A WordPress website is a sensible investment for any business. But what are the best WordPress plugins, the ones that every business owner should install on their shiny new website? In this blog post I will share what I consider to be the five best WordPress plugins that all website owners should install, and why.
1. WP SMTP
One of the most important steps when creating a WordPress website is to add SMTP functionality. You may be suprised to hear that a WordPress website will not automatically be able to send out emails. You have to actively set up SMTP first.
SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, and its job is to enable the sending and receiving of emails. It does this by determining which servers will receive your relay messages and then moving the emails across networks to the right destination.
There are numerous SMTP plugins available on WordPress, but one of the most popular (and for good reason) is WP SMTP. Simply install abd activate it, then follow the on-screen instructions to get it working. You will also need to set up a third-party email provider, such as Gmail, Zoho or Mailgun, which all have a free version. It’s only when your site grows considerably and starts sending high numbers of emails that you may have to upgrade to a paid email service.
2. Rank Math
Rank Math is a fantastic SEO plugin that every website owner should download yesterday! The developers have been very generous in what they’ve included in the free version, and if you follow Rank Math’s guide whenever you create a new page or post, you’re guaranteed to see improvements in your SEO rankings. Yoast used to be THE WordPress plugin for SEO, but times have changed. There’s a new challenger to the throne, and for me at least, Rank Math is the clear winner.
3. Site Kit
Google provides myriad helpful tools for website owners. There’s Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics and Google Adsense to name a few, and it used to be a long-winded process setting all of these up when you create a new site.
Not anymore. Google recently released the brilliant free plugin, Site Kit, which installs all of these Google Services on your site at the touch of a few on-screen buttons. Genius.
4. Cloudflare APO
Cloudflare‘s Wordress plugin is the only one on my list that you have to pay for. It’s only $5 a month, though, and it will increase the speed of your website by “up to 300%” according to Cloudflare.
APO stands for Automatic Platform Optimisation and it enables Cloudflare to serve your entire WordPress site from its network of over 250+ data centres, ensuring that it’s blazing fast, which will mean customers enjoy their time on your site more and spend longer on it.
If your new website is commercial then chances are you’re going to want live chat functionality. A survey found that 52% of customers in 2022 prefer a company that offers live chat assistance, and it’s a great way to convert visitors into paying customers.
There are many options out there, but one of the best WordPress plugins for live chat has to be Tawk. The free version will suffice for many businesses – you can customise the main colours to match your branding, and the phone app works seamlessly, allowing you to easily converse with customers wherever you might be. Plus it has a cute parrot as it’s logo, and who doesn’t love parrots?
Special mention: WooCommerce
I couldn’t include WooCommerce in the top 5 because it doesn’t have the universal appeal of these other plugins, purely because non-ecommercial sites will rarely have a use for WooCommerce. But it definitely deserves a special mention because it’s fantastic for all those people who do sell products or services directly on their website. The free version is really all you need, at least when you first start out, which makes it more appealing than Shopify, which doesn’t have a free option.