While writing about how WordPress was developed, we realized there is so much more we want to talk about when it comes to our favorite CMS. Like, what are the most popular plugins today, or what are the best themes? We have so many questions. But, since it’s clear we can’t fit everything into one reasonable sized article, we decided we should start a WordPress mini-series.
So, in part one we learned about WordPress’s upbringing. Today, let’s dive into the vast amount of plugins available on WordPress. Which are the top most popular WordPress plugins, what are they for, and why are they so popular?
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO was launched in 2008 and since then it has been downloaded 252,117,026 times! With over 5 million active installations, Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin available today on the WordPress Plugin directory.
One of the reasons Yoast SEO is so popular is because it’s free for the most part. Of course, it has some limitations, compared to the premium version. But the “missing” features are not detrimental to your work. In other words, you can easily enjoy Yoast SEO for free and not feel the need to go premium. Also, Yoast SEO is available in 44 languages, making it easy for local search engine optimization as well.
Overall, the Wiredelta team has worked with Yoast SEO for a long time now and we wouldn’t change it for another SEO plugin. So, we highly recommend it if you are looking for an SEO plugin, you will not be disappointed.
Elementor is more than just a plugin, it is a WordPress page builder used by over 5 million users today. One reason Elementor is so popular is that it eliminates in large part the need for custom coding and development. Also, Elementor is also globally available, as it has been translated into 56 languages.
Elementor offers pre-built components like buttons, text blocks and so many more. Moreover, each widget is highly customizable, making Elementor an important tool for developers. This means that WordPress websites built with Elementor are easy to maintain and update after they have been deployed. And this is a great advantage with non-technical users, since Elementor doesn’t require any coding skills.
As with most WordPress tools, Elementor also comes with a free version along with several premium ones. But, the free version offers only about 30 widgets and can be used for just one site. The basic pro version, on the other hand, brings about 90 widgets and a plethora of extra features. So, while we would normally recommend the free version, in this situation we suggest considering investing in the $49/year subscription for Elementor Pro.
Jetpack is “the” security plugin for WordPress, build and maintained by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. Currently, Jetpack is used by over 5 million users and it is translated into 42 languages. Moreover, aside from security, JetPack also provides marketing tools and performance tools for WordPress sites.
Automattic always builds for the community, so naturally, the free version of Jetpack comes with a ton of benefits. Just to name a few, users get free unlimited static files and images, lazy loading image optimization, site stats, site verification, and more.
However, having the right security, performance, and marketing tools are crucial for your business. So, if you are considering investing in one of the pro versions of Jetpack, good news! It will not bankrupt you. In fact, the subscriptions go from as little as $4/month to about $32/month for the Professional package.
Everyone who wants an e-commerce WordPress website should use Woocommece. Built and maintained by Automattic, Woocommerce makes e-commerce easy and affordable. The plugin itself is free, and it comes with a long list of extensions that make your online shop a faster and better experience for your users.
Also, while some are paid for, most of the 417 available Woocommerce extensions are in fact free. These free extensions include Woocommerce Payments and Wocommerce Tax, Stripe and Amazon Pay integrations, Google Analytics and so, so many more.
Woocommerce is available in 64 for languages and is currently helping over 5 million vendors and their business around the world. Aside from this, Woocommerce has a huge community behind it organizing meetups, sharing experiences, and supporting each other. So, if you are a new Woocommerce user and you need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out.
As we already mentioned in part one of our series, Akismet is the first-ever plugin created for WordPress. Today, Akismet is the most popular anti-spam tool for WordPress, used by over 5 million active users in 70 languages around the world.
Among others, this plugin checks and filters malicious comments automatically, while admins monitor the blocked comments from the dashboard. They also have access to stats for each user. Moreover, Akismet is free for personal usage. But professional users have to invest in either the Plus package, which costs $5/month or the Enterprise version which costs $50/month.
The free version is very limited of course, covering only the anti-spam feature for one site. Both the Plus packages include the anti-spam functions, support commercial sites, provide advanced stats and om with priority support from Akismet. The only difference between the two paid packages is the number of sites it supports, with Plus only covering one site and Enterprise allowing unlimited sites.
MonsterInsights is a Google Analytics Dashboard plugin for WordPress, used by over 2 million users in 20 different languages worldwide. This plugin provides you with an in-depth overview of your site’s performance, making it easy to track traffic, conversion rates, and more.
While MonsterInsights is definitely the most popular GA plugin for WordPress, it comes with a price. This plugin does not have a free version, and the available packages range from $199/year to $799/year which may be a bit steep for small business.
So if you are a small company and this is too expensive for you, we recommend using other tools like GA Google Analytics. This alternative example simply adds your GA tracking code on your WP site, and from there you use the normal Google Analytics dashboard to monitor your performance.
Images and media uploaded on any site affect performance. The larger the files, the more it takes browsers to read it therefore, the slower a page. Luckily, plugins like Smush take care of image optimization for us, reducing the size of the images we upload, without affecting their quality.
Smush is 100% free and is actively being used by over a million users, in 36 languages. But the best part is that Smush is only one member from a team of superheroes. The super-power team deals with website security, SEO, Multisite plugins, and more. For the entire team, users have to pay $49/moth, but they do get a free 7day trial to test out the tools.
8. Contact form 7
The most popular plugin for customizable, beautiful contact forms is Contact Form. This plugin allows users to use several contact forms at the same time, as well as easily edit email contents for better user experience.
Contact Form 7 is used by more than 5 million users today, and is translated into 61 languages. It is free to use, but users are welcome to donate so they support the development and maintenance of the plugin.
For Contact Form 7 new users, the team provides a full step by step guide on how to get started with the tool, how to set it up, and everything else. As fans of the plugin, we highly recommend it for your contact form solution.
9. Really Simple SSL
SSL certificates are the ones in charge of our site’s security. There are many types of SSLs available, each with their own prices and their own features. But the point is, your website needs one, no question about it. Really Simple SSL won’t buy the SSL for you, but it will help you set it up.
Currently, Realy Simple SSL helps over 4 million active users, and it is available in 34 languages. The team behind the plugin are actively looking for ideas and suggestion on how to improve the tech. Thet even shared a GitHub link for those interested
Really Simple SSL is free, but they do have affordable premium option that helps support the development of the tech. Their Pro packages start at $29 dollars and come with an intriguing list of extras. This includes improved security and extensive content, email support for a year and more.
10. Duplicate post
Duplicate Post is a lifesaving plugin that allows you to copy or clone any type of post or page. Basically it turns each of your pages and posts into a template. This improves brand image consistency, and it saves time you would waste on fixes and adjustments.
This is a free plugin, currently used by over 3 million active users and it is translated in 46 languages. Duplicate Post started as an independent plugin and was created by Enrico Battocchi around 10 years ago.
However, on June 16th this year, Enrico became part of the Yoast team, as a senior developer, and Duplicate Post became a part of the Yoast stack. According to the official announcement, Enrico will still have an important role in the plugin’s development, but he will not be the only one working with it anymore.
The list of popular plugins presented above is just the top of the WordPress Plugin Directory iceberg. And although some of the plugins mentioned are paid-for, a lot of them have available free versions or you can easily find free alternatives.
However, there is a reason why some paid plugins are more popular. Security, constant maintenance, and an active community are important. So before you fall into the “I’m using it because it’s free” trap, look at what the community has to say about a specific plugin before you activate it. This might save your life – or at least the website. Finally, reach out to us on social media and tell us what your favorite WordPress plugin is and why.