WordPress plugins can dramatically improve the functionality, look, and performance of your site.

They can transform your blog from this…

…to this…

And with over 54,000 of them available you may be tempted to install every shiny new plugin you read about in blogs, emails and in your Internet marketing Facebook groups.

But adding too many plugins can drastically slow your site down.

Slow sites don’t rank well in Google so you will get less traffic and your visitors will be more likely to leave your site without looking at multiple pages.

So, How Many Plugins Should I Install

There is no Magic Maximum Number of plugins you should limit yourself to, but as a general rule, you should install as few plugins on your site as you can get away with.

But just as important, you should also avoid poorly coded, and infrequently updated plugins as they can also slow your site down and leave you more vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

Always go for a plugin that is frequently updated, well maintained and tested on your version of WordPress. The plugin MUST be created by a credible developer with a proven track record.

Figuring all that out may sound like a lot of work, but don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.

I’ve used countless plugins on hundreds of WordPress sites. I’ve tested all the top plugins and spent hundreds of hours chatting with my WordPress friends and reading legit reviews about which plugins are best.

I’ve written this post so you can save yourself all that time and energy. All the plugins on my list are safe, fast, frequently updated and the best in their class.

To keep things organized I’ve broken the plugins down into categories.

All sites should install the “Essentials” – these are the plugins that are Must-Haves.

You will need to make the decision to install the other plugins based on the goals of your site and the business model you are following.

So, without further ado here is my list of the Best WordPress plugins of 2020:

The Essentials

Rank Math SEO - Best SEO Plugin (Free)

Rank Math is designed to help you make you site search engine friendly. It creates pretty permalinks and helps you create the perfect page title and meta descriptions.

If you want your articles to rank in Google then you absolutely need to install an SEO plugin and in my opinion Rank Math is your best choice.

Rank Math is the new kid on the block and in my opinion is better than the old stand-bys (Yoast & All-In-One SEO). I have been converting my money sites over to Rank Math and so far have not found any issues.

Rank Math is 100% free and has many features that you would need to pay for if you decided to use Yoast SEO instead. Rank Math is also faster and more intuitive than any other SEO Plugin on the market.

>>Download Rank Math<<

Really Simple SSL - Make Your Site’s Connection Secure (Free)

As the name implies this is a very simple little plugin that has only one job. To convert your site from HTTP to HTTPS.

Why do you need to make your site HTTPS? Because it helps to prevent intruders from messing with the connection between your user’s browser and your website.

Many modern browsers will display a warning screen to users if you are still running HTTP. Not to mention that Google has admitted to using HTTPS as a ranking signal. So, you really need to do this!

The conversion process is very simple. Just activate the plugin and press the “Make My Site Secure” button. 

If you’re using a quality web host they have most likely already installed an SSL Certificate (something you need to guarantee your site is secure). If you get a warning message you may need to contact your host for help.

WP Forms - Best Plugin to Create a Simple Contact Form (Freemium)

If you want to run a legit website you really need some way for your users to get in touch with you. A contact form is the most popular solution as it will effectively cloak your email from spammers.

Unfortunately, by default WordPress has no way to generate a contact form, so this is where WP Forms comes in.

The free version of this plugin will allow you to quickly create a contact form and embed it on your “Contact Us” page.

Contact Form 7 is probably a more popular choice for creating simple contact forms. But in the past couple of years I have been getting a ton of contact form spam when I use this plugin. 

Which is why I have been converting my sites to WP Forms. 

WP Rocket Caching Plugin - Best Premium Caching Plugin (Paid)

No one likes a slow website. If your visitor has to wait for your webpage to load he may leave your site and seek information elsewhere. Which is why a caching plugin is essential.

WordPress is a very processor intensive program and every time a user’s browser requests a page from your site, your server needs to process hundreds of individual scripts and files to build that single page.

Caching plugins basically take a snapshot of the finished page once – and serve that static page instead – saving your server from doing all the complex calculations ever single time someone visits that page.

The bottom line is – caching makes your website run much faster, and fast websites mean higher rankings in Google and more conversions.

There are dozens of caching plugins available in the WordPress plugin depository, may of them will give you the same end result as WP Rocket – but what makes WP Rocket worth paying for are 3 things:

1. WP Rocket is super-simple to configure – Many of the free plugins have very complex settings that even I don’t fully understand after installing them on hundreds of websites. You will get 90% of the benefit of WP Rocket as soon as you activate it.

2. WP Rocket includes a bunch of useful features that, if you used a free plugin, you would need to install other plugins to emulate. Most notably is their integrated Lazy Loading and CDN integration.

3. WP Rocket can be used in conjunction with Kinsta hosting’s internal caching – Kinsta is my favorite hosting on the planet right now, so this one is a big deal to me.

Alternative to WP Rocket >> Various (See below)

WP Super Cache - Best Free Caching Plugin

WP Super Cache is my favorite free WordPress caching plugin. It’s easier to configure than most of its competitors and has fewer conflicts with other plugins than the other free caching solutions.

If your site is brand new and you aren’t getting much traffic yet – I would just stick with Wp Super Cache. You can always upgrade to WP Rocket later.

I used this plugin on all my sites until WP Rocket came along and it worked great most of the time.

>>Get WP Super Cache from WordPress.org<<

There are 2 more free caching plugins I should mention as they are the plugins recommended by specific hosting companies which I recommend on my hosting page:

W3 Total Cache - Recommended For WPX Hosting Users

W3 Total Cache is another great free caching plugin for WordPress – but it’s also one of the most difficult to configure. If you are a novice – fuhgeddaboudit!

Fortunately, if you buy a hosting plan at WPX Hosting, their techs will configure it for you.

W3 Total Cache is their recommended caching plugin and combined with their awesome servers it will make your site screaming fast.

SG Optimizer - Recommended for Siteground Hosting Users

SG Optimizer is a caching plugin created exclusively for Siteground users. It interfaces seamlessly with SiteGround’s servers to significantly speed up page load times.

One of the main reasons I recommend Siteground Hosting so strongly is that this plugin allows your site to harness the awesome power of Varnish Caching in a shared hosting environment.

Usually, this kind of power is reserved for high-end hosts like WPEngine or Kinsta which cost 10x more than SiteGround. 

The plugin is free and only works if you have a “Grow Big” or higher hosting plan with SiteGround.

a3 Lazy Load - Best Lazy Loading Plugin (Free)

So, let’s pretend you have a webpage with 3000 images on it. When a user arrives at that page your server will start loading all of those images immediately. This could take quite some time and slow you page load times to a crawl.

Bad for SEO, bad for user experience and conversions. It is also incredibly inefficient as the user may never scroll past image #5.

a3 Lazy Load to the rescue!

This plugin tells your server to ONLY load images as the user scrolls close to them. So, in the case of the 300 image page – only the first 3-4 images will be loaded.

WP Rocket has it’s own integrated Lazy Load feature – but if you use any other caching plugin you should definitely use this plugin.

Just be aware that all lazy Load plugins are notorious for causing conflicts – so after activating a3 be sure to check your site and make sure nothing is broken.

ShortPixel - Best Image Compression Plugin (Freemium)

Nothing will slow your website down more than huge, poorly compressed images.

Install the ShortPixel plugin and it will make sure that every image you upload will be properly optimized without sacrificing image quality. You can also run it on existing images on your site for the same effect.

This plugin is really amazing. I ran it on one of my older sites with hundreds of images and it was able to cut the image sizes in half.

This is by far the best image compression plugin I’ve ever used and I have tried a bunch of them.

I previously used Smush (formerly WP Smush) but after running ShortPixel on an already Smushed site – and getting an additional 50% reduction in Image size – I instantly switched all my sites to ShortPixel.

 

The free version of the ShortPixel allows you to compress up to 100 images a month. If you need to compress more than that you will need to buy credits. Most users can get by with the “Short” plan which is $4.99 a month for 5000 images.

Wordfence - Best WordPress Security Plugin (Freemium)

Hackers are a real pain in the ass, and unfortunately they love messing with WordPress, mainly because it is the most popular CMS in the world.

So, if you have a WordPress site, which I assume you do if you’re reading this page, then you need to protect yourself.

The free version or Wordfence, with the out of the box configuration does a pretty good job of protecting your site from basic attacks.

I’ve never used the paid version and you will probably not need it until your website becomes a massive success – and thus a prime target for hackers.

Get WordFence Security from WordFence.com

UpdraftPlus - Best WordPress Backup Plugin

UpdraftPlus creates regular, automated backups of your website. You can store the backups either on your server (bad idea) or in the cloud using something like Dropbox (good idea).

I can hear you saying…. “But my host makes backups, why do I need another stupid plugin”

DO NOT RELY ON YOUR HOST FOR BACKUPS!!!!!

Do you really want to lose 5,000 articles because your host doesn’t like your politics or religion and decides to delete your website and cancel your hosting plan. Yes, that kind of stuff really happens.

Then there are the aforementioned pain in the ass hackers. It’s much easier to just restore your site to a pre-hacked version than it is to try and find the hacked files among the 50,000 files on your server.

Please, just install this plugin and spend 10 minutes to set it up – you can get a free drop box account here.

 

Ultimate Addons For Gutenberg - Best Gutenberg Block Addon (Free)

Gutenberg is the name of the new stock WordPress page editor and it is a HUGE improvement over the old editor.

But it still leaves much to be desired and that is why you need to install Ultimate Addons.

This plugin adds some great page-builder like functionality inside the core wordpress editor. It allows you to add elements like Icon Lists, Call to Action Boxes, and Advanced Headings.

Just trust me – try it out and you will be hooked.

Atomic Blocks - Another Great Gutenberg Block Addon (Free)

This is my second favorite Gutenberg block, it has many blocks that Ultimate Addons does not have – so I actually install both plugins on many of my sites.

You should probably try both of these plugins and see which set of blocks you find most uesful. Honestly having 2 on a site is probably overkill. [Hello, my name is Chris and I’m a block addict…]

Monster Insights - Google Analytics Interface For WordPress (Freemium)

This plugin interfaces with your Google Analytics account and displays a ton of useful (and actionable) information right on your WordPress site in a very fancy (and addictive) dashboard

The free version is pretty limited and the paid version is stupid-expensive for what it does. But the information you glean from the data provided will more than pay for the plugin, assuming your site is currently earning decent money.

If you can’t afford the paid version I would not install this plugin as you will just find yourself craving that extra information cloaked in the pretty dashboard.

Power User Plugins

Elementor Pro (Freemium)

Elementor is a visual site builder whose main function is to replace the basic wordpress page editor with a turbo-charge framework capable of creating stunning web pages that would have required a professional web designer several years ago.

It is also capable of overriding your entire theme allowing you to create custom templates that direct your theme how to display the various sections of your site; header, footer, articles etc.

Once you learn how to use Elementor you can make each section of your theme look exactly how you want.

Another popular use for Elementor is for creating beautiful landing pages and various types of popups.

Elementor is an essential part of my marketing arsenal. The page you’re looking at now was built with the Elementor page builder.

The free version comes with 30 different widgets and will be good enough for simple projects – but to unlock the real power of this plugin you will need to upgrade to pro.

The price of the pro plugin is:

  1. Professional – $49.00/year for 1 site
  2. Plus – $99/year for 3 sites
  3. Expert – $199/year for 1,000 sites

Simple Author Box - Display Your Author Bio on Posts (Free)

Most themes have some way to display author info below a post, but most are woefully lacking in even the most basic features.

Simple Author Box solves this problem – it displays the authors bio, avatar and social media profiles in a beautiful, responsive box under each post.

The plugin is easy to configure and is free to use. There is a paid version, but you will probably never need it unless you are trying to do something fancy.

If you decide to purchase the Pro version of Elementor you will not need this plugin as Elementor pro has its own Author box widget that is pretty slick.

Table of Contents Plus (Free)

This is the most popular table of contents plugin for wordpress and it’s totally free.

The plugin pulls your h1-h5 headings from your page and creates a table of contents at the top of your page. This is great for your users and Google loves it too.

The plugin is easy to use and has enough options that you can usually make your table look how you want.

Once again, Elementor Pro has its own Table of Contents widget built in so if you purchased Pro you won’t need this plugin.

Akismet Anti-Spam - Keep Comment Spam At Bay

Askimet Anti-Spam is the best plugin available for identifying and filtering out spam comments from your site.

The plugin hooks into a central spam database and compares your comments to ones from other websites. It then makes a decision if the comment is spam or not. If the comment is spam it is filtered out so you never have to see it.

Akismet filters out hundreds of millions of spam comments every day so their process is pretty accurate.

The plugin is created and supported by the developers of WordPpess so you it is well coded and constantly updated.

Be aware that on some servers Akismet can cause high CPU usage, which can slow your site down, so I would only install this plugin if you are dealing with a significant spam problem.

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is hands-down the best form creation plugin for WordPress. This plugin has so many uses it will blow your mind. From simple contact forms to enterprise level payment gateways, this plugin can do it all.

I’ve used Gravity Forms for quizzes and surveys and the best thing about it is that you can integrate your form with just about any 3rd party software.

Because Gravity Forms is so popular they’ve been able to forge partnerships with some of the best Web Apps and online services around. This makes it incredibly easy to integrate your form with your email provider or landing page software.

If you are just creating a simple contact form I would stay with WP Forms as it is much simpler (and cheaper) but if you want to do anything fancy, like pass user data from a form to another page then be sure to check out Gravity Forms.

Prices start at $59.00 per year for one site.

Ninja Tables - Best WordPress Table Building Plugin (Freemium)

Ninja Tables is one of many table building plugins you will find in the WordPress plugin repository. Most of these plugins create ugly tables that are almost unreadable on mobile devices.

About a year ago I needed to build a comparison table for one of my sites so I tested around 10 of the top table plugins and found Ninja Tables to be my favorite.

It has the best customization features, mobile responsiveness and the ability to display your table in a visually pleasing manner.

The basic plugin is free, but to unlock advanced features you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. Prices start at $49.00 per year for one site.

NOTE: If you want to create comparison tables for an Amazon Affiliate site you should check out AmaLinks Pro down below in the Affiliate Marketing Plugins.

TablePress - Most Popular Free Table Building Plugin

TablePress is by far the most popular free table building plugin for WordPress.

With over 800,000 installs and a perfect 5 star rating this plugin is a great choice for building simple tables for your WordPress sites. And it is 100% free.

Personally, I prefer the free version of Ninja Tables. I think the tables look much more modern and the display options are more flexible – even without the Pro features.

If you’re looking for a free table building plugin you may want to test them both then use the one that best suits your needs.

Link Whisperer - Internal Linking Made Easy (Paid)

Internal links (from one page on your site to another) have been proven to be a valuable ranking factor in Google. The links help Google figure out what your pages are about and in turn, the keywords on those pages rank higher.

But creating these internal links is a royal pain in the butt – especially if your site has hundreds, or thousands of existing pages.

Link Whisperer is a brilliant little plugin that helps you build these internal links in a fraction of the time. It analyzes your site content and then makes suggestions about where you should link and what anchor text you should use.

Just check the box of the links you want to create and within minutes the link juices are flowing!

There is no free version of this plugin so you will need to pony up $67.00 a year for a single site license, $97.00 for 3 sites or $147.00 for 10 sites.

Is it worth it? Certainly not if you’re just starting out and your site only has 10 pages – you would be better off to just do the internal linking manually.

If on the other hand, you have 10 sites that have few to no internal links, this plugin is a no-brainer.

Plugins To Help You Make More Money

Advanced Ads (Freemium)

The Advanced Ads plugin allows you to place ads (banners, Adsense, Amazon or anything else) in various locations on every post and page of your site.

You can choose to include or exclude specific categories, tags or individual posts or pages all from a single intuitive interface.

The central interface makes it easy to swap out poorly performing banners and the awesome grouping and rotation features allow you to test various ads against each other and give more “weight” to important ads.

I’ve tried all the top Ad insertion plugins, free and paid, and I find Advanced Ads to be the most intuitive of the lot.

With other ad plugins there always seemed to be a feature missing, but with Advanced Ads I’ve been able to achieve any placement I want.

The basic plugin is free but to gain access to some of the advanced features you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. You will most likely be able to get by on the free plan so I won’t bother to list the prices.

Great Alternative to Advanced Ads >> Ad Inserter Plugin

OptinMonster - Best Pop-Up Plugin (Paid)

Okay, it is not quite accurate to say that OptinMonster is a plugin, because without the SASS service that powers it, the plugin would be useless.

OptinMonster is an online service that allows you to build and display pop-ups on your website. If you want to build an email list for your business (you do) then you absolutely need some sort of pop-up on your website.

OptinMonster is the go to solution for many of the top marketers online. With their 65+ beautiful, high-converting, mobile friendly templates you can have a pop-up live on your site in under 10 minutes.

OptinMonster’s trigger settings are the best I’ve ever seen, you can instruct the pop-up to appear based on time on site, location of the user, when a user tries to leave the site… the possibilities are endless.

You can also set the pop up to appear when a user clicks on a link. I use OptinMonster on this site. If you want to see it in action CLICK HERE.

The plugin is free – but the service will cost you $9.00 a month for one site.

Great Alternative to OptinMonster >> Hello Bar

Elementor Pro Users Read This

You should be aware that if you purchased Elementor Pro you have access to Elementor’s own Pop-Up functionality which is pretty great and getting better all the time.

I almost canceled my subscription to OptinMonster when Elementor introduced their Pop-Up functionality – but then discovered that it is not quite as good as OptinMonster in many aspects (triggers, statistics etc).

So, for now I am paying for both tools and I actually use both systems concurrently.

WP Review - Best Review Plugin (Freemium)

WP Review was created by the team at Mythemeshop, the same guys who brought you Rank Math SEO Plugin and a bunch of other awesome themes and plugins.

This is by far the best review plugin I’ve used. It’s easy to set up and creates beautiful review boxes in a variety of styles including Stars, Points and Percentages. 

Upgrade to pro and you also can create Circle and Thumb review results.

Whether you’re reviewing products, books, movies, games, or anything else this plugin has you covered.

One of the most important features in a review plugin is the Schema support, this is what allows you to get your star ratings in the Google search results, like this….

WP Review’s Schema support is second to none, and it doesn’t take a genius to set it up. Just pick your Schema from the 19 supported types and the plugin does the rest.

The Pro version of the plugin costs $38.50 a year, or you can get a Mythemeshop membership for $197.00 a year, which includes the pro versions of all their WordPress themes and plugins.

Even the free version of this plugin has so many amazing features that I can’t do it justice – if you want to add reviews to your site you should definitely check this plugin out.

Thirsty Affiliates (Freemium)

ThirstyAffiliates is an affiliate link management plugin that allows you to organize, track and conditionally redirect all your affiliate links. It also allows you to insert those links into your post and pages with the click of a button.

Why not just create the links manually?

Let’s say you add the same link to 50 pages on your site, and then the affiliate program changes tracking software and your links no longer work! Now you need to find all those broken links, and replace them with your new affiliate link… Bummer!

This happened to me – but it was more like 300 links I had to replace. That was all I needed to motivate me to find a better solution.

There are several other plugins that perform the same basic functions, but Thirsty Affiliates is by far the best affiliate link management plugin for WordPress.

I use Thirsty Affiliates on this site and several others. It has a ton of great features that makes it easy to stay on top of the hundreds of affiliate links that I’m managing.

This is one of these plugins you should install on day 1 of your site so management becomes much easier.

Alternative to Thirsty Affiliates >> Use 302 Redirects in your server’s htacess file. Click Here to learn how.

WooCommerce - Best eCommerce Plugin (Freemium)

The WooCommerce plugin takes your basic WordPress site and turns it into a fully-functioning eCommerce store.

Using WooCommerce you can sell all sorts of products from your site, both physical and digital.

The plugin is designed for small to large-sized online merchants and is by far the most popular way to build an eCommerce store on WordPress. It powers about 25% of the top 1 million eCom sites worldwide.

The plugin comes with dozens of themes and some awesome conversion optimization tools, you’ll be hard pressed to find another plugin that can match WooCommerce when it comes to usability and price. 

The basic version is free and their top plan is only $12.95 a month.

The main competitor to Woocommerce is Shopify – which is a fully hosted solution, meaning all the software, and your website are owned by Shopify and not you. There are pros and cons to both solutions – if you are thinking about starting an eCommerce store this is a great article to get you started.

AmaLinks Pro - Best Plugin For Amazon Affiliate Sites

Amalinks Pro is a great plugin designed specifically for Amazon Affiliates. By connecting directly to Amazon’s API it allows you to quickly and easily create product showcases, add images, buttons, tables and text affiliate links to your articles without having to leave the WordPress editor.

If you are thinking about starting an Amazon Affiliate site you should seriously consider purchasing this plugin. It will save you countless time and energy, and will help you stay compliant with the plethora of Amazon’s confusing terms of service.

The only downside of this plugin is that you need to have a functional API key to really take advantage of all the features. 

This is a bit of a problem if you are just starting out because Amazon limits key access to affiliates who are currently making consistent sales.

Amalinks Pro just released a version of the plugin that does not require API Access to function, but I find it a bit clunky.

Amalinks Pro is a relatively new plugin but it seems like the team behind it is dedicated to making it the go to solution for Amazon Affiliate sites.

There are other similar plugins on the market, but many of them are not being properly supported.

The only other similar plugin I would recommend at this point is AAWP which does many of the same things as Amalinks Pro, I just don’t think it does them as well.

Unfortunately, there is no free version of Amalinks Pro and I find their pricing structure to be very annoying.

You can use the plugin on 1 site with all the features for $67.00 a year, or you can use it on 5 sites for $67.00 a year BUT you won’t get access to the table builder (which is one of the best features)

So, really if you want to use the plugin on more than one site you will need to buy the Premium license, which is $197 a year and will work on 25 sites.

Content.ad Related Content Plugin - Earn Money With You Related Content

There are dozens of related post plugins available, and they all do pretty much the same thing – display related posts below your article so the viewer can easily consume more of your content.

But what makes the Content.ad Related Content plugin so great is that you can actually earn money from using it.

Content.ad is a content recommendation company that helps site owners monetize their content. Their widgets run on thousands of sites and generate billions of page impressions per month.

If you spend any time online you’ve seen their widgets – they look like this:

Content.ad example widget

Once you sign up for an account you can use the Content.ad related post plugin to display their widgets on your own website, and share in the ad revenue every time someone clicks on one of the Ads.

You can also choose to mix your own articles in with the sponsored content, or if you don’t want to display any ads you can use the plugin to display 100% your own content.

Content.ad is a great way to monetize sites when you can’t find appropriate affiliate offers. It works great on things like Celebrity Gossip sites. But you will need quite a bit of traffic to make any real money with them.

NOTE: When you download this plugin it tells you that it has not been updated for over a year and that it may be abandoned.  Don’t worry – it is still working just fine on my sites.  

Social Media Plugins

When viewing this section It may seem like a good idea to install all these plugins willy-nilly thinking they will bring a flood of free traffic to your site.

But that could be a big mistake.

Social Media plugins, more than just about any other type of plugin, can really affect your site speed and user experience. Most of these plugins load additional style-sheets and scripts and make multiple calls to external sources.

So, before you install any of these plugins ask yourself if they will really give your user a better experience on your site.

You should also give some thought as to whether you even need to be spending time on social promotion.

If you run a site about How to Get Rid of Man Boobs, then it is highly unlikely anyone is going to share your content – so adding a bunch of social plugins would just be a waste of time and a distraction to your users.

If however you are in a niche where social is vital, Mom Blog, Kids, Food etc… Then you should really spend the time to get your social stack humming from day one.

Here are my favorite social plugins to engage your audience and bring a flood of free traffic to your website:

Social Snap - Best Paid Social Plugin

Social Snap is one of the newest social plugins on the scene but it has quickly become the go-to all in one social tool for those in the know.

This plugin allows you to add social sharing buttons to your site from 30 of the top social platforms. And you can add them in just about any configuration you can think of, above post, below post, floating, sidebar etc.

But Social Snap does so much more than that… It has the best feature list of any paid social sharing tool available for WordPress, from click to tweet boxes to Pinterest in-image share buttons this plugin has it all.

With add-ons you can also get access to features like:

  • Social media auto-poster – Automatically shares new posts to your social media profiles.
  • Boost old posts – Re-shares your older content to Twitter and LinkedIn, great for getting visitors to those old forgotten articles.
  • Social login – Allows your visitors to login to your site via social networks (useful if you run a membership site).
  • Device targeting – You can choose to display specific social networks based on the device the viewer is using.

It is also one of the fastest and most secure social share plugins on the market.

Now, the reason I list this as the best “paid” solution is that, if you use the free version you will not have access to MANY of the best features the plugin has to offer. 

If social media is going to be a big part of your site promotion strategy it is definitely worth paying for Social Snap. As your social media marketing skills grow – you will find more and more useful features built into the plugin.

If however Social promotion is an afterthought in your business – you can easily get away with using one of the other choices listed below:

Social Warfare - Good Alternative To Social Snap

They have a paid version too, but the free version has a bit more functionality than the free version of social snap.

You may notice that they only have a 3.5 out of 5 rating on WordPress.org – this is because they had a really bad security snafu about a year ago that allowed hackers access to thousands of people’s sites.

Needless to say – some of these people gave the plugin terrible reviews. They Social Warfare has since patched the vulnerability and the plugin is working fine.

I prefer Social Snap, but you really need the paid version to take advantage of all the best features, so if you are looking for a free social share plugin- social Warfare is a great choice. They also have a paid version of the plugin – but if you are cool spending money then I would go with Social Snap instead.

WP Social Sharing - Most Light-Weight Social Sharing Plugin (Free)

WP Social Sharing is a super-lightweight social sharing plugin. It doesn’t have any of the fancy features of Social Snap or Social Warfare, but if social is not a huge part of your promotion strategy then this plugin is for you.

This plugin is free and has all the basic features you need to get some social sharing buttons on your site. Just be aware that it can only show the following social network buttons:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Xing
That is probably fine for most people, but if you need to display additional share buttons you will need to install one of the other options.

Pin It Button - Add Pinterest Share Buttons to Your Images

With Facebook’s organic reach reaching new lows every day Pinterest has become the new darling for Internet marketers seeking free social traffic.

The Pin It Button has one very simple function – to allow users to share your images to Pinterest (or their own boards) without ever leaving your site.

If you plan on using Pinterest as part of your social media marketing and want to keep things free and simple, the Pin It button is a great choice.

I personally find these in-image Pin buttons a bit annoying and overused. I would ONLY use one if your niche supports it (ie Food, Crafts, Cars, Pets etc.)

NOTE: Social Snap and Social Warfare have this feature included in their paid versions.

Instagram Feed - Best WordPress Instagram Feed Plugin

Do you want to display your Instagram photos on your website?

The Instagram Feed Plugin is a simple and elegant way to display a feed of your most recent Instagram photos anywhere on your WordPress site.

All you need to do is generate an Instagram access token then use a shortcode to display the feed anywhere you like; in your posts in the sidebar or the most popular option, in your footer.

Instagram Feed also offers these handy features:

  • Display images from multiple Instagram accounts.
  • Choose the image size.
  • Display a “Load More” option so users can load additional images.

 

WP Twitter Feeds - Display Your Twitter Activity On Your Site (Free)

This free plugin simplifies the process of displaying a Twitter feed on your WordPress website.

Once installed and activated you can display a widget of your most recent tweets anywhere you like. You also have the option to exclude replies to your tweets and show or hide Twitter intents.

WP Twitter Feeds connects through Twitter’s API, so once set up it never require you to enter your password.

Better Click to Tweet - Encourage Visitors to Tweet Your Quotes

Better Click to Tweet allows your users to quickly and easily share preformatted sections of your content with all of their Twitter followers with the click of a button.

You simply use a shortcode or the visual editor button to add snippets of code around the content you want to share in the backend of your WordPress editor.

Then on the front end of your site the user will see a visually pleasing quote with a call to action button inviting them to Tweet it.

This is a great way to expose your content to a larger audience via your users twitter feeds. Just make sure your content is something someone would want to Tweet!

This plugin is free to use.

Note: This function is built into the Paid version of Social Snap, and you can also get it with the free version of Social Warfare. If you have installed either of those there is no need to install Better Click to Tweet.

Content Locker Pro - Lock Your Content Behind Social Shares (Freemium)

All the plugins listed above are awesome, they are best of class and you should definitely use them if social promotion is on your agenda.

However, you should be aware that with the massive amount of online content that is released daily, It’s getting harder to convince people to share YOUR content on their social channels.

Users are becoming increasingly blind to Social Share buttons, much like banner ads.

This is why Content Locker Pro has become such a popular plugin.

Basically, what this plugin does is to lock you best content behind a set of social buttons. If the user wants to view the locked content they are required to “pay” for it with a Like, Share, Tweet or their email address.

 

You can lock anything on your page. All you need to do is select the part of your content you want to locked in the WordPress editor. Once the visitor has successfully shared your page the plugin automatically unlocks the content.

This is an incredibly effective way to generate viral traffic to your websites but just be aware that if you use it too often it may annoy your visitors.

Smart marketers usually reserve content locking for their most valuable pages.

Content Locker Pro is made by the awesome team at Mythemeshop.com whose plugins appear throughout this article.

There is a free version of the plugin – which can do basic content locking. But as with most Freemium plugins – to get the real power you need to pay for the Pro upgrade.

You can buy the plugin ala-carte for $77.00 per year, but that would be silly as you can get a subscription to ALL of their plugins and themes for $99.47 a year – which is definitely the way to go.

WARNING: Most sites will list a plugin called Social Locker for WordPress as the best social locking plugin, and at one time it was an awesome option.

Unfortunately the plugin has not been updated in almost 2 years. If you read the comments over at Code Canyon you will see many customers complaining that the plugin is broken and support is lacking. 

Please don’t purchase Social Locker for WordPress until they have updated it and begin supporting it again.

Utility Plugins

While WordPress makes website creation a breeze, the core software still lacks quite a bit of functionality. Web developers may be able to fill in these missing pieces easily, but users with little or no experience may find it challenging to add the features they want for their site.

Things can get particularly messy in the backend. Thankfully, you can get things in working order even if you can’t write a single line of code. Here’s a list of 8 must-have utility plugins for WordPress and how they help in optimizing your website.

Broken Link Checker

Broken links can negatively affect a visitor’s user experience on your website, regardless of how busy or successful it normally is. These links can also affect your site’s ranking on search results when they are discovered by search engines. 

Simply put, you do not want to have any broken links on your site. 

The Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin checks your entire website for broken links. Any links that are found to be defective or whose images are missing are detected, and a notification sent to you through email or the WordPress Dashboard. 

When using Broken Link Checker you can choose to search for broken links in the entire website or if you suspect that there are broken links in a specific section of the site, like the comments section for instance, you can conduct a custom search.

Redirection

Sometimes you see 404 errors or 301 redirections on various web pages. These don’t create a positive impression on viewers. 

Like broken links, you need to fix these pages immediately. And there is no plugin better than Redirection to help you in this endeavor. 

Many web developers change the permalinks of their web pages but forget to redirect them. This will make users land on pages with old URLs. The page will show a 404 error.

Redirection, as the name suggests, helps you manage 404 errors and 301 redirections. It keeps track of all the pages and reports immediately whenever you don’t redirect your permalinks. 

The plugin adds a 301 redirection automatically if it finds changes in a specific URL. 

Apart from automatic redirections, you can also add 302 and 307 redirections manually. This plugin is highly useful while migrating from old web pages or when you change WP’s installation directory.

WP Optimize

Designing websites on WordPress leaves a lot of residue in the form of unnecessary data which can weigh down your site, making it slow and sluggish. 

WP Optimize can clean up your WP database and optimize it for quicker functioning. 

Allow WP Optimize to clean databases automatically. It removes not only useless data but also unapproved and spammy comments, trackbacks, pingbacks, and trash posts. 

You don’t need to know anything about databases to use this handy plugin.  All you need to do is start the cleanup or optimization process and wait for the plugin to clean everything.

WP Optimize is the ultimate database cleaner that offers a seamless WP experience. You don’t have to deal with slow sites anymore.

Code Snippets

Want to add code snippets without creating a mess? Turn to Code Snippets, the incredible utility WordPress plugin that will take care of your site’s .php files.

This is one of the unique plugins that keeps your snippets while changing WP themes. 

You can also add custom descriptions and titles after using them. Plus, the snippet activates automatically on your website.

Usually, developers have to add these snippets manually. But Code Snippets will make your snippets active once you save them.

Login Lockdown

A unique username and strong password are essential for your WordPress website’s security. It is almost similar to logging in to your email address. 

You wouldn’t want any Tom, Dick, or Harry to login by sensing your username and password. Login Lockdown allows you to add another level of security by limiting the number of login attempts.

For example, the plugin will get activated as soon as it detects three incorrect login attempts within five minutes. It will lock your website for an hour. This is something you usually see in smartphones. 

You can also track the number of attempts, IP address, and a timestamp for every failed login.

Duplicator

Changing a WordPress site’s location proves challenging, even for experienced developers. But Duplicator makes migrating super simple. 

You can use this plugin to move, copy, or also clone a site’s location. You don’t have to go through a series of code-changing processes to update your website’s location anymore. Plus, this is a free plugin.

Duplicator allows you to duplicate a site’s location from anywhere. You can also replicate a staged or live website’s location, which streams site development. 

This feature is very helpful for clients who require multiple sites. Most importantly, you don’t have to face any downtime while installing this plugin. You can pull any live site into a staging environment or vice versa easily.

Insert Headers and Footers

Many websites have custom CSS or Google Analytics. How can you add these to a website without making too many changes? The answer is Insert Headers and Footers.

This plugin allows you to add codes in your site’s header and footer section. You can now enable various functions like custom CSS and Google Analytics quickly.

Many people with advanced WordPress knowledge may know how to edit their theme’s files. But casual users may not have the technical know how to perform this correctly. 

All you need to do is insert the scripts in this plugin’s interface. The plugin will do the rest on your behalf. You will never have to think about breaking your site or messing its theme’s code.

Also, you can insert any script or code, including JavaScript and HTML.

Better Search Replace

Are you editing a website for the first time? You may not have the experience to edit it quickly. But don’t worry. Better Search Replace will take care of your site’s editing in a flash. 

It is one of the most useful plugins on WordPress that allows users to find and replace items quickly.

Better Search Replace is quite similar to Find and Replace in Microsoft Word. All you need to do is select the items you want to replace. Type the item to replace it in the plugin box. It will quickly highlight the locations of the pages where you used the items. 

You can then use the replace box to type the name of the item you want to replace it with.

Genesis Specific Utility Plugins

If you decide to use the Genesis Theme Framework you should immediate load the following Plugins:

Genesis Simple Edits – This plugin controls footer text and other cool stuff.

Genesis Simple Hooks – Allows you to put any type of content anywhere on your site.

Genesis Simple Sidebars – This one is optional. It allows you to create multiple, dynamic widget areas, and assign those widget areas to various sidebars on your site.

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