45+ Best Wordpress Plugins to Boost Your Website - Mad Lemmings

45+ Best WordPress Plugins to Boost Your Website

I feel like I am drowning in a sea of endless plugins! Don’t you get that feeling too?

You need to add some functionality to your WordPress site, so you take a look on Google and you get over 50 results?

There are a lot of WordPress plugins out there , and it is a daunting task to choose the right one.

So I have compiled a list of some of the best plugins out there, and categorized them for you.

All you have to do is click on the category you are interested in – and you will be flown straight to that magical place. The land of great plugins.

Of course, my list is not complete, but just the best that I know about. So if you know some other awesome plugins that I do not, let me know in the comments below. Please, don’t be shy.

The plugins have been divided up into sections to help you find the ones that you need. Here they are:

Social Sharing and Follow Plugins

Social Sharing plugins are a must for your website, to help get your posts promoted on Social Media. On top of that, you want people to be able to follow you on social media as easily as possible, so you need to have your follow buttons highly visible. The following plugins will help you with both of these important tasks.

Social Warfare ($27)

One of the most feature-rich and stunning looking social sharing plugins around.

It also comes with a ton of useful features such as defining exactly what is shared on each social network (text and image) and the feature list keeps growing each month.

This is the plugin I use right now and recommend to all my clients.

Flare (Free)

Flare provides social share and social media follow buttons. It can be configured to appear in a variety of places and is simple to work with. The only downside is that although it is stable, it is no longer supported (except for serious bugs).

DiggDigg (Free)

The team at Buffer maintain and develop Digg Digg, so it comes recommended. It has almost all of the options you need for social sharing, including the ability to make it a floating bar or put it at the top/bottom of posts. It is what you see on my posts, to give you an idea.

Share Bar (Free)

Taken from their Plugin page: “Sharebar adds a dynamic and fully customizable vertical box to the left of a blog post that contains links/buttons to popular social networking sites.”

Shareaholic (Free)

This puppy is a jack of all trades with the following three areas covered: Share buttons, related post and analytics. If these are three things you need in one plugin, check it out.

Share This (Free)

Another popular sharing plugin, this one offers 120 social channels (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest) and some analytics.

Floating Social Bar (Free)

A simple floating bar of social media share buttons that are easy to configure. Includes share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Social Stickers (Free)

Is a way of creating buttons from almost all networks (from Twitter – Quora) to gain more followers. It has extensive configuration including skins and the ability to place the buttons anywhere. I hand code my follow buttons, but if I did not, I would give this one a try.

Jquery Pin It Button (Free)

If you are just after a Pin It button for when you hover over your post’s images, this is the plugin for you. Simple, fast, easy to install and configure. Get more action on Pinterest!

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SEO Plugins

Optimizing your website or blog for SEO is extremely important and there are a lot of plugins out there to help you. The following are a range of different plugins from the simple (Google XML sitemap) generator, to the all inclusive – SEOPressor. I am sure you will find one or two to give your site an SEO boost!

Google XML sitemaps (Free)

Google XML Sitemaps can generate (usually automatically) a sitemap that provides your sites structure (pages, posts etc) to Google, Bing etc, so that they can easily index your blog. This means that you will get more visits from search result pages and sooner. This plugin notifies all the major search engines every time you create a new post or page! It really is a must have plugin. I use it (actually it does all the work) and recommend it wholeheartedly.

Yoast WordPress SEO (Free)

One of the best and most popular plugins for WordPressWordPress SEO by Yoast is a fantastic free way to setup SEO on your site. This plugin adds an SEO tab to your WordPress dashboard so you can make quick changes to your sitemap, titles & meta tags, breadcrumbs,  RSS and more.

All in one SEO Pack (Free)

The All-In-One SEO pack is fully featured WordPress plugin with a vast array of SEO features. It optimizes your titles for search engines for example, as well as generating meta tags. The plugin also supports the following: XML Sitemap (perhaps duplicating Google XML Sitemaps plugin), advanced canonical URLs, Google Analytics, custom post types,  fine tuning links and much more.

Note: You can compare Yoast vs All In One SEO in this post.

SEOPressor (Premium)

SEOPressor is one of the best plugins around for optimizing on page SEO for your website. One of the main things this tool does is rate your site according to SEO best practice and help you optimize your chosen keywords (through the use of headings, bold, italics, image tags etc). It will also warn you if you have over-optimized for your keywords (and might get penalised). The following tools are also there to help you: Addition of Rich Snippets and other Social SEO tags, related keyword suggestions for your post, Internal Links based on keywords, Link Cloaking (great for affiliate links) and much more. If you want a professional all in one SEO tool to help you, this is the way to go.

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Email List Building Plugins

We all need to get more subscribers for our email lists and there are lots of tactics to accomplish this. Many of the methods we use require a lot of changes to our website, and some of the best ways to do that easily is with plugins. The following are some of the best plugins I have found and used to help get more subscribers to your list.

Thrive Leads (Premium)

If you are looking to simply build your email list, then this plugin is one of the best and most affordable on the market. It allows you to strategically place optin forms throughout your website or blog and in such a way as to get maximum signups.

It can do sidebar optin forms, blog post optins, popup with optins, slide ins and much much more.

It also comes with full analytics and A/B testing so you can find out what works and what doesn’t and get even more emails.

This is the plugin I am using right now on this site.

You can read the full review here.

Thrive Content Builder (Premium)

Thrive Content Builder is a great plugin for adding optin forms and popups to your website to get as many leads and optins for your email list as possible. They are focused on helping people in this specific area.

The Content Builder plugin does far more than that, so not only do you get a great optin tool you also get a plugin that allows you to create custom pages and content with zero tech skills.

This is quite a new plugin, and they keep adding amazing features all the time. I just reviewed it a few weeks ago and recommend it completely.

LeadPages (Premium)

Leadpages is a very powerful tool for creating stunning landing pages, optin pages, webinar pages and so on. On opt of this, they have a huge variety of popup options, so you can get even more optins from all over your website. These can all be easily edited and added to your site, and the popups can be done with a simple plugin that Leadpages provides.

If you are focusing on getting more leads and customers for your business or building your email list, this could be one of the best tools out there.

I have reviewed it in detail here.

Optin Monster (Premium)

Optin Monster is a very powerful and feature filled plugin that gives you all the features you would want for growing your email list on your website or blog.

Features range from Optin Forms options with stunning templates, a wide variety of popups (exit intent included), A/B testing to help make them all even higher converting and modular installation to make it load faster.

This is one of the best optin focused plugins around and certainly worth looking into if you are serious about growing your list.

Optin Skin (Premium)

Another great option for creating sexy optin forms is the Optin Skin plugin. This plugin has most of the features of Hybrid Connect. You can style popups for anywhere in your site easily. The main differences are that optin skin does not have as many templates, but it is slightly easier to configure. Check them both out and see which one works best for you. Given they both have  money back options, you can always change between them.

Hello Bar (Free and Premium)

See that little bar at the top of my page, that is what Hello bar looks like (although I have hand-coded mine). It is a great way to send a message to your users (a new product, encourage them to signup etc). The free version (only 25 clicks per month allowed) comes with A/B Testing, customization, statistics and more.

WP Greeter band (Premium but only $7)

Like the Hello Bar above, a great way to get a message and call to action to your users on every page. The major difference is the price. It is a one off fee of $7. It is easy to customize (text, images, buttons and what service you link it to – like Aweber etc) also. If you want this kind of functionality on your site, this is probably your best option.

Comment Redirect by Yoast  (Free)

This is a simple little plugin from the Yoast Meister to send users to a specific page after they make their first comment on your site. It’s is a great way of encouraging new readers on your blog to signup to your newsletter or read some related content you suggest to them.

AWeber Comment Optin (Free)

I use this plugin to add a “opt-in” checkbox where the user leaves a comment. It is yet another way to capture more users for your list. It is for Aweber users only.

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Landing Page Plugins

Often, you just want to create a great looking and high converting landing page to get more emails or make more sales. Of course, you might also have other goals like webinar attendees too.

Either way, you need a good landing page plugin.

There are so many stunning options on the market now, and I have reviewed them all in this post

Affiliate Link Cloaking Plugins

If you are an affiliate marketer in any way, then you know what ugly links you have to put on your pages. One way to get around this is using 301 redirects in your htaccess file, but an easier way is from your WordPress Admin panel using a plugin like the following. Check them out.

PrettyLink Lite (Free)

Pretty Link Lite gives you link cloaking (ie replace your ugly affiliate links) with a click counter. It allows you to configure your custom links, nofollow option, link groups, forward parameters and redirection links. The plugin also counts the clicks on each link. All that in one little plugin! This is the one I use on my niche site.

PrettyLink Pro (Premium)

The big brother of PrettyLink Lite, Pro does a lot more. This plugin also manage redirects, integrates with Google Analytics, can generate QR codes, automate URL replacement, and auto share pretty links for your posts and pages.

ThirstyAffiliates (Free)

Another simple link altering plugin. Great for people who use a lot of affiliate links and want one place to manage them (alter URL, add no follow etc). Compare this one with PrettyLink Lite to see if you prefer it.

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WordPress Review Plugins

Currently I only recommend one Review Plugin for WordPress affiliate product reviews.

It is actually a package of high converting and stunningly designed plugins:

WP WordPress Reviews (Premium)

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Comment System Plugins

As a blogger, comments are one of the best forms of interaction you can have with your audience. The standard WordPress comment system is ok, but it does not fully protect you from spam and is not very feature rich. The following three comment system plugins are the most widely use in the WordPress world.

Disqus (Free and Premium)

Disqus is a feature rich commenting system that does a great job of protecting your site from spam. My only dislike of these systems (including Live Fyre) is the need to login in order to comment. Logging in can be done via many channels (social media etc) but is still annoying nonetheless and stops me from using it. However, if you like the control it gives and the features (authentication, comment voting, comment streams, configureable placement etc) it is one of the best around.

Live Fyre (Free)

Live Fyre is quite similar to Disqus, but not as widely used in my experience. According to one post I read, Live Fyre has great real time commenting with spam reduction, a great admin panel and social media integration (connection of conversations from Twitter and Facebook). Spammers can still get in via registration, but it is harder.

Comment Luv (Free and Premium)

In the crowd I hang with, Comment Luv is the most widely used plugin. It requires no user login to comment (unlike the last two above) comes with great (and recently upgraded) spam control, lots of config options and features including: allowing commenters to have links to their sites and recent posts, links to their twitter profile and the use of keywords. The main advantage with this plugin for bloggers is that it encourages users to comment, and creates a great system of karma. Of course you get some spam, but it is limited in my experience. However, the benefits of more comments is worth it for any active blog.

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Decrease Bounce Rate Plugins

There are many ways to keep your readers on your site, and one of them is via related posts plugins. Those listed below are probably the most widely used and successful plugins for WordPress. I have also included Author Box here as it also provides links to posts and gives your readers more information about the authors.

PostSkin – Popular Posts Plugin (Premium)

Postskin is a highly visual and attention grabbing plugin that displays your most popular posts. I use this plugin to display my most popular posts in my sidebar, and sometimes also at the bottom of my posts. It is very simple to configure, has loads of options and also tracks the clicks so you can see what an impact your plugin is making. If you are interested, you can read my review of this plugin.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (Free)

YARPP WordPress Plugin is on of the most popular related posts plugin around. It is used on my blog. It simply adds thumbnails for related posts at the bottom of the post, or your sidebar if you like. It is a great way to show your users related content and keep them on your site. There are a number of configuration options which you can use to tweak the plugin (with/without thumbnails, number of posts, headings, ordering etc).

Fanciest Author Box (Premium)

Fanciest Author Box turns your Author bio boxes into a fantastic presentation of you and your fellow blog Authors. It includes your bio, latest posts, and separate tabs for all your social media profiles. All of this is presented in a stylish box at the end of your posts (and on the side bar or anywhere you like actually). My review of this plugin will give you alot more details if you are intrigued.

Fancier Author Box (Free)

Not 100% convinced about buying the Fanciest Author Box, you can simply try it out by taking the free version: Fancier Author Box. This version still has social links, a bio section and some customization options.

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Performance/Caching Plugins

One of the first things you need to do to optimize your WordPress Site is to add a caching plugin to speed up your page load times. The following are the ones you want to try.

W3 Total Cache (Free)

When it comes to improving your site performance, W3 Total Cache is one the most powerful plugins available. This plugin takes care of almost everything caching related: disk caching, browser caching , combining and minifying CSS and JS, to HTML linebreak and comment removal, and more. The only issue I have with this plugin is that it can be complex to configure, and it sometimes interferes with other plugins. I removed it and used the following plugin – WP Super Cache.

WP Super Cache (Free)

This plugin is extremely popular and easy to use. With very little configuration you can speed up your WordPress website significantly. Basically this plugin copies your pages (on creation and when they are edited) and displays them to the user as static HTML pages. So it saves your website running any PHP code etc, therefore speeding it up. If you are non-technical, I recommend this as the plugin to use.

Quick Cache

Similar to Super Cache above, Quick Cache only handles page caching. With very few settings,it’s easy to use. The only thing you need to do is add the plugin and switch caching on. I have not used it myself, but it could be worth comparing with WP Super Cache.

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Optimization Plugins

There are many methods for optimizing your WordPress site, including your database, and the following plugins will help you achieve just that.

WP Smush It (Free)

This plugin is a simple addition to the back-end of your site, and will compress and remove unwanted size from all your images. Try it out, it is simple and effective.

Revision Control (Free)

Each time you press save on a page or post, a new copy is made in your database. This plugin helps you keep those copies to a minimum and save you space (and speed up) your database.

WP Optimizer (Free)

Another simple and extremely popular plugin for the non-technical person. This one helps improve your database and remove all the junk in order to help improve the performance of your website.

Contact Form Plugins

A contact page on your website is a must for your users to be able to contact you via email, without exposing your email address to spammers. The following are the best plugins available to give you this functionality.

Gravity Forms (Premium)

Gravity Forms is the best forms plugin on the WordPress scene. You can make forms over multiple pages, include complex logic, use a wide variety of field types and all with a sexy visual editor to help. It also integrates seemlessly with WordPress including features like “form to post” (to create a post easily), shortcodes and user registration. If you need complex forms on your website, this is the only decent option.

Contact Form 7 (Free)

Contact Form 7 creates simple contact forms with fields like: name, subject, and message fields. It also has email confirmations and the ability to add Captchas (via the Really Simple Captcha plugin) to help prevent spam.

Contact Form Plugin (Free)

A very simple Contact plugin that I use to enable people to contact me via email. Easy to set up, and free. What more could you want.

Fast Secure Contact Form  (Free)

A more complex Contact plugin with many form options and security, including Captcha and Akismet integration. If you are getting lots of spammy contact emails from your site, this plugin might help.

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Backup Plugins

No website is complete without a backup. You spend days developing and writing for your site and you don’t want to lose it all. The following are three simple plugins you can try, in order to back up your website.

If you want even more details, then head over to this detailed post on Backup plugins

BackupBuddy (Premium)

BackupBuddy is a comprehensive backup solution for your WordPress website. This include plugins backs up, widgets, content and…pretty much everything. It also helps with restoring your site should you lose it, which is a little more than most offer. But it comes at a price of course.

BackUpWordPress (Free)

Taken right from their website: BackUpWordPress will back up your entire site including your database and all your files on a schedule that suits you. A pretty simple plugin that should satisfy your backup needs.

Backup to Drop Box (Free)

A very easy plugin to use, which backs up your database and files from WordPress to a Dropbox account you specify.  Specific directories can be excluded, but for the rest it is plug and play. I use this for my site, to ensure I have a copy off-site (ie. not on the server, in case they lose the disk – which is an issue you need to be careful of).

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Login & Dashboard Plugins

If you want to have a completely custom WordPress site, then you might want a custom login page, dashboard or  even change the way that users can login, create logins and so on.

These plugins, which I have actually detailed in another post linked below, are many and varied in functionality.

WordPress Login Plugins – Customize Your Login Pages With Ease


photo credit: Fiona MacGinty via photopin cc

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About the Author Ashley Faulkes

Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).

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