There are a million and one blogging tools to help you get the job done more effectively, and if you run a WordPress site, there’s certainly no shortage of specific WordPress tools for you to explore.
Actually, there’s probably a surplus of tools; it can be overwhelming to know where to start, and to know the good from the useless.
This article will cover a ton of WordPress tools – 50+ – in order to help you manage, grow, and optimize your WordPress site. These tools have been vetted and recommended by expert bloggers (as well as being personal recommendations from yours truly.
Here are the categories we’ll cover:
- Hosting Platforms
- WordPress Themes
- WordPress Forms
- Payment and eCommerce Tools
- Security and Infrastructure Tools
- Analytics Tools
- Quality Assurance
- Content Workflow Tools
- Multimedia Sources
- Marketing & List Building Tools
- SEO Tools
- UX and Optimization Tools
Let’s dive in!
WordPress Hosting Platforms
If you want to operate at any capacity above a glorified personal diary, you’ll want to have an effective hosting solution. While many solutions exist, a few of them really rise above the crop.
BlueHost is one of the most popular hosting platforms, and it’s wildly easy to get set up. They also offer their own Mojo Marketplace for WordPress apps and plugins, so you can easily get set up with a couple crucial tools, including WordPress forms and design tools.
The best part about BlueHost is the ease of setup. It’s one click WordPress install, and you get a domain and SSL is included. Solid solution overall.
2. WP Engine
WP Engine is my favorite hosting platform. As their name suggests, they specialize in WordPress hosting. WP Engine is a bit up-market from BlueHost; they offer more serious (and slightly pricier) services. But they’re blazing fast, reliable, and they offer excellent support.
Ryan Farley, co-founder of LawnStarter, says, “We switched LawnStarter’s blog over to WP Engine and we will never go back. It was a bit tricky due to custom config we had to do, and their support was really awesome.”
Moved my web hosting from Bluehost (after 7 years!) to @kinsta and immediately saw the difference in site speed. Thanks for the amazing support from Kinsta's migration team!
— David Ly Khim (@davidlykhim) July 25, 2018
SiteGround is a great solution for getting started, but it also offers solutions that scale with you. For WordPress, they offer a 1-click install as well as transfer assistance (if you’re changing from a different providers).
They manage WordPress autoupdates, and they offer “SuperCacher” on all plans above the StartUp for extra fast speed. Geeks can use WP staging and Git integration on “GoGeek,” cloud and dedicated plans.
GoDaddy, generally speaking, isn’t my favorite solution, but it is easy to get started. Particularly, if you bought your domain and everything from GoDaddy, it’s an easy way to get launched and blogging. It’s also one of the more affordable hosting solutions.
DreamHost is another widely used hosting provider. They offer a slew of solutions, from shared to dedicated hosting and a special WordPress hosting setup. It’s, like the other solutions, easy to get started, and they offer an easy to use website builder as well.
If you’re setting up a WordPress site, especially for the first time or without many resources, you’ll want to begin with a theme. Heck, even if you’ve been operating for a while and at scale, it’s likelier than not that you’ll be using a robust WordPress theme. In any case, the ecosystem of custom and premade WordPress templates is huge, so you’ll have no shortage of options.
Here I’ll outline 2 top themes, one theme marketplace, and two theme creators that can build out custom sites for you.
First, let’s start with the marketplace of choice: ThemeForest. You can spend hours on here searching and flipping through different themes. They have themes for every category, no matter what you site is set up to do: eCommerce, SaaS, a content publication, etc.
You’ll find most premade templates and themes here. The cool thing is that you can see how many times they’ve been downloaded and what they’ve been rated, and you can also preview them to get a sense of how your site would feel.
8. Avada Theme
While the top WordPress themes are always changing, this one is usually seated right at the top of the list. Avada is, after all, the best selling theme of all time.
That’s probably because it’s super customizable and easy to use. Can’t go wrong with this kind of social proof.
Another constant list topper is the BeTheme, which is another multi-purpose and customizable template. With these top sellers, you may worry, “won’t my site look like everyone else’s?”
Sort of, but it’s customizable enough that it probably won’t matter (unless you want to do something truly eccentric and innovative).
In reality, these themes have great support and are constantly updated, technologically, to adapt to new changes on WordPress. Because they’re so popular, you get a bit of confidence in their ability to support your site with scale.
Content from tracey
Chances are, if you run a website, you’ll want to have some sort of way to collect information from users. Whether you need a simple contact form or an elaborate lead generation tool, it all starts with a form.
There are tons and tons of solutions available for WordPress.
10. HubSpot Form Builder
HubSpot actually offers this as part of their WordPress plugin, but one of the core features is their free form builder. You can also just use their form builder without the rest of the plugin features, and just embed the form HTML onto your WordPress site.
With this form builder, you have no limits on form fields or number of forms, so you can get pretty far just with the free solution.
Of course, the real benefit kicks in if you use the rest of HubSpot’s marketing tools, as the native integrations really free up a lot of time and effort normally spent building custom integrations.
But even alone, the form tool is pretty nifty.
11. Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is a more advanced, and in my opinion, harder to use form tool. You can really dig in and build custom styles for your forms, especially if you’re a proficient CSS writer.
Gravity Forms offers integrations with most core business tools as well, from PayPal to Freshbooks and more.
I’d say this is the solution to go for if you want a robust and advanced form tool
12. Contact Form 7
I believe Contact Form 7 is one of the most popular WordPress tools, in general, not just in the specific field of form builders. It’s super widely used, simple to set up (and is often built into themes), but it’s pretty limited in terms of its use cases compared to other solutions.
In summary, it’s probably the minimum viable solution you’d need to get visitor info. If you just have a simple contact us page form, this is fine. If you want to do anything more advanced with lead generation or marketing automation, I’d opt for one of the other tools.
13. Survey Anyplace
An engaging way to collect data online is a lead-gen questionnaire: the visitor goes through a number of questions and gets a personalized result at the end. Survey Anyplace is a tool to create this type of questionnaires. This can be a quiz, an assessment, or even a calculator – for example to calculate the savings when buying a product.
The questionnaires can be embedded by including their embed code or by using the recently launched WordPress plugin.
Payment and eCommerce Tools
If you run a site that accepts payments, either subscription or eCommerce, you’ll want to check out some of the following tools.
14. BigCommerce for WordPress
BigCommerce for WordPress allows you to add commerce to your existing theme without affecting site load time. You get full access to robust inventory management tools as well, and have a seamless, secure and customizable checkout experience on your domain.
WooCommerce is an eCommerce cart tool specifically made for WordPress (it’s owned by Automattic, those who make WordPress.com).
If you run a subscription product or service, MemberPress is the WordPress plugin to look into.
It’s easy to set up and you can collect recurring payments from your subscribers or members. It’s made specifically for WordPress, so it integrates perfectly and includes tons of extra tools to help you run a premium membership site.
Security and Infrastructure Tools
Some WordPress tools seem boring on the outskirts – they don’t help you acquire tons of leads or pump out SEO content at a high volume – but they’re absolutely crucial for security, sanity, and infrastructure. This category is somewhat of a mixed bag, but consider it your recommendations for tools that help you operate your site in the background.
17. Rename WP Login
Rename WP Login is a simple one. It’s a light plugin that lets you easily and safely change wp-login.php to anything you want.
18. Backup WordPress
Backup WordPress is another one, and based on its name, it’s pretty obvious what it does.
It lets you backup your entire site including your database and all your files on a schedule that suits you.This is really a crucial tool for infrastructure; you’ll definitely want some sort of file backup tool in place. This is a good, easy one to use.
19. WP Limit Login Attempts
Here’s more of a security oriented WordPress tool. WP Limit Login Attempts lets you (surprise) limit login attempts. Basically it will protect your site from brute force attacks.Brute Force Attack aims at being the simplest kind of method to gain access to a site: it tries usernames and passwords, over and over again, until it gets in. WP Limit Login Attempts plugin limit rate of login attempts and block IP temporarily. It is detecting bots by captcha verification.
20. WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache speeds up your site, which is great for many reasons. Obviously, users like a faster site, so there’s the immediate and direct performance benefit. But, Google likes sites that users like, so a faster site might help your SEO rankings as well.
This plugin is incredibly popular, with over 2 million active installations.
Essentially this plugin generates and serves static HTML files to most of your visitors, which allows for a faster load speed. Definitely worth downloading this one.
Redirection is a popular WordPress tool with over one million active installations. It help you manage any sort of page redirections you want to have on your site.
With it you can easily manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This can help reduce errors and improve your site ranking.
22. WP Performance Profiler
WordPress Performance Profiler is more of a monitoring tool. It helps developers manage and measure site performance on a variety of factors. With this tool, you can:
- Measure the performance of plugins
- Spot trends in aggregate data
- Detect performance issues
- Optimize your site
It’s a great solution to keep an eye on performance issues and stay on top of technical issues.
23. Widgets on Pages
Widgets on Pages helps you add sidebars and widgets easily, without coding or using up developer resources. Set it up once, and customize your widgets from then on.
A tool like this may be useful for a blog where you don’t want to necessarily create outlandish customizations, but you’d like to be able to control certain aspects of your blog sidebar and change and add things easily.
24. WP User Avatar
Have a lot of guest contributors? This could be a useful WordPress tool for you.
Out of the box, WordPress currently only allows you to use custom avatars that are uploaded through Gravatar. WP User Avatar lets you use any photo uploaded into your Media Library as an avatar. This means you use the same uploader and library as your posts. No extra folders or image editing functions are necessary.
Chances are, your site will generate some 404 (broken links). Whatever the reason for them, it’s both a good user experience and a good signal to Google to acknowledge the broken pages and set up a custom 404 page. This plugin lets you do that easily.
Bonus: you can turn this into marketing assets by pushing links or lead signups on the page.
26. Search Everything
Got tons and tons of content? Trouble sifting through it to find anything specific? Search Everything lets you, well, search everything (WordPress plugins seem to have amazingly specific names).
This one is maybe something to ignore while you’re growing, but when you start to build up a massive site, filled with tons of files, pages, and posts, you might want to give this a look.
WordPress Analytics Tools
WordPress offers its own analytics solution. But it’s bad. You shouldn’t just use WordPress analytics. If you want real insights on your visitors, you should set up one of the following tools.
First up, the basic setup: Jetpack. This one is created by WordPress.com and is more than just an analytics tool. It’s also actively installed on 5+ million sites. For design services, it gives you:
- Tons of professional themes for any kind of site
- Customization tools
- Unlimited and high-speed image and video content delivery network
- Lazy image loading
- Integration with the official WordPress mobile apps
For marketing and analytics:
- Site stats and analytics
- Automated social media posting and scheduling in advance
- Elasticsearch-powered related content and site search
- SEO tools for Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com
- Advertising program that includes the best of AdSense, Facebook Ads, AOL, Amazon, Google AdX, and Yahoo
- Simple PayPal payment buttons
This is sort of an “all-in-one” WordPress tool, as you can see. It’s super popular and gives you access to a ton of different functionalities. No real downside in installing this one.
MonsterInsights is a Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to easily install and use Google Analytics, which is the gold standard for web analytics, on your site.
Hands down, it’s the easiest way to get started. You can also view reports from your WordPress dashboard.
29. DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager for WordPress
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is another free tool from Google’s analytics suite. It’s kind of like a control center for your website tags, including your analytics tag, so you can more easily manage and edit what you deploy onto your site (as well as what you’re capable of tracking).
This plugin simplifies installation.
Basically, it just places the GTM container code snippets onto your wordpress website so that you do not need to add this manually. Multiple containers are also supported.
You still have to do all of your actual GTM settings within the GTM interface, but this plugin is a good way to avoid messing up the tag installation.
If you don’t trust Google Analytics for whatever reason, a good alternative is Matomo. Matomo, formerly called Piwik, is a free and open-source solution, and while it’s not as popular as GA, it’s effective and useful for getting similar data on your website visitors.
Matomo doesn’t have (to my knowledge) an easy-install plugin, so you’ll have to put a bit more work into setup. Once you’re setup though, you’re good to analyze. Two steps for setup:
- Set up your own install of self-hosted Matomo on your server
- Add the tracking code from your Matomo install to your WordPress site
We won’t dive too deeply into the nitty gritty here, but this article does a great job walking you through setup.
HotJar is a different sort of analytics tool. It doesn’t just give you numbers like “pageviews” and “sessions.” It shows you heat maps of where visitors click, survey responses, and even session replays (videos of users actually going through your site).
In this regard, it’s often more associated with user experience analytics, because the reports are often more qualitative in nature. However, because it’s a full suite of tools to gather insights, I include it as an analytics tool.
HotJar is easy to setup. While it can’t be installed on free hosted wordpress.com sites, it can be easily setup otherwise. Here are instructions on how to do so from HotJar’s help site.
How do you know your content is good? Well, you can rely on comments and feedback once the post is published. Or, better yet, you can use tools to help you QA your content and make sure it’s free of errors and it is high quality.
32. Word Stats
Word Stats is a great way to get deeper insights into the linguistic and qualitative aspects of your content. You can keep track of your posts and improve their quality.
Basically, you get a reporting tool where you can select an author and see the following data:
- The total word count.
- The number and percentage of posts of each post type.
- The top 20 keywords.
- The percentage of posts of basic, intermediate and advanced readability level.
- A graph with monthly word counts for each post type.
- Diagnostics tables, with links to edit the posts that may be too short, too long, too difficult, too simple, lack relevant keywords or abuse certain keywords.
This isn’t a WordPress specific tool, but I won’t apologize for that, because I love Grammarly. It’s a Chrome Extension that you should definitely use. It will really help you clean up your language anywhere you’re writing online. Super useful!
Content Workflow Tools
Once you’re publishing regular content, you’ll likely need a tool or two to manage your process. From editorial calendars to workflow tools, there are many solutions that can make life easier for a content manager.
These are WordPress tools that will help you be more productive and organized.
Wordable lets you upload Google Docs drafts directly to WordPress in a few seconds. It saves several hours per post, and if you write a lot, the amount of time you save compounds and becomes really impressive.
Do you use Google Docs for blogging? Give this tool a try. You can simply write the way you normally would, and Wordable will pull it to WordPress and format it, adding images, links, and everything else, into the post. A process that used to take a few hours can now be done in a few clicks.
35. Edit Flow
Edit Flow is a sort of “all in one” suite for a content manager. It lets you track work through an editorial calendar and discrete project steps, and it also gives you metadata on your overall process. Here are the features included:
- Calendar – A convenient month-by-month look at your content.
- Custom Statuses – Define the key stages to your workflow.
- Editorial Comments – Threaded commenting in the admin for private discussion between writers and editors.
- Editorial Metadata – Keep track of the important details.
- Notifications – Receive timely updates on the content you’re following.
- Story Budget – View your upcoming content budget.
- User Groups – Keep your users organized by department or function.
36. WordPress Editorial Calendar
Everyone who writes more than 2 posts per month should use an editorial calendar. We use an editorial calendar. Heck, I have a personal editorial calendar I use to store ideas and plan out posts. It just helps you outsource your brain to a tool so you don’t have to remember when literally every post should be published.
WordPress Editorial Calendar is a good place to start. It operates within the interface, so you don’t have to leave the platform to check your calendar (though a tool like Trello is helpful for collaboration).
37. Easy Content Templates
Some websites won’t require something like this, but if you have several pieces of content with a similar format – in other words, templatized content – Easy Content Templates can help you scale production and save time reproducing templates.
The best blog posts include more than words. You should be using a variety images and videos if you really want to have a profound effect on your readers. Trouble is, where do you find your images? Where do you edit them?
There are a thousand tools out there, but many are complex and don’t even do the basic things that you need them to. The tools listed here are WordPress specific and will help you create pretty-looking posts.
38. Image Inject
Image Inject, formerly called WP Inject, lets you search and insert free photos into your WordPress posts. Sure, there are many sites out there, such as Unsplash, that give you access to free stock photos. But this one lets you do it all within the WordPress interface, saving you a ton of time.
Zedity isn’t so much a multimedia tool as it is a design tool. Basically, it gives a lot more flexibility to design your pages and posts than the out-of-the-box WordPress visual editor. Using this tool gives you capabilities like adding text on top of images (and much more).
Marketing & List Building Tools
Form creators, of course, can be part of your list building strategy. But they shouldn’t be everything (at least if you want to get the best results). There are several special solutions to help you create better marketing assets and acquire more email list subscribers or leads. Here are a few of them.
40. HubSpot Marketing Free
As mentioned above, HubSpot has a whole slew of marketing tools available in their WordPress plugin.
It’s not just a form builder, but a variety of marketing tools including their Lead Flows (popup tool), live chat, kickback emails, a built in analytics dashboard, enriched contact profiles, and a dashboard to manage everything.
It’s really an “all in one” suite for lead generation and nurturing tools. Once you write content to attract people to your site, this suite will help you convert them into subscribers and customers.
41. Sumo List Builder
Another great and popular popup tool comes from Sumo, and they also offer a convenient WordPress plugin so you can set it up easily.
They offer all the standard popups – exit intent, scroll box, content upgrades – and they also have a few analytical features, like heat maps (to show where your visitors are clicking). Overall, it’s a great set up small business marketing tools.
I’ve found the software to be easy to set up, but ultimately, un-customizable. It’s good for adding CTAs to the bottom of posts, but I’ve found it limited for any advanced targeting. Still, it’s nice and simple tool to use when you’re first getting set up.
43. ContentOptin Lite
ContentOptin Lite is a pretty simple WordPress plugin. It helps you create “content upgrades,” or offers within a piece of content that allow you to collect email leads. Whether you want to gate an ebook or offer a spreadsheet or template with your blog post, this is the tool to help you do it.
SEO tools is a category distinct from marketing and list building tools, for obvious reasons: SEO is its own beast, and this is one of the most well developed categories in the WordPress tool landscape.
From internal linking to quality scores, you’ll find these tools will sharpen up your focus on writing SEO friendly content.
44. All In One SEO Pack
“All-in-one SEO Pack allows you to hand craft your page title, meta description, and keywords. Or simply let it generate titles and keywords automatically. Handy little tool for fine-tuning these SEO elements.”
It honestly has an insane amount of features (too many to list here), so if you just have one SEO tool, this is probably the one to pick.
Yoast is almost a household name at this point, at least for marketers. It does a bunch of things, but primarily, it helps you analyze the SEO friendliness of your writing and it lets you easily edit your meta descriptions.
I’ve used this on every WordPress site I’ve ever worked on. Seems others are using it too (there are 5+ million active installations). You should definitely use Yoast if you plan on ranking in search engines.
46. PrePost SEO
PrePost has many of the same SEO tools that Yoast has to help you make sure you’re going to rank in search engines, but they also have a bonus feature: a plagiarism checker. If you have several contributors to your site, this is supremely important. Plagiarism is more common than you’d imagine, and you don’t want your site to be the host for stolen content. This tool will help you catch it.
47. Google XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps make it easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. This plugin, aptly named Google XML Sitemaps, make is super easy to create them.
Additionally, it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content. If you’re writing content, this will help make sure it shows up in Google!
48. SEO Internal Links
Internal linking and site architecture is important for SEO. It’s also important for user experience. SEO Internal Links makes it easy to add internal links to related posts on your site.
They also give you the easy ability to create nofollow links and to have links open up in new windows. No brainer plugin to add if you’re looking up to clean up the link structure on your site.
49. WP Keyword Suggest
Sometimes, you’re not necessarily writing a piece with an SEO focus in mind. Sometimes you just want to write and focus on the message.
Still, you can (and should) try to capture whatever SEO traffic is relevant to your topic. This is where a tool like Keyword Suggest comes in handy.
It analyzes your content and suggests a handful of keywords you might want to optimize the piece for.
UX and Optimization Tools
All the above tools help you run your WordPress site, manage the content workflow, write content, and make sure its ranking. But this class of tools below will help you optimize the site (for whatever metric you care about) and improve the user experience.
VWO is a cheap and easy to use A/B testing platform (it also includes other CRO tools like surveys, form analytics, and heat maps. They have a WordPress plugin that lets you easily inject the code and get up and running.
51. Google Optimize
Here’s the thing: there’s no WordPress plugin for Google Optimize. But I wanted to mention it anyway. It’s likely that you’re already using Google Analytics. You may also be using Google AdWords. If that’s the case, you may as well give Google Optimize a try.
It’s their free A/B testing tool. While it has limitations (5 concurrent tests), it’s probably the best solution if you’re starting out. Afterall, who can complain about the price?
In any case, it’s easy enough to set up on WordPress. Here’s a guide to help you do so.
52. Nelio A/B Testing
Here we go! A specific A/B testing solution for WordPress. Nelio A/B testing doesn’t just let you test pages, it offers a management platform for your experiments. It works with WooCommerce, so you can do interesting and deep ecommerce testing.
They also give you other CRO tools, like heat maps and behavioral analytics.
53. Thrive Headline Optimizer
Thrive Headline Optimizer offers a very specific type of experiments: headline testing.
It’s difficult to tell from their landing page how they optimize headlines (whether it’s using a simple controlled experiment or an algorithm), but they seem to be reviewed very well. If you want to maximize click through rates on your headlines (on social, email, or otherwise), this might be worth checking out.
54. Simple Page Tester
Simple Page Tester is another split testing solution with a dedicated WordPress plugin. It doesn’t really differentiate itself from the others, but give it a try if you’re looking for a solution.
55. Title Experiments
Title Experiments is another wildly simple headline tester. You just plug in your headline variations and then calculate the optimal variation based on conversion rates or click through rates.
56. WordPress Calls to Action
Calls to Action are important website components for turning traffic into subscribers, subscribers into leads, and leads into customers. This tool makes it easy to build them in WordPress.
57. WordPress Landing Pages
WordPress Landing Pages plugin gives you a way to create dedicated landing pages on your WordPress site. It also gives you the ability to monitor and track conversion rates. You can slo run a/b or multivariate split tests on landing pages.
58. Marketing Optimizer
Marketing Optimizer is a sort of “all in one” suite of conversion related tools for WordPress. It gives you:
- Landing pages
- Testing and Optimization
- Popups and Overlays
59. Unbounce for WordPress
Unbounce is an awesome landing page builder that also has a popup product. They also offer a WordPress plugin so you can set things up easily on your WP site. Here’s the gist of the process:
- Build your landing page in Unbounce
- Publish your page to WordPress using the plugin
- Manage all your WordPress landing pages through the plugin’s interface
- Edit and update all your landing pages from Unbounce’s page builder. They’ll automatically get updated on your WordPress site.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of WordPress tool. In fact, this list is just the tip of the iceberg (and the rabbit hole is deep, so you can easily get sucked into the abyss searching for new tools).
This list hit most of the main categories and most useful tools. Still, however, it’s possible (and probable), we missed a few important ones. If that’s the case, make sure you comment and let us know!