WordPress Tutorials, Tips, and Resources to Help Grow Your Business
Are you wondering what the best free WordPress plugins for your website are this year? Arming yourself with the best plugins is the key to building a bigger following, having a beautiful looking website, and delivering the best user experience.
In this article, we’ll share with you the top free plugins for WordPress websites in 2018.
1. WPForms Lite
WPForms Lite is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin on the market today. It comes with a drag & drop WordPress form builder so you can easily create contact forms for your website.
In addition, it has pre-built form templates, complete with the form fields you need, so you can customize your form as you see fit. Plus, it’s 100% responsive, mobile friendly, and is optimized for SEO. Not to mention, it’s one of the fastest contact form plugins around.
If you’re looking for a more powerful solution, that’s just as easy to use, check out the pro version of WPForms. Collect payments from customers, conduct surveys, hire for a new position with a job application form, and even enable smart conditional logic with the feature packed pro version of WPForms.
MonsterInsights Lite gives you a simple way to connect your WordPress website to your Google Analytics account. With it, you can see just how site visitors find your website and what they do while there. With this data, you’re able to capitalize on what site visitors like to keep them coming back for more.
See real-time stats in an easy to read report found right in the dashboard of your WordPress site. Plus, know that your stats are never skewed thanks to the universal tracking system that’s in place. In other words, if your site visitors switch from a mobile device to a desktop, you’ll still get accurate data counts.
If you want to get even more data about your site visitors and their behavior on your site, consider upgrading from the free version to MonsterInsights Pro. You’ll be able to track eCommerce stats, traffic sources, advertisements efforts, and more in separate dashboard reports. Plus, you’ll have access to the Google Optimize addon, which lets you create A/B tests for your website hassle free so you can make improvements and build your business.
Google XML Sitemaps gives you an easy way to create an XML sitemap for popular search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask.com to crawl and index. After all, the only way your website will show up in search results is if search engines knows it exists.
By making it easier for crawlers to see how your content is organized and update search rankings when you update content on your site, this free WordPress plugin boosts your site’s SEO significantly.
Jetpack is one of those free WordPress plugins that does a little bit of everything for everyone. To start, it helps you design your site by giving you access to tons of WordPress themes, an unlimited image and video CDN, and even lazy loading functionality so your site renders fast on mobile devices.
Next, it helps your marketing efforts with features like automated social media posting, site stat and analytics reporting, and even simple PayPal buttons for collecting money. Lastly, it offers security features related to brute force attacks, spam, and downtime monitoring, all helping you protect your website’s data and reputation. And that really is just the beginning.
The speed of your website is crucial to the user experience and your Google search rankings. With Lazy Load by WP Rocket, your site’s images will only load when they become visible to site visitors. This reduces the number of HTTP requests that are made and improves your page loading time.
This free plugin works on thumbnails, post content, avatars, and iFrame images. And the plugin itself is super lightweight so it doesn’t affect your site’s speed and performance either.
Another one of the best free WordPress plugins for 2018 is W3 Total Cache. Since site speed is one of the most important SEO ranking factors, you need to focus on improving your site speed in any way you can to boost rankings, site traffic, and conversions.
7. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular SEO plugins on the market today. It helps you create an automatically updated XML sitemap for your website, preview your content’s search snippet so you can see what site visitors see, and even gives you the green light when your content is SEO optimized.
In addition, you can add meta tags, set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content and Google penalties, and integrate with Google Search Console so you can see how search engines are indexing your site and fix any crawl errors that exist.
There’s nothing worse than losing all your site’s content to a hacker, server crash, or other website malfunction. That’s why using a free backup solution like UpdraftPlus is so important.
Not only can you schedule automatic backups of your website’s files and database, and store your backups in a cloud service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3, you can restore your website instantly using its one-click restore button.
Sucuri is an industry leader when it comes to all matters related to website security. So, it makes sense that they would create a free WordPress plugin for site owners to use to protect their websites. Enjoy features like activity audits, remote malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, security notifications, and post-hack security actions so it doesn’t happen again.
And the great things is, Sucuri Security does its best to keep its feature packed security plugin lightweight so it doesn’t weigh your site’s resources, and loading time, down.
If you’re looking for more robust security features, be sure to check out Sucuri’s paid security services. You’ll get monitoring and protection from DDoS attacks, malware threats, brute force attacks, and even XXS attacks so you can rest assured your site’s data is safe.
10. Shared Counts
Sometimes you need to add code into your site’s header and footer section to enable certain functionality like Google Analytics tracking, Facebook Pixel code, or even plain old custom CSS.
And, while some people are advanced enough to know how to change their theme’s files, not everyone knows how to, or wants to take that risk. That’s where Insert Headers and Footers comes in. Insert scripts into the simple interface and let the plugin do the rest. You’ll never have to worry about messing with your theme’s files and breaking your site again.
If you want an easy way to display an author profile at the end of your website’s posts, consider using the Simple Author Box plugin. Show an author name, gravatar, and description so site visitors can get to know who is writing your killer content. In addition, add some of the over 30 social icons so site visitors can click and link to social media profiles of authors they want to connect with.
Customize the author box to match your website’s design, rest assured it will render well on all devices, and know that the plugin comes with both RTL and AMP support for a better user experience.
Moving your WordPress website from one location to another can be very difficult, even for those with experience. Luckily, Duplicator makes migrating, copying, moving, or cloning a site from one location to another super simple. Not to mention, this free plugin acts as a backup solution too.
Duplicator boasts zero downtime while you move, migrate, or clone a WordPress site between domains or hosts. It also makes pulling a live site to a staging environment easy, and moving it back just as easy. Lastly, you can easily duplicate a live or staged site for use elsewhere, which streamlines site development, especially for those who create multiple sites for clients.
Better Click to Tweet gives you a chance to create tweetable content for your site visitors throughout your content. Using a simple shortcode, or the Visual Editor button, just add your text to the code that displays.
Then, on the frontend of your site, users will see your quote and have the chance to click on it to tweet it to all their own Twitter followers. This free plugin is a great way to expose your content, and brand, to a broader audience in a simple way that engages readers.
Many WordPress themes come with built-in custom shortcodes to extend the design and functionality of your website. But sometimes, you want something that just isn’t there. With Shotcodes Ultimate, you can access a comprehensive list of visual and functional shortcodes that can be used in the post editor, text widgets, and even template files.
Create tabs, buttons, boxes, sliders, and so much more with the one-click shortcode generator preview panel. From there, customize your shortcode to meet your needs and add it to your site. This free WordPress plugin is mobile responsive, translated into 9 languages, and works with any WordPress theme.
Having broken links on your website is not only bad for SEO, it also hurts the user experience. Broken Link Checker actively monitors your website for broken links, and immediately notifies you if it finds any so you can fix them. It checks your posts, pages, comments, blogroll, and even custom fields.
Broken Link Checker also detects links that don’t work on images, which is also important when it comes to image searches. Manage notifications via email or in the WordPress dashboard, prevent search engines from following broken links, and even search and filter links by URL, making your job so much easier.
17. Smush It
Images tend to take up the majority of your website’s page weight. And, without optimizing them for speed and performance, your loading times will suffer. Smush It takes the hassle out of optimizing your site’s images by doing it automatically for you anytime you upload a new image to your Media Library.
This free plugin resizes, optimizes, and compresses all of your images, without sacrificing their quality, so your website performs at optimal speeds and continues to rank high in search results. And the best part is, Smush It servers do the work, not yours, reducing the additional strain and resource use.
If your WordPress theme doesn’t come with the Google Fonts you want, you can always use the Easy Google Fonts plugin. With it, you take control of your website’s typography.
This free plugin integrates with your WordPress Customizer, so accessing the 600+ fonts is easy to do. Preview font changes in real time, create your own font controls and rules, and automatically enqueue all stylesheets, all without any coding or editing of the main stylesheet so when your theme updates, you don’t lose your custom work.
19. Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder is one of the best free WordPress plugins on the market. It’s a drag & drop page builder that works on the front end of your website, so no matter your skill level, you can build a website in a cinch.
Content modules include HTML, photo, text editor, audio, video, and the sidebar. It’s mobile friendly, works with pages, posts, and custom post types, and even comes with photo, color, and video row backgrounds so you can build a beautiful looking website without messing with HTML.
If you want additional modules like a contact form, tabs, a slider, social icons, and more, consider upgrading to the premium version of Beaver Builder. You’ll receive expert support, access pre-made layouts, and even be able to save, export, and reuse full-page layouts, rows, and modules.
TablePress is an impressive free plugin, raking in nothing but 5 stars on over 3,200 reviews. With it, you can create and manage beautiful tables that you can embed into posts, pages, and text widgets, all with a simple shortcode.
You can enter any type of data you want, even formulas that will be automatically evaluated. Plus, you can import and export all tables to/from Excel, CSV, HTML, and JSON files. Lastly, access the library for functionality like sorting, pagination, and filtering so site visitors can view your tables with ease.
Anyone looking to sell physical or digital products online should consider using the most popular eCommerce platform on the market: WooCommerce. Integrating seamlessly with WordPress, this online shop creator gives you complete control over the design and functionality of your online shop.
Sell anything you want, complete with varying shapes, sizes, product variations, and configurations. Offer a wide range of shipping options such as free shipping or shipping that’s calculated in real time.
Plus, accept major credit cards, BACs, and cash on delivery, so people can make their purchases how they want. And best of all, you own all of it so you never have to worry about a third-party platform packing up and taking your store’s data with them.
22. Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery is a free WordPress plugin that’s both easy and powerful to use. Create responsive photo and video galleries with ease using the drag & drop photo gallery builder that lets you upload your images, rearrange them how you want, and publish them to your site within minutes.
This free plugin also comes optimized for speed, SEO, and mobile devices so all site visitors can view your images perfectly. And, you can add meta data, deeplinks, and pagination to your galleries for easier site navigation and a better user experience. Not to mention, you can share photos using the social sharing integrations and sell on the popular WooCommerce platform as a way to make more money online.
23. Pretty Links
Pretty Links is an alternative to using link shorteners like tinyurl.com or bit.ly. Now you can make your links look clean all from your WordPress dashboard. Plus, Pretty Links tracks each hit on your URL and gives you a full report on where the hit came from, the browser, the os, and the host.
This free WordPress plugin is great for those who participate in affiliate marketing, track clicks from emails, and have a large Twitter following and want to know when clicks come from Twitter to your site. The better your links look, the more your URLs are shared, the more professional your site looks, and the more successful you become.
Securing your website’s data is crucial, especially if you collect payments from customers from your website. And, it just so happens that one of the best ways to do this is to move your site to HTTPS/SSL. Doing this will also help you avoid the “Not Secure” warnings Google is adding to all non-secure websites.
There are plenty of free SSL certificates available, but moving your entire site to HTTPS can be tough if you’re not sure what you’re doing. That’s where Really Simple SSL comes in to help. This one-click solution redirects and updates all old URLs to reflect the change to a secure site and handles everything else that comes with migrating your site to HTTPS.
In doing this, your site’s speed increases dramatically, which in turn helps SEO, drive traffic to your site, and boost conversions or sales.
26. Login Lockdown
You should know by now that using a strong username and password combo is important to your WordPress site’s security. But there are more steps you can take to help secure your site’s data.
Login Lockdown limits the number of login attempts a user can make while trying to log into your site. And, after three incorrect attempts within 5 minutes, your site will automatically lock the person trying to log in out of your website for one hour.
If you find yourself needing to import content from a WordPress export file, such as demo content for a new WordPress theme, WordPress Importer is the way to go. This free WordPress plugin will import posts, pages, custom post types, comments, custom fields, categories, tags, and even authors. All you have to do is run the importer, upload the files you want to import, and click Import.
28. Disable Comments
Some website owners don’t want a comment system enabled on their website. And, while WordPress will let you disable certain comments on certain parts of your website, Disable Comments gets rid of all comments on your entire website.
Lose the comments across your entire multisite network and remove all comment-related fields from edit and quick-edit screens. You can also get rid of comment-related items on your WordPress dashboard, in widgets, and in the Admin Menu and Admin Bar.
29. WP Mail SMTP
If you’re having problems with WordPress not sending emails, you’ll need a solution like WP Mail SMTP to help you out. This free plugin helps reconfigure the wp_mail() PHP function to use the proper SMTP provider. In other words, it makes sure any emails that are suppose to send out from your WordPress site are delivered to the recipient’s inbox as they should.
And the great thing about this plugin is that it brings together all SMTP providers into one plugin so you don’t have to use separate plugins for each provider.
Part of optimizing your WordPress website for speed and performance is cleaning up the insides of your website. This means removing unnecessary data that is piling up in your site’s database to make more room, reduce the strain on your server, and increase your site’s speed. With WP-Optimize you can get rid of spam comments, pingbacks and trackbacks, and any other stale data that’s sitting around.
Schedule automatic clean ups, control which optimizations you run, and even trigger an automatic site backup if you use the UpdraftPlus backup solution. This free plugin is mobile friendly, easy to use, and even comes translated into several languages.
The Events Calendar makes creating and managing a frontend calendar for your site visitors a cinch. It works right out of the box and only takes a few configurations to match your individual needs. From there you can quickly add new events, display a calendar view with tooltips, and allow for saved venues and organizers.
Plus, use the built-in Google Maps so people know how to get to your event, export events to Google Calendar and iCal, add a widget to display upcoming events, and even allow sorting based on events for an improved user experience. And if you’re worried about site speed, don’t be; there’s built-in caching support too.
32. Instagram Feed
People are visual by nature. And, if the kind of website you have relies on stunning imagery and social media platforms like Instagram, you’re just in luck with the free plugin Instagram Feed. Display Instagram photos from any non-private Instagram account directly on your website. Be it your own social media account, or images from those that will inspire your readers, you can display photos on a single feed or separate them into multiple ones.
Your Instagram feeds will always look good on mobile devices, they can be customized using shortcodes, and you can even display thumbnail, medium sized, or full-sized photos. Plus, you can infinitely load more images into your feed and show a “Follow on Instagram” button to expand your reach.
Your content marketing strategy is the key to consistently publishing valuable content for your site visitors. One of the best ways to organize your website’s content is using the free WordPress plugin Editorial Calendar.
See all posts and when they’re scheduled to go live, drag & drop post due dates on the calendar, quickedit post title, content, and publish times, and even manage posts for multiple authors. With this plugin, you can fill in the gaps where content needs to publish so your website is continually churning out posts that will drive traffic, boost conversions, and increase sales.
And there you have it! 33 of the best free WordPress plugins for your website in 2018. We hope this list helps you make improvements to your site in ways that help you push ahead of the competition, provide a better user experience, and achieve the goals you have set out for yourself.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with the most powerful WordPress forms plugin today.