Essential WordPress plugins for your website

WordPress is a fully-featured and lean content management system from the moment you install it on a Web server, but one of its biggest strengths is its modularity. Thanks to the power of plugins, you can create basically any website you can imagine without even messing with code!

With that said, if you are running a business website with WordPress, there are a few plugins that are must-haves if you want better results and performance. Here’s our list of the top essential WordPress plugins.

SEO Plugins

If you want to achieve better positions on the results pages of search engines such as Google, you’re going to need a search engine optimization (SEO) plugin. These add essential search engine-related features, such as meta tags, structured data, OpenGraph and others to ensure that you have a better chance of ranking higher.

There’s a plethora of possibilities where it comes to SEO plugins, so here are our main recommendations:

  1. Yoast SEO (download link): the quintessential and most popular SEO plugin for WordPress, Yoast is simple to use but extremely powerful. You can plug-and-play for great SEO out of the box and pay for the Premium version for even more optimizations, such as Video SEO or News SEO;
  2. Rank Math SEO (download link): a relatively newer entrant to the SEO plugin race, Rank Math distinguishes itself by its use of AI to figure out what’s best for your website, as well as a fully featured structured data editor (on the Premium version) and special Gutenberg blocks to add even more SEO-friendly information on your pages;
  3. The SEO Framework (download link): starting life as an auto-description SEO plugin before evolving into an all-encompassing optimization plugin, The SEO Framework is easy to use and intelligent, but also flexible enough that more advanced developers can enhance it even further.

Optimization Plugins

Despite what some people believe, WordPress is fast out of the gate—the codebase is extremely optimized and lightweight, so the platform itself is actually very performant. However, as you add plugins and features, it can become understandably slower and more cumbersome, taking longer to load pages, which can mean many lost customers to your business.

Fortunately, there is a selection of optimization plugins that speed up your WordPress website thanks to features such as automatic minification of CSS and JavaScript, page caching, image optimization and Content Delivery Network (CDN) integration, among others. Here are the best plugins you can use to optimize your WordPress or WooCommerce website:

  1. LiteSpeed Cache (download link): LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress (LSCWP) is by far the best optimization plugin available for WordPress, even working perfectly with WooCommerce; however, you need a LiteSpeed Web Server hosting service to take full advantage of its optimizations (as luck would have it, Neoxea has its own WordPress Hosting service running LiteSpeed Web Server);
  2. EWWW Image Optimizer (download link): don’t be fooled by its name—there’s nothing “ew” about this amazing image optimization plugin, which compresses images automatically for faster loading with little to no loss in quality, as well as converts them to more modern image formats like WebP;
  3. W3 Total Cache (download link): while not as immediately impactful or easy to configure as LiteSpeed Cache, W3 Total Cache is a server-agnostic optimization plugin that doesn’t require LiteSpeed Web Server (if you’re stuck on a subpar shared hosting plan or, you know, in the last century).

Neoxea also has its own optimization plugin solution for its Web Hosting clients, merging the impact of LiteSpeed with our own technical expertise.

Analytics plugins

WordPress doesn’t come integrated with analytical tools, so you’ll need to use an analytics plugin to track visits, unique users, real-time interactions with your website and the sources of traffic to your website. Here are the best ones available:

  1. Site Kit by Google (download link): Google’s official analytics tool, it’s perfect if you use their platforms for tracking purposes, integrating Google Analytics, Google Search Console, AdSense and more in one dashboard on your admin panel;
  2. MonsterInsights (download link): the most popular Google Analytics plugin on WordPress, surpassing even Google’s official plugin, MonsterInsight makes it truly easy to connect your WordPress site to your Google Analytics account and see real data all from your admin panel;
  3. Matomo Analytics (download link): self-described as an “ethical alternative” to Google Analytics, Matomo (formerly Piwik) is an analytics platform that gives you the most important data without sharing that data with third-parties.

E-commerce plugins

WordPress is popular for many reasons, but one of them is its flexibility. You can even build a fully-fledged E-commerce website with it and enhance its features with specially built E-commerce plugins.

If you want all the features of a successful online store, here are the plugins you must use:

  1. WooCommerce (download link): it’s a bit of a cheat, but obviously no list of E-commerce plugins can be complete without WooCommerce itself, the WordPress E-commerce plugin. If you want to turn your website into an online store, this is the way to go;
  2. WooCommerce PDF Invoices & Packing Slips (download link): this handy plugin allows you to automatically integrate PDF invoices on your confirmation e-mails as well as download invoices and packing slips from your backoffice;
  3. YITH WooCommerce Wishlist (download link): wishlists are one of the most important and user-friendly features for any E-commerce website. YITH WooCommerce Wishlist integrates that feature seamlessly into your WooCommerce site, letting users create lists of the products they most desire on your store.

Security/backup plugins

Last but certainly not least, while WordPress is a very secure platform (especially if you’re careful and keep your plugins up-to-date), it’s still wise to beef up your site security through a security plugin, as well as make sure there are backups of your website using a WordPress backup plugin.

  1. Jetpack (download link): built by the same team that built WordPress and WooCommerce, Jetpack is a multifunctional plugin, but perhaps its best and most popular services are the security and backup features, which make sure your site is protected and safely backed up, respectively, in case of problems;
  2. Wordfence Security (download link): the most popular WordPress firewall and scanner for a reason, Wordfence hardens your website against intrusion, reviewing each and every user visit for malicious agents and building a firewall to keep your site secure;
  3. UpdraftPlus (download link): UpdraftPlus is a backup plugin that lets you create security copies of your website, upload them to the cloud service of your preference and restore your website from a backup with a single click, so you have nothing to fear.

Note that, if you are a Neoxea Web Hosting customer, a backup plugin isn’t as vital for your business because we offer free daily backups on all plans, not to mention a Web Application Firewall and other security-minded features to protect your website.

Once you have all the plugins you need, select the best Web Hosting service for your WordPress site

At Neoxea, we are WordPress experts and always concerned with performance and security for our clients. If you’re looking for Web Hosting that’s not ridiculously expensive but offers top-of-the-line support and features, check our plans and find the best option for your business or personal website.