WordPress websites are functional and easily customizable, but if you want to build a professional-looking site, you need to take advantage of WordPress plugins.
These plugins allow you to add useful functionality to your website without having to mess around with the base code. With just a few clicks, you can add anything from a contact form to an entire store.
These must-have WordPress plugins will help take your site to the next level in 2019.
1. Yoast SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a necessary part of planning on any web platform.
SEO helps your website to appear high up in search engine results when potential website visitors are looking for content like yours. WordPress has a fairly good SEO set up on its own, but the Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to optimize your site. It helps users to write better, more optimized content and forces you to choose and use effective keywords while you’re creating content.
The Yoast SEO plugin also checks through alt tags on your images to check that the keyword is included. This nifty plugin makes sure that your site ranks high in search engine results and it’s currently available in 24 languages.
2. W3 Total Cache
The W3 Total Cache plugin helps to improve SEO and user experience on your WordPress site, so it’s great if you’re looking to reach a wider audience.
Without changing how you produce your content or messing around with your theme, W3 Total Cache will improve your search engine result rankings and significantly improve your overall site performance. If you use a lot of images, videos, or load-heavy content, then this plugin could help you too: W3 Total Cache helps pages to load and render more quickly, so visitors can interact with your website as soon as they click in.
3. Advanced Custom Fields
If your WordPress website requires more flexible data then the Advanced Custom Fields plugin could save you a lot of time and effort.
This plugin helps you to add professional and intuitive fields to your WordPress site and uses the native WordPress metadata and custom post type, so it’s easy to use and processes quickly.
Advanced Custom Fields allows you to create fields visually and select from a huge range of input types. Whether you’re looking for text, images, files, page links, radio buttons, or date pickers, this plugin will add value to your site’s usability.
4. Wordfence Security
Hackers are becoming more skilled day by day, so a good WordPress security plugin is a must-have.
Wordfence is the most popular WordPress security plugin available at the moment and over 22 million users have added it to their sites, so it’s a safe and savvy option. Wordfence Security offers you a constantly updated threat defense feed, allowing you to keep an eye on your website’s security, and will shut down hackers before they breach your site.
This popular plugin also alerts you quickly if your site does become compromised. The Wordfence Security plugin offers you a firewall, malware scanning, live traffic updates, and login security, so it’s a useful addition to your site if you’re serious about WordPress.
The Duplicator plugin allows WordPress website site administrators to migrate, copy, or clone websites. With this functionality, you can move a site from one location to another.
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The plugin supports serialized and base64 serialized string replacement, so whatever your site moving needs are, Duplicator has you covered.
It also takes care of data backups in an intuitive and simple manner, so it’s a great plugin if you need to move a WordPress site to a new domain name or host or pull your site down to work on developing it. And if you just want an easy way to back up your WordPress website, Duplicator is the perfect plugin for you.
6. Ninja Forms
Ninja Forms is a user-friendly form creation tool that will help you to add complex forms to your site without writing a single line of code.
If you’re a more hands-on developer, you can use the Ninja Forms plugin to utilize built-in hooks and filters and work with custom field templates. Ninja Forms offers a user-friendly interface, easily modified fields, and the ability to manage and export user submissions. You can also use Ninja Forms to add anti-spam options like Google ReCaptcha and honeypot fields.
There are no limits to the number of forms you can create and integrate using this handy plugin so it’s great if you’re working on a larger WordPress project.
If you’re having issues with efficiency on your WordPress website, the WP-Optimize plugin can help you out.
WP-Optimize allows users to easily clean up their WordPress database, removing any blocks and helping it to run at maximum efficiency. By getting rid of spam comments, stale data, and expired transient options, WP-Optimize keeps your site running efficiently.
The plugin can run automatic weekly clean-ups and perform optimizations without inputting manual queries.
It is also useful for helping to clear unused post drafts which frees up data and increases your site’s loading and running speed. Use WP-Optimize to dust off the cobwebs and get your site running at full capacity.
8. Custom Post Type UI
The Custom Post Type UI offers a user-friendly interface that lets you register and manage custom post types on your WordPress site.
The widget opens up an attractive dashboard that even the newest WordPress operator will be able to work with. If you need to add custom posts to your website but you don’t fancy yourself as much of a web developer, Custom Post Type UI can help you out. The plugin helps you to bypass hours of complicated coding to integrate custom post types easily and efficiently.
This useful plugin works on all WordPress themes and comes with an easily customizable and flexible user interface.
9. Loco Translate
The innovative Loco Translate plugin provides quick, easy, in-browser editing of WordPress translation files.
The built-in translation editor updates language files directly within your theme and can even work within other plugins for comments, references, and plural forms. If you want to add international admins to your WordPress website or you prefer to work in a specific language, you can use Loco Translate to your advantage.
Similarly, if you expect a certain language demographic to visit your website regularly, this plugin can make your WordPress setup more usable for them.
10. NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster
The nifty NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster plugin does what it says in the tin.
It allows you to automatically publish posts from your WordPress website to all of your social networking accounts. From commonly used social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to lesser-known options like Plurk, Scoop.It, and DreamWidth, NextScripts will help you to streamline your social networking presence.
Don’t waste any more time posting manually on each different site you use at all hours of the day and night – instead, use the NextScripts plugin to automate your posts and add backlink from all your social networking accounts. NextScripts will increase your visibility while saving you significant time.
11. Really Simple SSL
The Really Simple SSL plugin will be your best friend if you’re aiming to configure your website to run over https.
Once you’ve got an SSL certificate, you simply activate the Really Simple plugin and enable SSL with one easy click. If you’ve tried to work in WordPress with SSL before then you’ll probably know that WordPress often has issues with it, but Really Simple SSL allows you to overcome many of them.
Without making database changes, the plugin allows you to secure any insecure content and redirect your site’s URL and home URL to https.
12. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an up-and-coming open-source initiative that works to provide mobile-optimized constant that loads instantly everywhere.
You’ll likely be hearing a lot about this project and if you want to get on top of it, you should get your hands on the AMP plugin. Once the AMP plugin is active, all of your WordPress sites will have dynamically generated AMP-compatible versions. It’s as simple as adding “/amp” to the end of your post URLs.
This makes your WordPress website load more quickly for mobile visitors. As increasing numbers of web visitors use mobile phones for the majority of their web browsing, the AMP plugin is a great idea for your 2019 site development.
13. Social Media Share Buttons | MashShare
MashShare is a super customizable and highly professional social media plugin that allows you to streamline your social media sharing and optimize your content.
Most social buttons you can add to WordPress websites use external scripts that increase website loading times and impinge on user experience. However, the MashShare plugin has no external script dependencies so it offers faster loading times and increased privacy to you and your website visitors.
This social media plugin also supports AMP when you’re using the WordPress AMP plugin so it can speed up your site on PC and mobile browsers.
One of the best ways to create consistent site visitors and customers is by increasing your newsletter subscriber count.
The Optinmonster plugin will help you to grow your number of subscribers so that your site flourishes. The plugin helps grow your email list by converting your website visitors into subscribers.
Make sure that people who visit your WordPress website come back with the help of Optinmonster. It builds attractive popup forms, floating headers and footers, and mobile-specific forms that encourage visitors to sign up to your mailing list and come back to your site again and again.
The Snapshot WordPress plugin lets you quickly and easily back up your site to save you a lot of trouble in the future if your site does crash.
When your site is inactive and you don’t know why – a hacker? A normal site error? – you can restore your site from the Snapshot backup and have it running again in no time while you figure out what’s gone wrong.
Snapshot saves the backups for you but you can also move them to other locations like your computer, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and Dropbox. Use the Snapshot plugin in schedule your backups and you’ll never have to worry about breaches again.
16. Envira Gallery
WordPress site visitors love image galleries and whilst they can be set up without a plugin, the results can be a little shoddy and basic.
The Envira Gallery plugin lets you build attractive and professional galleries for WordPress that can be added anywhere on your website. Envira’s WordPress image galleries are highly responsive and an excellent way to showcase the visual side of your work or business.
These galleries can be simply created by dragging and dropping images, and they load far more quickly than most image groups so your users don’t get tired of waiting.
17. CSS Hero
CSS underlies all WordPress themes and forms the bare bones of your website’s visual appearance and appeal.
Sure, you can customize your theme by spending weeks or months learning CSS, but what if you want a quicker way? The CSS Hero plugin allows you to easily customize WordPress themes without writing any code so it’s quick and easily accessible for users who aren’t so tech-savvy.
CSS Hero can also save you a lot of money, allowing you to buy more basic themes and customize them to make them stand out aesthetically without having to add extensive code. It’s simply a case of pointing and clicking in the CSS Hero plugin’s user-friendly interface.
18. Beaver Builder
If you’re looking to create or update your business’s WordPress website, Beaver Builder should be on your radar.
The location of different widgets, links, and options on your page can drastically alter your number of conversions and sales – so how do you create the right balance of landing pages without coding it all from the ground up?
The Beaver Builder plugin allows you to drag and drop pages within your WordPress theme, so you can take control of your site and build a more attractive, effective, and professional platform.
Do you need to use your WordPress site to schedule appointments, book timeslots, or offer easily viewable timetables?
If so, the BirchPress plugin could be a useful addition to your website. It offers an attractive and easily accessible calendar that can be used to book and pay for appointments, so you don’t waste any time. The BirchPress scheduler can also support multiple different staff, locations, and services, so you don’t need to worry if you’re offering a complex array of options.
Get on top of all your client, patient, and meeting scheduling with this useful WordPress business plugin.
These helpful plugins will take your WordPress website from good to great this year. Once you’ve added them to your website, you’ll wonder how you ever worked without them!
Tyler Horvath is an SEO Expert with over 15 years of experience in search engine optimization, popular blog author and WordPress SEO expert.