Plugins are some of the most powerful and simplest ways to expand the functionality of your WordPress website.
In this article, I go over the absolute best plugins for any small business regardless of the service or product that you sell.
All of these recommendations are core to keeping your website in good standing, protecting you from malware attacks, and keeping your workflow going as efficiently as possible.
Best Backup Plugin – All-in-One WP Migration
While your hosting service may back up your sites automatically, it’s always a good idea to also have a backup of your own.
This is because when your site goes down for whatever reason, you don’t want to have to rely on customer service to restore your backup only to find out it wasn’t the one you wanted.
You can set your worries aside with the free version of All-in-One WP Migration plugin by ServMask.
After installing the plugin, simply navigate to the All-in-One WP Migration on the left sidebar and select Export. From there you will get a drop-down of options.
My preference is to use the Export to File option. Then you can download the compressed files and store them anywhere you want.
To restore your site, you simply use the Import function, find the file you backed up in the past, and your backup is running within minutes.
If your budget allows, you can automate the entire process by purchasing a cloud-specific add on which auto-schedules the backup directly to the cloud provider of your choice.
Best Image Compressor – ShortPixel
Dealing with images is a drag. Typically you’d need to manually resize the image, then upload it to a site like Tinypng to compress it further. Finally, you have to upload it to WordPress to eventually add to your blog.
Multiply that by every single image, and you’ve just 10x-ed your workload. Nobody has time for that.
With the ShortPixel plugin simply select your compression level and you’re all set.
This plugin used to be free, but they have recently started charging for their service. In the past, they were crunching millions of images a day for free which increased operational costs.
Fortunately, ShortPixel has incredibly generous plans. I recommend going with the Credits Package option instead of the monthly plans. At a $9.99 one-time charge for 10,000 images, it’s going to take you a while to get through that many images.
Of course, if you are running multiple websites with clients or an image-heavy photography website you may want to consider the monthly option.
Best Page Builder For Speed – Kadence WP + Starter Templates
Previous to Kadence, I only ever built websites with Elementor. Then I tried Kadence and I was blown away by the out of the box speed of the websites it created.
For basic blogs, you can expect to see site speeds like the report below. This is the lighthouse speed test on the blog you’re reading right now without any additional configuration to the code!
Kadence uses the native WordPress Gutenberg editor so if you are a writer that prefers to write in the editor, you’ll feel right at home with this builder.
If you’ve never used page builders before, there are a number of tutorials on Kadence on YouTube. The learning curve with Kadence is days and not weeks.
Best Page Builder Functionality – Elementor
Having used Elementor for over five years now, it is still one of my favorite page builders. If you’re a creator who prefers to have precise controls in a simple UI that can scale with your projects, this is your builder.
Elementor allows you to drag and drop widgets into the canvas space. There are any number of column options for you to choose from and the free version of the plugin packs plenty of functionality with over 30 widgets before you have to go Pro.
You can, however, expect to take a week or two before you really start feeling comfortable with the builder. With so many features, you’ll be able to take on any client with your portfolio of sites.
Best Security Plugin – Wordfence
If you don’t believe in security, you likely haven’t been infected with malware on your website before.
Running without a security plugin is like leaving your front door unlocked. Yes, it may seem like you can’t get into the house, but that’s just because the attackers haven’t tried yet.
I would recommend going premium at that point, but for most of us, the free version will do just fine.
This plugin can be a bit difficult to setup compared to other plugins unless you’re already a security expert so I do recommend going through the tutorial here.
Best Code Snippet Manager – WP Code
If you’re a non-coder like myself, it’s more convenient to rely on tools to help add snippets for 3rd party code. WP code helps manage all of your snippets in one plugin.
Previously called Insert Headers and Footer, fortunately, this plugin also added more functionality with its updated name.
You can now manage snippets and insert them in a variety of methods.
In addition, there is an option to quickly disable or enable snippets with a toggle.
For a more in-depth how-to article for installing and configuring this plugin, you can read this post here.
Whether you’re just getting started or an expert web developer, I would still recommend these plugins. You can be sure that they work together like a team and will scale with your projects while keeping your workflow at its peak level.