We’ve already shown you how to build a blog, but now that it’s up and running, we’re about to dive into one of, if not the greatest tools you will use on your WordPress blog.
Welcome, to my collection of the best plugins for WordPress for 2016 and beyond, that your blogs needs now, like right now.
I don’t care what you’re doing after this, you need these plugins like you need oxygen, understood?
Top WordPress Plugins + Beginner & Advanced Hacks
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After all, not everyone uses WordPress, just mostly everyone. I mean, I did give it my thumbs up approval after we went through the best blogging platform options.
My Top 20 Plugins for 2016 & Beyond
Plugins are a feature of WordPress where you can extend the features of the blogging platform.
There is already a database on there of over 30,000 plugins, all of which offer various tweaks, changes, and modifications to the function of your blog and gives you additional features to play with.
Let me tell you, this is the best thing I’ve done on this blog since my incredibly amazing (and time consuming) list of 151 Blog Post Ideas Guaranteed to Blast Off Your Blog.
- Scroll Triggered Box
This plugin is none other than Dreamgrow’s “Scroll Triggered Box.” I know, awesome name, but you’re still probably wondering what it does. Well, this is an email capture box for your blog. This allows you to get more subscribers for blog updates and newsletters that you send out. In other words, it’s a good thing.
Now, here’s what makes it special. This little nifty thing actually triggers when people scroll down the page.
You see, when I visit a website, I don’t want someone slapping me in the face with ads and signups when I get there. Let me read, then I’ll consider signing up, geez! This plugin doesn’t trigger the email box until the person has scrolled down 60% of the page.
You can also customize it so people won’t see it again for a set number of days if they close it. Beyond this, you can set the color, width, and more options to customize it to your liking.
- Increase subscribers to your newsletter
- Encourage people to share your posts
- Drive visitors deeper by utilizing related posts
- Submissions through an intelligent contact form
- Opportunity to promote your very best offers
2. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache should be on your list. This plugin is great for fixing your page’s load times. It has a lot of aspects to the program that elevate it way above being a mere caching plugin.
It has a lot of things that can be tweaked or changed slightly but unless you know what you’re doing, you can leave it as is and you’ll still experience a massive decrease in loading times on your blog. Tag man said it best, just a one-second delay in page speed could cause a 7% drop in conversion rate! Whaaaaaaaaat… better get W3 Total Cache pronto.
- Supports CDN integration
- Super advanced settings with unlimited control
- Browser, object and database caching
- Functionality for various minifying methods
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
When it comes to the mysterious and enigmatic power that is search engine optimization or SEO, there are several plugins out there that you can use, but I say no to them all. WordPress SEO by Yoast is the kind of assistance when it comes to plugins that you need.
Every post has a nice little box beneath it where you can record your main keyword, customize the title tag on Google, and place a meta description in there.
On top of this, it will tell you how many times your keyword is used in each of these fields, including the post. An absolute must have.
- Page analysis tool
- Simple On Page SEO Score
- Generate XML sitemaps
- Supports Facebook’s OpenGraph integration
- Ability to edit page titles and descriptions by the masses
- Configure robots.txt files.
- Hands down the most essential plugin for SEO
- Disqus Comments
You know what I like most about blogging? Hearing from you guys! With this plugin called Disqus, you can provide a nice looking space for your followers to leave comments. Not to mention you can see and manage these comments in the admin area or in the comments of your blog as well.
If someone is putting spam in your blog, you can take it right now with just a couple of clicks. People can use their own customer avatar pictures as well, so you get a lot of personalized comments which is always good for your feedback and for your blog.
- Full moderation control comments
- Makes it very easy for users to subscribe
- Comments have a voting system and top comments are featured
- Blacklist commenters you’re not fond of
- You can even earn money by enabling related posts on your blog
- The Hello Bar
This is another email capture system, or it can be used to display a message or specific keywords. It is, as the name suggests, a Hello Bar on the top of your blog that follows the page as you scroll down. It can provide a nice place to offer a signup sheet or a simple message, whichever you prefer.
- Simple sign up process
- Analytic tool to track the number of signups or clicks you receive
- Full customization of the look and feel of HelloBar (bg color, button color scheme, etc.)
- Neil Patel made it
- WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a more simplified version of the other caching plugin W3 Total Cache and also a perfect compliment to it. While it doesn’t have the same level of features, it’s a lot easier to use.
One of the best aspects of the program is that is creates static HTML files instead of dynamic pages. This way, everything loads much faster for your readers and search engine crawlers.
- Superior PHP caching
- Dynamic ability to compress pages
- CDN supportive
- Extra homepage checks for accuracy
- Ability to select who you serve static files to
- 404 Redirection
This is more of a behind the scenes type plugin, but it’s incredibly useful. Essentially, this plugin redirects all broken (not found or not working) pages to your homepage.
This dynamic plugin is incredible because if you deleted an older post or a visitor found their way to a page that doesn’t exist, you don’t want them to just hit a dead end. Automatically redirecting those visitors to the homepage is a surefire way to avoid any lost visitors. This is an essential plugin for any user.
Take a look why Google is so adamant that you avoid 404 pages on your website.
- Keep track of all 404 errors (we don’t want any broken pages!)
- Simplicity with adding 301 redirects
- Redirects based on who referred the visitor
- Functionality to import/export files
Need a top social media management too? Think Buffer.
WordPress integrates beautifully with the BufferApp. One of the simplest ways to publish your content on social media, the BufferApp enables you the ability to take advantage of growing your content’s visibility via social media mediums. This plugin allows you to schedule posts ahead of time and place them into a queue which essentially creates a “buffer” for you.
Share smarter with this web based scheduling service that allows you to post across pretty much all social networks. Buffer has described their service as a “smarter way to share things” and I would absolutely agree.
It allows you to integrate with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all with one Buffer account. They even offer an analytics dashboard that gives you unique insight on post performance. Other social management tools offer something similar but I have not seen an analytic tool for social quite as innovative as this one.
- Easy access to Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn
- Simple one step process to share content
- Increase social visibility for your visitors
- Track post performance w/ Analytics
This is a plugin made by the WordPress team that combines 33 tools into one plugin!
Jetpack allows you to use contact forms, seek out related posts, and view a built-in analytic reporting system, which is always useful, because you can see how your blog is doing statistically.
- As a first time WordPress user, the simplicity makes it a must
- Built-in analytic reporting system
- Social networking enabled comment system
- Built by WordPress, so it’s a no brainer
While this is a paid plugin, BackupBuddy is integral to have because it’s simple and easy to use while allowing you to migrate your site, backup your content, and do it all without having to try very hard at all. You can even do things like schedule backups, exclude files, and use multiple cloud storage devices.
With hackers determined to ruin bloggers lives, it’s essential to have a plugin like Backup Buddy for 2015 and the years to come.
- Simple website migration to any platform
- Up to 1GB FREE cloud backup
- Supports just about every cloud storage service (Dropbox and the like)
- Schedule your backups for when you want
- Full, partial and database backups
- Edit Flow
Edit Flow is a great tool for putting together calendars that let you see your scheduled content. It also allows you to discuss posts with other authors on your blog, with emails sent out every time someone comments.
You can switch and move around the scheduled posts to create perfect timeline for you. You can also insert custom descriptions to each post, further allowing you to have full editorial control of the blog.
- Convenient monthly calendar to coordinate by
- Custom statuses
- Timely notification updates
- Ability to thread editorial comments
LeadPages represents something that provides far more than a normal plugin in terms of helping you maximize your blog.
This program will allow you to create landing pages and host them as well. There are statistics built in, templates are added each month, the pages are hosted for you, and there is even built in split testing. It is worth every penny, I assure you, this program will give you total control of your landing pages and allow you to edit them on the fly.
- 75+ landing page templates to choose from (top of the line, too)
- Built in A/B and split testing mechanisms
- All landing pages are mobile responsive
- Easy use of HTML websites
- All landing pages are hosted by you
- Easy integration with most email providers (GetResponse, MailChimp, etc.)
- Easy way to effectively increase your landing page conversions
- Thrive Content Builder
At first, Thrive Content Builder was simply a plugin where you could creating custom page layouts, but a recent update now allows you to creating landing pages as well, which include 2 step opt-in forms.
There is a visual editor included that is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. You can look at the layout and combine it with the theme you’re currently using as well. There are templates included, plenty of design elements, and a built in API that you can use to create your own elements. To top it all off, there is also an undo/redo function.
- Intuitive interface
- Hundreds of templates included in subscription
- Use their built-in API for customized element applications
- Beautifully designed elements for customization
- Share by Sumo Me
Share is yet another great plugin from Sumo Me where you can add share buttons to your posts, along with a floating bar that contains the same buttons.
You’ll need to create an account, and the plugin will make itself known when someone selects “more shares” but these are small prices to pay. This plugin includes support for more than 16 social networks, the ability to track share counts, and the option to exclude URL’s. It’s the whole package.
- Noah Kagan (just kidding)
- Unlimited placement options
- Supports all social networks, except for a few you really don’t want
- HTML supported
- Plugin is mobile responsive for efficient use
- Display, track and monitor social shares across the board
- Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (G.A.S.P)
G.A.S.P is the perfect solution for dealing with those annoying spam comments that any popular blog is sure to get.
Other plugins will use annoying captcha’s to prevent spam, this is powered by a nice and easy tick box. In another clever move, the plugin also shows hidden fields only to bots, essentially luring them into a trap. It’s also free!
- Sound security system to ensure a user is a real person.
- Intuitively adds additional security fields in order to deceive bots
- Checks referrer data
- Ultimate control with comments
This is another great security plugin that has a lot of features. People usually pay a lot of money for something like this, but here Wordfence is totally free.
It has several fantastic aspects to the program such as 2 factor authentication, built-in caching, malware scanning, IP blocking, and many, many more. You’ll want to keep your blog safe and secure, this is one of the best ways to do it.
- Enforces super strong passwords
- Has a caching mechanism built in
- Compatible with multiple site platforms
- Multiple authentication method
- Effectively blocks malicious networks permanently
- Auto file scanning for changes
- Auto scanning for potential malware
- Recognizes and blocks attackers in real time
- Has the ability to block specific IPs
- WP Rocket
You just can’t get enough speed, trust me. This plugin elicits incredibly fast page speed and load times. Didn’t you get that from the name itself? If not, let me reassure you that the simplicity and efficiency of this plugin is unmatched.
WP Rocket is far superior than competitors and my sites only use WP Rocket. Essentially its a lightweight tool that supports all the necessary features you would need in a caching plugin.
- Simple setup and integration with blogging platforms
- Enables page caching
- Browser caching
- Incredible minification methods
- CDN integration
- Import/export features
- GZIP compression
- Full image optimization
- This website uses it 🙂
- Most advanced speed plugin to date
When you need to create opt-in forms, GetResponse is the plugin to use. This plugin has support for a lot of different placements that makes things easy for your readers when they want to subscribe.
The design of the plugin is easy to use and intuitive for all levels of website administrators. you can put in Sidebar, After Post, Footer, Slide-In and Footer opt-in forms using a shortcode. There is also a mobile form that you can use. It supports most email providers and A/B Split testing as well.
- Simple, lightweight and effective
- Build customized mailing campaigns
- Proficient A/B testing
- Drag and drop email creator
- Landing page creator
- Next level autoresponder
- In depth email intelligence
- Responsive email design
- I use GetResponse 🙂
- Hybrid Connect
Hybrid Connect is another great plugin for someone who is looking to place opt-in forms on their website. It uses a lot of features that you won’t find elsewhere, and while most other plugins will try to hold you back, this one is going to let you soar.
Unlike other plugins like this where you have to use coding to customize the form template, this entire design is simple and easy to use, while not removing any functionality from the overall plugin. You can use opt-in forms that allow for popovers, sidebar, after post, and slide-ins.
- Simple interface
- Ability to create and test squeeze pages
- Comment list building
- Ultimate form builder
- 30+ stylish themes to choose from
- Split testing
- iThemes Security
A strong password and the latest updates should be all you really need, but it never hurts to have a little extra protection that ensures your site is safe and free from possible loopholes that hackers could exploit.
It’s an unfortunate aspect of the world we live in, but this is the best way to protect yourself from a possible situation. You can download iThemes Security today and see how it protects you from a tough situation. There is also a pro version with additional features if you feel so inclined.
- Prioritize security features
- Brute force protection
- Strong password enforcement
- 404 detection mechanism
- Database backup
- Email notifications
Making Your Blog the Best it Can Be
Using WordPress plugins can be the best decision you ever make in your blogging career. Keep in mind that too many plugins can slow down your performance, but any handful of these will go a long way toward improving your traffic and the popularity of your blog, not to mention you’ll get a few features that I’m sure your followers will appreciate.
If you haven’t started your blog yet, check out my guide on How to Start a WordPress Blog: The Definitive Guide. If you decide to set up your blog, allow me to humbly suggest a hosting option for you.
You can start a free blog, but the real way to make money and do this for a living is to self-host a blog on your domain. Other websites will charge more than necessary for something that isn’t as reliable as it could be.
I recommend Web Hosting Hub, and if you click the link there, I can get you a nice discount on your hosting services, which is going to save you a lot of money in the long run. Thanks as always for reading folks!
It’s Your Turn!
I’m not asking you to sift through all 30,000 WordPress plugins, but I do want to know what you think are the best plugins for WordPress that you’ve found. The ones that you think you can’t live without. Tell us all about it in the comments, or shoot me an email so I can see which plugins I’m missing out on!