The best plugins for your ecommerce website

In this article, xneelo looks  at what plugins to include on your ecommerce WordPress website. 

We’ve previously looked at what pages to include in your ecommerce website and what to look for in a payment gateway. To complete your ecommerce store, you’ll need the right plugins to take care of the functions that will catapult your customer experience from good to great.

What are WordPress plugins?

WordPress plugins are add-ons for WordPress designed to provide extra functionality and customisation to your website that can be installed straight from your WordPress dashboard.

There are thousands of plugins available from the WordPress plugin library that perform a variety of functions. Its important to note that while some are free, others are only available in paid plans.

Here are our top recommendations.

Marketing plugins

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is vital for the success of any website. In order to gain visitors, you need your site to rank well in search engines, and on-page SEO can help it do that. Yoast SEO provides handy SEO tips right in the WordPress editor, to help you maximise the potential of every post and page.

Keeping with the theme of SEO optimisation, RankMath is an AI tool that helps you optimise your content quickly for search engines.

Another handy Marketing plugin is MCWP, which connects your website with your Mailchimp account, and grows your newsletter subscriber list through call to actions. 

Our last marketing recommendation is WPForms, which allows you to easily add custom forms to your website including contact forms, registration forms, surveys, polls, newsletter signup forms, and more. Use these forms to capture leads, queries, subscribers or even generate valuable insights through surveys.

Security plugins

These days customers not only expect a secure shopping experience, they want their data to remain safe in your care. A popular security plugin for WordPress is Wordfence Security, which provides a comprehensive suite of security features including firewall and malware scanner. Sucuri is another highly-ranked WordPress firewall and security plugin that comes with a built-in option to cache your website content with one click.

Spam comments can degrade the quality of your website, hurt your users’ experience, and even damage your website’s search engine rankings. Akismet Anti-Spam filters out spam comments, so they never make it to your blog posts.

Performance plugins

Site speed is very important for any online business. Not only does a faster website have less chance of losing visitors, it’s also likely to rank better in search engines. W3 Total Cache clears your cache easily, so that your website pages display quicker for visitors.

Who could ignore a performance tool created by WordPress Performance Team themselves? Performance Lab features a collection of standalone performance modules focused on enhancing performance of your WordPress site.

AI plugins

Generating content is a proven method of engaging visitors and improving your search engine rankings. One of our favourite WordPress plugins, Jetpack, now features an AI assistant that can help you craft professional content from the WordPress editor.

AI tools aren’t just for improving content. The AI Engine plugin lets you to add a chatbot to your website, which not only boosts customer satisfaction by being able to answer queries quickly, it also enables you capture valuable sales leads 24/7.

When choosing plugins for your ecommerce store, remember to look at the review score and to test each one thoroughly in a staging environment before applying to your live site. (xneelo’s Managed WordPress Hosting provides you with a free staging environment for this exact purpose.)

Also remember to always keep your plugins up-to-date. Failing to do so could result in security issues, errors, or other problems for your site. Automated updates are a smart way to make sure that your plugins are always updated.

Useful resources:
xneelo offers web hosting and business enablement to more than 500 000 South African websites.
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