14 of the Best WordPress Plugins to Make Your Blog More Professional

88 amazing comments

Last Update 3rd October, 2017

One beautiful thing about a WordPress blog is the never-ending ability to add plugins that completely change the way your blog looks and functions. It’s absolutely essential for successful blogging.

best wordpress plugins

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A lot of these plugins would cost thousands (or even tens of thousands) if you wanted to pay someone to build those features in to your blog individually.

For example, before e-commerce plugins came about, you’d need a team of developers constantly working on your online store. These days you can do it with a few clicks.

Here are some of the best WordPress plugins that you can install to make your blog instantly more professional. It’s not the biggest list in the world, but we’ve only selected the very best.

Disclosure – There are two affiliate links in this post. I’ll let you know which ones they are below. I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through that link. I use both plugins myself and would have included them with or without an affiliate program option. Thank you for the support, but feel free not to use my links if it bothers you.

The best WordPress plugins for a professional blog

Let’s dive in now and have a look at some of the plugins we’ve chosen that will help you to build a more professional blog in just a few clicks. As always, let us know what we’ve missed in the comments below.

1. Boxzilla
Slide out boxes and pop ups done very simply.

boxzilla

Boxzila is the successor to the very popular plugin, Scroll Triggered Boxes, and is an improved version that allows you to create a variety of scroll and pop up boxes for your blog. For example, you can see on in action on this post. You can set it to open when people exit the blog, after a certain amount of time, and you can build boxes that only appear on certain pages.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
2. WooCommerce
A comprehensive e-commerce platform built in to your blog.

WooCommerce recently celebrated its ninth birthday and has grown to be one of the best loved and most trusted plugins for building an online store with your WordPress installation. While it’s not the most simple plugin to use, the list of features are absolutely phenomenal and the support and community makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a way to get started selling physical products online.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
3. Pretty Link
Better looking URLs for affiliates and less confusing linking.

Pretty Link is a plugin that allows you to change the way your URLs look. For example, if you’re directing people to an affiliate product that has a horrible looking address that might put some people off, you can use Pretty Link to set up a URL that incorporates your own address (like www.blogtyrant.com/blue-host/) so that it looks a bit more friendly to users. Also gives stats on how many people click the link and so on.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
4. Social Warfare
Beautiful social media icons for your blog.

Social Warfare is the plugin that I use here on Blog Tyrant to add scrolling social media buttons in the sidebar, and to manage social buttons on the site as a whole. It has good options for setting your style and colors, and allows you to make a lot of optimizations. For example, you can have different settings for mobile vs desktop social buttons.

VIEW PLUGIN (aff)

 
5. Smart Podcast Player
Gorgeous podcast player that integrates with your existing set up.

If you have a podcast on your blog I highly recommend Smart Podcast Player as a plugin that allows you to quickly build a beautiful player that integrates perfectly with your podcast hosting. It’s clean, simple to use and the player is mobile responsive. I’ve used this plugin on some other sites and can attest to the support staff being extremely patient and friendly with all the setup questions that I had.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
6. Shortcodes Ultimate
Use little codes to make buttons and more.

Shortcodes Ultimate is a very lightweight but valuable plugin that allows you to use little snippets of code to add some great features that would otherwise probably have required a designer and coder. For example, you can add little buttons with icons, or upgrade and get testimonial boxes, pricing tables, etc. All of these things can make your blog look more professional by adding formats that are slightly more involved than plain text.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
7. Better Click to Tweet
Perfectly designed options to encourage others to tweet your quotes.

This is a very cool plugin that allows you to add a click to tweet quote box within your posts. It styles the box according to the format of your choice, and lets you set things like the tweet text itself, the display text, and the Twitter handle that gets mentioned.

This is a really simple yet beautiful plugin that can add some nice extra functionality to your blog without having to use an external site like the old days.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
8. To Top
Simple buttons allowing people to scroll up.

to top

This is a very simple plugin that allows you to add a little arrow on your blog so people can scroll back up to the top with one click. This is quite a useful feature if you have a lot of long form content or a list post (like this one) where people might need to go up and down frequently. You can style the look and feel to make it fit with your design.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
9. WishList Member
Build a membership site from your blog.

This is a very comprehensive plugin that allows you to lock content on your blog in order to create a membership site, school, or paid training course without needing to send visitors to a separate site or company.

It has over 80,000 active customers and has been used by some really popular bloggers to extend their content into a paid arena – a very good way to make some extra money from your blog if you have a unique offering. Allows you to drip content to students, password protect different areas, sneak peak content, and much more.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
10. bbPress
Forums and bulletin boards from your blog without hassle.

This is a beautifully simple forum-building plugin in its setup and technology, while still having so many levels of comprehensive features that it impresses everyone who tries it.

If you’ve ever wanted to add a forum or bulletin board element to your blog then this is the place to start. It’s had over 300,000 installs and is used by some of the biggest forums in the world. A great way to add extra community to your blog without needing to develop a whole forum from scratch somewhere else.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
11. SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle
Huge amount of widgets and icons to create yourself.

This is a really clever idea that can save you a lot of time. SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle basically gives you a huge selection of widgets that you can customize for your own needs. It includes icons, colors, etc. so that you can create things like map widgets, buttons, call to action links, headlines, etc. It’s a very simple way to update your blog and brand without needing to change your whole theme.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
12. Visual Composer
Totally change the way your blog looks with a drag-and-drop editor.

This plugin really is a game changer when it comes to how the back end of WordPress works. I’ve been using it for a few months now on a few side projects, and it’s safe to say it has totally transformed the way I use WordPress.

With a simple drag and drop editor, you can now change how WordPress looks and is structured without needing a new theme. You can build landing pages or buttons or full screen photo banners without any coding. Absolutely wonderful plugin and worth the fees simply in the amount you save by no longer needing a coder.

VIEW PLUGIN (aff)

 
13. Yoast Comment Hacks
Redirect comments to a thank you page and much more.

If you’ve ever left a comment on Blog Tyrant you’ll see that you get redirected to a little thank you page that encourages you to sign up. That is done with this plugin, which has now been expanded to include other features like emailing people who leave a comment, disallowing comments if they are too short or too long, etc.

If it’s by the team at Yoast you know it is trustworthy. We’ve been using this for years and highly recommend it for some really cool and necessary comment features.

VIEW PLUGIN

 
14. Thrive Leads
Build opt-in forms and welcome mats and track results

thrive leads

Thrive Leads is a really comprehensive, paid plugin that allows you to build some incredibly powerful opt-in forms and screen takeovers. These are excellent ways to grow your mailing list, and the good thing about Thrive is that it allows you to test and track them all with in-built stats.

The best thing about this is that it has all your opt-in form options built in to one plugin so you can switch from a lightbox to a floating footer to a screen take over with ease. I’ve found the dashboard area a little bit slow, but that might be mainly due to my server. Well worth a look.

VIEW PLUGIN

 

How to install a WordPress plugin

If you’re new to WordPress then you might not know about the absolutely wonderful world of plugins yet. Basically they are bits of code that developers have written that allow you to change the way your blog works.

They cover all sorts of features from photo galleries and security to social media buttons and design changes. Here’s a beginner-level video on how to install a WordPress plugin quickly:

Before installing any plugin on your blog you should do a few basic checks. Make sure it is compatible with your version of WordPress, make sure it has good reviews from users, and make sure it has been recently updated.

What’s your site’s best WordPress plugin?

I’d really love to know whether you think there are any awesome plugins that absolutely must be included on this list. Do you use anything that really transforms your blog and makes it feel or look more professional?

Please leave a comment below and let us know.

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88 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Gavin

    Great list..


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks…


    2. Victorvijay

      Great plugins.
      I want to add one more plugin to the list.
      The elementor plugin


      1. Ramsay

        Thanks!


  • Mania Mavridou

    Again an extremely helfpul post!
    You make a blogger’s life so easy!

    Thanks a lot, Ramsay!


    1. Ramsay

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!


  • Lisa P. Sicard

    Hi Ramsay, wow, you have a list like no other. I have not heard of many of these. I love Social Warfare!
    I’m surprised I did not know about Yoast Comment Hacks, that looks awesome.
    Boxzille is one I want to really check out Ramsay. Thank you for sharing these with us today. Have a great day.


    1. Ramsay

      Very glad you found it useful! Best of luck with them.


  • Edson Romero

    Great list, I knew most of the popular plugins but you listed down some that I never knew before and see helpful. Thank you


    1. Ramsay

      Can I ask which ones were new for you?


  • Susan Velez

    Hi Ramsay,

    I currently use the Social Warfare plugin and I love it. If you’re using that plugin, it comes with the built in Click to Tweet function, so that’s a plus.

    I haven’t heard of the Yoast Comment Hacks, but it looks pretty cool. I may have to check it out.

    I’ve also heard so many people talk about Pretty Links. When I was looking for an affiliate Cloaker, it was extremely confusing.

    I wish I would’ve seen this post before because I ended up going with Thirsty Affiliates. It’s not bad and I have no complaints.

    I’ve never used Pretty Links before, so I am not sure what the differences are and why so many people prefer Pretty links over Thirsty Affiliates.

    Oh well, I guess as long as it does the job and works ๐Ÿ™‚

    Another plugin that I use that I absolutely love is Revive Old Posts. It’s awesome for promoting your old blogs that are sitting in your blogging archives.

    Thanks for sharing this list of plugins with us, have a great day ๐Ÿ™‚

    Susan


    1. Ramsay

      Oh I’ve not heard of that one! Going to check it out now! Thank you.


  • Max

    Great list. I hadnโ€™t heard of the Comments Hack plugin โ€“ definitely something Iโ€™ll look to try out when I launch a new design for my website. What percentage of your sign-ups come from that thank you page? Is it worth the effort? Thanks, Ramsay!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Max. It’s not many, maybe two or three every new post, but they all add up!


  • Tanu

    Helpful list..I certainly try few.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks!


  • Shruti Thakur

    Thanks Ramsay,
    I am super thrilled on having this ingenious post at my disposal..
    Honestly, when I read that title, I was 100% sure that I would be knowing at least half of the plugins you were gonna talk about (which went exactly as I expected along with a major yet acceptable change ) since I am in deep love with WordPress and know about it more than anyone else out there.. (a dramatic way of saying that I am supremely passionate about it and willing to learn more and more about it every moment …
    you really thought my wisdom is that glorious)..
    But the way in which these series of information has been interweaved and well crafted together came off as a little surprise and absolutely unexpected..
    Moreover, your sincere effort of capping off your remarkable post with that tutorial is really the cherry on the cake..

    Lastly, keep posting these type of informative and tech savvy posts..

    Thanks for your precious time..

    Cheers,
    Shruti..


    1. Ramsay

      Ha. Thanks Shruti! Too kind.


  • Amrita

    I am going to check out the Yoast coment hacks plugin and the WordPress builder thingy. Both sounds perfect .How many plugin is too many Ramsey?


    1. Ramsay

      It all depends on the plugins as some are quite big while others are small. I would just keep checking your site speed and make sure it stays below 2 seconds.


      1. Amrita

        Ramsay, please discuss how to optimize site speed too!I have tried everything but its still a nightmare!


  • Varun Shrivastava

    Woah, thanks Ramsay. It was a very useful list. I just couldn’t stop myself from bookmarking it. I have been compiling a similar list of all the useful plugins and this one is surely a beautiful compilation.
    Thanks a lot man


    1. Ramsay

      Oh too kind!


  • Mike

    I have been looking at page building plugins recently, because I am commencing some new projects with 3 new domains. ‘Elementor’ is very impressive, and one of the newest players in this space, you might know of ‘Beaver Builder’ also – which is also very good.
    WordPress continues to be a brilliant project, I feel so enabled it is frightening…


    1. Ramsay

      Second person to mention Elementor! I’m checking this one out.


  • Sarah

    Great list Ramsay. I love the way you put so much thought into your readers and always come up with something original/of real value. Definitely a few new plugins to try here.
    Cheers
    Sarah


    1. Ramsay

      Oh I really hope it helps someone out there. Thanks Sarah.


  • StickLady

    Is there a plugin that will turn my blog into an iphone app? Thanks.


    1. Ramsay

      Nope. Not that I know of.


  • Vishal Ostwal

    Ramsay, this is cool.

    I’m curious about Boxzilla and SiteOrigin – I’m in a need of something like those.

    However, the plugins I have trouble dealing with are usually related to site optimization, SEO, caching, image compression, etc. I’ve had a hard time customizing and dealing with that stuff.

    I wish you come up with a post like ‘Basic Must-have Plugins for Every WordPress blog.’ I’d celebrate.

    For buttons, I use ‘Forget About Shortcode Buttons,’ and ‘Tiny MCE Advanced’ as an alternative to the usual editor. Overall, minimal stuff.

    A quick question.

    Is there a plugin which allows an email subscription box along with social icons at the bottom of every post (similar to the ‘So what’s next section on Blog Tyrant)?

    Please let me know; I don’t wish to add a whole sidebar or another set of plugins for such simple reason.

    Thank you for the great list.

    ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Hey buddy.

      That bottom thing I coded myself but it’s pretty simple. You could just steal my code.

      I think maybe Optin Skin might do it, and you could definitely do it if you blog was being built with Visual Composer above as you just drag some elements in place.


  • Jennifer Waddle

    Thank you for another outstanding post, Ramsay!

    I can’t wait to try Shortcodes Ultimate. I love the idea of placing snippets of code in just the right places to make my site a bit more professional looking.

    I use Zotabox for my promo bar and have had regular email subscribers trickle in each and every week. Easy to use and change whenever I want.

    Thanks again for the awesome content. I genuinely look forward to all of your emails.

    Jennifer


    1. Ramsay

      I haven’t heard of that one. Will check it out.

      Thank you for those kind words. I really appreciate it and genuinely love this community.


  • Beth

    Thank you so much for this wonderful list. I’m always looking to improve my website, but there are so many plugins to choose from. I’m always worried I’m going to mess something up with a new plugin download. Love reading your blog!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Beth! Hope something in the list helps. I’m going to keep adding to it over time I think.


      1. Beth

        Definitely thinking about To Top and Click to Tweet!


  • chris

    A few of mine that make life easier:
    1. Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin
    2. SendGrid – great for improving deliverability of wordpress emails such as password reset and new user emails for membership stuff.
    3. Subscribe to Comments Reloaded
    4. Thrive Leads – opt-in forms with split testing
    5. Thrive Ovation – just picked this one up to help me manage and display testimonials.


    1. Ramsay

      I just bought Thrive Leads a while ago and it was so buggy – wouldn’t save themes and so on. Maybe an issue on my server?


  • Vishal Vashisht

    Hello Ramsay

    It’s a comprehensive list in my opinion. I’ve used site origin a few times. But my problem is every time I download it, my site speed goes from 2 MS yo 00.50.00. So I stopped using it. But i know this can do wonders for any site.

    Thanks


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah, if something slows your site down it’s not worth it.


  • Daniel Vieira

    Great and helpful list!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks!


  • Gurusfound

    I love your blog and will always visit it.

    Thanks.


    1. Ramsay

      Very kind!


  • Scott Kindred

    Thanks for the great list of helpful plugins, Ramsay. I use Visual Composer religiously — I actually avoid working with themes that don’t already have VC incorporated. Your suggestion of Wishlist Member is one I’m tucking into my pocket. It can be hard to find a membership/user profiles/access control solution that is intuitive.

    Best day to you!


    1. Ramsay

      Yeah it’s pretty fun. Also looking at Teachable as an external site these days.


      1. Scott Kindred

        Wow – Teachable looks pretty slick.


        1. Ramsay

          Yeah it’s real nice. Bit expensive though.


  • jenn

    thank you for this great info! I am going to look into several of these.


    1. Ramsay

      Great!


  • Nikolay Topalov

    Hi Ramsey,
    I’mfollowing your blog from along time and I use a lot of your information to tweak some of the stuff I also use on my websites (some of them sold already) and I really think you are one of the best may be in the niche of blogging, but…
    Actually I was trying to see if I could reconize your paid Quiz! Probably you could mention it, if it’s not a big secret? Anyway I like the plugin list that you reviewed . That’s what I want to invent in my websites and I want it to be something that worth the cost and also do the job properly!
    What I liked was the To Top Plugin, coz I was never thinking about that option for any of my websites! That’s an awesome invent and really helpful. For the rest I still can not consider should I change to WhishList instead of my PaidMembershipPro plugin !
    Instead of Social Warfare plugin I use AddToAny which is very relative.
    And the most amazing was that I’ve never heard about Shortcodes Ultimate , which I found is comming with things really out of the box.
    I’m really glad I found your blog fewyears ago and I keep following your awesome posts!
    Still if I’ll be glad if you mention about your quiz service! I’m already researching like two months for that topic and I couldn’t find someone who I could trust about quiz,surveys and poll services reviews!
    P.S : Keep doing the great job you do.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi mate.

      The quiz isn’t a paid one. Do you mean the start a blog quiz? If so, that’s a plugin we developed. We might release it soon.


      1. Ashley Wilson

        Yes, I love quizzes!


  • Rick Rouse

    The Yoast Comments plugin sounds very interesting. I think I’ll check it out. The stock WordPress comments function is quiet limited. I use Yoast SEO on all of my blogs so I have expectations for this one!


    1. Ramsay

      It so great!


  • Walter

    Awesome list.

    My biggest takeaways include Yoast Comment Hacks and Wishlist Member.

    Ever tried out Thrive Content Builder instead of Visual Composer? Really cool stuff.

    Cheers


    1. Ramsay

      I couldn’t get Thrive to work on my server but a few people have recommended it so I might give it another try.


  • Sergey

    Hi Ramsay,

    Thanks for the article, there are some plugins I’ll definitelytry.

    As for me, I’d like to recommend WordPress Viral Quiz. I tried a few similar plugins and that’s the best one. I helps to easily construct Buzzfeed style quizzes. Tech support is fine, Stephane, the developer, helped me a few times with great patience (I had some noobish questions).

    The plugin helpes me because my blog is about language learning (English for Russian-speakers) and quizzes fit well in that niche. But of course it might be useful for other niches as well.

    WordPress Viral Quiz is not free but it really worth it.


    1. Ramsay

      Oh that looks awesome! I’m going to add it!


  • Shobit Gupta

    Hi

    I love to use site origin widget. It’s an complete package itself. No need to use any other plug in to customize blog or website.
    Your post is simply awesome.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Shobit!


  • Adam

    Thanks Ramsey, I’ll be using a load of these for sure.

    Is there a plugin to allow blog users to follow the blog part of your site? I have noticed that the option is not there for readers on a self hosted site opposed to when reading a post on a wordpress blog.


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Adam. Do you mean like a separate feed?


  • Steven Guy

    I use Shareaholic for Social Sharing buttons and love it! Their analytics module which includes Google Analytics integration is super useful.


    1. Ramsay

      How do you find their options for mobile vs desktop? Like, can you have different options?


  • Sogie

    Haven’t heard of half of em before would definitely check it out. The yoast comment sounds very cool, heard of the visual composer but never gave it a thought but now would take a look.


    1. Ramsay

      Hope it helps!


  • alqintara

    Thanks again Ramsay for making life easy for upcoming bloggers.

    Cheers


    1. Ramsay

      Welcome!


  • Daniel G. Vargas

    Great post as usual, Ramsay. I became an instant fan of Social Warfare thanks to BlogTryrant; I’ve never cared for intrusive social media buttons. The Yoast Comment Hacks will be my next addition.
    On a side note: is there a post on BogTyrant about Keyword Research? I’m serious about getting the most out of my content but I can’t decide how much traffic is enough to consider a keyword blog-worthy. I would appreciate anyone’s help on this regard. Have a great day!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Daniel.

      We have some old posts but they’re a bit out of date. There will be more coming up soon that will hopefully help.


  • Donna Merrill

    Hi Ramsay,

    Indeed a great list. Most of these plugins has great importance, without the use of those, one can not succeed in this online world as it helps increase productivity by saving time and we can put same efforts in something else to make the best out of our skills.

    ~ Donna


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Donna!


  • Ashley Wilson

    Hello there, loved your post like usual. I guess I’ll be checking out Yoast Comment Hacks as well. I like a plug in called Pin it jQuery Pin It Button For Pros. It allowed me to customize my own “pin it” button and size it on my images the way I like. When someone uses it to pin it pulls my description of the image which is highly valuable. This way, ppl are not pinning my blog to Pinterest without a keyword rich description of my pin. I also love Kingsumo Giveaways. Makes capturing emails and running giveaways so easy and professional looking!


    1. Ramsay

      Hey Ashley. Nice one! The Social Warfare plugin above does something similar – it’s a handy feature.


  • Nishat Mahmud

    Hello mate,
    I have been looking for this article for a very long time. Finally, I have found your article and it helped me to build up my own blog. Honestly speaking this is the best post I have ever read about WordPress Plugins. I recommend everyone to follow this procedure.
    Thanks for sharing this useful article.
    Keep up the good work.


    1. Ramsay

      Ha! Thanks.


  • my gadget reviewer

    Thanks for sharing, this helped me a lot,
    Can you please help me, i have started blog 3 months ago but i m not getting views and my website is not ranking on google, is it due to backlinks, I am trying my best to get backlinks but at the end cannot get one, please help me how to get backlinks


  • Matthias Haltenhof

    Thanks for sharing! My recommendations:

    Table of Contents Plus – Adds a table of content when you use headlines

    Tablepress – good looking tables without knowing html or being too lazy

    Contact Form 7 – Good looking and safe contact forms out of the box


  • WpWebhelp

    Nice list Ramsay though I think “SEO by Yoast” plugin can be a nice inclusion in the list.


  • Ganesh Raj

    Oh my god. Some of them i never knew. Thanks for the list Ramsay. I love your blog.


  • manchun

    Great list of WordPress plugin thank you for sharing very useful plugin.


  • Anthony

    Great post awesome tips, just love the mentioned points by you.
    Thank you !!!


  • Jamie Rockers

    Very well written article. I was struggling with optimization of the contents of my websites. But now I have the perfect solution to my struggle. I won’t be struggling anymore from now on.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this article


    1. opciones binarias

      WishList Member very good.

      Thx.


  • gamer

    Great post, really important to have a goal for everything you do, itโ€™s something I often neglect when getting mixed up in the enthusiasm of posting huge resourceful posts for the sake of it!


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