I am a huge fan of WordPress.
Not just because it’s free and open source. It’s also a very powerful content marketing platform right out of the box.
The beauty of WordPress is that there is a huge ecosystem of developers supporting it. That means more features added to the core functionality.
Plugins are one such method of extending the functionality of WordPress without writing code. And in this article, I’d like to share the top plugins you must have if you are running your business website on WordPress.
Top 9 WordPress Plugins You Must Have
#1: WordPress SEO by Yoast
This is the best SEO plugin out there with a hell lot of features.
Even if your theme has options for SEO, I’d suggest disabling the theme SEO features and start using WordPress SEO plugin.
If you already are using your theme SEO features, you can use this plugin to transfer the SEO data from your theme to the plugin.
It takes care of rel=canonical, pagination, XML sitemap generation, advanced per post/page indexing features, category meta and more.
Download it from the WordPress plugin repository.
#2: Gravity Forms
If you asked me whether I should pay for a contact form plugin a year before, my answer would have been NO! That’s right. A big freaking NO!
However, gravity forms for WordPress blew my mind.
It’s so robust and easy to use, I did not mind upgrading and renewing the plugin for another year (I have been using it for about 2 years now).
The best thing about the plugin is that creating contact forms is as simple as drag and drop. I can also create very complex forms with conditional statements and multi-page forms in less than an hour.
Gravity forms also gives additional add-ons which help us capture subscribers, create polls, quizzes, make order forms, do automatic calculations based on product price, add tax and more.
If that was not enough, you get API access with which you can extend the functionality.
Talk about flexibility.
Purchase it from the gravity form website.
#3: Google Analyticator
If you are running a small to medium business website, chances are, you’d be using Google Analytics for your website analytics.
If you are not using any sort of analytics, better get started now.
Most of the modern theme frameworks like Genesis from Studiopress have inbuilt features for adding analytics tracking without the need of plugins. If you don’t have a premium theme framework, this plugin will help you effortlessly add analytics without touching code.
It also has a lot of other advanced features (I doubt most business users might need them though).
Get it for free from the WordPress Plugin Repository.
#4: Digg Digg
You know social media is big.
And that’s exactly why you should use the digg digg plugin; to enable social sharing of your content.
Look at the floating share bar at the left of the article you are reading. That’s digg digg in action.
The plugin is also regularly updated and has a lot of additional features as well.
Go get it from the WordPress plugin repository.
#5: WP Super Cache
Your website needs to be insanely fast for two reasons.
- Your customers love accessing fast websites
- Google considers page load time in their ranking algorithm (The faster your site loads, the better it is for SEO)
WP Super Cache is one plugin that can make your site pretty fast.
It’s a bit complex to configure. It works just fine out of the box. If you are on a hosting company such as HostGator, they’d pre-install WP super cache with optimal settings for your WordPress installation.
If you are on a managed WordPress hosting provider like WpEngine, you won’t be able to use caching plugins. They have their own method of caching to make your website load fast.
WP super cache also has CDN support. I use WP super cache + Amazon CDN to serve my website content.
You can get the plugin from WordPress plugin repository.
You hate spam. So do I.
And spam prevention is one major headache if you are maintaining a pretty popular blog.
Aksimet comes bundled with WordPress installation. You’ll need to activate it using a key. You can generate it by going to the Akismet site.
You can still obtain it for free. Just drag the slider all the way to zero dollars and register.
#7: Subscribe to Comments Reloaded
Content marketing is great to engage your audience.
One sure shot way to connecting with your customers is via the comments section. What better way to help your customers when they post a query on your comment section.
What Subscribe to Comments Reloaded does is, notify the user whenever someone replies to their comment or comment on the post.
Users can opt-in or opt-out of receiving notifications resulting in higher engagement and lesser spam complaints.
Download it from the plugin repository.
#8: Backup Plugin
Even though most hosts provided backup solutions on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to have a backup of your own.
You could back up your blog database alone or the entire installation.
The plugin I use is WordPress Backup to Dropbox which allows me to back up my blog to my dropbox account. There are other paid plugins like Backup buddy that lets you back up to Amazon S3 and several other places.
Select a plugin based on what type of backup you need.
A note on backup buddy: Some HostGator users have complained that using backup buddy for backups cause HostGator to suspend their accounts for exceeding CPU limits.
As you know, shared hosting has a fair usage policy where they limit the CPU resources. If you’d rather not worry about all these, go for a managed WordPress hosting.
There are a lot of times when you’d want to set up 301 redirects or keep track of 404 pages.
Redirection is a great plugin to use in such a case. You can also use it to mask affiliate links and create cleaner URL’s.
Get it from the WordPress plugin repository.
Over to You:
What plugin do you use apart from the ones mentioned above? Do you have any additional requirements which none of the plugins solve right now? Let me know via the comments.