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Best WordPress Plugins For Websites

We are here today to talk about our favorite plugins.

In fact:

We’re going to share our top 10 list of must-have WordPress plugins.

We’ll first share five of the most popular picks in the industry then share Sage Digital Agency founder’s personal top five picks.

WordPress has so many good plugins, so it wasn’t easy for Alex to decide!

Popular Industry WordPress Plugins

1. Elementor Plugin

While Elementor isn’t the most advanced drag-and-drop builder, it’s popular because of how simple it is to use.

It makes building and deploying landing pages without the need of a developer easy, thanks to its user-friendly features.

All elements within the plugin can be changed without any coding and without much CSS knowledge.

Again, it’s not the best drag-and-drop builder, but Elementor is one of the best WordPress Plugins for putting landing pages together very quickly.

PS Want to learn more about building landing pages? Click here.

2. WPBakery

One of the top WordPress plugins today is WPBakery, which is actually quite similar to Elementor.

Essentially, they do the same thing, so which one you choose is a matter of preference.

The biggest difference between them is that WPBakery has been around longer, since 2011, whereas Elementor has been around since 2016.

Also, Elementor is not quite as popular.

Both of these WordPress Plugins are a great choice since they each have several very helpful add-ons that provide you with a wide range of functionality.

 

10 Must Have WordPress Plugins

3. WPForms

WPForms is one of the best WordPress plugins for creating forms and is very easy to work with.

You can take payments, you can do multi-step forms, and did we mention the many integrations you can use to get your forms onto whatever email platform you’re using?

Honestly, this is just a very versatile tool that is also reasonably well priced.

A lot of people like Contact Form 7, however, which is what Alex uses.

Side Note About Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms

Alex is a Contact Form 7 guy.

Contact Form 7 is great and has been around a long time. It’s one of the better known WordPress plugins and is very powerful.

The only downside to Contact Form 7 is that you need significant CSS and adjustment knowledge to get the forms to render correctly.

We at Sage do like Gravity Forms a lot, too, for a couple of different reasons. It is certainly well-built. Plus, notifications work well and routing of emails is simple.

Gravity Forms is a solid plugin, but it does get a little expensive when you get the add-ons and all the additional features.

Overall, all three of these WordPress plugins (WPBakery, Contact Form 7, and Gravity Forms) will meet your needs.

4. Google Tag Manager for WordPress #—

Previously called DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager and now just Google Tag Manager, this plugin stands out among WordPress plugins because of how easy it makes tracking your web activity.

It is so important to be able to have all of your scripts and tags (or as many of them as possible) to load from Tag Manager, because it will offset the loading, where your page will load and then it’ll fire the tags as needed.

Whereas if you were to put your analytics tag and your conversion tracking and your javascript for a chat elsewhere, if everything is on the page versus going into Tag Manager, it’s going to all try to load in priority level, thus making the initial load time of the site significantly longer, because everything has to load. When you use something like the Google Tag Manager plugin, the plugin will load the Tag Manager script and then the individual scripts will load as needed. A lot of settings that you can control, you can track how far people scroll, and it just saves you on loading time.

Overall, this is one of the more useful WordPress plugins.

5. WP Mail SMTP by WPForms

The WP Mail SMTP plugin is a standalone wordpress plugin, not reliant on the WPForms wordpress plugin previously mentioned, created by the same las vegas web developer. What we like about this plugin is it changes the way you send email from your website. When someone submits a contact form, by default it’s going to be sent via PHP.

Oftentimes PHP will either not make it into other servers because of security settings, or it gets caught in spam traps. What this wordpress plugin does is it changes the way email is sent. Think of it as sending it over a more secured line, usually done through an API connection, very simple to set up either using something like SendGrid, or sent over Gmail if you aren’t sending a lot of emails.

You will go from not receiving contact forms or you’re not receiving uploads from your website, to lightning-fast delivery when you make the switch. Whenever someone complains that they’re not receiving their contact forms, the first thing we typically look at is how are the messages being sent? Because often if you are just using the default setting, that is the culprit.

Email either is going to not be delivered at all, or there could be some waiting periods, sometimes it comes 10, 15, 20 minutes to receive the email. You just cannot have that. You are not spending money in order to direct traffic to a website and then not receiving that instantly.

Honorable Mention: Rank Math

Michael feels that Rank Math it is superior… better than Yoast premium, for free. If you look feature-for-feature, you get more features out of Rank Math that essentially do the exact same thing. It is important to understand the purpose of Rank Math and Yoast, and what they actually do. For the most part, both of them just provide guidance as far as SEO best practices.

It will look at your title and say, “Your title is too short,” or, “You don’t use enough keywords.” It doesn’t necessarily fix a lot of the problems, although both of these wordpress plugins will fix some aspects of SEO. As far as what they do and the integration and how you can use it on a regular basis, Rank Math is on point.

Check out our blog post about how to improve your SEO for more about this topic.

Alex’s Top 5 WP Plugins

1. Wordfence

Wordfence is one of the more important WordPress plugins given how much nonsense is happening on the web today. Hacking attempts are continuing to rise more and more and more. Without superior security functionality on your website, you are leaving yourself wide-open to problems.

We see it far too often. We monitor more than a hundred websites currently, most of which are using Wordfence. You would be amazed to see how many attempts from all over the world are happening, whether it be bots, whether it be hackers. Without having proper security, you’re leaving yourself open to big issues.

Our favorite features are the ability to lock out login forms only to US, block IP’s. The automatic site scanning, Wordfence Central, and much more. It is a really well-built, fantastic tool.

Another great feature is the brute force section, where you can lock out any invalid usernames. Unless you have “Admin” as your own username (Which, a separate conversation on why you should not have that may be in order), if anyone tries to use a username that’s incorrect, it’ll automatically block them. If you want to learn more about WordPress Security and protecting against WordPress security vulnerabilities, please read this post.

2. WP Rocket

Upon loading the WP Rocket plugin onto the website with little optimization, you will already see a significant increase in loading speeds. There is nothing more irritating than going to a website and it takes five seconds, six seconds, eight seconds, to load. Really, really bad. With some additional customization it can really make a significant impact on page loading of your website for a number of reasons.

WP Rocket makes it possible for you to have a lot of control over all of the elements, and we think WP Rocket is probably the best caching wordpress plugin you can get.

Your page loading is a major function of good web hosting, but this paired together with proper hosting and a few other things, you can have a very fast website.

3. Imagify

Imagify is an image compression tool, it works extremely well via API, and is inexpensive. And it really works well to significantly compress large image sizes on your website, which in turn will make sure that they load faster.

We have situations that happen all of the time where clients will say, “Well, I’m uploading a 1500 pixel image. Isn’t that okay?” And we say, “Well, no, if it’s 3 megabytes, it’s not okay. And there’s a difference between uploading of a certain pixel size and making sure that the overall file size is not overwhelming.”

It is a matter of good housekeeping,

  • A: compress images on my own through another service prior to ever uploading on a site.
  • B: connecting Imagify to ensure that the thing is optimized and compressed as best as possible, obviously without losing the quality of that image.

When it comes to image compression, certainly years ago, the bigger the image, the higher the DPI or the resolution, the better it was because it needed to be able to handle what would be lost when things were printed. Now, realistically, 72 DPI would be more than enough. You don’t need these massive file sizes. And most images have extra data embedded within them, like what camera took it, what date the picture was taken. All of these little bytes of data are stored on the image, making it physically bigger.

Most of those data points aren’t really needed if you’re not doing some sort of photography or editing. So using these compression services will remove that extra data, making the file size physically smaller without having any impact to the actual images. This decreases your website’s loading time and makes the page load faster, which is obviously always a good thing.

 

10 Must Have WordPress Plugins

4. All-in-One Migration

We love All-in-One Migration. All-in-One Migration is an amazing tool when you are migrating a website from point A to point B. It has two million-plus downloads on WordPress, and great customer service. 95% of the time it’ll just do what it needs to do, no matter the size of the site, whether it be a few hundred megabytes or even into the five, six, ten gigs that we’ve seen. Great for backups as well. Most URLs across the board will be updated even on pages and posts as well, which is nice.

5. Drift

We like Drift a lot. Drift definitely has automation options that cost a significant amount, but out of the box it is free. It has a lot of options available. We can’t tell you how many conversations are started because of that little widget that pops up on the bottom right saying, “Hi, How can I help you?” 

Chat is very important. Often, people might have a quick question and they want to get a little more information. You can do a lot with their free version. Anything to provide more value to the customer is certainly a win.

It is also less intrusive in a way. You don’t have to put in an email address, you don’t have to put in anything if you don’t want to. You just have to ask a question. If you hear something you like, maybe you’ll continue the conversation. If not, you can move on and you don’t have to make that step of submitting a form or picking up the phone and talking to somebody. It’s very customer-friendly.

So that’s it folks! Our Top 10 Must Have WordPress Plugins that we think everybody should go out and get right away.

Any questions, comments, get in touch with us. We would love to help 🙂

We offer a free, no-pressure consultation during which we get to know you, go over your immediately goals, and get an idea of your long-term objectives.

All of our websites are custom made in Figma to be SEO-friendly, optimized across multiple device types, and visually appealing.