8 Most Essential WordPress Plugins for a New Website

When building a new WordPress site, you must understand the mountain you have to climb.

Depending on your industry, expect to be competing against hundreds and thousands of similar sites vying for the same audience’s attention.

To make matters worse, most of your competitors already have years under the belt. That means they are already reaping the rewards from the strategies they’ve developed and implemented.

However, this doesn’t mean you should give up on your site now! If anything, there’s always an opportunity waiting for your business around the corner. And once you capitalize on it, you can leapfrog other websites and get a big slice of the proverbial pie.

The first thing you’ve done right is to select WordPress for your site. WordPress (and the themes that are available for it) save you from having to hire an entire software development team and take a year to get your site up and running. Instead, with WordPress, the basic functionality of your site can happen very quickly. 

But before it’s perfect, you need to add the right WordPress plugins for your business to give it supreme functionality – again, saving months of development time by applying just a few clicks. And the ones below will help you attract more website traffic and convert them into customers. 

#1 – RankMath

Rank Math

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best traffic sources for your site. By ranking on top of search results for your target keywords, you can get highly qualified visitors ready to become leads or customers of your brand.

To do this, you need help from a free plugin like RankMath. It helps simplify SEO for non-SEO site owners out there. With a few clicks of a button, you can make your website much easier to crawl and index for search spiders. This way, they can rank your website for search phrases related to your industry, thus attracting the right traffic in the process.

RankMath has a paid version that gives you access to its keyword rank tracker, schema generator, local SEO features, and more.

#2 – WP Rocket

WP Rocket

It’s one thing to get website traffic, it’s another to keep them engaged to it.

In fact, how much traffic your site is getting won’t matter if they’re leaving seconds after arriving at it.

One of the main reasons this happens is slow loading speeds. A site that doesn’t load seconds completely after visitors arrive at it disrupts the user experience and makes it difficult to browse its content.

So, instead of enduring your site’s sluggish loading times, they’ll most likely visit another website to get the same information.

To avoid this, you need to make sure that your site loads more efficiently.

Using a plugin like WP Rocket, you can use tactics to load elements on your site faster than ever. The plugin minifies and combines scripts, cache preloading, and others.

Implementing the plugin properly can improve page speed and SEO scores, thus increasing retention rates in the process. 

#3 – Essential Grid

Essential Grid

How you present website content helps improve site performance. Showing your latest blog posts and photo, for instance, in a dynamic way encourages visitors to engage with your website in meaningful ways.

Essential Grid is a WordPress photo gallery that not only lets you feature photos on your site in an attractive grid layout. But you can also use this plugin to showcase your blog posts and even your Instagram and other social feeds using its customizable grids.

You can use the plugin to display content organized into tags and categories in a grid format on different sites. This way, you can present each tag clearly and easily without confusing visitors.

#4 – ShortPixel

Short Pixel

If you’re running the Essential Grid or any other gallery plugin to showcase images on your site, you need to make sure that your images are optimized for online viewing.

There’s a tendency for hi-res images to load longer due to their file sizes. And going back to long loading times, visitors will leave your site to search for another website with the same content if this happens.

But when you try decreasing the image size, you also make them look blurry and unclear. While your site will load faster in this case, it won’t compel visitors to click on the images or buy your products.

To help you strike a balance between making the file size of images smaller without compromising on quality, ShortPixel is here to help.

It compresses your images to their lowest possible files size while retaining the same quality and resolution.

The plugin automatically compresses all uploaded images to their best file sizes, so you don’t have to do it. You can even optimize images and files uploaded using its Bulk Optimize feature.

#5 – WPForms

WP Forms

Once your site attracts traffic, expect people to reach out to you for inquiries or questions about your products and services.

But instead of telling them to send you an email to a particular address, you can embed a form on your website instead.

They can fill out their personal information and questions to make it easier for them to message you.

If you’re running a specific business that requires you to ask for more information from website visitors, you should also be able to create it into a form.

WPForms is one of the most popular among all form plugins available for a very good reason: it lets you create different types of forms across various business purposes in a few clicks. 

Let’s say you’re a business coach and want to collect payment before starting your session with customers. Create a payment form that connects with your preferred payment gateway.

Want to collect subscribers to your email list so you can send them exclusive emails? Create an attractive newsletter form.

You can create lots of forms with WPForms, especially if you unlock its premium features with its paid plans.

#6 – wpDataTables


Some websites need to showcase their data and information in different ways.

For SaaS or agency sites, you need to display your prices in a way that enables visitors to compare and contrast the different plans easily you have so they can make an informed decision.

Affiliate bloggers also need to compare the specs of similar products to help visitors decide which one is best for them to earn commissions.

WordPress table plugins like wpDataTables ought to do the trick for both types of site owners.

You can create customizable tables to compare products, catalog items, or display statistics in an organized manner.

Using the plugin, you can create individual filters and search options to make searching for information from the table much more accessible.

Finally, make your tables more attractive and easier to understand by highlighting cells and turning the tables into charts.

#7 – WordPress Store Locator Plugin

wordpress store locator plugin

Some would think that most customers would place their orders online instead of visiting the stores, especially in today’s world where you can order products in seconds. 

However, others prefer the personal approach of going to a store and checking out the available products in hand. More importantly, your customer service can help assist them regarding their concerns and close them into sales much quicker.

So, if you are running multiple storefronts across the state and have a single website for all these branches, the WordPress Store Locator should come in handy.

It shows visitors the nearest location where your store is based on their IP address. This way, visitors know the directions to your store to check out your wares in person.

#8 – WordFence


The last thing you want from your website is for hackers to steal pertinent customer and user information and wreck your site. 

If this happens, you’re forced to restore your website using the backup available from your hosting provider. If that’s not available, you must start from scratch and build your way back up again.

The latter is not even an option, especially if you’ve invested thousands of hours and dollars into its web development cost.

Among security plugins available, WordFence will help you prevent this from happening.

First, you can use its login security and two-factor authentication features to keep hackers from logging in using your credentials.

Next, its firewall rules and scheduled malware scan prevents people from breaking into your site’s backdoor while detecting malicious activities in the process.

Using even the free version of this plugin and observing the best security practices, the only thing you should be worried about is constantly growing it to increase revenue.

Other Plugins

The plugins we’ve discussed so far are proven, reliable plugins used by thousands of WordPress site owners. But you’ll find that there are many more on the market. How can you be sure the ones you choose will be compatible with your WordPress theme and not cause site problems, slow response time, or conflict with the programming of your theme? Well, the better theme makers also offer their own plugins designed to work with their themes. For example, Mighty Themes plugins include many free options, including the very useful “frequently bought together” plugin that helps e-commerce sites sell more to visitors. Check your theme’s website to see what plugins they offer to help with your WordPress site. 

Creating a Website

Now that you’ve given some thought to the functionality of your website through WordPress plugins, even though many of them are free or very low cost, you might be wondering, what is the cost of a website? It can vary greatly, depending on what you need your website to do, and how much development you need to do it. Those who are inclined toward DIY can save a lot by using WordPress, but there will still be costs for website hosting, advanced design themes, photography, and possibly professional copywriting. Determine those needs to create a budget before you get started to avoid any surprises later. Careful planning will lead you to cost-effective plugins like those featured above.

Also, be mindful that the majority of people now view websites on phones and tablets. That’s important to note because you (or your designer) will probably use a desktop computer to design your site, but only about one-third of website visitors use a desktop computer to search online. So, the website you see while you’re designing will look different to you than it will to two-thirds of your visitors once it is built. 

The solution to bridge this difference is responsive web design, a process that uses smart behind-the-scenes coding to resize and reposition the elements of your website to fit the screen of the person who is viewing your site.

There are two ways to achieve responsive design: first, use a WordPress theme that is designed specifically to be responsive. (These are typically much more expensive than static themes because they take advanced skills to create.) Or second, use a responsive web designer or design agency that has the talent to construct a backend that makes the front end beautiful and functional no matter what device the visitor uses to view it.

Note that Google favors websites that are well-designed and responsive. If you want to rank well on Google, you’ll have to do many things right – just remember that getting your web design done properly is one of them. 

Solving Website Problems

If your website provides an interactive service, software-as-a-service, or anything beyond a static page, users might experience dysfunctionality on their end – something that doesn’t work well, that they want to explain to you. But having them leave their problems in the WordPress comments (or your social media channels) doesn’t look good to your other customers.

So, you want to encourage direct feedback, and the best form of feedback is video, where your website visitor can show you exactly what isn’t working. It is easier than ever to invite your users to capture video from your website and send it to you. This could come in the form of screen recordings, voice feedback, or screenshots with annotations – all much easier to follow than a written description of the problem, and all crucial to helping your website improve over time. 

wp tech support


These WordPress plugins and tools won’t magically help your site rank on top of Google search. Nor will it attract sales and revenue a few days after installing them.

However, what these plugins do is prime your website for success. They establish the foundation necessary to help your website draw and keep the right type of visitors who will be most likely to become your customers or clients.

So, with these plugins in place, you can develop and implement your marketing strategy with greater confidence knowing that they’ll succeed.

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