WordPress is one of the easiest and user-friendly publishing platforms available on the market today. It is also loved for its openness, extendability and great open source community.
One of the best things about WordPress is the number of plugins, most of them free, available to WP site owners. Those plugins can easily extend the functionality of a basic WP site turning it into a powerful small business marketing machine. There are plugins specific to any particular need, from forums to e-commerce, auction and lead generation.
What I’m including in the list below are the top universal plugins that every small business website owner should consider. All of these WordPress plugins are used at BOCO Creative and I personally recommend each of them to you.
Top 15 Free WordPress Plugins for Small Business Websites
The following plugins are posted in the order that I recommend them.
- Akismet – Akismet is a must have for any site allowing comments. In a nutshell, it protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. The best part is that it’s a set-it-and-forget-it type of a plugin that works on autopilot 24/7.
- WordPress Database Backup – Never rely on your hosting company to backup your files. This plugin will backup your WordPress database on demand or on schedule effortlessly so you’re protected it case your site gets hacked or otherwise corrupted.
- WP Google Analytics – This plugin lets you use Google Analytics to track your WordPress site statistics and is necessary for any business website.
- All in One SEO Pack – Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog. If you want improved search engine rankings this plugin is for you. All in One SEO allows you to easily control the titles and descriptions of all your posts/pages for improved SEO.
- WP Super Cache – This is the best caching plugin for WordPress to speed up your website considerably, improve usability and SEO. WP Super Cache converts dynamic PHP pages into static HTML files which require very much less processing time, meaning that your visitors will be able to read your page almost instantly.
- WordPress Popular Posts – Showcases your most popular posts to your visitors on your blog’s sidebar. This plugin will lower your bounce rate and increase page views.
- Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your website. Once it is installed, it automatically creates and submits the new site map to the search engines and then every time you modify the content of your site.
- WPtouch – WP Touch is a plugin for WordPress sites that formats your site for easy viewing on smartphone devices. It auto-detects the user’s mobile operating system, supporting all of the current popular platforms from iOS, BlackBerry, Android and webOS. Users also have the ability (at least on the iPhone) to switch between mobile and standard views of the site at the touch of a button.
- WP Smush.it – Reduce image file sizes and improve performance with this great plugin (especially for websites heavy on images). WP Smush.it is especially valuable as site load time is a SEO factor these days.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – YARPP has been around for a long time now and everyone loves it. The plugin will returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds. Great for lowering bounce rate and increasing page views.
- Revision Control – With the revisions feature of WordPress, it doesn’t take long for your database to get bloated and begin slowing down your site. With the Revision Control WordPress Plugin you can limit the number of post revisions that remain in storage.
- SexyBookmarks – Add a list of social bookmarking icons to each of your posts to encourage and facilitate sharing on popular social networks.
- Tweet Old Post – If you’ve been engaging and building a community of friends on Twitter, then this WordPress plugin is the perfect way to randomly tweet your archived posts. It has options to add hashtags, leading text and more.
- CommentLuv – Great plugin to increase engagement, encourage a community and discover new posts. With CommentLuv you will reward your readers by automatically placing a link to their last blog post at the end of their comment.
- Broken Link Checker – This plugin checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found.
- Socialize – Another social sharing plugin, Socialize adds actionable social bookmarking buttons to your site encouraging your readers to share your site with their peers.
- Widget Context – With the Widget Context WordPress plugin, you’ll be able to pick and choose which pages you want sidebar widgets to appear on. You can literally create different sidebars for different pages and sections of your site with this.
- Contact Form 7 – This is the best free plugin for creating contact forms on your site. This plugin can manage multiple contact forms and it supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
- NextGEN(Image) Gallery – This plugin provides WP users with an interface to upload, organize and present images on a WordPress site. Upload one picture at a time or an entire .ZIP file full of images. Re-name, re-arrage and even change the settings of your thumbnail images. Once images are uploaded, you can use a simple short code to add images into any page, post or widget. NextGEN also installs its own widget that lets you place a photo display on your sidebar in just a few clicks.
- WP Security Scan – This plugin checks your WordPress website/blog for security vulnerabilities and suggests corrective actions.
Do you have a favorite WP plugin that deserves more attention? Let us know in comments below.