According to WordPress, there are over 60 million people who have chosen WordPress as the platform for their website. WordPress is a very customizable CMS software, which means you can accomplish almost anything you want with it. It also has a lot of developer support so there are many plugins available, most of which are free. I’m going to share the 10 most essential WordPress plugins for your business website in this article.
1. Content Aware Sidebars (Free)
If you’ve used other content management systems such as Joomla, you’ll quickly find the need to assign widgets to specific pages or posts only. There is no way to do such a thing in WordPress out of the box.
That’s where the Content Aware Sidebars plugin comes in handy. It allows you to create an unlimited number of sidebars (widget areas) for any widget area and assign it to specific pages, posts, categories, and so on. In a nutshell, it basically creates a virtual widget area that replaces the real widget area for the pages you specify.
Once you create a new sidebar, it will show up in the Appearance -> Widgets with all other widget areas.
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2. Enhanced Text Widget (Free)
The out of the box text widget that comes with WordPress is useful, but it lacks many important and necessary features.
The Enhanced Text Widget is a free plugin that enables a more feature-rich text widget for your use. Some of the features supported by the widget include:
3. BackupBuddy ($80-$197)
Every business that has a website needs to have a way to back up that website on a regular basis. Website backups should be secure and restorable in a short period of time. That is exactly what BackupBuddy does.
BackupBuddy allows you to create full or partial backups of your WordPress website including core WordPress, database, and all plugins. It even allows you to schedule regular backups and store them in various locations such as local hosting, Amazon S3, FTP, Dropbox, or BackupBuddy Stash.
This is the most comprehensive backup plugin for WordPress and it literally has hundreds of useful features that will come in handy. The best part is that you can restore any backup in a matter of minutes.
BackupBuddy will run you $80 for 2 licenses, $100 for 10 licenses, $150 for unlimited licenses, or $197 for developer license for BackupBuddy and all other iThemes plugins. Although the prices seem a bit on the expensive side, you’ll be happy you paid it when your website is corrupted or gets hacked and you find yourself needing to restore it quickly.
4. WordPress SEO by Yoast (Free)
WordPress SEO by Yoast is bar none the best SEO plugin for WordPress. It allows complete control of page titles and meta descriptions on a per page/post basis as well as for each taxonomy (category or tag pages).
Some other useful features include 301 redirection and setting up rules for search engine robots such as follow, nofollow, index, noindex, and so on. It also allows you to customize the Facebook and Google+ descriptions for individual pages or posts in case you don’t want to use the default meta description field.
One thing you won’t have to worry about anymore is the rel=”canonical” tag because the WordPress SEO plugin automatically adds it to every page and post. So you can be sure that Google won’t penalize your website for duplicate content due to dynamic URL string variations.
5. Akismet (Free)
Although there are many plugins that help you combat spam, Akismet is one of the best options because it comes with WordPress out of the box and it’s free for personal use.
Setting up Akismet is a piece of cake. All you have to do is go to Akismet.com and register to get a WordPress key. Once you’re assigned a key, you can insert it in the Akismet settings on your website and say goodbye to spam!
6. Visual Composer for WordPress ($25)
WordPress can be limiting to the average users when it comes to how you want your page layout to look. Even though you can do anything with HTML and CSS, most users do not know these coding languages. That’s where Visual Composer for WordPress can help.
Visual Composer transforms the default WordPress page editor into a robust feature-rich editor that allows you to add columns, image galleries, accordions, tour sections, call-to-action buttons, videos, and much more.
Visual Composer can be hard to find because the only place where you can purchase it is Code Canyon.
7. Gravity Forms ($39-$199)
Every website that intends to generate revenue needs to utilize forms. Forms allow us to collect information from our users, which we later use to provide services to them.
There are many WordPress form plugins, but none have as many features as Gravity Forms. This plugin literally has hundreds of add-on plugins that expand on its features and integrate into CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems such as InfusionSoft, SalesForce, and Highrise.
Although Gravity Forms is not a free plugin, you can have it on your website for as low as $39 with 1 year of support and updates. Most Gravity Forms add-ons tend to be free so you shouldn’t need to spend more than that.
8. Digg Digg (Free)
If you’re not taking advantage of social media for your business yet, it is time to start. The Digg Digg plugin adds a floating box on your website that enables your users to quickly and easily share the page they are on.
It supports all popular social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest. You can customize which services you want to show to your users so that you don’t have to use social media services that are irrelevant for your business or niche.
9. W3 Total Cache (Free)
Website caching necessity varies based on your website. Websites that are heavy in images and scripts will see a nice speed improvement from using cache plugins.
W3 Total Cache is a free WordPress plugin that has all the caching features you will need. In fact, they can be a bit overwhelming at first, so it would behoove you to just start slow and test each feature carefully.
10. 404 Redirected (Free)
From my experience, business owners don’t monitor their broken links nearly as much as they should. Broken pages present a business and SEO problem for your website. On one hand, your potential customers might leave your website immediately when they see a 404 error, and on the other hand, Google will not pass PageRank to your 404 page.
404 Redirected plugin shows all URLs which return 404 errors and allow you to 301 redirect those to actual pages on your website. This will redirect traffic to the appropriate content as well as pass PageRank to the correct pages.
Conclusion WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and has thousands of plugins, so it is very hard to narrow it down to just 10. I know I missed some important plugins, but I wanted to provide the top 10 WordPress plugins for your business website that I consider to be essential.
Haris Bacic leads the creative and SEO strategy at AdFicient, a full-service search engine marketing and business development agency, which specializes in PPC management, SEO, conversion rate optimization, phone call tracking, web design, and analytics.