It’s remarkable to think that WordPress has evolved from a basic blogging tool in the early Noughties. Today, WordPress powers a third of all live websites, according to statistics from Hosting Tribunal. Its intuitive interface and roster of almost 8,000 themes provides endless inspiration for small businesses. And while the introduction of the Gutenberg editor in 2018 remains controversial, this block‐based editing tool does simplify the process of creating new pages.
Indeed, one of the greatest advantages of WordPress is the streamlined nature of its basic framework. Onto this, you can attach numerous standalone plugins, which perform specific functions. These only activate when called upon, and the ability to deploy them as needed ensures websites aren’t bloated with unnecessary or irrelevant code.
As of November 2020, there are over 58,000 standalone plugins. Many of these are WordPress ecommerce plugins, which are invaluable for online trading platforms or small businesses – after all, over a quarter of the world’s online stores are powered by WordPress. These are six of the best WordPress ecommerce plugins currently on the market, starting with perhaps the greatest single plugin ever created:
Yoast SEO. Created: 2010. Total downloads: 284 million.
It’s rare for any product to receive a five‐star average rating from over 25,000 reviews, but Yoast is quite special. It provides a beginner‐friendly traffic‐light guidance system for improving on‐page SEO. It offers keyphrase suggestions, automatic technical improvements and faster page loading times.
WooCommerce. Created: 2011. Total downloads: 115 million.
The world’s most popular open‐source ecommerce platform hasn’t achieved this lofty status by chance. WooCommerce supports everything from storefront creation to SEO management, and from social media integration to customer activity monitoring. It’s also available in 64 languages.
Easy Digital Downloads. Created: 2012. Total downloads: 3.1 million.
Any list of WordPress ecommerce plugins has to include a plugin for selling and managing digital products. EDD is built to support the sale of ebooks, music, PDFs and other non‐physical media. This all‐in‐one platform offers gallery themes, download links, discount codes and much more.
Mailchimp. Created: 2001. Total downloads: 9.2 million.
Mailchimp predates the creation of WordPress. Its WooCommerce marketing automation plugin has been downloaded almost ten million times. It synchs the two platforms together for targeted email campaigns, marketing ROI analysis, product recommendations and even abandoned cart recovery.
Jetpack. Created: 2011. Total downloads: 203 million.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) help to optimise websites for mobile devices. Jetpack effectively turbocharges page loading times, which benefits SEO. Its content delivery network optimises images and their display times, while other features include site analytics and help attracting advertisers.
Google Analytics Dashboard by Analytify. Created: 2014. Total downloads: 800,000.
Google doesn’t directly offer its comprehensive website traffic analysis suite on WordPress, but partner organisation Analytify has created a fine alternative. A premium version offers real‐time stats and shortcodes, while the standard package covers Analytics staples like social media stats.