- 1 Best WordPress SEO Plugins
- 2 Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
- 3 Best WordPress User Experience Plugins
- 4 Best WordPress Performance Plugins
- 5 Best WordPress Security Plugins
- 6 Best WordPress Backup Plugins
- 7 Best WordPress A/B Testing Plugins
- 8 Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugins
- 9 Best WordPress Contact Form/List-Building Plugins
- 10 Best WordPress Analytics Plugins
- 11 Best WordPress Content Creation & Publishing Plugins
- 12 Best WordPress Commenting Plugins
- 13 Best WordPress Live Chat Plugins
- 14 Best WordPress Audio Player Plugins
- 15 Wrap Up
In today´s post I share with you a list of essential WordPress plugins you should use on your blog.
With it’s gentle learning curve, low costs and excellent SEO features it’s no surprise that WordPress is the world’s favourite Content Management System.
So if you’re using WordPress for your website or your blog you’re in good company.
The trouble is that once you start exploring the possibilities with WordPress they seem endless.
That’s where Plugins become essential. Plugins are software created specifically for WordPress to perform a very specialised task.
The trouble is that WordPress is a victim of it’s own success and at the time of writing this, there are 47,466 plugins with total downloads amounting to 1,449,379,018. Both of these numbers will have grown a little by the time you finish reading this guide.
That means that there are a bewildering number of Plugins to choose from!
Faced with so many options, how do you know which one you should pick for a specific function?
Well, one option is to go to the internet and read everything about plugins.
Or you can find a guide that compiles only what you need to know saving you hours of research.
And that’s exactly why we’ve created this guide for you.
In a nutshell this guide is for you if:
- You’re new to blogging.
- You want to ramp up your WordPress site to make it more functional.
- You’re not sure you’re getting the most out of your WordPress site.
So, let’s get started.
A quick note, though…
You know what a plugin is, right?
Just for the record: A plugin is a software extension that you add to your WordPress site to make it more useful by increasing the number of functions it can perform as well as improve how well it performs those functions.
In the same way that you need apps on your phone and various programs on your laptop, you also need plugins for your WordPress site so that it does what you want it to.
As you’ll see, there are plugins for almost anything you can imagine doing with your site. Anything. Come on, try it…let your imagination go wild.
There are plugins to help you build your email list, run your ecommerce store, backup your site, create engaging content, test your marketing methods, improve the speed of your site, view important metrics, and a lot more.
And because there are so many categories and we know there are better ways to spend your time that to sift through the list, here’s a list of categories. You can click on the ones that make you curious first to start reading.
- Best WordPress SEO Plugins
- Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
- Best WordPress User Experience Plugins
- Best WordPress Performance Plugins
- Best WordPress Security Plugins
- Best WordPress Backup Plugins
- Best WordPress A/B Testing Plugins
- Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugins
- Best WordPress Contact Form/List-Building Plugins
- Best WordPress Analytics Plugins
- Best WordPress Content Creation & Publishing Plugins
- Best WordPress Commenting Plugins
- Best WordPress Live Chat Plugins
- Best WordPress Audio Player Plugins
If you do some research on each of the above categories, you’ll realise that there are loads of plugins that could (claim to) do the job. Some fall short while others do an exceptional job.
However, since we figured you might not have a lot of time on your hands, we decided to give you the top two plugins for each of these categories.
So… Enough talking. Let’s get stuck in…
Best WordPress SEO Plugins
Studies show that 60 – 80% of all website traffic comes from search engines with the rest coming from mainly direct and referral traffic. With search traffic being the most common of them, Google accounts for more than 90% of this traffic.
This shows how integral optimizing your site for search engines especially for Google is.
SEO plugins help you improve various aspects of SEO easily without the necessity of deep understanding of the technicalities of the process itself.
To get a better understanding of SEO and how it works, here’s a comprehensive SEO guide by Moz that takes you through everything you need to get a handle on this important digital marketing factor.
But for now let’s look at the top two SEO plugins for your WordPress site.
Regarded by many as the best SEO plugin, Yoast SEO boasts a 4.7/5-star rating, 4.5+ million downloads and is used by some of the biggest names on the internet. With integration features that allow it to work with some of the most essential plugins like RSS footer and Robots Meta, Yoast SEO covers a wider range of features than most of other plugins in its category.
- Easy on-page optimization. You don’t have to know how to code to perform advanced SEO tasks like creating a “no-follow” link, create and edit page meta descriptions, set up alt text images, etc.
- Easy inter-page optimization. If you find on-page optimization confusing, then inter-page optimization might be a nightmare for you. But luckily, Yoast SEO has advanced features that help you optimize your website’s inter-page structure by generating and constantly updating an XML site map. This is really important especially if you regularly update your site with blog posts and other content.
- Easy keyword-tracking. The plugin helps you set up and track your focus keyword as you write your blog post. How’s the keyword density? How frequently have you used it in the past? Does it have a stop word? Yoast SEO will tell you that and more.
The best feature about it is the on-page analysis that makes sure you don’t have to keep a checklist of items so you don’t forget. The plugin gives you colour feedback on how well your content is written.
Here’s a tutorial that will show you how to setup and use Yoast SEO.
Formerly SEOPressor, SEOPressor Connect has been constantly improved to make it one of the top two WordPress plugins.
- Real-time keyword score analysis
- Optimization suggestion
- Over-optimization check. Yes, you can over-optimize your content and SEOPressor Connect makes sure you don’t go overboard
- Multiple keyword analysis. The plugin lets you optimize up to 3 keywords at a go
- Automated smart-linking. This makes it easy to interlink your posts
- On-page site audit. This gives you a clear picture of what you’ve done right and wrong on a single view
The best feature by the plugin is the Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keyword suggestion. Using LSI keywords helps increase your page relevancy, boosting your rankings.
These tutorials will show you exactly how to setup and use the plugin to enjoy the above features and more.
Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugins
Whatever device they are using, you want to make it as easy as possible for your site visitors to share your content. The easier it gets for them the higher the traffic and exposure you get.
To do this, you need to have social sharing buttons that are not only strategically placed and attractive but also very responsive (i.e. mobile friendly).
There are many plugins out there which can help you put up social sharing buttons on your site. But the list of those that bring with them all three aspects is much shorter.
While most plugins recognise and take into account the importance of responsiveness, others still seem a little out of touch, especially when it comes to mobile devices.
Just recently, Smart Insights published a report showing that up to 80% of internet users use smartphones to search.
The following two social sharing plugins are some of those that take into account mobile usability to make it easy to share your content.
Created by the same team that created Elegant Themes, Monarch is one of the best social sharing plugins you’ll find. With several placement options, speed and top-notch optimization, Monarch was created to give the modern day marketer an easy day at work.
- Support for all popular social networks
- Widget or shortcode display of social media icons
- Wide variety of display options. You can display the buttons above or below your posts. You can also set them to float on the post
- Fly-in and pop-over share boxes. These help encourage content sharing
- Built-in statistics for tracking related metrics. You can easily track follows, likes and shares
- Custom-set share-count display. You get to choose when you want your share count to be displayed. This helps you avoid negative social proof
- Great interface. Monarch’s interface is easy to use
You can read the full overview of the plugin as well as tutorials for different features here.
SumoMe isn’t a single plugin but rather a suite of apps that are dedicated to helping you grow your website traffic. Among the apps, one stands out for social sharing. It’s called Share.
- Support for a wide range of platforms
- Complete customization of share buttons
- Complete customization of share counts
- Filtering options to help you choose which pages have sharing buttons
- A variety of options for button placement
- Easy-to-use interface
Besides Share, SumoMe gives you access to a range of apps that help you increase traffic, improve shares and build your email list. And for its price, that’s a pretty sweet deal.
Pricing: Free limited plan with option to unlock advanced features on all SumoMe apps at $20/Month.
Check IdeaBox’s guide on how to install and use SumoMe plugin.
Best WordPress User Experience Plugins
With thousands of plugins available and so many of them free, you might find yourself on a click and install spree. After all, you want to make your site as beautiful and functional as possible right?
Installing too many plugins can go against the very goal you’re trying to achieve. For example, certain plugins make extra HTTP and database requests which can slow your blog down.
This can have a very negative effect on how easily your visitors can use your website.
And speed is just one among many components that contribute to a great user experience on your site.
The unique thing about this category is that you don’t have to pick only one plugin as they are not rivals. You can use them both.
Broken Link Checker
Broken links give your visitors a bad experience consequently affecting your website’s ranking. For this reason, Google recommends that you check your website regularly to clean up or fix any broken links.
One plugin that does this particularly well is Broken Link Checker. This is a simple yet advanced plugin that checks, detects and notifies you on any broken links on your website.
- Comprehensive monitoring. The plugin checks links from all aspects of your site: Pages, posts, comments, etc.
- Easy searching and filtering of links. You can filter by anchor text, URL, etc.
- Easy customization. Once you install the plugin, you can customise it as you see fit. You can set it so that faulty links have a different appearance in posts. You can also set it so that search engines don’t follow broken links. This prevents your site from being penalized before you fix the links
Broken Link Checker displays results in a beautiful layout on a single dashboard where you can easily fix any issues without having to go to individual pages or posts. This saves you a lot of time.
See how easy it is to find and fix faulty links using the plugin on this guide.
One of the most important features of every site is a working search bar. This makes sure that visitors can find anything they are looking for easily. While WordPress comes with this functionality, it is a little limited. Search Everything works with the default function to improve its efficiency.
The plugin gives you various search options such as search highlighting, what pages and tags to search, comments, categories, attachments, etc. You can also set it to exclude certain posts or categories from search.
Best WordPress Performance Plugins
Did you know that almost half of the consumers expect your site to take no more than 2 seconds to load? Well, according to a KISSmetrics research, 40% of your visitors will leave your website if it takes up to 3 seconds to load.
As mentioned above, speed is a great factor to how well your visitors use your site.
There are various reasons why your WordPress site could be performing poorly. Apart from plugins, poorly-coded themes could also affect your site’s performance. Another reason is image files that are too big and poor hosting – a hosting plan that doesn’t suit your site.
One of the best ways to solve performance issues in WordPress is through caching. Caching helps save up the time used by the server to execute commands hence reducing the page load time.
The following plugins will help you fix WordPress performance issues by caching. But first, you need to know how poor the performance is first, right?
Once you determine that, use any of the below plugins to fix it.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is one of the plug-and-play plugins that lets you optimize your site’s database as it generates static HTML files which are used to serve any requests. This way, whenever a user requests a blog page, the static page is served. Without the plugin, the request would prompt processing of all PHP scripts first – which takes time.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) integration. With the plugin, you can use a CDN alongside the caching system
- Mobile device support feature. It allows caching for all mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) through the feature
- Page compression to reduce the loading time
- Multiple types of caching
WP Super Cache also has a rebuild option with which you’re able to view cached pages even after creation of new cache pages.
W3 Total Cache
Another of the most popular WordPress website performance optimization plugins is W3 Total Cache. It works in a similar way as WP Super Cache and the two don’t integrate so in this case you’ll have to choose one ot the other.
- CDN integration
- Page caching. Just like in WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache aims to serve static pages
- Minify. This feature allows the plugin to remove whitespaces in files thus making them smaller
While W3 Total Cache has a lot of similar features to WP Super Cache, it’s a little bit more complicated to use. You might need to learn about it first to use it
If your website needs a CDN and you have time to explore, here’s a guide for you.
Best WordPress Security Plugins
What if one day in the future – when you’ve developed a strong reputation in your industry, you have a database of files, themes and have invested years of your time and suddenly your goes down completely?
What would you do?
I know it seems farfetched but what if I told you that it happens?
Whether it’s through malicious hacking or just an innocent mistake the consequences can be catastrophic if you’re not prepared..
Just like people dismiss health check-ups until it’s too late and they have to spend a lot of time, money and suffer the pain, there are plenty of bloggers out there who keep putting off taking the necessary security measures until they lose everything and it’s too late.
Just to give you an idea of the kind of danger your site is exposed to, here are some of the security concerns you should be aware of: Plugin vulnerability, weak passwords, computer weakness, FTP vulnerability, database weakness, dated WordPress files, theme code issues, etc.
While no plugin can be good enough to assure you 100% protection on your website, some get really close.
Formerly referred to as Better WP Security, iThemes Security features a package that aims to offer website security by incorporating up to 30 different tactics. This has seen it grow to be one of the most popular WordPress plugins and one of the best in its category.
- Two-Factor Authentication (TFA)
- Password protection
- User log. This allows you to examine a user’s activities to check for suspicious behaviour
- User ban. You can ban users at any time and run a system scan right from the dashboard
- File comparison. With this, you can tell malicious file changes
- Scheduled scans
- Google reCAPTCHA. This blocks any forceful attempts and spamming activities
iThemes Security is like a single security solution that covers multiple angles.
Pricing: Free version and a pro version that goes for $80/year.
Check out the Tutorial.
Besides security scanning and running regular backups, VaultPress gives you top-notch support around the clock. It’s one of the plugins that offers a very high level of security for your website.
- Automatic threat resolution
- Automated scanning
- Easy site migration
- Spam protection
The plugin has a feature that ensures your site is always up to date by provide real-time backup solution. This leaves very little chance for you losing your database in case your site is compromised.
Pricing: Basic Plan – $99/Year or $9/Month. Premium Plan – $299/Year or $29/Month.
Best WordPress Backup Plugins
Considering the amount of time you’ve spent on your site, not to mention how much more you’ll spend, it would be a terrible day if you lost everything you’ve built either through accident or through hacking
Let’s face it – accidents can and do happen – they are unavoidable. The best solution you can have for such problems is to anticipate them and plan to minimize their effect. Backing up your site is the minimum you should consider.
When you’re purchasing a hosting plan, you need to be aware that backing up data is ultimately your responsibility.
Therefore, it’s always important to go an extra mile to back up your site in case something disastrous happens.
Luckily, you don’t have to go very far as there are great plugins out there that will handle the backup for you.
BackupBuddy is one of the plugins from the iThemes camp that takes care of your site’s backup. You can use it to schedule backups, choose what to back up and what to exclude from the backups.
- Comprehensive backups. You can backup everything on your site: From themes, media library and up to plugins, BackupBuddy stores everything for you to use in case you have to start all over again
- Easy set up and configuration
- Backup scheduling
- Multiple automated backups
- Easy site restoration using ImportBuddy or WordPress dashboard
- On-site testing of updates
The package you get with BackupBuddy also includes bonus features to help you scan your website for malware and also scan and repair your database. If you’re a developer, you’ll find the mass text-replacement tool very helpful.
Pricing: Starts at $80/Year.
MyRepono is web-based but it has a WordPress plugin you can use. The setup is easy and straightforward and the plugin will backup everything on your site including the database, plugins and themes.
- Automatic compression and encryption of backups
- Backup options
- Backup scheduling
- Easy restoration both on WordPress and on the web
- Superb technical support
Since you pay for storage space used, MyRepono doesn’t mind you backing up other kinds of websites apart from WordPress websites. And you can back up as many websites as you want.
Pricing: The price is calculated as per the number of gigabytes you use in the transfer and storage of data.
Best WordPress A/B Testing Plugins
As a marketer, you need to always test your efforts to see what’s working and what’s not.
By using a combination of split and multivariate testing methods, you can understand the elements of your site that contribute to conversion and those that don’t.
Split testing is a rather straightforward method that compares two versions of an element. However, multivariate testing is a little more complex as it takes more variables into account.
By knowing the elements that are working and those that don’t, you can make more sound decisions on where to spend your money and what efforts to abandon altogether.
Initially, you should start with split testing and then with time you can adopt multivariate testing.
The following plugins will make split testing super-easy for you so you don’t have to be intimidated by the process again.
Designed with the website user in mind, Marketizator not only streamlines the A/B testing process for you but also helps you improve your site by asking the one person that matters the most – your website visitors. Through online surveys, you can easily engage your audience to know what they like and don’t like about your site.
- WYSIWYG editor – get a preview of the final interface or document before the creation is complete i.e. “what you see is what you get.”
- Multi-page testing.
- A statistical relevance calculator.
- Custom goal setting.
- Multi-variate testing.
What makes Marketizator amazing is the fact that it’s not just a plugin but a complete CRO tool. Using the survey, banner and segmentation features – which come with their own features – you’re able to test and improve your website from the user’s perspective.
Pricing: Free for up to 10,000 monthly site visitors.
Title Experiments Free
From its name, you can tell two things about Title Experiments Free: That its purpose is to help you test your headlines; and that it’s free.
It allows you to see which of your posts and page titles are getting the most clicks and where most of your conversions are coming from.
To test, you just need to set up title variations and see which ones work best.
If you need advanced features such as detailed analytics, automatic experiment freezing and dedicated support, Title Experiments Pro is the premium version that goes for $29.99/year.
Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugins
The kind of ecommerce plugins you choose for your online store have a large effect on the amount of growth opportunity you have. If you choose great plugins, you set yourself for success. Similarly, if the plugins you choose are inadequate, you risk making losses with your store.
So, what do you need to look for in a plugin?
The first consideration you have to make is the purpose of the plugin. Some plugins are designed to work best at selling e-books, music, photos, etc while others are designed to sell electronics, clothes, groceries, etc.
You also need to know how you intend to receive payments for goods so you look for plugins that support those payment channels.
Generally, you also need a functional plugin. It should be responsive enough to propel the customer through the next phase of their buying journey. A potential customer is likely to be frustrated and leave your site if they sense unresponsiveness.
It’s very unlikely that you’ll find an e-commerce plugin that has all the features you need. Most solve this by use of add-on plugins. However, make an effort of choosing a plugin that comes close enough.
Acquired by WordPress.com’s owner, Automattic, in 2015, WooCommerce is regarded by many marketers as the most powerful e-commerce plugin and is the most popular. It not only has great features but also has a hoard of add-ons and themes behind it.
- Large number of themes and extensions. This makes it easy to set a custom design and layout.
- Comprehensive inventory management.
- Can sell both physical and digital goods.
- Has various payment and shipping options.
In addition to its own customer service, the plugin is supported by a large, passionate and dedicated community of users and developers. This means that you always have reliable support.
Created by the same people who created BackupBuddy, iThemes Exchange is definitely one of the best Ecommerce plugins.
- Support for multiple product types.
- Easy setup.
- Great user interface.
While most of the other e-commerce plugins charge between $40 and $80 for the Stripe add-on, ithemes Exchange comes with it for free and for unlimited number of sites.
Best WordPress Contact Form/List-Building Plugins
I’m sure you’re planning on building an email list. You know that by running an email newsletter, your website traffic will grow and with it your business. So, I’m not going to tell you about all the benefits of email list building.
When you’re trying to build up your email list, there is one aspect of the process without which your efforts will definitely not pay off. It’s the contact/opt-in form. This is just a sign-up box that users use to let you know that they are ready to give you a chance to speak to them – in what is known as permission-based email marketing.
Without this box, there’s no way these visitors can give you permission to send them emails. In short, without this sign up box, you’re literally throwing away future customers.
In the past, business owners would just use the form that came with the email provider. However, as times change and the development of the opt-in form requires a more specified approach, these old solutions prove insufficient.
The solution to that?
Robust contact form plugins.
Below are two of the best that you should begin with.
Ask around and you’ll probably be told that Thrive Leads is the most comprehensive list-building plugin right now. From opt-in form customizations options to unique split-testing solutions, the plugin covers all the essential aspects of email list building. Besides the old features, Thrive Leads has been constantly updated to have a new list of features that enhance functionality.
Let’s look at the latest:
- Content upgrade templates. For more conversions, you need a strategy to upgrade your content regularly. The plugin comes with templates that makes this set-up as easy as possible for you.
- Contact locking. The plugin lets you hide certain pieces of content behind a sign-up form.
- Easy digital product delivery. With the plugin, you can easily reward your new subscribers with PDFs and other free downloads.
The new smart links feature is probably the best of the plugins features. With this feature, Thrive Leads helps you display a different CTA to existing subscribers. This could be a link leading to a product page or anywhere else you’d like to take them, depending on their stage.
One of the earliest WordPress opt-in plugins, OptinMonster is now cloud-based. This means that you get a great overview of your activities as your forms will managed and controlled from a central location.
- Content locking. Just like in Thrive Leads, OptinMonster lets you hide great/premium pieces of content behind the form so they can only be revealed by the user entering their email address.
- Advanced display options. This feature allows you to customise every aspect of your opt-in form display criteria.
- Yes/no display. This feature allows you to display yes/no buttons instead of a form.
OptinMonster goes further to enhance customisation through the dynamic text replacement feature. With this feature, you can use various variables such as cookies and URLs to personalize your contact forms. However, this can be a little confusing if you’re a bigenner.
Pricing: The price starts at $19/Month or $108/Year.
Best WordPress Analytics Plugins
Knowing how to manage your WordPress site is one thing. Knowing how well it’s performing is a completely different thing.
Analytics tools help you see your audience’s behaviour and understand what it wants so you can make necessary changes.
By monitoring metrics such as CTRs, time on page and bounce rates, you can get an idea of how well your content is doing in terms of keeping your visitors engaged and which pages need tweaking.
There are many analytics plugins that you can use on your WordPress site. The following two are some of the best out there.
Besides Yoast SEO, the team at Yoast boasts a wide array of WordPress plugins. One of those is Clicky. As expected from the team that created one of the top SEO plugins, Clicky doesn’t disappoint. It’s easy to use and will show you exactly what is happening on your site in real time.
- Simple dashboard. The dashboard isn’t embellished with unnecessary features. It displays the most essential metrics.
- Analytics spy. To give even more real-time results, Clicky has a feature that gives an easy to read AJAXified overview of incoming website traffic.
- Speed. In the past, Clicky users reported performance issues with the plugin. However, from recent updates, this has improved significantly.
By using Clicky’s data-logging API, you can input data into the plugin. For instance, you can use the feature to store user comments. By using WordPress cookies, the plugin can, through the comment, track a visitor so that you can know who they are whenever they come back to your site.
Pricing: Clicky has a free plan and also paid plans that you can see on the site.
Many plugins will tell you what types of content are performing best. But how many will tell you the parts of a content piece that are read the most? Leave it to Crazy Egg to not only tell you the most popular types of content but also the most popular parts. Want to know if your CTA is being read? This plugin is a must-have.
- Scroll-mapping. Similar to heat-mapping, scroll-mapping lets you see the parts of your pages that work and those that need improvement.
- Overlay. The plugin, through its overlay feature, digs deeper to show you what even Google Analytics doesn’t.
- Confetti tool. Crazy Egg’s Confetti feature works to give you a better idea of your visitors’ activities on your web pages.
Among all these great features, the best feature has got to be the heat-mapping tool that tells you what parts of a piece of content are getting the most traction.
Pricing: Crazy Egg has different plans all of which have a 30-day free trial.
Best WordPress Content Creation & Publishing Plugins
No one said your WordPress-powered site was going to automatically generate engaging content for you.
Whether you’re a natural at churning out content that converts or you struggle to produce 500 words that anyone would read without too much squirm, this task remains squarely on you.
So, does that mean that there are absolutely no tools that remotely relate to content creation?
Far from it.
While creating great content is solely your responsibility, there are various tools out there that are dedicated to making the process as easy as possible for you.
For instance, wouldn’t it be easier to create content if you had a well-laid out plan for doing it? How about if you had templates so the time you spent on a blog post was significantly reduced?
Well, guess what?
There are plugins to take care of that.
Easy Content Templates
As the name suggests, this plugin lets you create custom templates so the content writing process is as easy as possible taking the least time possible. With these templates, you also enhance consistency in your writing style and format. Thus, your readership can also grow around a style one can identify with.
For instance, you can create templates for “How-To” posts, listicles, contest pieces, photo posts, etc.
Content creation is an involving process. In fact, sometimes you could be so focused on creating content that you forget its integration with the business or even other marketing tactics.
For this reason, Editorial Calendar helps you manage your content creation process to ensure everything you do is in line with the bigger picture.
The plugin has a dashboard where you can see all your posts together with accompanying details such as the scheduled dates of publication. You’re also able to see your drafts and the time they are set to be published. This helps you manage your time and make sure that you never get behind schedule.
Overall, Editorial Calendar aims to manage every aspect of the content creation journey from brainstorming ideas, to creating the content up to publishing.
Best WordPress Commenting Plugins
The Comments section on your site is one of the best readership-engagement avenues you’re going to have.
Besides offering you a chance to hear out your audience, sometimes blog comments also enhance your content.
When they read your content, readers dig deeper into the topic and offer their input. This expounds on what you explained in the article. Since blog posts rarely give you a chance to say everything there is to say about a topic, readers’ comments provide a nice way to cover this void. This is the reason why some people enjoy reading blog comments just as much as they enjoy reading the article.
However, if you look to attract comments on your blog, you’re going to have an equally great solution. While WordPress comes with its native system, there are plugins that arguably present better solutions.
Being one of the most popular systems in its category, Disqus brings to the table features many commenting plugins can’t beat.
- Automatic integration with website theme. Once you install the plugin, you can choose to let it automatically “blend in” with your website colours and design or you can customise it as you see fit.
- Wide range of devices. From desktops to mobile devices, Disqus supports all the devices you or users are likely to use. This makes commenting easy from any device. The plugin also supports Google AMP.
- Easy comment moderation. You can easily ban certain lists, control spam, filter certain words, check commenter reputation, etc. from the dashboard.
- Reporting. The plugin also reports on important metrics so you can recognise commenters, view the content inspiring the most reactions, etc.
The best thing about Disqus is how flexible the plugin is. From the number of devices it supports to the customization options, it brings with it much needed flexibility in commenting systems.
Pricing: Free for a basic plan with an option to upgrade.
Postmatic is a rather unique commenting plugin. While most of the plugins in this category need a user to be on your site in order to leave a comment, Postmatic eases the process by leveraging email. It’s worth noting that email is the most popular and direct form of communication in digital marketing.
- Post subscription. The plugin offers a way for users to subscribe to your posts. This allows them to receive any new posts you publish, in real time.
- Comment subscription. A commenter can ask to receive any follow up comments in their email.
The best thing about Postmatic is how commenters are able to receive follow up comments in their just by hitting “Reply”, they can comment too.
Pricing: Postmatic Basic, as the developer calls it, is free. However, there’s a full-range Postmatic that unlocks a lot more features.
Best WordPress Live Chat Plugins
Now, more than ever before, you need to personalise as many aspects of your online business as possible. At the very least, you’ll have an email list and social media buttons, where you can take website visitors and show them that you really care about their sentiments.
However, nothing beats live chat for a personalised approach. With live chat, you are able to provide a whole new level of customer service by offering instant solutions to your audience’s problems.
This real-time response to visitor queries makes it easier to drive conversion to your site by reassuring your visitors that they are dealing with a real human and not just a bot.
Zopim features a wide range of features that make it one of the most popular WordPress live chat plugins.
- Easy set-up.
- Customization options for the messaging window and chat bar.
- Visitor tracking to show basic information and whether they are returning.
- Multilingual support.
Zopim integrates with several other tools such as Google Analytics, Highrise, Zoho and Salesforce among others. This makes it even more effective.
Pricing: Free plan and paid plans that start at $11.20/Month.
Tidio is one those plug-and-play plugins. All you have to do is activate it and you’re ready to receive messages.
- Visitor tracking. This gives you a list of current website visitors as well as subpages they engage with most.
- Real-time communication with the audience.
- Multilingual support.
- Interface customization.
- Automated messages.
- Multi-device support.
- Offline messaging.
With a feature that lets you see with the customer is typing, Tidio aims to help you understand the customers better by being at least a step ahead.
Pricing: There is a free plan and paid plans that start at $12/month.
Best WordPress Audio Player Plugins
Do you have podcasts or any other audio files you’d want to share with your website visitors?
You can do so on your WordPress site. WordPress features a built-in audio player with which you can display audio files on your site.
Unfortunately, this player is pretty basic and will probably not meet your expectations.
But lucky for you, there are various plugins that allow you to display any kind of audio file, complete with customization features.
Compact WP Audio Player
The default WordPress audio player is not only very basic but also occupies a lot of space on the display page. Compact WP Audio Player takes care of this by giving you a player that’s not only smaller in terms of space occupied (“compact”, get it?) but also elegant.
Despite the player being similar to the former in appearance and the fact that it uses HTML5, Compact WP Audio Player is easier to add and occupies way less space on the screen.
The responsivity of this audio player makes it compatible on mobile devices that use an HTML5 browser. For those that don’t (for some reason), Compact WP Audio Player will work just fine on Adobe Flash.
HTML5 jQuery Audio Player
This is another player that takes appearance into account without compromising on the functionality. HTML5 jQuery Audio Player not only looks good but also packs HTML5 and jQuery functionality. This allows the player to work affectively even on mobile devices.
It allows you to display a single audio file or a whole playlist. You can also display a full album – complete with the art, ratings, a progress bar and controls.
And if you want to sell your music or podcasts, you can couple it with Easy Digital Downloads to provide a seamless experience for both you and your visitors.
Pricing: The Lite version is free but there’s a Pro version that gives additional features.
So there you go. An essential list of 28 plugins that are all very important.
But before you install anything, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself:
“Is it necessary?” You know your needs best and you can’t just install the plugin simply because I told you to. Assess your needs first.
“Is there an alternative way to perform the function I need this plugin for?” Let’s face it: Plugins have disadvantages too. Too many plugins could slow down your site; there are security concerns too; and there’s the (over)dependence on the plugin developer to constantly update the plugin. If you’re a developer and understand PHP and MySQL, you might opt to write your own codes instead of installing plugins.
“Which of the many plugins should I install?” Now, we have made it easier for you by giving you just two. There’s no need to instal both of them – try to determine which of the two work best for your situation.
Once you can answer the three questions you’ll find it easier to know where to start.
I hope you found this list of the best WordPress plugins useful.
Thanks for reading and leave your questions below to keep the conversation going.