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15 Best WordPress Plugins & Tools for Business Sites. As a business you’ll want your website to be as perfect as it could be. After all, a good website leaves a good impression in peoples’ minds. Thus, it makes sense to have the best design tools at your disposal right? That’s why you need to get your hands on some plugins. In this article you’ll learn about plugins and which are the best ones to use in building your WordPress site.
What can WordPress Plugins do?
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According to WordPress, plugins are lines of code that enhance WordPress by adding to its functionality. They provide new features to WordPress’ content management dashboard or your website itself. With the high number of plugins out there you can customize your website to have it do whatever you want.
Qode Magazine elaborated more on the importance of plugins. WordPress, by default, lets you do the basics of creating and displaying content. That includes writing blog posts, adding media such as pictures and creating menus. However, if you want to do more than that then you’ll have to use plugins. Let’s say for instance that you want to display a timeline that shows how your brand has developed over time. Regular WordPress doesn’t have that feature. You’ll have to look for a timeline plugin and install it into WordPress before you can make one. Think of plugins as power-ups in a video game. Power-ups give the hero new powers to make them stronger. Meanwhile, plugins give WordPress more capabilities depending on what you need for your website.
Envato Tuts+ says that these are some of the most common types of plugins:
- eCommerce plugins which let you create online stores
- Security plugins
- Plugins that create backups of your site’s contents
- Page builder plugins that help you add new kinds of content to your site
- Performance optimizers
- Plugins that add some visual effects to your site
- Plugins that give you some new widgets
- SEO plugins that increase your ranking on Google search results
Are all WordPress plugins free?
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In short, no. Plugins are made by various developers. Some offer their plugins for free while others charge money for premium plugins. It’s best to understand the difference between the two before deciding which plugins to get.
The Envato article in the previous section also talked about free plugins. They’re found in the WordPress plugin directory. You can also access it on the WordPress dashboard by clicking the plugin button, then “add new”. Though plugins can be downloaded from other sources, WordPress checks their directory to ensure their own plugins are safe. This makes the directory the best place to search for free plugins.
Free plugins come in different categories:
- Trial versions of premium plugins. These plugins only have the basic functions of their corresponding paid version, which has extra features.
- Plugins that have optional add-ons. The plugin itself is a full version, but buying add-ons increases the functionality of the base plugin.
- Free plugins that come as part of a paid service. Some software providers use these kinds of plugins to integrate their service with WordPress. Thus, these plugins are actually not “free” at all.
- Plugins made by developers who want to contribute to the WordPress community.
BlogVault adds that you shouldn’t be quick to count out the usefulness of free plugins. If you can find one that reliably does the task which you need it for, then keep it. There’s no sense in needlessly spending your company’s money if you can’t help it.
However, free plugins do suffer from a noticeable drawback. They don’t have access to customer support. This is redundant for simple plugins, but what about sophisticated ones that have little to no instructions? Typically, support for free plugins comes from forums, which could cost you a long time waiting for a response. It will be almost impossible to fix issues or set up your plugin without any dedicated help.
This is where premium plugins come to the rescue. BlogVault also noted that premium plugins hold a number of advantages over their free counterparts. Aside from the previously-mentioned support teams, premium plugins have more features that makes them more versatile. They also come with constant updates, meaning that they’re guaranteed to be compatible with your version of WordPress.
Some premium plugin providers specialize in a single plugin. Others such as CodeCanyon sell a wide variety of them. Do research and read reviews before getting a paid plugin to see if it’s right for you. Sometimes plugin vendors offer money-back guarantees or a trial period, so keep an eye out for those. There’s also the possibility that there’s a free plugin somewhere that can do a better job. Regardless, you should use plugins that can deliver what you want for your website.
How many plugins should I use in WordPress?
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It depends. Both Torque and Magnet4blogging explain that when it comes to your amount of plugins, less is more.
Plugins are pieces of software comprised of code. As a general rule, the more code you insert in your website, the slower it’s going to run. As you keep adding more plugins your site’s performance will begin to suffer. Loading pages will take time, and you run the risk of crashing your entire site.
Not all plugins will affect your website the same way though. The previously mentioned Magnet4blogging article noticed that some sites had no performance issues despite having more than 60 plugins. They also shared that a website can handle large amounts of smaller-sized plugins before getting stability issues.
Your web host of choice also plays a key role when it comes to website speed. Torque discusses that using cheaper options such as shared cloud hosting can’t handle that many plugins. In fact, Torque recommends not to exceed 5 plugins when using budget hosting. It’s a good idea to invest in a good web hosting service so you can use more plugins.
At the end of the day though, there is no specific rule on how many plugins a website should have. What’s more important is to only have the plugins which you absolutely need. If a plugin isn’t necessary for the functionality of your site, then go ahead and uninstall it.
Here are 15 Best WordPress Plugins & Tools for Business Sites Directory:
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Our goal with this directory is to help you find great WordPress tools that support your business website!
We are very excited to share with you this list of high-quality WordPress plugins.
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Yoast is one of the most popular plugins for SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of ranking high on search engines like Google for certain keywords or keyphrases. With Yoast, you’ll have a lot of tools at your disposal for drawing more traffic to your website!
The main features of Yoast’s plugin involves helping you edit your content. The keyword and keyphrase optimizer lets you enter one focus keyword or keyphrase. Yoast then tells you if you’ve used it enough, and in the right spots of your post. Once you’ve passed the check, Google will have an easier time finding your site in the search results!
What’s more, the plugin will also analyze your post’s readability based on factors like sentence and paragraph length. The insights it delivers will assist you in making great articles that will have your readers hooked until the end.
Finally, Yoast includes a feature which lets you preview your page link in Google’s search results. With this you can control what people will first see when they come across your website.
Yoast is free, but also has a premium version with added features such as optimizing for multiple keywords and keyphrases.
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Designed specifically for WordPress users, Wordfence is one of the premier solutions for WordPress security. This plugin is mainly known for its two core features, its firewall and malware scanner.
Wordfence’s firewall in particular is special because of its status as an endpoint firewall. Endpoint firewalls reside inside your own website’s server. This gives Wordfence some advantages over other firewalls. Hackers can’t bypass this plugin’s shields using the internet like with cloud-based firewalls. It also protects the personal data of your site’s visitors from being leaked. Lastly, this firewall implements login security features which prevent any unauthorized access of your WordPress dashboard.
On the other hand, their malware scanner cleans up anything that the firewall may have missed. The scanner checks the entirety of your website’s content, including posts and comments. It repairs damaged WordPress files too, like your themes and plugins, if they’re corrupted by malware. You can even scan for potential vulnerabilities and solve them, so you can rest easy knowing your site is safe.
Wordfence is free, and can be upgraded into a premium version that has real-time protection against new malware threats.
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Updraftplus is a very user-friendly backup plugin. Its host of features allow you to make backups to quickly recover your website and return it online. With Updraftplus you won’t have to worry about things like hackers or server crashes taking down your site anymore!
This plugin’s free version has everything you need to start creating backups. You’ll be able to download your WordPress files, databases, plugins and themes directly from your WordPress dashboard. Then you can save those backups to one of many cloud storage options which include Dropbox and Google Drive. Updraftplus is also capable of scheduling automatic backups in case you don’t have the time to do it yourself. These auto-backups can happen every 4, 8 or 12 hours daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Also, unlike other backup solutions, this plugin easily lets you restore your website and have it up and running again.
Their paid plugin Updraftplus premium expands on the functionality of the free version. Premium advantages include some extra storage options, making backups for multiple websites and restoring backups made using other plugins.
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WPForms is a tool that creates forms of all kinds for your WordPress website. This plugin’s drag and drop form builder has premade templates to assist you in making forms. Many templates are available, such as surveys, payment forms and contact forms. The simple interface also ensures that you won’t take more than a few minutes in making a form.
Each individual form is highly customizable. You can add many different fields within a form to suit your needs. Their file uploader is a particularly popular feature. With it you can have people attach images, videos or documents to the form they’re answering. Forms also have “smart conditional logic”. This function lets you show or hide fields depending on the answers that someone gives. Conditional logic has plenty of applications. One is displaying a “how can we improve?” question only if a customer agrees to give some feedback.
WPForms also makes it easy to manage the information you get from your forms. E-mail notifications indicate whenever anyone fills up any of your forms. All answered forms will appear in your WordPress dashboard too, taking away the need to switch between different screens.
This plugin costs money and has optional add-ons that integrate it with services like Mailchimp and Paypal.
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If you want your website to be more engaging for your visitors, then OptinMonster is the right plugin for you!
This plugin lets you make popup forms which display offers or promotions that you want to show to your customers. A few examples include discounts, coupons, newsletter subscriptions, your social media links, your latest products and a webinar or e-book. These pop ups provide people the chance to “opt in” for any of your offers.
You’ll be creating your popup campaigns using OptinMonster’s easy to learn drag and drop builder. With it you can add many different fields to your pop ups such as logos, text or countdown timers. There’s also some prebuilt templates that save you time in having to create your own pop ups.
The campaigns made with this plugin can be directed to specific people at specific times using their audience segmentation technology. This means that you can present an offer to someone whenever they’re most likely to click on your pop up.
And finally, we’ve got the conversion analytics feature. This lets you see which popup campaigns are performing the best.
OptinMonster’s WordPress plugin must be used with the official OptinMonster software in order to work, which costs money.
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Cloudflare is a well-known service which many WordPress websites use. It focuses on improving your website’s security and performance.
The Cloudflare plugin has the Automatic Platform Optimization or APO for optimizing your site’s performance. APO stores your site’s information in Cloudflare’s content delivery network, which has servers across the planet. This brings your site’s content geographically closer to anyone who searches for it. Thanks to that, your web pages will load significantly faster!
Meanwhile, this plugin has two main functions that protect your site. The first is free SSL. Also known as Secure Sockets Layer, this is a protocol that prevents sensitive information from being stolen off your website. It also makes a green padlock appear on the left side of your browser’s navigation bar. Having that lock signifies the safety of your website. People will be more willing to create accounts or make credit card purchases on your site it it has SSL.
Cloudflare also boasts protection against DDoS. Distributed Denial of Service attacks happen when hackers control many computers or mobile devices to swamp your site with traffic. That causes your site to either slow down or even crash down completely. Thankfully, Cloudflare stops any DDoS threats before they can do any real harm.
Cloudflare’s own piece of software is required to be able to use this plugin. The initial version is free, but can be upgraded to get more features like a website firewall.
Really Simple SSL
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In a way,Really Simple SSL does what its name implies, though not in the way you’d expect. This plugin is actually an SSL migrator, which helps you impose SSL’s security changes to your website.
First, you’ll have to obtain an SSL certificate needed to activate SSL from a provider such as Cloudflare. Then it’s as easy as installing Really Simple SSL from the WordPress plugin directory and enabling your SSL. After that, this plugin will handle the rest of the transition. The leftmost part of your browser bar’s link will change from “HTTP” to “HTTPS” to establish your site’s new security. Of course, you’ll be getting the signature green lock too.
Really Simple SSL itself is free, though you could also buy their premium version, Really Simple SSL Pro. It upgrades the plugin so that it can solve the more advanced problems of SSL migration. One way it does so is by automatically fixing mixed content which loads your old unsafe HTTP connection. Pro also stops visitors from being directed to fake copies of your website. The premium plugin has more features, so check out their website for more details if you’re interested.
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Regenerate Thumbnails is a simple tool, but it’s definitely good at what it does. It’s 4.7/5 user rating on WordPress is proof of that.
This plugin is useful to have whenever you’re resizing your thumbnails. Making a new thumbnail size doesn’t automatically create thumbnail files for the images you’ve previously uploaded to your media library. That caveat also applies if you switch to a new WordPress theme that uses featured images of a different size.
So how do you solve that problem? Well, with this plugin of course! It’s capable of generating the missing thumbnail files for one or more images in your media library. Doing so will update the contents of all your posts to match the new, correct size. Regenerate thumbnails also displays all your registered thumbnail sizes to make your workflow more efficient. It can even delete thumbnail files of old unregistered sizes. Because of all the things it can do, this plugin is essential for thumbnail management.
Regenerate Thumbnails is available for free in the WordPress plugin directory.
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Sucuri’s free plugin is a good complement to other security plugins which you’ve already installed in WordPress. It’s a comprehensive scanning tool powered by Sucuri’s SiteCheck service which lets you identify vulnerabilities in your website.
Since this plugin only specializes in threat detection, its malware scanner is its only feature. It searches your site for traces of malicious code, suspicious activity, site errors and out of date software. These scans can also check the integrity of your WordPress files, such as your plugins and core files. You’ll be able to tell if they were modified without your knowledge. Lastly, scanning also notifies you if your website’s been flagged by blacklisting engines like Google because of a security issue. Not fixing an issue like that could spell disaster if your brand becomes associated with an unsecured site.
The SiteCheck plugin does have a single way to stop hacks on your site. The security hardening tab offers various technical means to boost security in your site’s most vulnerable areas. However, that’s the full extent of what this plugin can do to prevent attacks before they happen. There’s two ways to get around this setback. You could either use Sucuri with another security plugin like Wordfence, or you could buy Sucuri’s premium firewall add-on.
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Though most websites create articles for anyone to read, some also decide to put a price on their content. MemberPress is a plugin which helps you do just that by creating paid memberships for your site.
MemberPress comes with a feature that lets you hide certain webpages, posts and post categories. After that you’ll be making subscription plans that unblock different content to different members depending on which plan they’ve bought. The plugin then lets you create price pages to showcase the online content you’re selling. Once someone buys a subscription, they’ll have to create an account on your site to access their content.
With MemberPress, you can have a membership site that sells anything from online courses to password-protected forum communities. Speaking of courses, MemberPress also lets you create your own! And you’ll also be able to specify how your members get access to your content. Make all your posts available as soon as a member subscribes or release them over the course of a month.
The plugin also integrates with many kinds of services or software, including forum plugins, payment gateways and email marketing services. Payment gateways in particular like PayPal and Stripe are easy to set up and work flawlessly with MemberPress. Automated billing systems ensure that you receive regular payment while subscribers get your content as long as they keep paying.
MemberPress is a paid plugin that has different payment plans, all paid annually.
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SEMRush created their SEO Writing Assistant as an alternative to other SEO services like Yoast. This plugin helps you edit your posts so they can rank higher in search results.
Before using this, you have to create a free account on SEMRush’s website. Once done, you can proceed to making an SEO Content Template. Type in your focus keywords in that template. The template will gather data from Google’s top 10 ranking pages of your given keywords. It compares all that information with your own text to tell you how to improve your writing.
Keywords play a key role in increasing your page’s visibility. This plugin informs you of the frequency of your keyword use and if you need to add or remove some. The Writing Assistant also recommends synonyms of your keywords so you don’t have to keep repeating them.
The quality of your content is also crucial for good SEO. SEMRush has three more features to help you in that regard. First, the readability analyzer checks your article for hard to read sentences and lengthy paragraphs which you need to revise. Secondly, the tone of voice scale indicates if your post is casual, neutral or formal. With it you can write your sentences in a way that matches your brand’s voice. Finally, the plagiarism checker indicates the total percentage of copied words in your post. You’ll want to keep that to a minimum.
Insert Headers and Footers
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Some web services like Google Analytics require insertions of code into your pages’ header or footer in order to work. However, WordPress normally doesn’t have a feature that lets you do that.
There are two other ways to insert code into your headers and footers though. The first is manually editing your header and footer files. The problem with this is that updating your WordPress theme will remove the code. Or you use a theme which has a built-in feature to let you add code to your header or footer. Be warned – changing to another theme will undo your changes.
Insert Headers and Footers solves the drawbacks of those first two methods. This plugin stores your codes in a separate place, so you can freely manage your site’s theme. It’s simple to use too. You just have to copy and paste your codes into the header or footer box and click “save”. Your changes will take effect as soon as you return to your site’s front page. Additionally, deleting unwanted codes you no longer use is possible by removing them from their respective box.
Insert Headers and Footers can be downloaded from the WordPress plugin directory for free.
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WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress. Using this plugin you can create beautiful online stores to sell your products through your website.
This plugin works with any WordPress theme. All you have to do is pick one and begin designing the layout of your store’s webpages. You’ll also be able to display your products in different blocks such as bestsellers, top rated and new products.
Once you’re finished with your store’s look you can add more features to it with an extension. All of them are found in the WooCommerce Marketplace, and some are free. Extensions offer benefits like letting you make subscription-only products, charge customers for shipping and integrating your shop with SEO services.
Payment also won’t be an issue since customers will be able to pay you directly from your website. This plugin comes bundled with the ability to let you accept credit cards, bank transfers, checks and Cash on Delivery. That feature only works in the US though. International WooCommerce users can use any of their supported payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe and Square.
WooCommerce is completely free and can be downloaded from the WordPress plugin directory or the WooCommerce website.
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PublishPress is a group of plugins that help make your content production process easier. They’re especially useful for websites that specialize in publishing articles, though other sites can also benefit from having them.
Their first plugin, named “PublishPress”, gives you a content calendar. You can write on it to set deadlines for different content pieces. You’ll also be able to see the progress of each article and when they’re completed.
Next is “Advanced Gutenberg”. This plugin gives you access to a bunch of new blocks to use in your posts. A few examples include customer testimonials, Google maps, info boxes and contact forms.
“PublishPress Capabilities” lets you decide who can do what in your site’s WordPress dashboard. With it you can create user roles and specify which role is allowed to edit, publish, read or delete posts.
“PublishPress Checklists” creates checklists next to each post. You can set custom requirements in each checklist to remind your writers how you want your content to be made.
Meanwhile, “PublishPress Authors” lets you add multiple authors to a post or add guest authors. You’ll also be able to display author bios beneath an article or in a widget.
Lastly, editors can use “PublishPress Revisions” to schedule and monitor content revisions.
All the PublishPress plugins are free. Premium versions of each of them are also available if you want more features and customer support.
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Live Chat’s WordPress plugin lets customer support teams chat with your website visitors in real time. This allows you to easily connect with your customers and increase the likelihood of getting more sales.
Live Chat works by installing a widget at the bottom of your webpages. The widget displays a clickable invitation which directs anyone to a chat session with one of your customer support agents. You customize when these invites appear, such as when someone has been reading your site’s help section. Chat invitations can also be personalized to get people interested enough to click it.
The chat window itself comes with plenty of features. You can issue surveys, share and receive files with customers, send canned responses and add visual elements like a logo.
Notifications ping your agents when a new person chats with them. From there, agents can answer any inquiries or problems that the customer has. There’s also a ticketing system which allows people to leave messages in case nobody’s available to chat on your end. Your customer support team can browse through tickets to pick up where they left off as soon as they return.
Live Chat’s plugin is free, but requires buying a paid subscription from their website so it can work. Agents must also create an account on the Live Chat app before they can reply to visitor chats.
With all that said, now you can explore the wonderful world of plugins! Whether you download the ones listed here or search for others, one thing’s for sure. You’ll be armed with an arsenal of tools that will vastly enhance your WordPress experience.
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