There are tons and tons of WordPress plugins out there for various purposes. Some work great, others not so much. This is my personal list of plugins I keep around for reference.
Note: This list is constantly being updated, and as such is always “under construction”. This means there may be incomplete entries.
Popups & Mailing List Growth
WordPress Popup – When I just need a quick popup to use on a site, I normally go for this one. Great for advertising a coupon on your home page (which btw: I usually recommend coupons to be 500px wide by 350px tall).
Popup Maker – Great plugin for creating all sorts of popups. You can have popups triggered by clicks on the site, by page visits, by images, and more. Very versatile.
OptinMonster – This is my go to plugin for mailing list growth. You can use their templates or build out with a custom HTML form. Has connections for all of the major mailing list providers (including my most used – MailChimp). I use it for popups, widgets, footer bars, pretty much anywhere I need to put a mailing list sign up form.
Black Studio TinyMCE Widget – Bring the full visual editor to your widget areas
Better Search Replace – Advanced search & replace across your whole WP site. Warning, if you mess up here the only way to fix it is to have a backup of your database to restore via phpMyAdmin. Use at your own risk.
UberMenu – Powerful and feature rich menu replacement plugin. It is a bit intimidating for beginners.
WP Mail SMTP – Reconfigure your WordPress email to use SMTP.
Ultimate Coming Soon Page – Great plugin to put up a quick coming soon page on your site. All site visitors will see the coming soon (regardless of what page they try to access), logged in users will see the actual site. Just click to enable. Even allows for you to capture email addresses.
SVS Pricing Tables plugin – Beautiful pricing tables plugin with easy drag & drop interface.
PDF & Print by BestWebSoft – Allow visitors to download your pages as PDF documents.
Visual Composer – There are a lot of page builders out there, and I’ve probably personally tried at least a dozen. Visual Composer has been the best all around builder I’ve used. It has a lot of tools to work with other plugins (like contact forms, eCommerce, widgets, etc), can create a lot of different layouts, and is friendly to developers who need to do even more sophisticated layouts. It also works in just about any theme.
Imsanity – This plugin is for your “image sanity checks”. If you or someone on your site has a habit of loading in images that are too large, this plugin will automatically resize them. If you’ve already loaded in a thousand images that are too large, there is a bulk resize option.
WP Smush – This plugin optimizes images as they are uploaded and has a bulk option to resize existing images. It uses lossless compression, so you get smaller images without loss of quality (yes, some form of magic was used).
EWWW Image Optimizer – Very much like WP Smush, but it does have a couple of additional options (such as the type of compression used for PNGs is selectable).
Image Watermark – adds watermarks to selected images, and/or to images that are uploaded. You can filter by type, so if you only want product images watermarked, that can be done.
Snazzy Maps – Add styles to your Google Maps (requires other plugins to actually display maps).
Responsive Styled Google Maps Simplified plugin – Easy to use maps plugin which makes only responsive (100% width) maps.
Preventing Comment Spam
One thing bloggers hate is comment spam. There are both a lot of robots and humans on the web creating comment spam. In addition to this list, take a look at our article How to Fight Comment Spam on WordPress.
Combatting Comment Spam FAQ – Some common questions and answers regarding comment spam.
AVH First Defense Against Spam – Plug-in that utilizes Project Honey Pot to fight spam.
Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin – This provides a simple checkbox for your visitors to check to state that they are not a spammer. Great against bots and very friendly to your visitors (reading captchas can be very challenging).
Akismet – Comes installed with WordPress, this plug-in requires an API key. This is free for personal blogs, and has a yearly fee for everyone else.
CleanTalk – Great plugin to reduce spam. Low yearly cost, and worth the frustration-free experience.
A very popular feature on websites is a content slider. These can contain pictures, text and even videos.
Meta Slider – This is my go to slider for basic things, and it’s free. If you just need a slider with a little basic text or a link, this is perfect.
Meta Slider Pro – If you need more than basics, this slider has layers and you can add images, text, buttons, etc.
Revolution Slider – The most popular slider plugin on WordPress. This comes included with a lot of themes. The one downside to it being included with themes is that it does’t remind you to update it. Older versions of Revolution Slider are regularly targeted by hackers.
Huspo Share Buttons – Easy to use and install social media sharing buttons.
Simple Share Buttons Adder – Quite easy to use and even allows you to have custom icons.
If you want to automatically broadcast your posts on social media, read our Broadcasting WordPress Posts on Social Media tutorial.
If you want to display a Twitter Feed on your website we a tutorial for Adding a Twitter Feed to You Website.
Custom Facebook Feed – Display a facebook feed on your website. A good number of features in the free version, extensive options in the paid version.
Contact Form 7 – This is a relatively easy to use plug-in. In order to customize the items on your contact form you do need to read some documentation and implement some short codes, but the documentation is well done. It also has a lot of add ons available for free, such as Honeypot (to prevent spam) and database storage of submitted forms.
Gravity Forms – If you need more than a basic form, Gravity Forms probably has you covered. Built in are options for basic eCommerce (such as a simple bill pay), anti-spam honeypots, database logging, and more.
LeadIn – Not a contact form, but an add-on for getting more from your contact form submissions. It includes tracing for what parts of your website a visitor was on before they finally filled out a contact form.
PureChat – Plans start at free and include a mobile app, scheduling of your chat availability and several other easy to use features. Includes mobile phone app so you can manage your chats on the go. Simple plugin install and the service works off your site, so it doesn’t reduce load time.
Olark – Online chat service with integration into common messaging platforms (like Skype) so that you and your agents can interact with website visitors on the go.
Speed Up Your Site
WP Super Cache – A popular caching solution for WordPress supported by the folks at Automattic (the same ones who make WordPress).
WP Rocket – A premium plugin which simplifies the process of setting up caching on your site.
WP-Optimize – Great plugin to use every few months to clean out excess junk that accumulates in your database.
WP Easy Paypal Payment Accept – Basic PayPal buttons added to a couple of locations. It’s a bit easier to add /update multiple buttons than with just an HTML PayPal form (although that does work too). Tutorial and info on their website.
WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart – This is when you need a very basic shopping cart, and you are pretty sure that you won’t want anything more in the future.
WooCommerce – When you need more features in your eCommerce experience. This is useful for everything from a 1 item store to full eCommerce website build out. There are TONS of extensions available and Automattic (the company that makes WordPress) just acquired them.
WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping by Mangohour – Extension for WooCommerce that adds very straightforward table rate shipping. Quite useful for shipping to multiple countries with various rates. Also has premium version if you need even more options.
WooCommerce Advanced Notifications
WooCommerce Bookings – If you’d like to offer full featured online booking experience for tours, hotels and more. Note that in WooCommerce 2.6 “Box Office” was added as an included feature, so if you just have an occasional event you want to sell tickets to, you can use that.
WooCommerce Sensei – Build an entire eLearning environment
WooCommerce Cart Add-ons – want to suggest additional items to buyers based on the contents of their cart and display that info right on the cart page — then use the Cart Add-ons.
WooCommerce Product Add-ons – want to suggest additional features while buyers are on your product page? Use Product Add-ons, you can even configure an upsell for entire categories of products.
WooCommerce Forced Sells – Have a product or service that absolute requires the purchase of another item? For example a customer is buying tires for their car and tires require mounting. You can attach the mounting to the tires, so every time someone buys tires mounting gets automatically added.
WooCommerce Shipping Per Product
WooCommerce Composite Products – Have you ever wanted a configurable product? For example allow someone to configure and build a custom item with step by step guidance, then WooCommerce Composite Products is for you.
Need an overall WP Guide?
Try the free WordPress Manual from Easy WP Guide.