9 Best WordPress Plugins for Business Websites

May 1, 2019
By Pam Berg

Did you know that WordPress runs over one third of the Internet? Powerful customization is a big part of its popularity, and that’s thanks to a directory of over 54,900 plugins. Using the right WordPress plugins for business websites can unlock next-level successes!

Plugins are tools that work behind the scenes to give your website new superpowers. They can add new features, enhance existing capabilities, boost SEO, increase lead generation, and so much more.

How can you wade through the library of options and decide which plugins are right for your site? As a WordPress web development agency, we have strong opinions on the subject! We wrote a checklist to help navigate the pros and cons of WordPress plugins as a starting point for those getting started. Now let’s talk about our current favourites.

The best WordPress plugins for business websites

Best plugin for site speed: WP Rocket

wordpress plugin logo for WP Rocket

What It Is

You don’t have to be a developer to know that websites need to be fast. Most online searches yield hundreds of thousands of results, which means a slow page load can quickly become a lost opportunity (and send traffic to your competitors). WP Rocket is specifically built to speed up WordPress websites through caching.

What It Does

“For WordPress sites, it helps you check all the boxes you need to score well on Google’s Page Speed Insights and Lighthouse,” says Forge and Smith’s lead strategist, Shawn Johnston.

In technical terms, it minifies JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files, leverages browser caching and specifically improves mobile caching, reduces sitemap load times by using a preloaded sitemap from Yoast, lazy-loads images only as a visitor scrolls to reduce load times… we could go on. What you need to know is that it’s a powerful tool for the site speed today’s SEO demands.

Alternate plugin for site speed: AMP

WordPress plugin logo for AMP

What It Is

Google’s determination to serve up the fastest mobile user experience launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP). AMP pages are lighter and faster than regular web pages.

Marketing influencer Jeff Bullas says in his blog, “Although AMP is not a direct search engine factor, speed is… As a result, AMP will impact SEO significantly if your website is not up to par when it comes to speed.” Using the AMP plugin recommended by Yoast SEO can give your site a competitive SEO edge.

What It Does

When enabled, this plugin creates AMP versions of all pages on your WordPress website. You can run it in basic reader more, transitional mode, or native mode, and apply it to site content including pages, posts, media, and templates.

You might not need to use AMP if your site is built for speed (see WP Rocket above) and scores well — you can try testing to see if there is a positive SEO effect.

Best plugin for images: Imagify

WordPress plugin logo for Imagify

What It Is

One of the most important factors in site speed is media content, which is why Imagify is high in our top WordPress plugins for business. Imagify is the cousin to WP Rocket, founded by the same company (WP Media) two years later. It’s a powerful tool for aggressive image optimization — the way to correctly size images for fast page loads.

What It Does

Imagify will optimize images, including your theme files, as you upload them to WordPress, so you don’t have to stress about sizing them. If you already have a ton of images on your site, it can bulk optimize them. It has backup/restore options to protect your media files.

Alternate plugin for images: Smush Pro

WordPress plugin logo for Smush Pro

What It Is

Smush Pro is another great image optimization tool, which adds the same compression functionality to your website as Imagify.

What It Does

Although Imagify is more advanced, it is also more expensive (charging by the megabyte). Smush Pro is the smart option for tighter budgets. You can restrict file upload sizes, which prevents team members from trying to add massive images to your site.

The one downside we’ve seen is that if your WordPress site uses a purchased theme, Smush Pro can break it. Our sites are built to work with this plugin, but if you’re using an older theme site, back everything up (you should be doing this anyway) and use Smush Pro with caution.

Best plugin for SEO: Yoast

WordPress plugin logo for Yoast SEO

What It Is

We already wrote an entire post about Yoast SEO because we love it so much. Yoast is the best all-in-one SEO tool for WordPress websites.

What It Does

Yoast gives you real-time SEO scores on your entire website and on each page and post. You can create custom SEO titles and meta descriptions, and get actionable tips to improve content for search engines.

One thing we haven’t talked about before is an under-utilized feature of Yoast: OpenGraph. This allows you to set custom Facebook and Twitter titles, feature images, and more for every page and post. This way you can have an SEO title for search results, and a catchy title customized for your social communities — plus images formatted to appear perfectly in your audience’s feed. We highly recommend it!

Best plugin for social media integration: Juicer

WordPress plugin logo for Juicer

What It Is

Juicer is a fantastic plugin that allows you to pull all of your social media content directly onto your website, showcased on any page or content block of your choosing.

What It Does

“Clients are able to leverage social media posts to keep their website fresh and dynamic,” says our Web Producer, Oscar Santiago. You can set up custom filters and rules to control which content is displayed, include posts with specific hashtags — great for user generated content — and use automatic or moderated post approvals.

Best plugin for general customization: Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) Pro

WordPress plugin logo for ACF Pro

What It Is

ACF Pro is the tool our web development team can’t live without — one of our former developers even created a custom Component Field add-on for it. It includes repeatable fields, page building tools, media galleries, custom options pages, and more.

What It Does

ACF Pro is what makes the WordPress websites we build so flexible and customizable. It gives our clients more functionality options, and more control over their content. It’s what allows us to create the building blocks that make up each website, customized to each business’ content and goals.

Best plugin for content retirement: Redirection

WordPress plugin logo for Redirection

What It Is

Not all web content can live forever. You need to conduct audits and update, repurpose, and retire your old content. When it’s time to retire a page or post, you need to set up a redirect to prevent broken links and 404 errors that can hurt your user experience and SEO. Redirection is a straightforward plugin made for the job.

What It Does

Add new single or bulk redirects, use conditions, and manage all of your redirects in one handy place within the WordPress dashboard. This plugin is essential if you’re using the free version of Yoast SEO (Yoast Premium includes native redirect support).

Best plugin for readability: Table of Contents Plus

WordPress plugin logo for Table of Contents Plus

What It Is

Table of Contents Plus is a handy addition to websites that regularly produce long-form articles (like this one). It creates a table of contents at the top of each post, and allows visitors to quickly skip to sections that are most relevant to their search if need be.

What It Does

This plugin is customizable both in appearance (colour, typography, size) and settings, like which types of content will include a table, the number of headings at which content gets a table, and the title of the table itself. It reduces the overwhelming impact of landing on a massive article by showing readers exactly what they’ll get — and a clear path to each section.

Those are nine of our favourite WordPress plugins for business websites. To see those plugins and others in action, you can visit our clients’ websites found in our web design case studies — or explore more of the Forge and Smith site. We use every plugin listed in this article except Juicer! And we’re proud to be recognized among the Top WordPress Web Design Companies by DesignRush.

Pam Berg

Pam has backgrounds in journalism, computer forensics, and public libraries, which add up to the perfect mindset for digital strategy. She's been a professional content writer for over 20 years, and working with clients in SEO and analytics for 8 years. Her Instagram feed is equal parts horses, waffles, and drag performers.

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