Best WordPress plugins 2019 – Essential Guide

In featured, Plugins by Alex Cooper1 Comment

There are over 50,000 plugins available for WordPress so finding the good ones can be tricky. In this video, I share my favourite WordPress plugins. I’ve tried to cover all the essentials as well as a few others that I think you’ll find useful.

In this Best WordPress Plugin guide, you’ll find a full range of plugins that will enhance and improve your WordPress website. With these plugins you’ll easily be making backups, adding forms, implementing SEO, tracking the performance of your site with Google Analytics and much more.

Let us know if there are any other plugins that you think are worthy of entry on the list. So, in alphabetical order…

The WP Eagle Pick of the Best WordPress Plugins for 2019

Akismet Anti-Spam – Usually installed as default with WordPress
Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against its global database of spam to stop your site from publishing malicious content. You’ll need an Akismet.com API key to use it. It’s free for personal blogs with paid subscriptions available for businesses and commercial sites.

Duplicate Post – Free Plugin (donations welcome)
This is dead useful if you’re using the same format for all your posts. You can clone your previous post, open it in the Editor and then cut and copy your new content in there. It is also very handy when you want to make changes to a live page. You can clone the page as a draft version and make your changes. It copies over images, SEO, categories and tags. Particularly useful if you are redesigning your site.

Duplicator – Free Plugin
I did forget to cover this in the video. My bad. But this is arguably one of the most valuable plugins we have ever used, especially if you’re freaked out by FTP! This is a free WordPress migration plugin that allows you to easily move, migrate or copy your website from one host to another. It creates a zip file (or ‘package’ as they call it) of your entire site, including databases, without you having to get your hands dirty with sql. You do need a little bit of technical knowledge but luckily we’ve done quite a comprehensive video about Duplicator that you can watch here.

Easy Social Share Buttons – Premium plugin
This plugin will set you back $20 but boy do you get a lot of options for your money. It supports social sharing on 50 of the top social networks, comes with 55+ templates, 30+ automatic design positions and 30+ animations. It also comes with a bunch of advanced settings where you can display your social media counts, display a message to the user after they have shared your content and display your most shared posts. The possibilities are endless.

Efficient Related Posts – Free plugin
This plugin will identify related posts on your website and will display them to the user with a customisable ‘here’s some other articles you might be interested in’ message. The plugin looks at the tags of the posts to work out if a blog post is related. You can set that up to happen automatically in the plugin settings, or you can use shortcodes. Great for improving user engagement.

Elementor Page Builder – Free plugin
We’re only just getting to know Elementor a little better ourselves but early impressions are that it blows any other WordPress page builder out of the water. Comparable to (but better that Cornerstone), Elementor is a live page editor where you can drag and drop elements and see the changes in real time. It’s really impressive and we’ll be doing more videos about it in the near future.

Gravity Forms – Premium plugin
This is still our favourite form builder plugin. It is $59 but we think it’s worth every cent. It’s really customisable and you can build some really quite complicated forms with it, as well as easy ones obvs! And it’s compatible with all the web and mail applications you can think of including PayPal, MailChimp and Stripe.

Happy Forms – Free Form Builder Plugin
This does make us happy – a free form builder that has a simple drag and drop interface allowing you to create beautiful forms that can be inserted into a page/post/widget with the click of a button.

iubenda Cookie Solution  – Free for basic one site usage and $27 per year for the pro version
GDPR and data privacy is such a hot topic right now. No one really knows what the heck is going on and we’re all a bit scared to use data, just in case we get sued! iubenda definitely makes something quite scary seem very easy.

Maintenance – Free plugin with Pro version ($26) that offers more features
The Maintenance plugin allows you to “close” your website for maintenance, enables the “503 Service Temporarily Unavailable” error, and sets the temporary landing page, which can be edited in the plugin settings. It is fully responsive and fairly customisable with ability to add your logo, text, colour, background image etc.

Monster Insights – Free plugin
This is now our Google Analytics plugin of choice. MonsterInsights makes it really easy to connect your WordPress site with your Google Analytics account so you know you can trust the data and make decisions based on those numbers. It also shows you your Google Analytics reports from your WordPress dashboard, so you don’t have to go back and forth.

OptInMonster – the cheaper alternative to Bloom
We do really like OptinMonster – you can create some really beautiful lead generation forms in all sorts of formats. If you are looking to grow your email list, this is definitely a plugin you should invest in. Prices start from $9 per month.

Really Simple SSL – Free Plugin
There’s no excuse not to have an SSL certificate installed on your site. Most hosting providers give you one for free these days. Make your users feel safe and fuzzy on your website with the magic green padlock. All you have to do is get an SSL certificate, install this plugin and click a button to enable SSL. All you have to do is update http to https in your settings and you’re done.

Redirection – Free plugin
We’ve used this plugin so much over the years. It allows you to manage your 301 redirects, keep track of 404 errors and ultimately reduce errors and help improve your site ranking. You can add as few or as many redirects as you want. It’s useful if you are redesigning your site and changing your site structure or have moved a piece of content and want to change the URL.

Simple Sitemap – Free plugin
You need to generate a sitemap for your website. We did a video on it recently, which you can see here. Simple Sitemap automatically generates an HTML sitemap of all your content, which helps improve your SEO ranking. There is the option to include only the content you want to include on your sitemap, and to you can choose how to format the output.

TablePress – an alternative to CSS3 Responsive Web Pricing Tables
We think this table plugin is good for sortable data tables. Using shortcodes you can embed the tables into posts, pages, or text widgets and you can add functionality like sorting, filtering and pagination.

UpdraftPlus – Free plugin with pro version
We all know how crucial backing our WordPress websites is. UpdraftPlus is one of the easiest and most intuitive backup plugins we’ve used. Not only does it back your site up and send a copy of the backup to whatever third party or cloud storage you are using, you can also restore your website from any previous backup and schedule backups to suit you. You can buy the premium license from $70 but the free version is so good, you probably wouldn’t have to.

WP Fastest Cache – Free plugin
This is one of the easiest caching plugins we’ve come across and doesn’t require any touching of your .htaccess file; it’s done automatically. The settings are easy to navigate and the improvement in page speed is noticeable.

Yoast SEO – Free with a premium version ($79)
This is possibly one of the most essential WordPress plugins on the list and should be one of the first things you install when you’re building a new WordPress site. Yoast SEO Is a solid set of tools that help you improve your SEO efforts and your search engine rankings.

So, there we have it; our list of essential WordPress plugins for 2019. It’s going to be an ever-evolving list and we’d love to hear from you with your entries.  Comment or email us at [email protected]

RECAP – The Best WordPress Plugins 2019

  1. Duplicate Post
  2. Analytics – Monster Insights
  3. Happy forms
  4. Gravity Forms
  5. Yoast SEO
  6. WP Fastest Cache
  7. Elementor
  8. Updraft
  9. Akismet
  10. Redirection
  11. Simple Sitemap
  12. Easy Social Share Buttons
  13. Efficient Related Posts
  14. Iubenda
  15. Maintenance
  16. Tablepress
  17. Really Simple SSL

The one that didn’t make the cut (my mistake) is Duplicator which is handy if you’re moving your website. Full video on it here.

Tutorials and resources mentioned

Happy Forms Tutorial
SEO Tutorial
Add an XML sitemap and submit to Google
Best WordPress Hosting guide
Add a sitemap page
Add Social Sharing Buttons (sorry, it’s a bit old. New version coming soon.)
Add a cookie consent message (iubenda)
Add a privacy policy

Let me know your favourite WordPress plugins in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Great list of plugins, Alex! Do you have a better suggestion for a related posts plugin though? Efficient Related Posts hasn’t been updated in over 3 years, or been tested with the latest three major releases of WordPress.

    Keep up the great work! Steve | runbulldogrun.com

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