WordPress is arguably the most flexible platform for building your own website, and whether it be a blog, portfolio/resume, agency or ecommerce site, WordPress has a wide range of features and tools that cater to all sorts of needs and requirements. As a result, anyone can get started with WordPress and installing WordPress plugins is a straightforward way to enhance your site’s features and functionalities even further!
There are currently over 54,000 WordPress plugins to choose from, and they cover areas such as SEO, security, analytics, and ecommerce. Some plugins are free, while others require payment, and the massive amount of plugins to choose from can make selecting the right ones an overwhelming task for new users. Here at WP Bees, we focus on finding solutions (it’s true, get in touch) and we’ve done the hard work for you by compiling our choices of the best WordPress plugins for 2020.
Regardless of the type of site you use WordPress for; search engine optimization plays a crucial role in helping you to attract more visitors to your website. WordPress has already been designed to be SEO friendly; however, using a specialized plugin will allow you to optimize your SEO with the minimum of fuss.
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugins, and it acts as a comprehensive SEO solution which allows you to easily add and edit keywords, meta tags, images, and titles. You can also use it to generate sitemaps, automatically generate URLs, connect your site to Google Search Console, and to tell Google not to index any pages you choose.
On top of this, Yoast SEO allows you to easily perform real-time page analysis in order to optimize your pages’ content, and it analyses the readability of your copy, giving you handy outlines of your word usage, sentence length and structure, and use of subheadings.
The plugin is available for free, although there is a premium version which offers more advanced features, and Yoast SEO is a great choice for anyone seriously looking to optimize their on-page SEO, and stay on top of all things SEO related on their site.
This plugin does pretty much what you would expect it to, and once installed, it starts parsing your posts, bookmarks, and other site content and constantly scans your website looking for broken links. When these troublesome links are found, Broken Link Checker notifies you either via the dashboard interface or by email.
This plugin is a handy way to stay on top of any broken images or links you may have on your site, and helps you to keep your site optimized and clutter free so that search engines don’t start to penalize you. As ever, the sooner you can delete or replace faulty and broken the better it will be for your overall user experience and SEO rankings.
Broken Link Checker makes monitoring and repairing broken links on your site much easier, and can be configured to make broken links display differently in posts, and to prevent search engines from following broken links. There is also no need to manually update each post as links can be easily edited directly from the admin page. You can also use the plugin to filter or search links by URL or anchor text and all in all, Broken Link Checker is a great way of keeping your site’s links optimized.
There’s a good chance that you’ll allow comments on your WordPress site so that visitors can let you know what they think of your content. Once comments are activated, you’ll soon realise just how prevalent spam comments are and online bots and automated messages have the ability to bombard your site with a never-ending stream of random comments.
Askimet allows you to moderate comments without having to devote significant amounts of time keeping an eye on them. The plugin works in the background and automatically checks all incoming comments and filters out any which look like spam. It’s easy to install and use and there are no settings to configure, making it a great choice for anyone getting started with WordPress.
The plugin works by checking comments and contact form submissions against a global spam database and you check any spam caught from your site’s “Comments” admin screen. Furthermore, Askimet makes sure to display URLs in the comment body so that any hidden or misleading links can be easily identified.
The plugin isn’t perfect and won’t catch every piece of spam, and it may come back with some false positives but it improves when site owners report these occurrences. Akismet is free to download but requires a special API key to use it, and these keys are free for personal blogs, while commercial sites will need to purchases a paid subscription from Akismet.com.
MonsterInsights is a great plugin for analyzing just how people are interacting with your WordPress site. It allows you to install the Google Analytics tracking code on your site, and to view data from your Google Analytics account on your WordPress dashboard.
You can also use the plugin to receive dashboard reports which contain real-time stats and the universal tracking system ensures that user information remains accurate even if your site visitors switch the device they use to interact with your site.
The plugin is the free MonsterInsights Lite version which gives you key metrics from your Google Analytics account, and the pro version includes Google analytics tracking features such as events, ecommerce, custom dimensions, and affiliate link tracking.
By upgrading to the pro premium version you can also track ecommerce stats, as well as traffic sources, and MonsterInsights is a great way to stay on top of all the data related to exactly how people are coming to your site and just what they are doing when they are there. With over two million installs, the plugin is a must have for all kinds of WordPress site owners.
This is yet another of the most popular WordPress plugins, and for anyone planning to use the platform to run an online store, WooCommerce is a great option. It’s currently the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugin with over five million active installs and it includes a range of features that allow you to run an online store using WordPress.
There are both free and premium versions of WooCommerce available and the free version can be set up in minutes with product, cart, and checkout pages, a central store dashboard, Google Analytics, and Facebook integration.
The free version can also securely process credit card payments, calculate shipping costs and tax rates and allow you to manage your stock and keep track of your inventory. As can be expected, the premium version includes more advanced tools such as the store design feature, one-page checkout, and an automated email add-on for abandoned carts.
For anyone choosing to use WordPress to run an ecommerce site, WooCommerce is the go to plugin, and an ecosystem has developed which has increased it functionality as there are now dedicated WooCommerce themes, and WooCommerce plugins available.
In order to optimize your site and maximize the user experience as much as possible, you’ll eventually need to speed up your site by using a caching plugin. WP Rocket is a paid service and does the job admirably.
The plugin can be purchased for $49 US Dollars and this license includes support for a single site for one year. It can be set up, and installed in minutes, and page caching is immediately activated which should lead to you experiencing a boost in speeds straight away.
The plugin has been used on close to one million WordPress websites and as a premium tool the product comes with stellar customer service and regular updates. WP-Rocket should be considered by anyone anticipating high traffic volumes or anyone who will be involved in creating content/image heavy sites that will inevitably need to make small tweaks to speed up their site’s performance.
Site security is of the upmost importance and Wordfence is the most popular WordPress security plugin with over three million active installs. The plugin acts as an all-in-one security solution and includes a firewall, a security scanner, login hardening, and a host of security tools.
The firewall identifies and blocks malicious traffic, and is maintained by a team that focuses solely on WordPress security. The malware scanner checks files, themes and plugins for malware, malicious URLs, spam, backdoors, and code injections. In addition, the security scanner continuously scans your posts and comments for suspicious URLs and/or content.
Your site is also secured via two-factor authentication (2FA), and a login page CAPTCHA which stops malicious actors or bots from accessing your site. Wordfence Security is a top choice for any WordPress user regardless of the type of site they are running and the free version is sufficient for most sites.
The premium version includes real-time features and updates such as an IP blacklist, and malware signatures, while country blocking, more frequent scans, and increased support are also included.
The ability to back up your site becomes highly important once you’ve got it up and running and have spent a considerable amount of time and effort getting it to look and operate exactly the way you want. However, when using the internet nothing is guaranteed, and backing up your site provides you with an additional layer of protection.
BackWPup allows you to back up your entire WordPress site, and store it on an external backup service like Dropbox or any FTP server. Furthermore, you can easily restore a site installation with a single backup .zip file and send logs and backups by email.
Backup storage options include directory, FTP server, Dropbox, S3 services, RackSpaceCloud, and SugarSync. There is also a paid version which supports backups to Microsoft Azure, Amazon Glacier, and Google Drive as well as backup archive encryption and restoring sites from encrypted backups. The plugin, has more than 600,000 active users, and provides you with added peace of mind in the event that something suddenly goes drastically wrong with your WordPress site.
For most site owners, building a mailing list is a great way to target and retain the people most interested in your products and services. MailPoet allows you to sign up newsletter subscribers and manage your mailing list from your WordPress admin dashboard.
Key features include the ability to create and add a newsletter subscription form to your website, to build and send letters using responsive templates, and to manage your subscriber lists in WordPress. MailPoet also includes automated/scheduled mail functions as well as specialized WooCommerce email funnels.
The plugin is easy to use, and works out of the box with no configuration needed. As with many of the best WordPress Plugins, MailPoet is available as both a free and premium service, and site owners with lists of 1,000 subscribers or less can currently get the premium service for free! This makes MailPoet a sure pick for anyone looking for an easy way to manage their email activities.
Adding a map to your website greatly enhances the user experience, and our Mapbox Map field plugin creates an interactive map with the ability to place a marker. Furthermore, the plugin features a search input, location finder button and click/drag events to place the marker.
Mapbox offers a free plan allowing for up to 50,000 map views per month (correct at time of writing) while the paid version is available from £9.99 for a single site. Mapbox requires the registration of an access token to use its service, and is super easy to install and can be activated in just six simple steps.
Placing a map on your location page adds an extra element to your site and is a smart option for galleries, agencies, restaurants, and ecommerce outlets that also have physical stores. Our map is one of the best WordPress plugins on offer, (even if we do say so ourselves), and take a look at our Mapbox demo to see exactly how it works, and feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions about how to use the plugin.