WordPress plugins

2018 is said to be a pretty exciting year for all the web junkies and WordPress enthusiasts. WordPress plugins are always a huge topic though.

Every year we see some new trends, tools, design elements emerge and prevail in website development industry, while others slowly fade away. But what always stays in trend is no doubt the functionality. With the right tools at your hand you’ll be able to take advantage of the coming year and make the most out of it.

We've put together a list of WordPress plugins to give you a helping hand.

This list includes 17 super powerful plugins that will help you launch a functional website in the coming year, or fully supercharge your existing one. They come with cutting-edge functionality and can help you to power up your website in many aspects.

Some of them are already popular plugins with millions of downloads and a huge army of users, others are relatively new, but have seen a major rise in 2018.

So without further ado, let’s proceed to the list and find them out.

1. Divi Builder

Divi Builder

There, is probably no need to introduce Divi. It’s an insanely fast, powerful and intuitive page builder that can be now used as a standalone plugin. The builder uses sections, rows, and modules as main building blocks and allows you to create a myriad of page layouts with drag and drop functionality. 

It’s an insanely fast, powerful and intuitive page builder that can be now used as a standalone plugin. The builder uses sections, rows, and modules as main building blocks and allows you to create a myriad of page layouts with drag and drop functionality. 
divi divi builder screenshot

It comes with custom everything which basically lets you personalize every element of your website.

There are over 20 pre-made layouts available in the plugin that you can use as a ready-made page template, or they can serve as a basis for your own designs. You can build up your own library of layouts and instantly apply them to new pages.

It also comes with 46 content elements which enables you to create pages with any content and for pretty much any occasion.

The best thing about it is that you can see your website’s transformation in real time, as you make changes. 

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Divi Builder Review Layout Example

 

2. ProjectHuddle

This is one for the web designers out there. 

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One of the problems we've frequently encountered when we have been working as a designers/developers is getting good feedback from clients.

Typically feedback is delivered either by word of mouth, phone calls or meetings with project managers, where the direct feedback might get lost in translation. ProjectHuddle resolves this problem by allowing stakeholders to share their feedback and comments directly on the actual website draft or design mockup you are working on - commenting directly on the design (pointing out any changes required or thoughts).

This direct feedback is also hosted on your own infrastructure, giving you the peace of mind that you will ALWAYS remain in control on your own data, not be at the mercy of 3rd parties.

Essentially this is a WordPress plugin which is designed specifically for website and design communication.

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3. WP Rocket

wp rocket 

WP Rocket is a cutting-edge performance optimization tool, which leads to reduced loading time, improved site performance, better user experience and better SEO results.

The plugin does it all via integrated via a number of features which taken all together will make your website much much faster.

It allows you to leverage browser caching, enables page caching, database caching, uses cache-control headers and plenty of other optimizations. All-in-all and taken together not only does the speed of your website improve, but also improves your web server performance and helps you sustain high traffic periods. 

It has an incredible range of advanced caching and optimization settings and unlike other plugins (like for example, the very buggy W3 Total Cache), you can expect it to work really easily for you. The results you get will be very fast, very quickly.

WP Rocket comes with AMP and Secure Socket layer support, and is compatible with shared hosting, private/dedicated servers and clusters.

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WP Rocket File Optimization Settings

 

 

4. Google Analytics WD

Google Analytics WD 

Google Analytics WD is the most advanced and user-friendly stats reporting plugin out there.

With its help you can easily track how your website performs on different metrics and dimensions, and also create and manage goals for various targeted activities. The plugin comes with a number of  built in report types, and enables you to set custom reports for the data that Google Analytics doesn’t automatically track.

GA WD cutom reports
Also, you can enable the tracking of custom dimensions and start tracking data for logged in users, specific post types and categories, authors, and posts based on publication month or year. If there is any unwanted data that you don’t want to be included in the reports, you can easily exclude it by setting data filters.

GA WD data filtering

Google Analytics WD also features a data comparing functionality and allows you to export reports to CSV and PDF formats. The plugin is the official member of the Google Analytics Technology Partners Program.

5. WordPress Google Maps

Google maps WD

WordPress Google Maps WD plugin is an intuitive and feature-packed tool that helps you create unlimited responsive maps for your website.

It allows you to fully customize the maps and instantly shows you all the changes you made to them with its live preview functionality.

The plugin supports all the essential Google map styles, controls, layers, and comes with several unique map themes and skins, to give your maps outstanding look and feel.

Google Maps WD polygonesGoogle Maps WD features get directions and store locator functionalities, which your visitors can use to find addresses and the shortest route between two locations. You can add unlimited markers to the maps with custom made icons, animations, coloring, etc.

Google Maps WD store locator

6. Schema

Schema plugin

Schema is a new, super fast and lightweight plugin for adding schema.org structured data markup to WordPress sites represented in JSON-LD format.

It does a great job in helping search engines return more informative results to internet users.

Schema screenshot

It requires minimal effort to set up and is also extendable, which means you can further enhance it with other plugins and functionalities.

The plugin supports various Google markups to enable you provide full information about your company.

7. MailChimp WD

Mailchimp WD 

MailChimp WD is a great tool for integrating your website with Mailchimp if you're planning on boosting email subscriptions.

It comes with a number of outstanding features and gives you full control over your subscription forms and email listings. With its help you can create attention grabbing forms with custom settings and place them everywhere on your website.

Using its custom fields functionality you can add Paypal, file upload, survey tools and many more fields to the forms and obtain any information that you need.

MailChimp WD custom fields

Also, the plugin allows you to show or hide fields on the forms based on the specific selections your users make. For example, you can request for a social security number if the user has chosen United states as his country. To the users from other countries, social security number field will not be displayed.

Mailchimp WD conditional fields Social security number

Mailchimp WD comes with advanced emailing options and is easy to setup and configure.

8. Gmail SMTP

GMAIL SMTP


With Gmail SMTP plugin you can authenticate your Gmail account to send emails directly from your WordPress website.

It uses the OAuth 2.0 protocol to get access to the Gmail API and  PHPMailer library that sends emails through PHP’s mail function. This means that your users will not have to use any usernames or passwords, and you no longer will have to enable Allow less secure apps on your Gmail account.

The plugin comes with tons of configurable settings that you can adjust to your every need.
gmail smtp test email
You can test the plugin functionality by sending a test email to a specific recipient, with a custom text and subject.  

9. HappyForms 

So one of the most important functions your website requires is the ability for your visitors to get in touch with you. 

happy forms

After all, the website is there to start a conversation with your customers. Now, while most people will just use a standard Contact Us form, we do believe you should go the extra-mile and create a form which is specific to the needs of your customers. 

So rather than just a general Get In Touch form, it's much more useful to create a form which enquires about the specific needs of the user who is getting in touch with you. Now, this is all great in theory. but in practice, how do you actually create a customized form easily?

Enter HappyForms

The idea behind HappyForms is to be a sort of "page builder" for forms rather than pages. The idea is that you have a drag and drop kind of feature which allows you to create exactly the form you need.

The most awesome thing? This form builder is 100% free and unlimited!

 

10. Akismet

Akismet

Akismet is a great spam checking tool which makes sure the comments section on your site is free of spammy content. The good news is that the plugin comes pre-built with WordPress, so you’ll have to just activate it from the admin area. Once activated, the plugin starts checking your comments and blocks out the ones that look like spam.
Akismet screenshot
Akismet allows you to review the caught content and manually unmark them if you think that the comments are not spammy.

Each comment has a status history, so that you can see which comments were marked as spam and which of them were marked/unmarked by a moderator.

You can see the number of the approved comments for each user.

Download and install Akismet
Akismet spam folder 2

 

11. Social Warfare 

social warfare

Social WarFare is a really good alternative to the popular social sharing plugins which are complex, slow and hard to afford.

It offers lightning fast beautiful and easy to use sharing buttons, which are sure to boost your shares and drive a hell of traffic to your website.It will help you to get your content shared in the most optimal way, with custom settings and adjustments.

It supports all the top social platforms and allows you to choose among the various button types, shapes, and placement options, such as above or/and below content, or manual placement.
Social warfare

You can set your social shares to be visible to your readers and let them know how many times your content has been shared.

There is also a popular posts widget available in the plugin which is there to display your most popular posts based on the share counts.

The plugin supports custom CSS to give the buttons your own design and style.

12. bbPress

bbpress review
Want to turn your WordPress website into a fully-featured and fast forum or community site?

No problem.

bbPress provides all the necessary features and functionalities to just do that. It has speed, easy of use and functionality at its focus and is built to provide the best practices for you and your readers. It’s easy to setup and moderate through a simple interface and unified admin area.

You can customize every setting for forums, discussions, comments, media, etc.
bbpress screenshot

The plugin allows you to divide your site into sections which is a handy way to let your readers create content.

It comes with a number of customizable forum templates that give you a lot of flexibility on how you want your forums to look. bbPress is integrated with Akismet and makes sure your forums are monitored against spam.

13. UpdraftPlus

When speaking about WordPress backup plugins, there's always a bit of hot discussions.

 updraftplus

Site backups and restoration were never that easy and simple as they are with UpdraftPlus.

You can run manual or scheduled site backups and store your site database and files in various cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace Cloud, Openstack Swift, etc.

You can choose which of your site’s files to backup and which components to restore later.
updraftplus screenshot

The plugin lets you restore and migrate backups from other plugins, and allows you to split large backups into multiple archives.

You can also remotely control all your backups from a single dashboard.

The best thing about it is that failed backups are automatically resumed so that you can always be sure your data is there to retrieve at any time.

 

 

14. WP Smush Pro

 WP Smush Pro

WP Smush Pro is the best and fastest image optimization tool available. It is used to reduce image sizes and optimize all the images on your website for better SEO results.

It comes with image resizing functionality which allows you to compress files with your own specified options, and what’s more important there is no drop in image quality. You can compress images individually but also bulk smush your media library at once and save a lot of time along the way.

Other features include converting PNG files to lossy JPEG, auto-smush on upload, HTTPS support, dedicated smushing services and much more.

15. Facebook Like Popup

 

Facebook Like popup plugin is a quick way to boost the number of your Facebook fans. It actually allows you to display a popup box to your site visitors and enable them to like your Facebook page on the fly.

facebook popup screenshot

The plugin is highly customizable and lets you display the popup box on the place and time most suitable for your niche.
Facebook popup screenshot 1

Also, you can choose whether to show it to all of your site visitors or to logged in/out users only, customize the text in the box, disable the popup from showing up on specific pages, etc

16. Yoast SEO

 

Yoast is second to none when it comes to WordPress SEO.

It's the most downloaded optimization plugin in the WordPress directory and comes with a number of features to help your site get more exposure and better rankings.

It helps you to write a better content with proper use of keywords, relevant post titles and headings, reminds you to insert image alt tags and enable pretty permalinks for a better optimization.

Also, it checks your post meta descriptions for length and makes sure you used your keywords as well.
Yoast SEO screenshot

The plugin comes with a snippet preview functionality, that instantly shows you how your post and pages will look like in search results.

17. Really Simple SSL

 Really simple SSL

Really Simple SSL provides an easy way to move your entire website to SSL. It will automatically detect your site’s settings and configure it to run over https.
SSL screenshot 2

The plugin handles most of the issues that WordPress has with SSL and easily replaces your site and home urls from http:// to https://, except for hyperlinks to other domains. To have the plugin work you just need to have a SSL certificate

Bonus: SmartSlider3

We have always been of the belief that your website needs to feature "Design you trust" - that's we keep pushing for premium rather than free items - because when you pay for items, you can be guaranteed of their quality.

But another thing which makes a design of a website trustworthy, it is - beautiful imagery.

And what other way than displaying your beautiful imagery than by using an image slider on the homepage of your website?

Sample sliders smartslider3

NextEndWeb have created one of the most popular WordPress sliders out there and when it comes to us, we typically like going not necessarily for the most popular plugin, but the most trustworthy. For example, even if Slider Revolution is the most popular plugin, it's reputation when it comes to security and performance is not spectacular.

We've actually been using SmartSlider even before it was on WP, we've used it since the time it was still one of the most popular product for Joomla and we must say that this version of the slider keeps on improving.

Create varios slider options

This is a slider which has not just taken the back-end functionality options and features to another level, but they have done it while also keeping performance top-notch! This is a gripe we've had with most of these types of plugins, but SmartSlider3 keeps resource usage to a minimum, ensuring your website does not get bogged down by the slider.

Have a look at SmartSlider now

 

 

What WordPress plugins are must-haves for you?

Here you have ous must-haves! These 17+1 super functional WordPress plugins will contribute a great deal to your website success in 2018 and add a lot of value to it. Check these goodies out and make the right foot forward in the coming year. And you? What are the must have plugins that you use?

Let us know in the comments below!

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