There are plenty of alternatives to WordPress, which is growing steadily, with new and intuitive universal website builder solutions being introduced every year. But despite that, over 32 percent of all websites run on WordPress.
And for a good reason.
No other website platform can bring the versatility and robust list of features that WordPress can offer, not to mention the thousands of plugins that make the customization possibilities almost endless.
The plugins might be the biggest reason why WordPress is so popular – almost anyone with basic coding knowledge can make a WordPress plugin and release it to the public, which means that innovative ideas are always quickly implemented in the WordPress platform, maintaining its status as the most convenient way to build a website.
By simply browsing the free WordPress Plugin Directory, you can add a range of powerful features to help with website security, site backups, contact forms, and even lead generation.
The only downside is that it can be hard to choose the plugins you need with so many options.
Luckily, you don’t have to do it on your own. This article will cover the best WordPress plugins you can’t miss out on this year.
Ready to get started? Then read on below.
WordPress contact form plugin, which clearly shows, judging by the excellent 4.9 ratings from 2,300+ reviews.
WP Forms is so popular because of its simplicity – even if you don’t have any prior coding experience or if you’re building your first site, the simple drag & drop dashboard means that almost anyone can put together their contact form in a matter of minutes.
The plugin can not only help you create beautiful and clean contact forms but can also be used to add email subscription forms, payment forms, and various other forms to your site.
The great user experience makes WPForms so appealing – many contact form plugins are available, some of which have been getting the job done for many years now. Still, WPForms can offer a much simpler process that appeals to less tech-savvy people.
But how simple is it to use?
Well, here’s a video showing how quick and easy the entire process is:
Other features that make WPForms an excellent choice:
- It’s 100% responsive and mobile-friendly
- It offers a range of free templates that allow you to create amazing-looking forms
- It allows for file and media uploads through the form
- It seamlessly integrates with MailChimp and Aweber
- It enables to collect of payments or donations through PayPal
- …and much more.
WordPress is built using the best coding practices, ensuring that the website is clean, easy to interpret for search engines, and thus naturally well-optimized to rank on Google.
However, with so many websites running on WordPress, it can still be tough to rank high for more competitive keywords, especially for newer sites that aren’t established.
That’s where Yoast SEO can be beneficial.
While it’s not a new plugin, Yoast SEO is still the best and most powerful SEO plugin available, and it continues to be head and shoulders above all alternatives. Many WordPress sites use the plugin to help make the website more SEO friendly and help it climb the search engine rankings.
Why is it so popular?
Well, once again, its simplicity is the reason behind its success.
Yoast SEO makes search engine optimization simple – whether it’s optimizing your content to include target keywords, measuring readability, ensuring that the meta tags and descriptions are in order, preventing duplicate content, creating XML sitemaps, or even adding rich snippets, Yoast SEO offers a range of features that serve to make your website more Google-friendly.
And some of these features can be absolute game-changers.
Not having to spend hours setting up meta tags and meta descriptions can make a huge difference – it allows you to publish more content faster and reduces the time it takes to only a few minutes.
Yoast offers helpful suggestions throughout the entire process and informs you if anything needs to be improved to maximize your chances of appearing higher on the Google listing.
Yoast SEO can generate XML sitemaps, so you don’t need to look for a separate plugin for that.
Finally, you can even integrate the plugin with your Google Webmaster Tools account to track your website’s performance on WordPress without leaving the dashboard.
While it may not completely replace hiring a digital marketing firm to take over your SEO management, it can go a long way in making your website start appearing on search engines.
And if you combine it with one of the WordPress mobile plugins that can help your site become more mobile-friendly, your site can quickly start rising to the top of search engine rankings.
User Rating: 4.4
OptinMonster is hands down the most user-friendly lead generation plugin available on WordPress, allowing you to build high-converting opt-in forms in mere minutes.
Just as WPForms is the best plugin for setting up beautiful contact forms, OptinMonster is the best for creating opt-in forms that convert and get people to take action.
It also utilizes an intuitive drag & drop system designed so that even the most novice users can create professional-looking opt-in forms in minutes.
The forms have been thoroughly tested and are designed to entice action and maximize conversions, so you can quickly choose the template that fits you best, make a few tweaks, and you’re good to go.
But ease of use isn’t the only reason OptinMonster is the best opt-in form builder.
It’s also incredibly versatile, allowing you to create a wide range of opt-in campaigns, including popup forms, footer bars, floating headers, sidebar forms, after-post forms, in-line forms, and even slide-ins known as scroll-triggered boxes.
Having the opportunity to put together and test out different opt-in forms quickly means that you can run hassle-free tests to determine what works and what doesn’t.
OptinMonster also uses cutting-edge exit-intent technology, which helps track the user’s mouse behavior and allows to display of a prompt with a targeted message at the precise moment they decide to leave the site.
By re-engaging users about to leave, you can convince at least some of them to stay, which means improved conversions that you couldn’t attain any other way.
Here’s a quick video showcasing OptinMonster’s features and explaining how exit-intent technology works:
Another cool feature offered by OptinMonster is the Page Level Targeting module, which allows you to display unique offers based on the visitor’s behavior on your website and even his location.
This way, you have endless possibilities to segment and group your subscriber lists according to their behaviors and interests, creating personalized messages and further increasing your engagement and sales.
User Rating: 4.9
Managing your subscribers can be a complicated process – without prior experience, even setting up a basic autoresponder can take days, if not more.
But with MailChimp, the entire process is as intuitive and straightforward as possible.
The plugin offers numerous advanced tools for growing your list, writing better newsletters, and increasing your bottom line.
And the best part is it’s completely free until you reach 2,000 subscribers, which means that you don’t have to worry about upfront payments before you get a chance to establish a following.
The plugin seamlessly integrates with OptinMonster and other opt-in form creation plugins and offers the option of creating your opt-in forms through MailChimp.
You can build effective email marketing campaigns using Mailchimp’s marketing automation tools to send the most relevant messages at the right time.
MailChimp also allows you to set up immersive autoresponder series that educate subscribers about your products, provide helpful information, nurture trustful relationships, build customer loyalty, and increase sales.
Just as with OptinMonster, you can use MailChimp to segment your lists based on signup date, demographics, engagements, actions, and other metrics, so you’re always in complete control of what messages reach each subscriber.
User Rating: 4.7
One of the top priorities for any website owner is keeping their website secure from outside threats. After all, it won’t matter how much work you put into your site if it gets hacked and lose all of your data.
With thousands of new online threats popping up each year, you need a system that can help shield your website from harm and ensure that it runs smoothly and without disruptions.
Luckily, many WordPress plugins are designed for this exact purpose, and BulletProof Security might be at the top of the list.
It’s one of the leading WordPress security plugins that can offer complete protection from different kinds of threats that can arise.
And the best part is, you don’t have to spend time figuring out how to implement it. Once you activate BulletProof Security, it runs on complete autopilot, providing you with firewall security, database security, login security, and much more.
After you complete the simple four-click setup, everything runs independently, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your website.
Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, a churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world and has visited over 65 countries. He writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me in his spare time.