New plugins are added to the WordPress platform every day. The newest plugins aren’t necessarily the best, but if you’re a web publisher, you should still keep a close eye on which WordPress plugins are most popular in a given year.
In 2020, we’re expecting to see a flood of new and updated plugins on the WordPress platform. With more than 55,000 plugins to choose from currently, it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments.
One of the newest trends is for developers to create WordPress plugins for website monetization. The best WordPress plugins help publishers maximize value from their websites.
In addition to WordPress plugins focused on website monetization, developers in 2020 are releasing more plugins aimed at optimizing website design, SEO, eCommerce, and content management.
Let’s dig in and discuss the latest developments in WordPress plugins in 2020, before moving on to our list of the 15 best free and paid WordPress plugins this year.
Which WordPress plugins should I use in 2020?
The best WordPress plugin to use in 2020 is one that extends the functionality of your existing website without adding weight to the back-end. Adding too many plugins can slow down your website or lead to security breaches.
Thankfully, newer plugins from reputable developers are being designed in a way that minimizes the potential downsides. You might even discover that newly-released WordPress plugins can replace some of the plugins that you’re currently using, while improving your overall website performance.
What are the latest trends in WordPress plugins?
The biggest trend in WordPress plugins is to focus on website monetization.
Reputable developers are creating plugins that give publishers new ways to sell products and monetize emails. These ancillary revenue streams can easily become big moneymakers for content writers and other web publishers, without detracting from their existing monetization strategies.
More developers are also creating plugins that give publishers ways to customize their websites and add specific features without loading a lot of scripts, styles, or other assets.
Before browsing aimlessly through the WordPress plugin directory in search of the best plugins to add to your website, take a look at our list of the best 15 WordPress plugins in 2020 (free and paid).
The Best WordPress Plugins (Free and Paid) in 2020
1. Social Warfare
2020 is set to be a banner year for social marketing. With the WordPress Social Sharing Plugin from Social Warfare, you can quickly start generating more social shares. Add some or all of Social Warfare’s share buttons to your website, knowing that you will have full control over how the buttons display and where they appear on your pages. This plugin is designed by professional social marketers based on WordPress’ best practices, so it doesn’t slow down website page load times in the way that other social sharing plugins do.
Flexibility is a major trend in WordPress plugins in 2020, and WooCommerce delivers on that front. This open-source ecommerce plugin is built for anyone who wants to sell products online. Activating the free plugin gives users access to product, cart, and checkout pages, along with configurable shipping options and secure payments by credit cards. The WooCommerce plugin integrates with Google Analytics, MailChimp, and Facebook. A free mobile app is also available for website owners who want to manage their stores from a smartphone or tablet.
Add the Elementor plugin to your WordPress website, and you can quickly design stylish webpages using a drag-and-drop interface. Elementor’s top features for 2020 include even more customizable WordPress templates and an exclusive toolset that lets users create responsive websites in a visual way. A built-in Maintenance Mode and Coming Soon feature is also useful to show website visitors when webpages are under construction. Elementor’s page builder includes more than 30 free widgets. More widgets are expected to be released throughout 2020.
If you’re looking for a way to monetize your emails and newsletters, you won’t find anything better than inboxAds. The plugin is completely plug-and-play, offering you FREE lifetime access. Once you download it, just drag-and-drop the ad types you want into your newsletter, and you can quickly start generating revenue.
There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain! The only people who pay for this service are the advertisers.
inboxAds exclusively works with premium brands, so the advertising inventory is clean and you don’t have to worry about your subscribers seeing inappropriate ads. You can check your transaction history through the website to see how much money you’ve earned at any time.
The plugin is compatible with the most popular WordPress plugins.
Secure your website using the latest techniques with the Jetpack plugin. This plugin is designed to guard against brute force attacks and unauthorized website logins. You can access Jetpack’s basic protection tools for free, however, there is an additional cost for the full suite of website security tools. To learn how Jetpack’s plugin is impacting your website performance, try out Jetpack’s advanced statistics and analytics features.
Get Jetpack from WordPress.org
6. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a user-friendly plugin from Automattic that generates static HTML files from dynamic WordPress websites. Given how important website speed and page load times are in 2020, it makes sense that this plugin has been growing in popularity. With WP Super Cache, you can increase your website’s page load speed by serving static HTML files to the vast majority of your visitors. WP Super Cache currently has more than 2 million installations.
BackUpWordPress is one of the best WordPress plugins for backing up and securing your website. In addition to backing up your entire website (for free), BackUpWordPress can be setup to manage multiple schedules with the option to have each backup file emailed to you directly. BackUpWordPress works on Linux and Windows Server.
Get BackUpWordPress from WordPress.org
8. WP Rocket
Get WP Rocket at WP-Rocket.me
Photo galleries can drive clicks and engagement. Unfortunately, creating photo galleries from scratch is a time consuming process. With Envira, you can quickly generate impressive photo galleries for your WordPress website without hiring an outside developer. Envira is optimized for web and server performance. Pro and Lite versions are available, depending on your willingness to pay for the product and your interest in using the advanced features.
Get Envira from WordPress.org
The popular Smush WordPress plugin can compress images and resize image dimensions, either automatically or manually. Smush is impressive in its ability to compress images without a visible drop in quality. The WordPress plugin has more than 1 million active installations. It’s frequently updated with the latest technology, to improve the speed and quality of compressed images. In fact, users now can compress any image in any directory, including images stored on Amazon S3 and NextGEN images.
Does your website include comments and user submission forms? If so, the Akismet plugin is worth trying out. Akismet checks your website comments and form submissions against a global database of spam to prevent website publishers from unintentionally sharing malicious content. Advanced tools allow moderators to see the number of approved comments for each user. A discard feature blocks the worst spam automatically, which saves users disk space and leads to faster page load times. Akismet is a free plugin.
Have you set up Google Analytics for your website? If so, it’s worth trying out MonsterInsights as an add-on. The MonsterInsights WordPress plugin is the #1 Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. Its most popular features include universal tracking, a Google Analytics dashboard, and enhanced ecommerce tracking. You can even get real-time statistics from within the WordPress dashboard, as well as affiliate links and ads tracking. MonsterInsights is GDPR-friendly.
Get MonsterInsights from MonsterInsights.com
More publishers are expected to start selling memberships and subscriptions to their websites in 2020. Memberful offers a straightforward way to do just that.
With the Memberful WordPress plugin, you can integrate your website with Memberful’s subscription selling service. You can create paywalls that restrict website access based on a subscriber’s membership level. Your membership data will automatically be synced with WordPress. This plugin also gives you a way to create private RSS feeds that are available exclusively to people who pay for access to your website.
Get Memberful WP from WordPress.org
14. Wordfence Security
Running a WordPress website requires 24/7 vigilance. If you don’t have time to constantly watch for attacks, try the Wordfence Security plugin. This plugin gives you an endpoint firewall and malware scanner, designed specifically to protect WordPress websites.
New in 2020, Wordfence is updating its firewall rules and malware signatures based on the latest standards. This is one of the most comprehensive security solutions available as a WordPress plugin. Although there are free features available, only premium users get access to real-time firewall rules and malware signature updates, along with real-time Blacklist blocks.
15. Yoast SEO
No list of the best WordPress plugins in 2020 would be complete without the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast SEO is the #1 rated WordPress SEO Plugin. The reason? For starters, Yoast helps website publishers attract more visitors from search engines and social media.
With the free version of this plugin, users can optimize content for one keyword, and they can run their content through an analyzer to measure its readability using the Flesch Reading Ease score.
Users who upgrade to Yoast SEO Premium can optimize their webpages for additional keywords and get suggestions for other pages worth linking to.
Get the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin from Yoast.com
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