Essential WordPress Plugins for a Successful Website
WordPress plugins are the key to launching a successful website. These are the finest free WordPress plugins available. We will go over the best plugins for SEO, social sharing, e-commerce, and more. If you are looking to make a website successful, this is where to start.
WooCommerce is the best shopping plugin WordPress has to offer. It powers more online stores than any other platform – over 30%! It gives the downloader total control while maintaining easy set-up. It works with any WordPress theme seamlessly.
Due to its success, there are guides online for nearly anything you would like to do. In addition, they have a support forum online. All of it is free.
I use the WooCommerce plugin for my shop, cart, and checkout pages.
Contact Form 7
Contact forms are an essential part of any successful website. Your customers need a way to get a hold of you. Contact Form 7 is the fourth contact form plugin I downloaded. Contact Form 7 calls itself just another contact form plugin for WordPress. So, what sets it apart? The previous ones were either too difficult to modify or I didn’t like their appearance.
This WordPress plugin was easy to setup and customize. It will fit just about any websites needs. Contact Form 7 can also support Akismet spam filtering to prevent junk mail.
I use it on my contact page.
Google Analytics is free a service from Google. It tracks and reports traffic on your site. The Google Analytics plugin is very aesthetically pleasing in addition to being easy to understand. You can customize date ranges you would like to compare and the datasets you’d like to see.
Some of the reporting categories include bounce rate, average session duration, and the number of users. You can set goals and it will track how close you are to them. Also, it will give you information on your e-commerce. Such as the number of transactions, total revenue, and revenue by channel.
Understanding and monitoring your analytics is an essential part of successfully running a website. I have the app on my phone in addition to the account on my desktop.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for a website to be a success. Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that gives you clear guidelines and reviews each post individually. As a result, you write better content that ranks higher in search engines such as Google.
It keeps track of all of the little things in case you forget. Everything from keyword density to link types. One of the best aspects is the ability to edit the metadata. This includes the SEO title, meta description, and slug. Every aspect is clear and easy to follow. It updates consistently while you edit your post. So, you don’t need to constantly refresh and update if you aren’t ready.
Hotspots Analytics tracks data of a different kind. While Google Analytics focuses on traffic data, Hotspots focuses user interaction with the site. There are other plugins that offer similar services that cost quite a bit. However, Hotspots Analytics is free and includes everything you need to get started.
Hotspots creates heatmaps of mouse clicks (or screen taps) on your website. Each page has its own heatmap. This may seem like the obvious choice, but not all plugins offer this. Typically, it is limited to five-or-so pages and for more, you have to go premium. The data is stored in your WordPress database.
I use hotspots on all of my websites. Knowing what your audience truly wants is essential to creating a successful website.
Open External Links in a New Window
Open External Links in a New Window is exactly what it sounds like. It only targets links that would leave your site. For example, this is the link to the plugin. If you click on it, it will open a new tab. Whereas if you click on this link inside my site, you will be redirected there using this window.
Why is this important? Opening external links in new tabs mean that the user stays on your site longer. This effects analytics such as bounce rate and average session duration. Both are taken into consideration when talking about search engine optimization. The best part is, once it is downloaded you never to give it a second thought.
There are plugins that open every link in a new tab (including links to other pages within your site). I would strongly advise against it. Users have described websites that do this ‘bothersome’ and ‘annoying’.
Simple Follow Me Social Buttons Widget
Social media shares are another type of WordPress plugin that I downloaded way too many of until I found the perfect one. I think I tried seven or eight. The ones I tried prior to Simple Follow Me Social Buttons Widget were all functional. However, I didn’t like the user interface or they were very unattractive.
Simple Follow Me Social Media was easy to install, set up, and customize. My users can follow me with one click on a number of platforms now. I get followers every day through this plugin. How do I know that? The heatmap provided through Hotspots!
Plugins of these types are essential for a successful WordPress website. Even if you don’t use these specific plugins, research each area. Find what WordPress plugins work for your purposes. The best plugins for me, may not be the best plugins for you. What are your favorite plugins? Let us know in the comments below.