with counts and b) commenting using Facebook. I have seen quite a few quality blog posts with no comments; this can be because of a too complicated commenting system or possibly that the comments are not easily visible to attract the visitor to engage in a conversation.
For instance, the very popular Forbes website has quite a busy design and does not allow the visitor to see the comment stream easily. I would have been really interested in leaving a comment as it was about Trump, but as I could not see the previous comments, I did not bother to leave a comment.
Commenting is extremely powerful and underutilised. Potential customers want to see you as an industry leader. If you would like to start a conversation, there is no easier way than a simple commenting system.
One of my blog posts about Canberra Zoo – Meet a Cheetah was shared in a local Canberra group in LinkedIn called Canberra Small Business Owners. It generated only five comments, but I was approached by two highly recognised business owners in Canberra for a quick catch-up over a cup of coffee. Till date, these two contacts have helped us to increase the revenue of our company close to AUD $35,000.
7. Fancier Author Box
I like to think of Fancier Author Box as a virtual business card for your blog. This eye-catching plugin lets your audience learn more about you – aside from the usual author’s bio and photo, you can include links to your social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and more.
With your social networks displayed in every blog you publish, your readers can easily reach you and engage with you on social media if they feel so inclined.
Another thing I like about Fancier Author Box is that it’s easy to customize. You get to choose where it goes on your website and what information is shown. You can also change the colors of just about any element, including the borders and backgrounds.
Moreover, you can use Fancier Author Box to promote your previous posts by turning on the “Latest Posts” tab.
PushEngage helps you stay connected to your visitors even after they leave your website. And no, you don’t have to write a single email. This WordPress plugin uses browser notifications to increase repeat visitors to your website.
I highly recommend using PushEngage to keep your visitors updated about new blog posts, special offers, or the like. Browser push notifications are delivered to your subscribers in real-time or the next time they come online and provide a much higher click rate than email.
One of my favorite things about PushEngage is that you can segment and classify your audience so each person only gets relevant updates. The capping of old notifications for inactive subscribers to prevent flooding is also a very useful feature.
PushEngage is free for up to 2,500 subscribers, which is great for businesses that are just starting to grow their audience.
9. Broken Link Checker
Nobody likes broken links. Webmasters, users, web crawlers, and search engines all hate them. You can save yourself from the embarrassment of having broken links on your website by using the Broken Link Checker tool.
This plugin monitors your posts, pages, and even the comments for broken links. You’ll get a notification via the dashboard or email, then you have some options for what you can do with each one. You can either edit the URL, remove the link, manually mark it as working, or simply dismiss it.
Our company has saved a lot of precious time with Broken Link Checker as we don’t need to manually check our website for broken links or update each post. Links can be edited straight from the dashboard.
Here’s a very handy plugin which will assist you not to upset search engines and for them to continue loving your site.
Migrating pages and changing directories are almost inevitable when you have a website. Fortunately, Redirection makes it easy for search engines and your visitors to still find you even after you’ve moved. Aside from managing 301 redirects, this WP plugin keeps track of all 404 errors and redirected URLs.
All URLs can be redirected, including those that still exist. You can automatically add a 301 redirection when a URL changes, as well as manually add 301, 302, and 307 redirections for any post or file.
Best of all, in my opinion, are the redirection statistics that let you know how frequently a redirection occurs and where a visitor found your URL, amongst other stats.
11. W3 Total Cache
“The only web host agnostic WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework recommended by countless web developers and web hosts.”
If you’re looking to improve both user experience and your search engine rankings (and who isn’t?), then W3 Total Cache is a must-have plugin.
W3 Total Cache boosts your website’s SEO and UX by increasing page speed and decreasing download times. It promises at least 10 times improvement in overall site performance when fully configured. This leads to visitors spending more time on your site and viewing more pages, as well as higher rankings on Google.
You don’t have to change your theme, plugins, or how you create content to improve your website; W3 Total Cache will take care of it for you.
12. Disqus Comment System
Disqus is the most popular commenting system on the web, and for many good reasons. More than just a commenting system, Disqus allows publishers to increase site traffic, retain readers, and even monetize content.
Disqus for WordPress replaces the default WP commenting system with a very easy one-click installation. As webmasters and visitors ourselves, we here at Technowand love Disqus as you only need a single profile to comment on millions of websites.
The ability to format text, embed rich media, upload photos and videos, add spoiler tags, and other features make for a truly interactive experience. Disqus also helps bring readers back to your site with personalized digests and notifications for new comments and replies.
Moderating comments is easy as well thanks to Akismet spam protection and multiple moderation channels – you can do so directly in the discussion, from the moderation panel, or via email.
Images are just as important as text in blogs. ImageInject, which used to be called WP Inject, lets you search and insert free images into your WordPress posts without leaving the editor.
Installing this plugin adds a search box to the WP editor, where you can input your keywords of choice and browse thousands of Creative Commons images that you can use in your blogs. ImageInject gets these images from sources such as Flickr and Pixabay. If attribution is required, it is automatically added. ALT and title tags are also automatically populated for SEO.
Other features that I find really useful are the ability to insert multiple images in one go and modifiable templates that let you control how the images are displayed on your blog.
14. Contact Form to DB
It is important to keep track of the list of enquiries which are being generated through your website. This number is quite useful and needs to be documented as later on you can find out how many of them were you able to convert to paying customers.
For instance, one of the enquiries which we generated from the website has been a loyal customer for more than four years and has helped increase our revenue by five digits. WordPress has a quick contact form where when the enquiry is submitted, it sends out an email; however, it does not really save those enquiries by default into the database to provide a list view which you can refer to.
Contact Form to DB is a plugin which displays enquiries submitted via the website in an organised view in the admin area. You can then download the saved messages in XML, CSV, and EML formats.
15. Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Google Analytics is free and possibly there is nothing that comes close to it.
If you believe that data is the heart of the business, you will seriously love Google Analytics. If you dig deeper into it, it is literally a gold mine. GA provides an incredible amount of useful data and can help you to make educated decisions.
If you know a bit of coding you can easily update the Google Analytics code through the editor; however, a plugin is an easier and safer way.
In Google Analytics, please have a look at Top Events, Referral Traffic, and All Pages. This data will immediately give you a bird’s-eye view of the traffic coming to your website and probably provide the answers to various questions you had in mind.
You can link data from different Google products; whilst you are on the Google Analytics page, connect Google Webmaster as well – see the video below. It can’t be said enough: Google Analytics is very powerful. Make a monthly task list to look into this data.
Having a backup of your WordPress site is a must – you never know when things could go wrong. With the Duplicator plugin, you can easily back up all or some parts of your website. If you have the pro version, backups can be scheduled and saved to the cloud through services such as Dropbox and Amazon S3.
And as the name suggests, Duplicator also lets you copy or clone your site from one location to another. It enables you to move a WP site between hosts, domains, servers, and staging areas and to carry out full migrations without having to deal with SQL scripts.
Duplicator puts all of your site’s content, themes, plugins, database, and files into a ZIP file, which can then be migrated to any location that hosts WordPress sites.