What makes WordPress the market leading website platform is the way it makes your website, store, or blog, totally customisable. And this is made easier because of the incredible selection of WordPress plugins that you can integrate into your site.
From plugins that transform your SEO and boost your Google ranking to plugins that help you build a valuable email database, the options are limitless.
But finding the very best WordPress plugins from the thousands available is no easy task.
That’s why we thought it would be a great idea to turn our last team meeting into a plugin showdown, debating the best WordPress plugins to get your site humming in 2016.
Now I don’t claim we’ve tried every option in the WordPress plugin directory (There are 43,071 at the time of writing), but this is not your average list post. It’s been crafted by the experience of our WordPress support team, working with hundreds of websites built by different designers and developers all over the globe.
The 2016 Best WordPress Plugins Selected By The WP Copilot Team.
- Best WordPress eCommerce Plugin
- Best WordPress SEO Plugin
- Best Image Optimisation Plugin
- Best WordPress Caching Plugin
- Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugin
- Best WordPress Contact Form Plugin
- Best WordPress Reviews Plugin
- Best WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin
- Best WordPress Popup plugin
- Best WordPress Slider plugin
- Best Page Builder Plugin
- Best WordPress Content Schedule Plugin
- Best WordPress Coming Soon Plugin
- Best WordPress Security Plugin
- Best WordPress Search plugin
- Best WordPress eCommerce Plugin – WooCommerce
It’s no coincidence that 30% of e-commerce stores on the web use WooCommerce. This plugin ticks every box for online store owners so that you can sell anything to anyone in the world at any time of the day.
With WooCommerce you can offer your customers every payment option possible, you can geo-locate tax calculations for customers in any part of the world, and the plugin can be fully integrated with third party services like MailChimp and Amazon Web Services.
Most popular themes integrate WooCommerce styling out of the box. So a stunning ecommerce website requires minimal effort, even though the design of your storefront can be customised to look exactly as you want.
- Best WordPress SEO Plugin – WordPress SEO by Yoast
Whether you have a website to promote your business, a magazine style blog, or an online store, your web presence is only ever going to be as successful as your SEO strategy. But let’s face it, SEO good practice changes so regularly that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the latest search optimisation trends.
This is where WordPress SEO by Yoast comes in. The Yoast team stays on top of every SEO trend so you don’t have to. With this all-in-one solution, you can tidy up XML sitemaps, optimise titles and meta descriptions, focus your content around keywords, and more.
- Best Image Optimisation Plugin – Imsanity
The web is essentially a visual medium. People who land on blogs expect to see photos that guide them through posts, and anybody purchasing a product online would expect to see clear product images. For this reason, making sure your images are the star of the show is imperative.
Upload an image to your WordPress site, and Imsanity will automatically reconfigure the image properties so that it’s high quality enough to be attractive to your readers, but not so large that it slows down your site and destroys the user experience.
- Best WordPress Caching Plugin – W3 Total Cache
Caching your web pages might not be the sexiest subject, but it can be really helpful for speeding up your site’s load time and giving the user experience on your site a huge boost. And you don’t need to be a technical WordPress expert to cache your web pages because the W3 Total Cache plugin can totally take care of this for you.
When a web page is cached, it basically means that it’s saved as a static file and it’s this file that the end user will see. This speeds up your website because the page doesn’t have to be processed every time it’s accessed by someone. You won’t have to do any configuration with W3 Total Cache – just activate the plugin and it will work its magic.
- Best WordPress Social Sharing Plugin – Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress
In 2016, the power of social media is greater than ever, so it’s important that you harness the power of social media to attract more eyeballs to your site.
By integrating social sharing buttons at the end of posts, in web page sidebars, and on top of shareable images, you give your readers the opportunity to share the content that you have so lovingly created.
With Easy Social Share Buttons, you can encourage people to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and loads of other networks. And you can choose from a selection of social icons so they integrate seamlessly with the look and feel of your site.
- Best WordPress Contact Form Plugin – Contact Form 7
The most engaging websites are the websites that feel personal. And if your website feels personal, your readers will almost certainly want to get in touch with you. Instead of leaving your email address exposed on web pages, which can lead to an influx of spam email, the best thing you can do is create your very own contact form with the Contact Form 7 Plugin.
The plugin is simple to use but it also gives you all the customisability options that you could possibly want. Choose from various input fields, check boxes, drop down lists, and you can even ramp up security with CAPTCHA integration.
- Best WordPress Reviews Plugin – Yelp Widget Pro
In 2016, all businesses are held accountable by the reviews that customers leave on sites like Yelp. This is good news because it helps potential customers to make educated purchase decisions, and it means that businesses strive to give the best quality service.
If your business has some flattering reviews and a good rating on Yelp, this is something that you should be shouting about on your website, and Yelp Widget Pro makes this easy. Integrate reviews from your Yelp profile on any page of your website, and you can even invite visitors to your WordPress site to leave their own reviews.
- Best WordPress Anti-Spam Plugin – Akismet
Have you seen websites whose comments sections are littered with spam comments? This looks unprofessional, and it strips away genuine engagement in the comments section of a web page. You don’t want this to happen to your website, and that’s why you need to know about the Akismet plugin.
All of those nasty spam comments will be filtered out and the service is integrated into top WordPress plugins Contact Form 7.
- Best WordPress Popup plugin – Pippity
Pop-ups are a tricky thing to get right on any site. Use them incorrectly, with pop-ups occurring at the wrong time and in the wrong places, and you could scare people away from your site. Use them smartly, however, and you’ll maximise engagement on your site and grow your email database and social channels.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a user experience expert to improve the way your pop-ups work for you when you install the Pippity plug-in. The Pippity team are totally dedicated to understanding the science of user experience and how pop-ups lead to conversion so that your pop-ups work for you. The pop-ups are easy to create and integrate, and you’ll even have access to comprehensive analytics so you can test, analyse, and improve your pop-up performance over time.
- Best WordPress Slider plugin – Slider Revolution
When a reader lands on your website for the first time, it’s important to make the very best impression so they encouraged to navigate around your site and make return visits. The Slider Revolution plugin can help you to wow new visitors from the very first second with its numerous slider options.
With Slider Revolution, you can slide through as many images as you want, have them automatically optimised for the dimensions of your website, and feel confident that they look slick on desktop computers, tablet devices, and mobiles alike.
- Best Page Builder Plugin – Visual Composer
For people with very visual brains, the easiest way to build a website is with a drag and drop mechanism, and there is no simpler, nor more effective tool for this than Visual Composer.
Although there are many flexible WordPress themes out there, Visual Composer gives you total control over every single element of your website design. Play around with different shapes and colours, order content in different ways, and change the number of columns on your website – all at the touch of a button.
With over one million downloads, Visual Composer is the gold standard in drag and drop WordPress design.
- Best WordPress Content Schedule Plugin – Schedule Posts Calendar
As the saying goes, “content is king”, but if your website or blog is very content driven, sometimes the process of publishing content can be overwhelming. Schedule Posts Calendar totally streamlines the process so that you can get more strategic about your web content.
WordPress does give users the ability to schedule posts for different times, but the difference with Schedule Posts Calendar is that you get an overview of your content schedule in a calendar view. This is super helpful for ensuring you have the best mix of content being published on a regular basis.
- Best WordPress Coming Soon Plugin – Ultimate Coming Soon Page
When you are working on a new WordPress site, you might want to create some social media posts to spread a buzz about your upcoming website – but when people land on your development website they shouldn’t see a half-baked site. That’s why you need the Ultimate Coming Soon Page.
With this plugin, you can create a slick looking “coming soon” page that fits in with the look and feel of your brand ethos. You can also integrate advanced elements such as sign-up forms, social profiles, and social sharing buttons.
- Best WordPress Security Plugin – WordFence
Your WordPress site can only perform well if it is totally secure and protected from hackers, viruses, and cyber attacks. This is particularly important if you’re the owner of an e-commerce site because it would be disastrous if the sensitive information collected on your site is ever compromised.
The WordFence plugin, which happens to be totally free, will protect your site in real-time, and can make it operate up to 50 times faster, improving the site experience for your readers.
- Best WordPress Search plugin – Relevanssi
You might think that the search function is a pretty straightforward part of any website, but actually, the relevanssi plugin can massively ramp up the power of your search boxes.
How about the ability to match partial words if somebody has made a spelling error? Or what about an integrated “did you mean?” function that works just like google search? This plugin can even highlight the searched for keyword in results.
Over To You!
With just a handful of these 15 WordPress plugins, your website will be unstoppable in 2016. Be sure to read our guide choosing WordPress plugins to help to decide which plugin is best for you before you click install.
Do you agree with our picks for the best WordPress plugins in 2016? Have your own favourites? Let us know in the comments!