10 Best Essential WordPress Plugins

Written by Kevin Liew on 03 Mar 2015
44,796 Views • WordPress

WordPress wins the popularity award for best platform for websites by a long shot. Both experienced users and newbies, excited about their first website, love how easy it is to set up and manage a site on this platform.

This was made possible mainly due to various great plugins that make everyone’s work easier and more fun. We have put together a list of the best ten such plugins available for you to choose from and then take your work to the next level.

1. WPAdverts

After months of developing, reviewing the best WordPress practices and beta testing in order to guarantee the best results, the team responsible for WPJobBoard and WPHelpDesk came up with another top-of-the-notch product: WPAdverts, a WordPress Classifieds Plugin. Here’s why you need to include it in your WordPress arsenal as soon as possible. Adverts is a plugin created with years of experience and know-how, as well as customer feedback. This mix resulted in a lightweight, modular and flexible product that requires only an one-click installation for both new and already existing blogs. After that, you can set up shortcodes as you see fit and you’re ready to smoothly run your awesome classifieds website without running into any problems, as Adverts is designed to work and blend with all well-coded WordPress themes and the latest WordPress version. You can increase the plugin’s functionality at any time by enabling the powerful add-ons available and thus offering your users a unique browsing experience. You can also use Adverts with other cool third-party plugins such as Yoast SEO, Jetpack and more. Rest assured, absolutely all add-ons are included in the price you pay for the plug-in, so this is a one-time investment that will continue to pay off. Moreover, if you enjoy doing a bit of web development work, you can add hooks and filters to Adverts to extend the plugin or dabble with modular build to deactivate or activate any of the modules Adverts comes with. Go ahead and take Adverts for a trial run by checking out the available demo. You won’t regret it.

2. Tribulant Slideshow Gallery

The images available on a website can make or break its success and we cannot deny the impact that a great website design makes on visitors. If you’re running a website and want to catch visitors’ attention, the best and easiest way to do this is by adding a sleek and beautiful slideshow such as the JavaScript powered slideshow by Tribulant. This WordPress Slideshow Gallery plugin uses a jQuery library for its slideshow while the enqueued JavaScript it uses will prevent any interference from third party plugins or themes. Don’t hesitate to get creative and add your own images to create slides as well as set your preferred speeds, intervals and sizes for the added elements. The best part about it is you’ll only need one single line of code to integrate the slideshow gallery into your WordPress theme.

3. Disqus Comment System

Do you find that the WordPress commenting system is okay, and yet you wish you could get more out of it? Would you like to improve your user’s commenting experience, as well as turn comments into a real asset for your website? If you answered yes to all this, then it’s time you found out about Disqus. Disqus offers an integrated platform that rocks a clean and intuitive design and works with basically any type of website. Whether you’re on WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Squarespace etc., you can easily import all your existing comments as well as export them at any given time. The incredibly effective built-in spam filter will always be on guard, but if you want to be extra cautious about safety you can opt for additional features offered by Disqus such as pre-moderation, blacklists, whitelists and so on. In addition to such tools, you will also have access to features such as aggregated comments, social mentions and help from the amazing support team which has meticulously documented everything about Disqus, from installation to the Disqus API. The good news doesn’t end here, however: you can use Disqus without absolutely any cost. There’s no reason for you not to join the great Disqus community right now.

4. Google Analyticator

Have you heard about Google Analyticator, the first WordPress plugin that displays Google Analytics straight on the dashboard? So far, it has registered a staggering number of 3,028,134 downloads and we have a feeling you’ll be the next one to download this great plugin once you’ve found out what it can do. Without any JavaScript needed, you can link your website with your Google Analytics account with only a few clicks. Then, you will be able to see your user stats, top pages, referrers and top searches directly on your dashboard – it’s as easy and simple as that. The Analyticator supports both the traditional and the new universal analytics, thus enabling users to effortlessly link event tracking, remarketing, demographic and interest reporting etc. On top of that, you can run Google content experiments from inside WordPress and then collect the results from your dashboard. This plugin is just as great for web developers building websites for clients because it also comes with more advanced features for when those extra levels of detail are needed.

5. WordPress SEO by Yoast

Any WordPress website admin has done his/her fair share of search engine optimization  and knows that WordPress has this aspect mostly under control. However, if you are to have all SEO-related matters covered, you need the amazing WordPress SEO by Yoast. This is the ultimate all-in-one plugin which will give you all the tools needed for optimizing your website. It will also assist you in writing better content with its built-in content analysis function and easy optimization of your website’s titles and descriptions for Google. In between a ton of optimization options, users can also get snippet previews of how their pages look like on search results and page analysis functionality for optimizing page content, images’ titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps and so on. WordPress SEO by Yoast provides for every need possible: a video SEO module for those who want to optimize their videos for the search results, a SEO Video Manual plugin that offers training videos for editors and instruction videos for the Admin section and more. This plugin will put your website in the spotlight of search engines, it’s free, fully available in 26 languages and partially translated in twelve languages.

6. Akismet

There probably aren’t many other annoying things for an admin than having to filter spam when there are more important things to be done. Luckily, there are plugins who will help us be more efficient and also save us a couple of headaches; one great such plugin is Akismet and it has been slaying spam since 2005. Akismet is integrated into top WordPress plugins such as Jetpack and Contact Form 7 and you can also easily implement this awesome plugin through the Akismet API. In order to have Akismet detect and protect you from spam, all you have to do is select the plan that best fits your needs and then activate the plugin with your API key. That’s it. Your website is now protected from spam 24/7.

7. Jetpack

Thanks to a cool, new plugin called Jetpack, you can now have the most powerful WordPress features at your disposal. This single plugin will hook your self-hosted WordPress site to the bigger WordPress infrastructure so that you can enjoy numerous great elements such as robust stats, easy social sharing, Wp.me shortlinks, extra sidebar widgets and many more. Setting up Jetpack will only take you 30 seconds and it is completely free. After that, you’ll gain access to a single sign-on that will allow you to manage all your WordPress accounts as well as to add posts from any device you’ve signed in on. Once you’re ready to go, you can customize your website however you like, thanks to great tools such as custom CSS (so you can customize your site’s CSS without modifying its theme), infinite scroll support for your theme, shortcode embeds for content from YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, Gravatar Hovercards, a like system and many more. Head on over to jetpack.me to enjoy the full experience they’re offering.

8. Related Posts by Zemanta

Have you been trying to improve SEO and reader engagement on your blog? Wouldn’t you like some extra help with it? In this case, you need Related Posts powered by Zemanta. This incredible plugin will recommend images, links, articles and tags while you are writing in order to help you enrich your posts and make them more engaging. All Zemanta sources are trustworthy and this plugin will work on all major blogging platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, TypePad, Movable Type, Drupal and Joomla. Moreover, all Zemanta themes are responsive so that your website will look and perform great on any device and you also get to choose from a multitude of themes with various thumbnail sizes. If you want to take Related Posts one step forward and you like writing CSS, you can even customize this plugin with your own code. For any questions you may have, feel free to send an email at support@zemanta.com and you’ll get all the help you need.

9. W3 Total Cache

Most cache plugins available for WordPress are great with achieving a couple of performance aims. If you want more for your website, then W3 Total Cache is the complete package. This plugin will rectify many performance reducing aspects, from reducing CPU usage load and bandwidth consumption for HTML pages to decreasing the download time and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. The good news doesn’t end here however: once you have W3 Total Cache up and running, your website will rank higher in Google and you will notice a rise in your website’s conversion rates. Mobile support is also provided by this plugin, so you can expect your conversion rates for mobile to increase as well. Other great features included are caching of CSS and JavaScript in memory, on disk or on CDN, caching of feeds (site, categories, tags, comments, search results) in memory or on disk or on CDN (mirror only) and more. Overall, you will be able to improve user experience for your readers without having to go at great lengths and change your themes, plugins or the way you produce content.

10. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a must-have plugin that will save you from putting in countless hours of development and from having to spend money to keep your website in tip-top shape. This flexible and user-friendly plugin supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPCHA, Akismet spam filtering and much more. Adding a contact form into your post content is as easy as opening the settings page for Contact Form 7, then the contact form you would like to add; then, you just have to copy the shortcode of the selected contact form and paste it into the post’s content. Contact Form 7 additionally offers mail contents flexibility through a simple markup. You can read up on all you would want to know about this highly efficient plugin on their FAQ page. Even more, you can get your hands on this cool app for free.

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Jonath Lee 9 years ago
Hello Kelvin, image for
point 8 - related post Zemanta wrong image (W3 Total Cache)
point 9 - W3 Total cache wrong image (akismet)
klaudia 9 years ago
Useful article!