You can build almost any website on wordPress. With the right combinations of themes, plugins and maybe some custom coding, there are unlimited possibilities on the website you can create with WordPress. In fact, it powers over 43% of the websites on the internet.
The flexible structure of WordPress is making it suitable for small businesses to large corporations to use it. In order to serve different website needs, WordPress first optimize the core features to make it fast and lightweight.
This means having only basic features in the out-of-the-box solutions and additional features to be fulfilled by the WordPress Plugins.
With the right plugins, you can have the required functionalities to meet your business goals while maintaining a fast website.
Today, we will be sharing how to choose the right plugins for your WordPress website. Do remember this, having too many unnecessary plugins will bring negative effects on your website as it will take more time to load.
What is a WordPress Plugins?
A WordPress plugin is a small piece of tool that add ons to your WordPress website to add new or enhance features for your website without having to do manual coding.
WordPress itself is a CMS platform which is good for building a basic website with pages and blog posts. However, there are more features required for a website to work.
In short, we can categorize the plugin into analytics, marketing, and features.
Analytics plugin: MonsterInsights, Google Analytics
Marketing plugin: contact form, email autoresponder, SEO plugin
Feature plugin: Ecommerce, sales funnel, custom builder
There are so many different plugins that you can use to transform your simple WordPress website into a full-featured website for your business.
WordPress plugins will only work with self-hosted WordPress websites and not the hosted WordPress.com website unless you are paying for the Business plan which costs $300 per year.
As for the self-hosted WordPress website, there is more flexibility in what you can do and control for the website. You will get to choose your own web hosting service too. There are many web hosting service providers like Bluehost that you can subscribe to their service and get your WordPress running with just a single click.
How to Choose the Right Plugins for Your WordPress Website?
If you check on the WordPress Plugin guide, there are over 60,000 plugins, both free and paid, available on the list. With the huge number of plugins available, you can expect there are some that are duplicates in the functions and some might not suit you best.
The selection of the plugins will be solely based on what functions you need for your website. And you should not duplicate exactly what other websites have unless you are both running the exact same business model.
Here are some basic plugins that you will need for your WordPress website.
1. SEO Plugin
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps to optimize your website so that it provides a better user experience and most importantly complies with the search engine ranking algorithm. This is to get your content ranks higher on the search engine result pages so that when people search for the keywords and click on your links, you will get more relevant traffic to your site for free.
SEO is a long-term process to optimize your content continuously and get it ranked on the search engine. You can’t expect immediate results as it will take some time for Google to work. However, once you rank on the right keywords, you will get a good amount of traffic.
Implementing an SEO strategy on your WordPress website is easy. You will need to install the SEO plugin from the plugin section, and then it will help to provide guides to optimize your site for better SEO.
Both these plugins provide similar SEO solutions for creating an XML sitemap and optimizing your website for SEO and in every page or post editor, it will give you suggestions for the on-page SEO.
This will include the SEO title, meta description, focus keyphrase, and how to optimize your posts based on the SEO rules.
2. Security Plugin
With the increasing cybersecurity threat, website security should be the top priority for all business owners. This is especially important if you are processing user data and also payments.
To keep your website safe, you can use the Wordfence plugin which offers a firewall to protect your website from malware, viruses and hacking.
To keep your website secure, we recommend Wordfence, which offers a firewall and protects your website from malware, viruses and hacking.
The Wordfence Threat Intelligence Team will monitor any vulnerabilities in your website and use a firewall to protect your website from different threats.
With the support of different websites worldwide, Wordfence has built a huge database of malware threats. This database can help to detect and prevent different malware and attacks on your WordPress website.
You can start with the free Wordfence to get all the basic features to keep your WordPress website safe. Or you can get the paid version for continuous monitoring.
3. Speed Up Your WordPress Website
Believe it or not, your WordPress website loading speed will affect your conversion rate. And yes, it’s true.
A slow-loading website will cause two issues for your website. First of all, slow loading website will cause your potential customers to leave your website without even browsing through your content. This is because people are impatience. If they have to wait for your website to load, they will lose patience and leave.
Next, website loading speed is an important criterion for search engine ranking algorithms. When your website loads slowly, it will give a bad user experience to your visitors and the search engine will penalize you for that.
So, every second of your website’s loading speed counts.
For this, you can use a plugin like WP Rocket to improve your site’s performance.
WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins on WordPress. It will improve your website’s loading time and also reduce the load of your website so it can load faster. You can try testing your website speed on Google PageSpeed tool to see how it performs and then, compare the result after you apply the optimization.
The single website subscription for WP Rocket will start at $59 per year and if you are buying for more websites, the average price per website will be cheaper too.
4. Opt-in Form Plugin
One of the ways to collect more leads is through opt-in or contact forms. You want to make the process seamless so your potential customers can sign up for your email list easily.
For example, you can use a contact form plugin like WPForms to design your contact form to embed in your website or as a pop-up for your website. Then, you can integrate it with the autoresponder plugin like GetResponse or Mailchimp so that when someone signs up for your mailing list, they will be added to your list automatically.
And depends on your email sequence, emails can be sent out to welcome them automatically.
5. Data Analysis for Your Website Performance
To get success for your website, you will need to study and understand the data. With analytics plugins like MonsterInsights and Google Site Kit, you can view your data from Google Analytics right from your WordPress dashboard.
MonsterInsights will integrate with your Google Analytics to track your traffic, visitor statistics, clicks and more. And your job here is to monitor the website performance and see which part you can optimize to increase the conversion rate.
6. Add Ecommerce Features To Your WordPress Website
To make money online means you need to be able to sell things and collect payments. If you are interested in building an online store, you can addon the eCommerce plugin to your WordPress website to make it an online store.
Plugin like WooCommerce is an excellent plugin to add the eCommerce feature to your WordPress website and convert it into an online store.
Read more on How To Install WooCommerce on WordPress
With WooCommerce, you can now add and manage your products and inventory with it. Not only that, there is also a shopping cart and payment function. You can directly upload your product to your WooCommerce store and start selling it.
Not only that, if you have a specific landing page or sales page for one of your products, you can also create it easily with WooCommerce.
And if you are a mentor or course seller, you can use a plugin like LearnDash to manage and host your courses.
If you have different students subscribing to a different plan, you can limit their access to the course content based on their plan too.
With LearnDash, you can build your course via drag-and-drop builder and also the pre-built templates for you to get started.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin on Your WordPress Website
We have introduced a few must-have plugins for every store. But how easy is it to install a plugin if you are a beginner?
To do this, you need to log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
Then, on the left sidebar, click on the Plugins -> Add new. Next, you can use the search bar to search for the plugin types or names for the plugin that you want.
When you found it, click “Install Now” to install it. It will take a few seconds to complete the installation process.
And finally, click on “Activate” to activate the plugin on your WordPress website.
If you would like to see which plugin is installed, you may head over to Plugins > Installed Plugins. Or if you have a plugin file that you bought or download from a third party, you can upload the plugin file and install it from there.
How to Update Your WordPress Plugins
To keep your WordPress and its plugins up to date is crucial. With the updates, they will be new features and more importantly bug fixes. When the plugin owner gets a notice about a vulnerability risk or bug in their plugins, they will proceed to solve it and provide you an update to resolve it.
Once you get these notifications, go to the plugins that need to be updated and click the Update Now link to update them.
WordPress will automatically download the plugin’s most recent version and install it.
Final thoughts: Beginner’s guide to WordPress plugins
WordPress plugins are good to add new features and functionalities to your WordPress on demand when you need them. The basic + plugin structure has made it lightweight for website owners to choose which feature they need accordingly.
However, there are two mistakes most business owners do. One will be having too many plugins installed on their WordPress website. And one will be not using the right plugin.
Having too many plugins will slow down your website and having the wrong plugins will not help your website.
You can follow our guide when starting your WordPress website. And if you use our link to get the web hosting for your WordPress website, we will provide free service to support and help you to get your WordPress website live and running.