As an experienced marketer, you already know how important it is to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing trends and technology. WordPress is one of the top CMSs and also has the most integrations, with over 51,000 plugins (and counting) available for download.
However, as this search for a Google Analytics integration plugin illustrates, there are a number of plugins to choose from, all ranging in power, purpose, and price. Some WordPress plugins are worth it, some aren’t. There are many to choose from to help improve UI and to help you reach your marketing goals, and even change your approach to marketing. But which are really worth your time?
A Google search for “top WordPress plugins” reveals hundreds of list compilations. Some of those compilations are right on, so I’m not aiming to compete with those already existing compilation articles.
Instead, I’ve identified the ten WordPress plugins that are true must-haves. A few are ones you likely already have heard of, like Yoast, but we include them here because if you’re not already using them, then you need to pull your head out of the sand and get them installed. Most of the plugins highlighted, though, are unique plugins that have only recently been launched. I’ve included them here because they too are must-haves that will greatly improve your marketing technology stack. Without further ado:
1. Leverage Rich Snippets
Rich Snippets – This plugin provides a short summary of your website or web page in Google, Yahoo, and Bing search results, and even sometimes in Facebook news feeds. It also provides searchers with review ratings, images, and information pertaining to exactly what they are looking for.
This is a newer WordPress plugin that has been out for less than a year. Although Google had Rich Snippets for a while, it wasn’t always easy to implement on websites. Rich Snippets became available at the end of 2016 but didn’t really pick up speed until January 2017. As you can see on this page, the number of “downloads per day” has grown significantly, making it a quality plugin. If you aren’t already using this plugin, you need to.
2. Powerful browser-based notifications
OneSignal – This plugin allows you to show notification opt-ins when people hit your website. Visitors can opt-in to receive desktop push notifications when you publish a new post. The best part is visitors receive these notifications even after they’ve left your website, which can help drive recurring traffic to your website. In fact, this plugin sends over a billion notifications across web developers and users per day!
This plugin has only been available for approximately nine months and supports Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. There are other comparable solutions available, however, most of them come with a cost. OneSignal is the fullest featured app and is completely free.
3. Most optimal SEO plugin
Yoast – As an avid WordPress user, you’ve likely already heard of Yoast. You may even use it! If you haven’t yet heard of Yoast or haven’t given it a try, then you ought to. Yoast isn’t new but is by far one of the best WordPress plugins available — hence, I’ve included it in this list.
Yoast easily shows you where and how to improve your website’s SEO. One example is writing better content. Yoast forces you to choose a focus keyword for your content, and optimize that content by using your focus keyword throughout. Yoast also checks things that you probably forget, such as writing meta descriptions, image alt text, and if you are missing any subheadings, for example.
4. An up-and-coming editor
Smart Editor – Smart Editor is one of the latest plugins and is quickly becoming one of the most popular editors for WordPress. Smart Editor is an advanced editor that adds a lot of functionality to your standard WYSIWYG editor, such as content formatting tools, including add-in tables, columns, download call-to-actions, HTML custom style and a lot more! Check out this link for a live demo.
Although this plugin is entirely free, there are additional advanced features that you may want to purchase, such as the table plugin for $34.
5. Beautiful email list opt-ins
Bloom – Bloom is an email opt-in plugin for WordPress to help increase email subscribers. Bloom also integrates with just about everything, including SalesForce to easily drop leads directly into MailChimp, Hubspot or Marketo.
Additionally, with a range of elegant design options, you can target exclusive content to use in your display forms, such as relevant blog posts or offers for local audiences based on location, and watch engagement levels and conversions soar.
Although Bloom isn’t a new plugin, it is a very useful tool. Bloom costs a one-time fee of $89, but it is well worth it.
6. Affordable introductory email automation
SendInBlue – If you’re not already using another email sending provider, or if you are unhappy with your current provider, then it may be time to consider using SendInBlue. This plugin allows you to set up marketing automation workflows, create and set up signup forms, and even send SMS messages.
SendInBlue has a lot of powerful functionality, making it well worth the price ($40/month for 60,000 emails). If you’re serious about your sending reputation (and you should be), you can also get a dedicated IP for under $200/year. When compared with HubSpot, Marketo, or other marketing automation suites, you’ll realize quickly that SendInBlue is a deal. If you’re already using a lot of the functionality in a full-featured marketing automation platform, I wouldn’t recommend leaving it for SendInBlue — but it is a great plugin to get you into automation if you’re not already there.
7. Full-featured form-builder
GravityForms – Frustrated with continuously adjusting and testing forms on your website? Try this plugin. GravityForms is one of the best form-builder plugins for WordPress. It is also easy to integrate with other third party web applications and services, such as MailChimp, AWeber, FreshBooks, and PayPal.
You can purchase GravityForms for a one-time cost of $39, and then begin building and publishing forms on your website in minutes. Consider what you’ve already spent on time and resources building, adjusting, and testing your existing web forms, and you’ll quickly realize that GravityForms is what you’ve been missing.
8. Repurpose old blog posts on social media
Blog2Social – Blog2Social is a plugin that allows you to easily and powerfully share posts on social media, all from within your WordPress dashboard. How is Blog2Social better than other similar plugins? One added bonus is that it allows you to automatically repost old blog posts, helping you to continue to see the value from your evergreen content.
Although similar plugins have been available for some time, none of them compare to Blog2Social. Others are often buggy and do not provide quality results. Blog2Social has been available for approximately a year and is built on solid code, making it one of the best plugins for repurposing content.
Although Blog2Social is available for free, consider paying the $70 per year so that you can automatically post content to Twitter and Facebook to continue to see value from your evergreen content.
9. WordPress plugins to keep ’em reading!
“Read More” plugins – Keeping visitors engaged on your website is key. One way to do this is to get your visitors to read your blog and other content your site. There are a few ways in which to do this; however, one of the most effective methods is to add “read more” buttons on your website.
- One plugin that makes this easy is from CodeCanyon. This plugin is extremely affordable, costing a one-time fee of $13. Check out a live demo here.
- Another method is to include related posts in the footer of a web page, as shown here with this related posts plugin. This plugin has proven to increase internal content up to 10 percent. It is also relatively easy to search for the posts you want to include in the related posts section and add them accordingly.
- The third option is Intelly, which allows users to include inline relevant content. Intelly will help you to increase engagement, keep readers on-site and engaged with your current content, extend the value of your evergreen content, and also reduce your bounce rate.
10. WordPress native conversion rate optimization
Nelio – Marketers’ biggest goals are often to increase conversions. Although Optimizely is the leader in CRO, it is also quite expensive and does not play nice with WordPress. Instead, I recommend Nelio. Not only does it natively integrate with WordPress, it comes with a number of awesome features, such as A/B testing, detailed results and analytics, and heat mapping. And for less than $1,000 a year, you can’t beat the price, especially when compared with Optimizely.
As I mentioned above, there thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins available, all designed for different purposes. However, this list includes some of the best plugins in terms of functionality, features, and affordability. Reaching your marketing goals just got easier.