HUSTLR Awards for

Best WordPress Plugins

What makes WordPress such a great platform for building stunning websites and blogs? To begin with, it’s user-friendly and doesn’t require any prior knowledge of web programming. Moreover, you can choose from a treasure trove of awesome-looking WordPress themes. What sets it apart, however, is the availability of an extensive array of effective and easy-to-configure plugins.

Whether you want to improve your website’s performance or add an opt-in form, you’ll find a plethora of WordPress plugins. We’ve curated our favorite picks for the top WordPress plugins for different functions.

Here’s how we shortlisted the top contenders and picked the winners in each subcategory:

BEST PAGE BUILDER PLUGIN

Do you want to build an awesome looking WordPress website without delving into the intricacies of coding? Elementor is just the right page builder plugin for you. The feature-rich plugin offers an intuitive visual drag-and-drop editor that gives you complete creative control over your website. You can add and customize multiple elements on individual web pages.

Elementor Pro, the premium version, offers an advanced “Theme Builder” that lets you customize the entire theme including header, footer, archive pages, etc. You also get access to a “Popup Builder” that lets you easily design pop-up forms for various purposes.

  • Simple and user-friendly interface
  • Includes various useful widgets, third-party plugins, and pre-built templates
  • Provides live preview
  • Supports WooCommerce and lets you customize shop/product pages
  • Compatible with a wide range of WordPress themes
  • Frequently updated
  • Support is often slow
  • No lifetime license option

HUSTLR reviewed more than 15 page builder plugins. Our team evaluated various factors including creative control, features, interface, versatility, compatibility, and pricing.

We selected Elementor as the winner as it can be used to build any type of website, from a simple portfolio to a robust online store. It offers a plethora of styling options and is compatible with various WordPress themes and third-party plugins. Even though the premium version is slightly expensive, the free version packs an impressive array of features.

Apart from ratings, our team considered how well a plugin satisfied the needs of novice and experienced users. We also looked into user reviews on various online platforms. Additionally, our team consulted various bloggers, webmasters, and developers who have the first-hand experience of using these plugins.

BEST CACHE PLUGIN

WP Rocket is a sophisticated caching plugin that is suitable for beginners as well as experienced developers. It combines a simple and user-friendly dashboard with advanced developer-friendly features. Moreover, it’s extremely easy to install and integrates with other WordPress plugins including WooCommerce.

What sets WP Rocket apart is its wide ranges of powerful features such as browser caching, cache preloading, lazy loading, image optimization, and code minification. Moreover, it’s compatible with frequently used CDNs and web hosting services. It also comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.

  • Suitable for beginners and developers
  • Easy to install and configure
  • Offers advanced features such as lazy loading, code minification, etc.
  • Compatible with WooCommerce
  • Excellent tech support
  • 14-day money-back guarantee
  • No free version or free trial
  • New users might get overwhelmed with the wide variety of features

HUSTLR reviewed more than 10 free and premium caching plugins. Our team analyzed various features including features, add-ons, compatibility, reliability, versatility, and pricing.

We selected WP Rocket as the winner because it offers an all-in-one caching and optimization solution. It’s packed with useful features, such as image optimization and static files compression, that make it more than just an average cache plugin. Despite the robust features, it’s fairly easy to use.

Apart from ratings, our team analyzed how well a plugin worked for different types of websites. We also conducted various tests using Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate the performance of each plugin. Additionally, we looked into user reviews on various online platforms.

BEST IMAGE OPTIMIZATION PLUGIN

If you’re looking for a fast and reliable plugin that automatically compresses images as you upload them, EWWW Image Optimizer is the right choice. The feature-packed plugin supports common file formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF. Moreover, it lets you bulk optimize previously uploaded images. It also optimizes images generated by third-party plugins.

The best part is that EWWW Image Optimizer performs all the compression on your server instead of sending your images to an external server. This, in turn, makes the plugin extremely fast and secure.

  • Supports commonly used file formats
  • Automatically compresses images on the go
  • Bulk optimizes pre-existing images
  • Let you schedule periodic optimization
  • Fast and secure
  • Easy to use
  • Free version only offers lossless compression

HUSTLR reviewed more than 10 free and premium image optimization plugins. Our team analyzed various factors includes features, performance, reliability, add-ons, compatibility, and pricing.

We selected EWWW Image Optimizer as the winner because it’s fast, secure, and versatile. Moreover, it’s easy to configure and use. The best part is that it performs automatic optimization and even lets you enable scheduling.

Apart from ratings, our team considered whether a plugin fulfilled or exceeded a user’s expectations. We also looked into user reviews on various online forums. Additionally, our team interacted with web developers and webmasters who have the first-hand experience of using these plugins.

BEST SEO PLUGIN

Yoast is a user-friendly and versatile WordPress plugin that lets you easily optimize your web pages for the right keywords. You can easily spot SEO errors, add meta titles and descriptions, and check the readability score of your content. Moreover, it automatically generates an XML sitemap that lets search engine spiders easily crawl and index key web pages.

Moreover, you can check and customize how your web pages appear on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. While the free version offers all the essential features, the premium version includes advanced features such as content insights and focus keyword reports.

  • Highlights SEO errors and readability score
  • Easy to configure and use
  • Generates XML sitemap
  • Offers a feature-rich free version
  • Frequently updated
  • Extensive knowledge base; the premium version also provides 24×7 tech support
  • Doesn’t understand the search intent
  • Can’t perform keyword research

HUSTLR reviewed more than 10 SEO plugins. Our team analyzed various factors including features, versatility, support, compatibility, scalability, and pricing.

We selected Yoast SEO as the winner because it’s a robust yet easy-to-use plugin that’s suitable for all types of websites. From creating XML sitemaps to optimizing on-page content, it’s an all-in-one SEO solution. Being one of the most widely used SEO plugins, it also boasts a thriving community of experienced users.

Apart from ratings, our team considered how well a plugin would adapt to the growing needs of a user. We also looked into user reviews on various online platforms. Additionally, our team interacted with various webmasters and digital marketers who have the first-hand experience of using these plugins.

BEST AFFILIATE MARKETING PLUGIN

Are you looking for a simple affiliate marketing tool that lets you easily insert and manage affiliate links? ThirstyAffiliates is the right choice for you. It lets you cloak links and automatically insert affiliate links into your blog posts. Moreover, you can organize your affiliate links into different categories.

It lets you monitor how each link is performing and tracks your sales. Moreover, it integrates with Google Analytics to give you deeper insights into how individual blog posts are performing.

  • Lets you auto-insert affiliate links
  • Enables link cloaking and redirects
  • Provides useful reports and analytics
  • Easy to install and configure
  • Offers a free version
  • Extensive documentation and resourceful tech supports
  • Mandatory to use link prefixes for cloaking

HUSTLR evaluated more than 10 affiliate marketing plugins and tools. Our team analyzed various factors including features, ease of use, support, scalability, compatibility, and pricing. We also reviewed specific features such as automatic link insertion and reporting.

We selected ThirstyAffiliates as the winner because it’s an all-in-one plugin that lets you insert, monitor, and manage your affiliate links. Despite its powerful features, the plugin is fairly beginner-friendly.

Apart from ratings, our team also considered how well a plugin fulfilled the needs of websites in various niches. We also looked into user reviews on various online platforms. Additionally, our team interacted with bloggers and webmasters who have the first-hand experience of using these plugins.

BEST OPT-IN PLUGIN

Icegram isn’t just your average opt-in form builder. It’s a powerful all-in-one plugin that lets you create different types of opt-in forms, calls-to-action (CTAs), headers, footers, announcement bars, slide-ins, and toast notifications. You can even choose where and when your opt-in forms are displayed.

Additionally, Icegram provides you with plenty of responsive and fully customizable pre-built templates. It’s also compatible with popular email marketing services such as Mailchimp, GetResponse, Campaign Monitor, and Constant Contact. You also get access to valuable analytics and insights that let you monitor the performance of different forms and CTAs.

  • Simple and user-friendly form builder
  • Multi-purpose plugin (includes CTAs, notification bars, etc.)
  • Mobile-responsive pre-built templates
  • Compatible with frequently used email marketing services
  • Detailed analytics and reporting
  • Responsive tech support
  • Premium version is slightly pricey
  • Inclusion of too many features can be overwhelming for beginners

HUSTLR evaluated more than 10 free and premium opt-in plugins. Our team analyzed various factors including features, affordability, ease of use, versatility, and support. We also considered specific features such as responsiveness, quality of pre-built templates, and reporting.

We selected Icegram as the winner because it works as a multi-purpose tool for lead generation and audience engagement. The free version offers all the essential features you need to grow your mailing list. While the premium version is expensive, it provides you with advanced features such as exit-intent popups and abandoned cart recovery.

Apart from ratings, our team considered whether a plugin fulfilled or exceeded a user’s expectations. We also looked into user ratings on various online platforms. Additionally, our team consulted various webmasters, digital marketers, and content creators who have the first-hand experience of using these plugins.

BEST CRO PLUGIN

As the name suggests, Nelio AB Testing lets you test almost everything on your website. From pages and products to CSS styles and headlines – you can run split tests for individual elements on your websites. It also generates useful heatmaps to help you monitor how your audience is interacting with different parts of your website.

You can even test widgets, menus, themes, and templates. The best part is that you can use the plugin right from your WordPress dashboard. Moreover, it runs all the A/B tests on the cloud, thereby eliminating any obstruction to your website’s speed and performance.

  • Enables split test for various elements of a website
  • Provides advanced analytics and heatmaps
  • Uses the native WordPress dashboard
  • Runs A/B tests on the cloud
  • Compatible with other WordPress plugins including Elementor, Beaver Builder, and WooCommerce
  • Excellent tech support and comprehensive knowledge base
  • No free version (includes a 14-day free trial though)
  • No lead generation feature

HUSTLR reviewed more than 15 WordPress plugins that are useful for different aspects of conversion rate optimization (CRO). Our team analyzed various factors including features, compatibility, versatility, support, and pricing. We also considered specific features such as analytics and eCommerce integration.

We selected Nelio AB Testing as the winner because it’s a feature-rich yet beginner-friendly plugin. You can run useful A/B tests and evaluate heatmaps without ever leaving your WordPress dashboard. Moreover, it’s suitable for any type of website, ranging from blogs to online stores.
Apart from ratings, our team considered how well a plugin catered to the needs of beginners and developers. We also looked into user reviews on various online platforms. Additionally, we consulted various webmasters, digital marketers, and eCommerce business owners who have the first-hand experience of using these plugins.

BEST CDN PLUGIN

While it’s primarily a caching plugin, W3 Total Cache seamlessly integrates with all major CDN services such as MaxCDN and Cloudflare. Moreover, it’s easy to set up and use. You can enable and configure your preferred CDN service in a few simple steps. Moreover, it offers advanced features such as code minification and database optimization.

The best part is that W3 Total Cache is a free plugin. While it provides limited tech support, you get access to extensive documentation.

  • Supports commonly used CDN services
  • Easy to configure and use
  • All-in-one speed optimization plugin
  • Core version is free
  • Robust documentation
  • Free version offers limited tech support
  • Premium tech support is quite expensive

HUSTLR reviewed more than 10 free and premium WordPress plugins. Our team evaluated various factors including features, add-ons, compatibility, scalability, and pricing.

We selected W3 Total Cache as the winner because it’s compatible with a wide range of CDN services. Moreover, it’s suitable for beginners as well as seasoned developers. It’s reliable and secure as well.

Apart from ratings, our team also analyzed whether a plugin was suitable for various types of websites. We also looked into user ratings on various online platforms. Additionally, our team consulted webmasters, bloggers, and developers who have the first-hand experience of using these plugins.

Conclusion

Whether you’re building a simple blog or a full-fledged online store, it’s crucial to use the right WordPress plugins to enhance your website. The diverse array of plugins available on the internet will leave you spoilt for choice. That’s why our team has curated the top WordPress plugins for various functions to help you identify the right plugins.

We evaluated more than 100 plugins and analyzed over 500 user reviews to pick the winners. While we used the rating system, affordability, ease-of-use, and reliability played a crucial role in our decision-making. Moreover, our team frequently interacted with real-life users including developers, webmasters, bloggers, and online business owners.

Our Methodology for Best WordPress Plugins Award

How We Shortlisted the Top Contenders:

HUSTLR reviewed more than 100 free and premium plugins to cover the different subcategories. Our team analyzed various parameters to shortlist between 10 and 20 plugins for each subcategory. Here are the commonly used parameters:

  • Reliability – Does the plugin function seamlessly or is it prone to frequent crashes?
  • Versatility – How well does a plugin cater to different types of users and niches?
  • Scalability – How well does a plugin adapt to the growing needs of a user
  • Compatibility – Is a plugin compatible with popular WordPress themes and third-party plugins?
  • User-level – Is a plugin suitable for entry-level as well as experienced users
  • Affordability – Is the plugin affordable for beginners? Does it come with a feature-packed free version?

In addition to the generic criteria, our team analyzed specific parameters based on a subcategory. For instance, interface and styling options were considered when selecting the top page builder plugins. Likewise, we evaluated reporting and mobile-responsiveness were evaluated while shortlisting the best opt-in plugins. We also considered when a plugin had been launched and how frequently it’s updated.

How We Selected the Winner in Each Subcategory:

Our team assigned ratings (between 1 and 5) based on different parameters to the shortlisted plugin in each subcategory. The criteria used for assigning these ratings were tailored for each subcategory. Here are the common rating parameters that were used across all subcategories:

  • Ease of use – How easy is it for a beginner to install, configure, and start using a plugin?
  • Tech support – Does the plugin come with useful documentation or a comprehensive knowledge base? Is the tech support responsive and helpful?
  • Value for money – Do the features and add-ons justify the cost?
  • Wow factor – How well does a plugin succeed in surpassing a user’s expectations?

We shortlisted the top 5 contenders in each subcategory based on these ratings. The final decision was made after evaluating how each plugin succeeded in resolving its target user’s problems.

How We Validated the Winners:

Our team analyzed more than 500 user reviews and ratings available on various platforms. We also verified the features and pricing plans on the developer’s official website. For specific categories, such as cache plugins, we used Pingdom and Google PageSpeed Insights to verify the performance. Lastly, our team consulted various experienced WordPress developers, webmasters, marketers, and eCommerce store owners who have been using these plugins.

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