Which WordPress plugins for business do you need to install right now?
Every business will have different needs. You might want to let clients book appointments, or buy tickets to an event you’re running, or even want to host webinars on your website.
BUT, there are still a core set of WordPress plugins that I recommend that everyone have on their business website.
Plugins that help your website get found like Yoast SEO, ones that help you track visitors to your website like Google Analytics Dashboard.
You’ll also need performance plugins like Swift Performance and a backup plugin like UpdraftPlus.
Then you’ll need a popup plugin like ConvertPlus, a security plugin like All in one WP Security for obvious reasons, and spam prevention like Akismet.
If content marketing is your game then Editorial Calendar is a handy one too as well as WooCommerce that lets you sell and take payments directly from your website.
In this post I talk you through the plugins mentioned here in more depth. To me each one is essential and one of THE top WordPress plugins for business.
Yoast SEO is THE most downloaded WordPress SEO plugin, with over 1 million active installs.
In my opinion SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is one of the most important parts of blogging. There’s no point writing great content if no-one can find it to read. This makes Yoast my number 1 plugin.
There are two versions of Yoast SEO, free and paid. At the moment I use the free version which allows you to optimise your post for a single keyword or phrase; the paid for version lets you optimise for up to 5 keywords or phrases.
The Yoast plugin, once installed, appears in a box at the bottom of your posts. It has two tabs (for the free version), one that checks readability, the other checks how well your post has been optimised for search engines (SEO). On each tab there is a coloured spot that uses a traffic light system, green for good, orange for improvements and red if there is a problem.
The readability tab checks for passive voice, long sentences, paragraph length and more. The SEO tab checks for keyword density, ideally at least 0.5% of your text should be your keyword phrase. It also checks that alt tags on your images have your keywords and that you link to other pages on your site as well as to external sites.
Plugins don’t get over 1 million active installations without being really useful. I don’t know any bloggers on the WordPress platform who don’t use Yoast. That’s why it’s first on my list of the most essential WordPress plugins for business.
All in one WP Security
Whether you’re an online business or not, websites are very important to any business.
So we need to make sure they’re as secure as possible, which is why a security plugin had to make my list of important WordPress plugins for business.
All in one WP Security is my favourite WordPress security plugin. I’ve flirted with other security plugins in the past but I always come running back to AIOWPS.
I could literally spend all day talking about the fab-ness of AIOWPS but here are the main features:
- Checks for the default ‘admin’ user and lets you easily change it
- Checks for user accounts with the same screen name and user name
- Includes a password strength tool
- Locks users out if a brute force attack is suspected
- Lets you check a list of all locked out users to let them back in if needed
- Lets you force the log out of all users after a certain period of time
- Monitors failed log in attempts
- Monitors all activity of users on your site
- Add a captcha to the wordpress log in form
- Add a captcha to the wordpress lost your password form
- Enable manual approval when creating new wordpress accounts
- Add captcha to wordpress user registration page to help guard against spam
- Reset the wordpress database prefix
- Backup functionality
- Identify files with less than ideal security permissions
- Disable the PHP editing area
- Ban users with certain IPs
- Special brute force attack prevention feature
- Change the URL of the WordPress login page
- Spam prevention features
- Allows you to disable right click on your site so text, images etc. can’t be copied
- Can remove wordpress version information from your files (so hackers can’t tell which version your using)
Akismet has over 1 million active installs and has an overall 5* rating.
When I started my first blog I didn’t think I’d get spam comments on my site, because I didn’t think any bots would find it. But sure enough, my first ever comments were spam.
As business owners, we want to make sure our websites are as clean and professional looking as possible, which also mean spam free. That’s why akismet makes the list of top WordPress plugins for business.
Akismet checks comments left on your site against it’s database of known spammers, but also gives you the option of manually approving comments before they’re published to your site.
I like to respond to every comment left on any of my posts, so I’m happy to manually approve every comment while I’m writing my reply.
Once an email address has been approved by you once, any new comments using the same email address are automatically approved.
So if you do have regular legit. commenters on your blog that can save you some time.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
Google analytics is a really useful tool no matter whether your business is run primarily online or not.
It’s important to know who visits your site, how they get there and what they do when they get there. Google Analytics will tell you all this and more. For this reason there had to be a Google Analytics plugin on the list of tremendous WordPress plugins for business.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress is a nifty little plugin that connects your Google Analytics account to your WordPress website.
To set it up you’ll need to go to Settings and click Authorize Plugin. You’ll then be asked to sign into your GA account and once you’re in you’ll be given an access code to copy, then you’ll need to go back to wordpress, paste the code and click Save Access Code. Once that’s done it’ll pick up your tracking code.
Once you’ve done that you’re all set and you’re ready to go.
If you’re looking for a plugin to help improve the loading speed of your WordPress website, you could do much worse than this one.
Page loading speed is a huge factor of whether or not someone will actually stick around on your site. If your site takes more than 4 seconds to load, the chances are that the person trying to load it won’t actually wait for it to load.
I’ve used loads of performance plugins over the past couple of years and I must say this is head and shoulders above the others I’ve tried.
In the interest of full disclosure, I first tried Swift Performance in return for a 4 site license of the paid-for version.
But I have the free versions installed on some of my sites too. It’s a really great plugin that I recommend to all WordPress users, it doesn’t just make my list of WordPress plugins for business, but any plugin list that I’ll write going forward.
It’s the little things that really do it for me with this plugin. There’s a little setup wizard to help you choose your settings when you first activate it.Or you can just choose it’s recommended settings.
It also lets you clean up your database too, which is something you’d usually need a separate plugin for.
I’ve used the free and paid for versions of this plugin and really recommend that you grab the paid for version if you can afford it, because that comes with an image optimiser feature which will make resizing your images a doddle.
WordPress Editorial Calendar
I’m a huge fan of blogging and content marketing because first and foremost I was a blogger. Blogging is still a huge part of my search engine optimisation strategy, as well as giving me an opportunity to position myself an expert in my field.
When the main focus of your business moves away from blogging, I think it’s really useful to get an overall view of what content is being published on your website, and when. And that’s where the Editorial Calendar comes in. It gives you a great visual representation of your month.
From a technical point of view it’s not an essential, but it helps me organise what I need to do when so I wouldn’t be without it. That’s why, in my view, it’s one of the must-have WordPress plugins for business.
It gives you a monthly calendar view with your draft posts in a panel on the right of the screen. You can drag and drop your posts to whichever day you want them to publish. It really is that easy.
It has 50K active installs and a 5* rating.
I’m a huge believer that every business, no matter what size should have an email list. If social media algorithms change tomorrow which, let’s face it, they often do, you could see a huge drop in the number of people you reach regularly with your social media posts.
But if you have their email address you have the key to their email inbox, which is so much better than making an appearance on a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feed any day of the week.
Getting back to my point, to get people to join your list you literally need to be shoving your welcome gift (not freebie since the introduction of GDPR) in their face as much as possible.
One strategy I use to get my offers in front of my audience are popups and banners that go across the top or bottom of the screen. Since I started using popups and banners I’ve seen a steady increase in sign-ups to my email list. That’s why I think that a plugin that gives those features needs to be on any list of WordPress plugins for business.
ConvertPlus lets you make both of those things really easily from templates. You can choose how long to wait before they appear, or if you’d prefer when a visitor to your site does something. Making them fit in with your branding is dead simple too, it’s just like customising your theme. Add picture here, tweak colours there and you’re done.
I won’t lie, it’s not a freebie, but there’s a one off fee of around £15, which I think is well worth it.
UpdraftPlus lets you automatically back up your posts/pages/theme/plugins regularly. So you can choose to back up manually every 4 hours -1 2 hours, daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. It has over 1 million active installations and an overall 5* rating.
A regular backup schedule means that if for any reason your site breaks, you’ll have a backup copy that you can use to restore your blog. It’s up to you how often you decide to back up, but I work on my blogs pretty much every day so I run a daily backup.
UpdraftPlus is good because it lets you choose where you want your backup files to be saved. There’s no point in taking a backup if you’re going to keep itin the same place as all your other files. You wouldn’t leave your spare car key in your car would you?
You can back up to your Google Drive, Dropbox or it can even send you an email with the backup attached (depending on how big your backup is).
There are free and paid-for version of this plugin. I use the free version and it does a good job. If I were to get a big increase in site traffic I might consider upgrading to the paid version so I could schedule my backups for quieter periods.
I’ve used a couple of other backup plugins and this is by far the most straightforward one I’ve found to use, which is why it gets on to my list of essential WordPress plugins for business.
WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress that makes selling directly from your site a piece of cake.
Let’s be honest, as businesses, were all selling something, so it’s only natural that a plugin that can turn your site into an online shop for free has to be on the the list of WordPress plugins for business.
Whether you sell physical products or services WooCommerce can work for you. I use it to sell my WordPress services on my site, including access to my workshop replays.
The really awesome thing about WooCommerce is that creating products to add to your shop is almost identical to creating new pages or posts in WordPress.
Obviously there are a few extra fields to fill like cost ADD SOME MORE HERE, but as long as you’re used to using WordPress you’re halfway there with Woo.
You can also send personalised emails to your buyers depending on what they’ve bought, which is really handy for service based businesses who can send questionnaires or forms specific to the service that’s been bought.
You’re also not tied to one payment method with WooCommerce. PayPal and stripe are both available or you can use something completely different – it’s totally up to you.
WordPress plugins for business – the verdict
Each and every plugin mentioned in this blog post is installed on each of my websites.
They all do different but crucial jobs.
Yoast is essential to help your website get found by the right people, akismet stops your site from spam comments.
All in one WordPress Security works in the background quietly keeping your website secure, in tandem with UpdraftPlus which makes sure that if the worst does happen, you’ve got a recent clean version of your site that you can revert back to.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress helps you easily add your GA tracking code so you can keep track of who visits your site, and ConvertPlus will help you make sure that you keep them coming back.
The Editorial Calendar is really useful if content is a part of your marketing strategy and WooCommerce gives you a really simple and cheap way of selling products and services directly from your site.
Last but not least, Swift Performance helps make sure that your site loads as quickly as possible so that your readers aren’t left waiting around.
So that’s it – my round up of the essential WordPress plugins for business.