If you're reading this post, chances are that you already have a WordPress website or evaluating setting up a site on this system.
Maybe you're wondering either how to set it up the way you want, or want to ensure that you have properly optimized it keeping in mind all your needs.
The good thing is that you can customize your WordPress website almost completely by yourself, meeting all your requirements, with the use of plugins. While of course, keeping it fantastic looking and professional.
For a relatively simple, straightforward website, you really don't need to pay thousands to a web developer.
Especially if you're a solopreneur, blogger, freelancer, or small business owner.
In this post, I will share with you some of the most essential WordPress plugins to achieve the basics of setting up a site and gearing it for growth.
What are WordPress plugins?
Simply put, WordPress plugins are add-ons in your WordPress website that allows you to customize your site exactly the way you need/want it, in terms of looks, features, and functionality.
The basic content management system (CMS) of WordPress is built on a coding language called Php. But it's an open source platform, which means that any developer, internal or external to WordPress, can write codes to add some feature to a WordPress site. This is called a plugin.
So as a non-techie/ coding person, you don't need to write the codes yourself, you can simply download the plugins you need to add to your site.
Why do you need WordPress plugins? Pros & Cons.
The biggest difference between WordPress and other CMS like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace is that WordPress gives you maximum flexibility, due to all these plugins, for every aspect of your site. Whereas in the other CMS, while there are a lot of functionality options present, they are all in-built and you are restricted to them. If you want to do anything specific which these systems don't allow, too bad.
This is the biggest advantage and benefit of using WordPress plugins.
So for instance, if you have the skills, you can build a plugin tomorrow, add to your WordPress site, and promote it for other users, whereas in the other CMS you can't.
The flip side is that since all these plugins are created by different people, some of these may not be compatible with each other. For e.g., a performance plugin you use may not be compatible with an SEO plugin.
The good news is that, as you will see in my post below, usually there are quite a few options for each type of plugin. So if there is a compatibility issue, you can change either of the plugins to a different one.
How to use WordPress plugins?
There are essentially 3 (+1) steps to use a WordPress plugin: Search, Download, & Activate. The +1 step is that sometimes you have to customize the settings of the plugin a bit as per your requirements, but for simple plugins once you activate it, it just adds the relevant feature/ functionality to your site automatically.
Check out the video below on how to use a WordPress plugin.
Free vs. Premium (Freemium) plugins
Just like WordPress themes, some plugins are free, while some you have to pay for. Mostly premium plugins operate on the freemium concept though, where you can install a basic version for free, but for added functionality you have to pay.
Some very good plugins, like Yoast SEO, have this option.
If you have a small business or freelancer website, so not a huge one with zillions of products, the free versions are usually enough though.
In this post, I will tell you the plugins that I use and recommend for each function, based on my experience. All FREE.
But I will give you alternatives, some of which may be paid.
Which plugins do you need?
This of course depends completely on your needs.
But overall, these are the types of plugins that almost every professional website needs:
SET UP YOUR WEBSITE
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
GROW YOUR BUSINESS/ BLOG
- Social Sharing
SET UP YOUR WEBSITE
WordPress Security Plugins
First things first, you need to secure your site.
Whether you're predominantly a blogger or have an ecommerce website, you need to protect your site against malware, spam, and hackers.
Malware is basically malicious software that hackers can place on your website to take it over/ steal your data.
WordPress Malware Plugin
Without going into too much technical details, a good summary is that Sucuri is excellent for protecting against malware and hacking. It also offers a firewall and multiple layers of protection.
Like many plugins, you need to create an API account by logging in with an email address, but otherwise you don't have to touch any settings. Just keep the default, and you should be fine.
Alternative WordPress malware plugins:
More Details: 8 Most Effective WordPress Malware Removal Plugins
WordPress Spam Plugin
2. Plugin: Akismet Anti-Spam
But only malware protection is not enough.
I pair it with Akismet for protection against spam (trust me, blogs, especially, can generate a ton of spam, and it can really harm your website).
Like most plugins, this has a free and a paid version.
Akismet is mostly effective for pages, blogs and comments on blogs (a common way for spam to attack your website).
If you have a simple, relatively straightforward website, then the free version should be enough.
Alternative WordPress security plugins:
WordPress Legal Plugin
First my own disclaimer: not trying to give legal advice at all here!
Just that now businesses, whether big or small, in all their operations including websites, have to conform to various legal regulations regarding privacy, collection of data, etc.
On WordPress, some of these can be easily managed with plugins.
3. WordPress Disclaimer Plugin: GDPR Cookie Consent & Compliance Notice
Whether you are based in the European Union or you want to make your site available to those who are visiting from there, you have to comply with the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, as it's called. Mostly about letting your visitors know that you (Google Analytics, third parties, etc.), are collecting their data.
I choose GDPR Cookie Consent as it's very simple to set up on the website, but also gives enough options for customization. For example, you can choose the text and colors of the page, and also direct your visitors to a privacy page. It also provides options to make it CCPA compliant.
More Details: If you have a WooCommerce website, need to process digital signatures, or have more needs of legal plugins, check out 10 Free 10 WordPress Plugins to Help with Legal Compliance
WordPress Customization Plugin
Let's say that you have set up your WP site, chosen a theme, and added your content, or are in the process of doing so.
But you think you might want to change a few things, say in the design, or operations. So you need to do some customizations.
Don't worry, you don't need to know coding to manage that. Plugins to the rescue!
WordPress Child Theme Plugin
4. Plugin: Child Theme Configurator
Now firstly, let us understand what is a child theme and why you should ABSOLUTELY have one.
As you may know, WordPress themes are regularly updated, to get rid of bugs, install better security, etc. And to make sure your site works in the most efficient way, you should always have the latest version of the theme installed.
Now, here's the tricky part. If you install a theme, and then want to customize your wordpress site to make it look the way you want, then once you update the theme, you may lose all those changes!!!
That is where the child theme comes in. We do this in 3 steps:
1. When you set up a theme on your website, it is called the parent theme.
2. Then you create a child theme, which is exactly the copy of the parent theme, with all features and functions.
3. You activate the child theme. Your site will look exactly like it is with the main (parent) theme. Then you make all your changes to your child theme.
4. Now when you update the parent theme to the newest version, it will apply the updates to the child theme as well, but you won't lose your customizations with it.
Check out the video below on how to set up the Child Theme Configurator plugin.
Alternate options for WordPress Child Theme Plugin:
Customize WordPress Theme Plugin
5. Plugin: SiteOrigin CSS
Let's first understand how theme customizations work.
First you download your WordPress theme based on how you want your website to look/ function.
And while it almost looks like what you want it to, you might need to edit a few elements. Like color, font, etc.
So the first step you should do is work on your Customizer. In the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearances -> Customizer.
Through the panel on the left, you can customize most elements. With a live preview. Which means you see the changes as you make them.
But there may be some styles and displays that you cannot edit from here. So you have to add some CSS coding.
There are lots of css plugins that will let you add some coding to customize your WordPress theme, with live preview.
But wait! This post about doing everything with ZERO coding skills.
This is why I like the SiteOrigin CSS plugin. It adds CSS code, but works like the WordPress Customizer.
So you basically just see the live preview, and change what you want, without writing a word of code.
See how it works in this video:
WordPress Header Plugin
6. Plugin: Head, Footer and Post Injections
A header plugin is basically one that lets you insert some code into your header.
Don't worry, not code you create yourself.
Then why do you need it, you ask?
Well, there can be a lot of reasons, but I use it mostly to add code for tracking, to see my website performance.
So for instance, to set up Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, etc., for my WordPress website.
You can also use it to add some CSS, or social media icons, or change your navigation menu. Also add Adsense code.
I like the plugin Head, Footer and Post Injections as it's easy, no-fuss, and clean, while being super customizable.
You can choose exactly where you want the codes to display, like which page, post, location, device, etc.
Here's how it works.
Note: This video is for Adsense (advertising code), but you can follow the same policy for any code you want to insert.
Alternate options for WordPress Header Plugin:
WordPress Editor Plugins
Once you've got the basics set up, it is time to add your content. Whether it be pages, posts, product information, the content on your website is what tells Google what your site is all about and helps you being found by your audience.
However, the default WordPress editor is not very user-friendly, for me. It is a block editor, and looks like this:
The font size menu, for example, looks like this:
This is called the Gutenberg editor. It works by adding blocks. Honestly, I don't like this format, I feel it very limited and not free, and very hard to customize.
More Details: WordPress’ Gutenberg Editor Sucks
So I choose to disable this and work in a format that is closer to the MS Word interface, using other editor plugins.
WordPress Remove Gutenberg Plugin
7. Plugin: Disable Gutenberg
First of all, we have to remove Gutenberg. So simply use the straightforward plugin for that.
Next, we have to use a different editor to get the more direct interface.
WordPress Text Editor Plugin
8. Plugin: Classic Editor
As you can see, the interface is much simpler and gives you more editing options. If you are using a page builder like SiteOrigin, this editor very easily integrates with it.
If, however, you are using a page builder like Elementor, it will have its own editing options. You can directly edit your page with Elementor.
If you are not using a page builder, and directly editing your WordPress with headings, subheadings, and images.PRO Tip: If you're in a techie mood and want to disable Gutenberg without plugins, just paste this in your functions.php file: // disable Gutenberg add_filter('use_block_editor_for_post', '__return_false'); Click To Tweet
However, as you see here, you can't change font size or color. You can't center or justify text, you can't highlight or underline any text.
That is where another text editor plugin comes in.
WordPress Visual Editor Plugin
9. Plugin: TinyMCE Advanced
You can do a TON of editing with this. Look at the list below.
Download the plugin and explore!
Alternative WordPress editor plugins:
For maximum customization, instead of using the Classic Editor (or Gutenberg), you can also choose to work with WordPress page builders like Divi, Elementor, Beaver, SiteOrigin, etc.
WordPress Find and Replace Text Plugin
10. Plugin: Better Search Replace
Do you love the Find & Replace feature in MS Office where you can replace any word or number with anything else?
I wanted to have something like that in my website too! Where I could change one word across pages and posts with something else.
For instance, let's say you change the name of a product or service, but it's too much to know where all you used the word and go and replace it everywhere.
And this find and replace text plugin comes in very handy, in that case!
See the quick video below of how it works.
WordPress Replace Media Plugin
11. Plugin: Enable Media Replace
Well, those were all for text. What about media and images?
Normally in WordPress, if you already have an image uploaded to a post or page, then if you want to change it, you have to delete it, and upload the whole thing again. It will generate again a different URL, so you have to replace everywhere you've used the link of this image.
Unnecessary waste of time.
Instead, just use a plugin to replace one media file with another, giving them the same file name, the same URL, in the same location in your content!
All you have to do is go to your media library, point to the file you want to replace, and click Replace Media.
It gives you an option to just replace the file, or all details of the file including name, link, etc.
WordPress Troubleshooting & Site Health Plugins
WordPress Backup Plugin
12. Plugin: UpdraftPlus Backup & Restore
The first type of plugin you need in this section, is a backup of your WordPress site. Usually your website host will also keep a backup of your site, at least the last edited version.
So in case your site crashes for some reason, or it is hacked, you can restore it to the last version you knew was safe.
This is a MUST, because both me and some of my clients have been burnt badly, by not having a backup.
At its simplest, with UpdraftPlus, you can schedule automatic backups of all your site content and information to be done at a regular interval. And if at any time there is an error, just restore your site to the date you knew everything was okay.
Alternative WordPress backup plugins:
WordPress Troubleshooting Plugin
13. Plugin: Health Check & Troubleshooting
Sometimes a challenge with using external plugins is that any one of them might have a bug at any time, or may have a compatibility issue with another plugin or your theme.
The bigger challenge? Your site may not be working properly, and you don't know why.
In this case the best step is to deactivate all plugins,
The Health Check plugin allows you to deactivate all your themes and plugins on the backend (in your dashboard, for your user profile) without the functionalities disappearing from your published site.
Then you can activate them one by one and see where the error lies, and fix it or find an alternative solution.
Alternative WordPress Troubleshooting Plugin:
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE
WordPress SEO Plugins
WordPress all-in-one SEO Plugin
14. Plugin: RankMath
Now SEO has a whole lot of different factors, and you should refer to a proper SEO checklist to make sure you cover everything.
However for on-page technical SEO, there are a few key factors:
- Heading tags
- Title tags & meta description
- Structured Data
- Image SEO
- Search Console
- Managing 404 pages
Of course you have to have the right content, user experience and site speed (which we will cover in the next section), but for all the above-mentioned factors, I have found RankMath to be extremely valuable.
And the best part is that not only is it easy to set up (there is a Setup Wizard), there are tons of customizations you can do.
You also get helpful explanatory notes if you're not sure what a term means.
All of this is completely free!
Alternative WordPress all-in-one SEO Plugins
WordPress Broken Link Checker Plugin
15. Plugin: Broken Link Checker
While on RankMath you can set up all kinds of redirections for your 404 or other pages, one challenge is to identify which internal/ external links could be broken, and then to replace them.
Yes, this is relevant even for small websites.
And that is where the Broken Link Checker plugin comes in. To continuously find broken links in your website, and help you replace them.
See the video below to see how the Broken Link Checker works, and how you can fix broken links easily in a few minutes
WordPress 404 Pages Plugin
16. Plugin: 404Page
So now you have identified all the broken links.
In the Broken Link Checker example above, if the link is wrong, you can simply change it.
But let's say that you have done some changes to your site and you have a page that no longer exists.
Of course if it was a page that had information which is now on some other page, you should redirect it to the new page (you can do it in RankMath).
But simply redirecting it to the homepage is a bad idea. It confuses visitors, and doesn't keep link juice either.
More Details: Why does your 404 page matter in SEO
That's why you need a 404page plugin.
It basically tells the visitors that the page they reached is broken, and provides alternatives of what they can do instead. Like go to the homepage, search for what they need, check out your blog/ products etc. That customization is up to you! Would be best if you could match your brand to it.
All you have to do is design a normal page, and then in the plugin settings set up that page to be your 404 page.
Here's an example of a fabulous 404 page.
I also like this plugin as it gives simple options for an advanced mode, and there are plenty of helpful explainer videos, about what these options do.
WordPress Mobile Plugins (optional):
As you may know, Google does mobile-indexing first. Which means it uses the mobile version of your site to index and rank your site.
So it goes without saying that your site should look and work fabulous on mobile.So first things first for mobile indexing, if you're using WordPress, please use a responsive theme from the beginning. Saves you a lot of technical work later. Click To Tweet
Now if you DO have a mobile friendly-site, you may still want to make it better by customizing your menus, or you may want to turn the mobile version of your site into an app.
Now since these are not super critical for powering your site and are optional, I have just mentioned them here, and you can check them out if you want.
Some other elements of SEO are Content Marketing & Site Performance. Keep reading 😉
WordPress Performance Plugins
Now you have designed your own website, made customizations, added in your content.
But that's just the first part!
Of course you want your website to be found by search engines and your visitors to have a good user experience, so you have to optimize the performance of your site.
And this is where it gets a bit technical. But since we're not techies, and we're only talking about small business websites, so relatively small ones, we will stick to the basics here.
More Details: 18 Tips for Website Performance Optimization
The key factor we will focus on for site performance is website speed.
You can do a quick speed test on Google to check your current page speed.
Here are some more tools to test:
Now let's look at a few key aspects of improving your site speed and the plugins to help you do that.
First of all, you have to make sure that you have a good quality WordPress host. As a small business, you probably invest in shared hosting, which is fine. My go-to provider is always Siteground, but there are a ton of others like Bluehost, Hostgator, etc.
- Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Image Optimization
- File compression
WordPress CDN Plugin
17. Plugin: Cloudflare
When you use a CDN for your site, your site is stored and served for your site visitors from a location closest to them. So for example, even if your business is based in the US, if a person based in Germany is visiting your site, then the site will be served from the server located in or closest to Germany.
Without going into more technical details, just go by the obvious: the server is close, so the site loads faster.
Most of the good WordPress hosts also offer a free CDN, but if they don't, the simplest one to go for is Cloudflare.
Here's how to set it up:
Alternative options for WordPress CDN plugin:
WordPress Image Optimizer Plugin
18. Plugin: Image optimization & Lazy Load by Optimole
Of course you want to use loads of images on your website, to make it look fabulous and to enhance the user experience.
But the more images you have, the heavier your site is, and obviously, the slower it loads. So you need to compress the images.
I do that in 3 steps:
1. First I try to keep the minimum file size possible, without losing the quality, on Adobe Photoshop
2. I reduce the image size through the online tool of tinypng.
3. Compress the image further with Optimole
The main reasons I like Optimole are:
- It can serve images in a WebP format.
To quote Google, WebP is a modern image format that provides superior compression for images on the web. Using WebP, webmasters and web developers can create smaller, richer images that make the web faster.
Not all browsers support WebP format. But if it does, then Optimole can make the image WebP, which makes the site much faster.
- It compresses up to 5000 images for free.
Unlike other plugins like Shortpixel, the free version of which limits the number to a 100 per month.
- It serves the images through a CDN.
Optimole offers only image CDN, so you do need Cloudlfare as a separate CDN plugin as well, but this image CDN also makes your site load quicker.
Optimole also offers lazy loading of images, i.e.., the image on a webpage only loads if the visitor scrolls to that section of the webpage.
In the latest version of WordPress (5.5), lazy load is inbuilt.
However, it only lazy loads images, so to lazy load videos and other formats, I use a separate plugin.
WordPress Lazy Load Plugin
19. Plugin: a3 Lazy Load
The only setting I do is click it ON.
You can do a whole lot of other customizations, but for beginners, it's fine to leave it at default settings.
Alternative WordPress image optimizer plugins:
WordPress Cache Plugin
20. Plugin: Cache Enabler
First of all, what does a cache plugin do?
To put it simply, once a visitor checks out your website for the first time, a cache plugin creates and stores a static version of it, to be shown to the visitor on a repeat visit, saving the time that the browser has to access your host again to get the information.
There are a whole lot of caching plugins for WordPress, and almost all of them are equally good. The biggest differences are in terms of complexity of setting up (sometimes there is a lot of technical jargon), and in terms of price (free vs.paid).
Based on these 2 criteria mostly, I use Cache Enabler.
The set up is not just easy, it comes with a detailed documentation on how to set up.
Alternative WordPress caching plugins (including paid ones):
WordPress Minify Plugin
21. Plugin: Autoptimize
Again, I chose Autoptimize here because of the simplicity of set up, and also because besides the minification, it offers other features as well, like Google Font optimization.
This works very neatly combined with Cache Enabler.
Here too, I keep the settings at default, but if you need to know further, check out the video below.
Alternative WordPress minify plugins:
Note: Instead of using Autoptimize separately, if you are comfortable with a little more technical setup, you can also use a all-in-one caching plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Rocket, which offers a lot of the features of Autoptimize.
WordPress Analytics Plugins
Whether you want to grow your blog or business, it is very helpful to know how your website is performing, which pages/ posts are more popular, demographics who is visiting your website, etc.
I generally use 2 plugins for that.
WordPress Google Analytics Plugin
22. Plugin: GA Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the best tracking tools you can have for your website. Not always the easiest to navigate for non-techies, and has a steep learning curve, but once you can move around it a bit, you can get in-depth insights about each page of your website, and more.
Here's a quick video on how to set it up.
WordPress Facebook Plugin
23. Plugin: Official Facebook Pixel
The Facebook Pixel is basically a code that you embed in your website, and connect it to your Facebook account, so you can form a more in-depth idea about your audience's interests, age groups, gender, etc.
Mostly people use it to set a target audience for Facebook Ads, but even if you don't do ads, you can use this data to better understand your website visitors.
Here's how you can easily set it up.
Other plugins (optional)
If you don't want to open Google Analytics separately, and want to have the data easier to read, you can install the below plugins, which brings the GA data right to your WordPress dashboard.
I don't use these plugins as I prefer the interface of GA, but you can always try these out if you want, and see which suits you best!
GROW YOUR BUSINESS
WordPress Blogging Plugin
If you want to add a blog to your website ( I would highly recommend it, not just for SEO but to also grow your brand and establish thought leadership), there are a few plugins that can make your work easier, and faster.
WordPress Duplicate Post Plugin
24. Plugin: Yoast Duplicate Post
To build a good brand, consistency is key. And that applies for your website as well, including your blog. So your pages and posts should have a consistent look and feel, and a good structure, with the appropriate heading tags, text formatting (color, size, etc.), and flow of text.
This is where a duplicate post plugin comes in. Essentially it just means that every time you want to write a new post, you don't have to start from scratch, to structure and format everything. You just duplicate an existing post, and change the title, content, permalink, title tag and meta description (with RankMath), etc.
It is just super easy, fast and simple. This is how it works:
Once you install and activate the plugin, you just go to your list of posts, and point to the one you want to duplicate, and click on Clone.
It will create a a copy of your post in your drafts folder, which you edit as you wish, and just publish.
For e.g. it will have all the headings, subheading, and other settings, all you have to do is change the text.
WordPress Table of Contents Plugin
A good blog post should be informative, detailed, and yet easy to read. Just like a book, white paper, etc., it would be much easier to browse through a blog post with a table of contents.
More Details: SEO Tip #3: Table Of Contents
25. Plugin: Easy Table of Contents
How it works is that you first set up whether you want the table of content in a page, post, or both, and specify where in the post you want the table to appear.
You an customize the appearance.
Then you mark each heading/ subheading in the post with the heading tag you want, and indicate which heading tags should be included in the table. You can change this for every post. For example, in my post [Mega List] 200+ Marketing/ Branding Ideas & Tips to Grow Your Small Business!, I said I only want heading tags 2 and 3 (H2 & H3) to be in the table of contents (remember, there should only be one H1 tag in your post/ page).
Then in my post, I set up H2 & H3 according to my post structure (sub-headings and sub-sub headings).
So this is my table of contents. I have indicated which heading are H2, and which are H3. H3 appears as a sub-category under H2.
WordPress Social Sharing Plugin
Content writing is only 50% of the work. To really grow your blog and business, you need to distribute your content, and one of the key ways to do that (besides to also gain a follower base), is to enable people to easily share your content.
There are other social media sharing plugins too, but I like this one mostly because of the floating sidebar. Which means that no matter at which section of the blog post your readers are in, if they are liking what they are reading, they can immediately share it with the click of a button. See the video below.
So they don't have to scroll to the top/ bottom of the post to find the sharing button (though they can), they can just have it always available on the left/ right (depends on your settings).
26. Plugin: Better Click to Tweet
Another easy way for your readers to quickly share an interesting point and snippet from your blog is to let them tweet it. See the example below.
All you have to do is install and activate the plugin, and it shows in your blog interface as a Twitter symbol.
So you just click on it, and put in the text you want to be highlighted. You can choose to include your Twitter handle or not.
And all your visitors have to do when they are reading it, is to just click on it, and share instantly on Twitter.
A super easy way for your blog post to be shared!
WordPress Contact Forms Plugin
27. Plugin: WPForms
If you want to grow your business, it goes without saying that you need to be approachable and available for your leads. Adding your email address on your site directly is fine, but it is more convenient for visitors to just shoot you a message while they are on your website, instead of going back to their email.
Secondly, putting your email address on your website can generate a lot of spam emails. But by using a contact form and a captcha in that, your inbox is much safer.
But it's not just that. You can also use contact forms to know much more information about your user, qualify and categorize your leads. And this is why most contact forms fall in the freemium category. You get a free version for basic features, and also the paid one for advanced options.
Note: Many WordPress themes come with a basic contact form page, but they are usually not great for user experience, and also doesn't include captcha. So a proper contact forms plugin is best. You wouldn't want to do all the hard work to impress visitors with your site, only to have them turn away because they got frustrated with the contact page.
This is a super-easy builder, has pre-made templates, and also allows you to create your own. See the video below for full details.
In the free (Lite) version, besides of course the basic name, email, and message, it also allows you to add multiple choice lists, checkboxes, dropdown, and reCaptcha for security. Normally for a simple site these would be enough.
But if you want to add more fields, like geolocation, polls, etc., as usual, you need the paid version.
Alternative plugin options for WordPress Contact Forms
WordPress Email Plugins
28. Plugin: GetResponse for WordPress
Email marketing is still one of the most successful ways to grow your blog/ business. And it is super simple to do that from WordPress.
The first part is of course, getting the email contacts of potential leads, and second is to send them regular emails to keep them engaged.
There are 2 ways:
- You use a WordPress plugin like wpforms/SendinBlue/ Hubspot, to generate a subscription form directly on your site.
- You use a comprehensive email software that lets you design a very customizable form, and you connect this software to your WordPress site, through a plugin.
I prefer the 2nd option, as I feel it gives me much more flexibility and design options, and is also more intuitive.
But really it's a question of personal preference.
Now the cheapest options are GetResponse & MailChimp. While GetResponse has a free trial for 30days, after which it is about $15 per month, MailChimp has a completely free option, to send about 10,000 emails every month, to around 2,000 subscribers.
So if you're just starting out, you may prefer to stick with MailChimp. However, please note that all your emails then will carry a MailChimp branding, your email templates are very plain, and may not suit your brand, the support you get is limited, and you can't set your emails to be sent at a when your subscribers are most likely to open them.
So if you're looking for the cheapest option, try out MailChimp.
I do prefer and use GetResponse for my email marketing as it's the cheapest marketing automation software that works well and gives me loads of customization options that are important for my brand.
I will not get into more details here for email marketing as that is a whole big topic.
But ideally I would say first choose the email marketing option that you prefer, and then you can find the plugin that connects it to WordPress.
OPTIONAL WORDPRESS PLUGINS
WordPress Ecommerce Plugins
29. Plugin: WooCommerce
If you want to have ecommerce on your website, first I would recommend you to choose a theme which supports WooCommerce easily. Because while you can download an ecommerce plugin, it may not be compatible with your theme, and then all your hard work is compromised.
Simply put, I prefer WooCommerce simply because of 2 things: 1) It has a ton of features to customize your store as you want 2) Most of these features are free.
Check out this post for a more detailed comparison of different ecommerce plugins,
Alternative WordPress Ecommerce Plugins
- Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)
- Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart
- WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store
WordPress Translation Plugins
30. Plugin: Polylang
Sometimes you need to have your website in multiple languages. And you can choose 2 ways to do it:
1. You can install Lingotek translation to automatically convert all your content from one language to another
2. Translate and upload all the content in different languages yourself (DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED WAY).
For either of these, my preferred option is Polylang. It is very easy to set up and use, and there are also multiple videos on Youtube on the details of how to use it.
I have also tried WPML, but for the the interface was more complicated, not as intuitive, and plus it's not free. Most of the features of Polylang are.
But I will leave the details to another post, as this is an optional plugin for most professionals.
Alternative WordPress Translation Plugins:
One caveat I have to call out, is that there is a thought process that too many plugins can slow down your site.
But it is the quality, not the quantity of plugins, that could slow your website or impact its security.
Doesn't mean you should install hundreds of plugins though! Stick to the essentials you really need, make sure they are good quality, available in the WordPress plugins directory, and you're good.
Do you use any interesting plugins that are super helpful but I may have missed?
Do share in the comments!
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