If you’re not interested in lengthy introductions then let me just simply say that this is a list of the essential WordPress plugins for any online business website.

A couple of facts worth mentioning:

  • The list is kept up-to-date. Whenever there’s a new plugin worth including here I make sure to do so (or whenever some of the existing ones go out of date).
  • The list provides just one plugin for every specific kind of task. It doesn’t present ten alternative plugins that all do the same thing … Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that.
  • All of these plugins are ones I use every day, which means that I actually have some first-hand experience with them.
  • You can install the whole package on one WordPress site, and everything will manage to work together with no glitches or difficulties (don’t keep me accountable for this promise, though).

Let’s get the thing started (alphabetical order):

1. Antispam Bee

Antispam-Bee

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/antispam-bee/

I’m not an Akismet user (the most popular spam protection plugin), and I actually don’t consider it being as quality as everyone thinks. Some people report a number of problems with Akismet, including getting their own comments marked as spam … which is certainly not cool.

Antispam Bee does a lot better job at finding actual spam comments and getting rid of them.

2. Automatic Post Tagger

apt

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/automatic-post-tagger/

Only use this plugin if tags are an important element of your content organization. If not, you can skip it.

In short, the plugin takes a pre-prepared list of tags (which you get to create) and then assigns those tags automatically to every new post that gets published, based on the keywords used inside the post itself. It’s a real timesaver.

3. Broken Link Checker

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/

This plugin is a broken links scanner. It analyzes the content on your site, and then creates a report containing every bad link it encounters. Along with the report, there is a possibility to either edit or delete those links in a very simple manner.

I advise you to keep this plugin deactivated most of the time and only activate it once every month for a single scan.

4. BulletProof Security

BulletProof

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/bulletproof-security/

It’s the top .htaccess protection plugin out there. In short, not to get into some boring technical details, this type of .htaccess protection will make sure that your site isn’t prone to any common hacker attacks. This really is crucial, and that’s why this plugin is actually the first one I advise you to install on a new WordPress site.

5. Contact Form 7

Contact-Form-7

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/

Basically, it’s a great plugin for getting some contact form functionality. By default, WordPress doesn’t provide anything in that area. The only way you can enable your audience to contact you is to share your email address, which is not always the most fortunate idea. With this plugin, you get easy to use contact forms, which you can place anywhere you want.

If you have the big Jetpack plugin (described below) then this one is optional. Jetpack provides a good contact form support as well.

6. Drop Shadow Boxes

Drop-Shadow-Boxes

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/drop-shadow-boxes/

This plugin is not that popular yet, but it truly is an exquisite one. The idea is simple, it lets you display great looking content boxes either as widgets or through shortcodes. The boxes are highly customizable, and can be placed within any blog post or page. Actually, the subscription box you can see on the side here is created with this plugin.

7. Google Analytics for WordPress

Google-Analytics

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/

No explanation needed. This plugin enables Google Analytics on your site. A must-have.

8. Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/growmap-anti-spambot-plugin/

That’s right, I do use two spam protection plugins at the same time. While Antispam Bee works as a “spam finder,” this plugin (GASP) takes care of banning spambots before they even manage to submit anything. I described the way this plugin works some time ago in another post, feel free to check it out: How to Get Rid of Spam Comments Once and For All.

9. Jetpack

Jetpack

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/

This is one of the most popular plugins of today, and there’s a reason for this. Mainly, it’s the fact that everyone promotes it (marketing goes a long way), but at the same time, the range of features it provides is more than impressive.

Here are some things you get from this plugin:

  • automatically share your content on social media,
  • WordPress.com stats,
  • a new comment system – Jetpack comments,
  • image carousel,
  • post by email,
  • social media share buttons,
  • spelling and grammar check (very handy),
  • contact forms,
  • WP.me shortlinks,
  • shortcodes,
  • mobile theme optimization, and many more.

10. Pretty Link Lite

Pretty-Link

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/pretty-link/

It’s my favorite plugin for hiding and redirecting links. Especially handy if you want to track your affiliate links. In short, this plugin takes whatever link you throw at it, redirects it through your own domain, and gives you a handy shortlink looking something like: yoursite.com/your-new-link/.

11. Social Share Starter

sss-small

Get it at: http://newinternetorder.com/giveaway-heres-why-social-share-counters-suck-plus-what-i-can-give-you-that-doesnt/

This is my own social media plugin. It’s meant for small and low traffic sites. It doesn’t display any negative social proof, just clean buttons.

12. W3 Total Cache

W3

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/w3-total-cache/

It’s the top caching plugin available. I really don’t feel like getting into the boring details on this one so let me just say that this plugin will make your site load much faster than it does now, by using the concept of caching your site’s output. As we all know, site speed is now an important SEO factor.

If you want to learn more about caching feel free to check out this Wikipedia article.

13. Yoast SEO

WordPress-SEO

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/

This is the only true “all in one SEO” plugin out there. If you want to be able to manage your SEO from one place then this is the plugin to get. Some of the features include: titles and meta data management, social media settings, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs, in-post SEO settings, and a lot more. In my opinion, a must-have.

14. WP Smush

smush

Get it at: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit/

This plugin processes the images you upload to your site and reduces their file sizes without any loss to the quality of these images. It results in saving your bandwidth and ultimately making your site load a lot faster (usually images account for a good chunk of the load time).

This closes my list. 15 great plugins for you to make your online business site as modern as possible. Don’t forget to come back to this list in a while to see if anything new has sprouted up.