The 10 Best WordPress Plugins to Spruce up Your E-commerce Website in 2021.
What are some of the best WordPress plugins going into 2021?
We’re nearing the end of the year, and there’s no better time than the post-holiday shopping season lull to look into upgrading your website.
If you’re on the WordPress website, you already know how easy this can be over their platform.
There are literally tens of thousands of WordPress plugins out there, both free and paid, to add new functionality to your website.
The real question is, which are worth installing on your site?
It can be easy to fall into the trap of “plugin-bloat” and install too many plugins on your site, hampering its performance.
That’s why you must consider exactly why you install each plugin you choose for your website and make sure you choose only the best.
We’ve compiled a list below of the 10 best plugins we use every day, and recommend to our clients, to help you decide.
The Essential WordPress Plugins for E-commerce Capability:
WooCommerce is the number one plugin for adding e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site.
Frankly, you’re probably already using it if you have an e-commerce focused WordPress site, but if not read on to see why you should.
WooCommerce’s popularity comes down to two main factors: first that the base product is free and open-source, and secondly, the insane amount of customisation the platform allows you.
Sure, there are simpler solutions out there, but none which can allow you to create a truly bespoke e-commerce website as easily as WooCommerce.
There are also literally thousands of plugins designed specifically to add functionality to WooCommerce, or change your site’s look, both free and paid.
The major downsides to WooCommerce are that it’s a bit harder to set up than other popular e-commerce platforms, and costs can really rack up quickly if you need a lot of paid plugins.
Overall though, if you’re looking for the number one plugin to let you turn your WordPress site into an E-commerce portal, look no further than WooCommerce.
It’s a free (on the basic version), open-source, plugin that allows you to instantly create dynamic product feeds from your WooCommerce site.
It draws data directly from your site’s product catalogue, so the information should always be up to date and relevant regardless of the platform you’re marketing them across.
The best use of this plugin we’ve found is in setting up dynamic shopping ads for Facebook, which let you take this dynamic product feed and advertise it directly on their platform.
In conjunction with the Facebook Pixel, this is an amazing way to expand your sales platform and easily track conversions.
Even the free version has an incredible amount of functionality built-in, like creating unlimited amounts of feeds with unlimited amounts of products drawn in.
It’s the number one option we’d recommend for setting up your dynamic product feeds over WooCommerce.
The Best WordPress Plugins for Keeping in Touch With Customers
Contact Form 7 is an amazing simple contact form plugin that lets you easily collect customer details from your website.
We personally use this plugin on our site and you can see examples of the forms it puts out on the bottom of every blog post.
We love it because first of all the plugin is completely free and open-source, though its developer does accept donations to keep it updated.
Secondly, it’s incredibly lightweight and simplistic, but still highly customisable.
It provides the elements you need to create effective contact forms, and nothing else.
This means it has a minuscule impact on your site’s performance but it’s still easy to set up and use.
If you want a lightweight free plugin to simply and easily capture leads and customer details, Contact Form 7 is an easy recommendation.
Mailchimp for WordPress is a free open-source plugin that allows you to easily integrate your WordPress website with the Mailchimp platform.
Mailchimp is one of the leading email marketing automation options amongst small businesses.
It’s an amazing tool for creating and managing an email list to engage with your consumers and drive up sales using special offers.
Mailchimp for WordPress allows you to integrate the Mailchimp platform directly into your website.
The main benefit of this is allowing you to add one-click newsletter signups to your existing contact forms.
It easily integrates with most leading contact form plugins, like Contact Form 7, and as such it’s incredibly easy to set up and manage.
You can also integrate email signups into things like comments, download pages or your navigation bar.
The base version is completely free, but they do offer additional plugins with added functionality, some of which are paid.
If you’re looking to easily integrate your email marketing efforts into your website, especially if you’re already using Mailchimp, Mailchimp for WordPress is an incredible free addon to let you do just that.
The Best WordPress SEO Plugins:
5. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the top overall SEO plugin for WordPress.
This is another plugin we personally use to optimise our blog posts for SEO, and we’re far from alone.
It includes features like creating XML sitemaps, setting the title and meta description templates, automatically setting canonical content and a host of blogging optimisation features.
We particularly like the blogging optimisation tools, which include handy reminders to ensure your blogs are as SEO friendly as possible.
This is great because it lets you focus on creating quality content on your site, instead of constantly worrying about which aspects of your site’s SEO you’ve forgotten to tend to.
It will show you any SEO errors on the site it detects in its alert centres, and there is a handy review section at the end of every blog post you can enable to check your SEO optimisation.
The basic package is an incredible value considering it’s free, and there is a premium version available with some additional features.
If you need a great all-in-one SEO tool for your website, it’s hard to do better than Yoast SEO.
If you want a completely free plugin to manage your site’s XML sitemap, Google XML Sitemaps is among the best options we’ve found.
It’s a lightweight plugin that automatically creates and updates an SEO optimised XML sitemap for your website, to make it easier for search engines and their crawlers to navigate your site.
Making your site easier to navigate means it’s more likely to get crawled more often and as such more likely to rank for your targeted keywords.
It’s a great tool that does exactly what it says on the label.
If you want a dedicated lightweight tool to ensure your site has an optimised XML sitemap, this is the best tool out there.
The Best WordPress Plugin for Optimising Site Performance:
W3 Total Cache is an open-source plugin designed to help you boost your website’s performance and improve SEO rankings as a result.
We use it on our site to speed up page load times and help boost our search rankings.
An increasingly important component of SEO is your site’s performance and usability.
Sites that have poor performance and a high bounce rate are penalised for it, and web users are increasingly impatient and have come to expect faster load times and zero inconveniences.
That’s why a plugin like W3 Total Cache can be immensely helpful in optimising your site’s performance and boosting SERP rankings.
The plugin enables features like up to 10x faster site speed performance, page caching for faster reloads, improved web server performance and bandwidth savings on high traffic periods.
If you want a great overall tool for boosting your website’s performance, try out W3 Total Cache.
Smush is another great performance plugin we’ve recently started using, with a very specific purpose.
If you have a site with a lot of images, it can eventually start to affect your site’s performance.
Smush is a plugin designed to help eliminate this problem by optimising and compressing your site’s images.
It attempts to optimise site performance by prioritising the loading of on-screen images, stripping unused data from images and applying lossless image compression on top of them.
It can also automate the process of optimising your site’s images, letting you quickly go through and update your existing images and instantly optimise new uploads.
The basic version is free and open-source, with additional paid features available on top of it.
If you have a WordPress website with a lot of images, and you’re concerned it’s affecting performance, check out Smush.
The Best WordPress Plugins for Added Security:
If your website is still running over the old Http protocol, it may be time to upgrade.
Many sources suggest that search engines like Google have started penalising sites for poor security, and one of the easiest ways to upgrade your website’s security is to move over to the https protocol by installing an SSL certificate on your website.
Https is, simply put, a more secure protocol than Http and as such it both lets your customers feel safer and boosts your SEO rankings.
Really Simple SSL is a free one-click tool for installing your SSL certificate site-wide once you have it.
It doesn’t create the certificate for you, unfortunately, but that is simple enough to do through other providers and you can even do it for free.
We use it on our website, which you can see by the fact the whole site runs over https instead of Http.
If you need an easy one-click SSL solution for your site, look no further than Really Simple SSL.
Akismet Anti-Spam is a free plugin designed to manage instances of “Spam” across your website’s comments and contact forms.
Comments can be a great way to create engagement across your site, but the concern is always spam making your business look unprofessional or damaging your brand image.
Akismet is a great tool for managing this because it automatically runs every comment through its database of previous spam comments and isolates those which look suspicious for you to delete or allow later.
Akismet is free for personal blogs, but the commercial version does require a paid API key.
Still, it’s a great tool for managing spam across your website and protecting your customers and business’ brand image.
We hope this gave you a few ideas on how to upgrade your business’ WordPress site going into the new year.
Be careful to avoid plugin bloat by only installing the plugins you absolutely need for your business in line with your goals and objectives for the website.
For example, if you’re not trying to create engagement on the site you might be better off disabling comments instead of having a spam protection plugin.
In any case, plugins can be an amazing way to add extra functionality to your WordPress website.
You just need to make sure you’re installing the right ones.
If you enjoyed this article, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast for industry tips from leading business owners.
This article was brought to you by Syte.
We’re a specialist e-commerce digital marketing agency dedicated to driving up your bottom line.
If you need any help running your e-commerce digital marketing strategy, please feel free to reach out via the form.
Or, check out our case studies page to see what we’ve been able to do for previous customers.