If you’ve tinkered around with WordPress for a while, you’ll soon come to realize that some point, you may need a little more functionality to your website. The WordPress repository offers a ton of free plugins (see my recommended plugins here), but sometimes the free options don’t tend to work out so well for what we need to accomplish.
For example – maybe you might need a coming soon page done, and you can’t quite afford something like LeadPages (which I love and use, by the way but it’s a hefty price tag.) Maybe you want to embed a questionnaire into your website to survey your audience or capture questions for discovery calls, have a better way to capture emails, or a nicer way to share your affiliate link. Maybe you need a better backup system too.
I’m guessing if you’re a WordPress user – you’re a blogger, online marketer, small biz owner, affiliate marketer, online biz strategist, online coach and some of the things I mentioned above might come in handy for you. Can you guess what kind of premium plugins I’m going to talk about today? Yep, ones that will help you to create a coming soon page, capture more emails, backup your website, help you survey your audience and share your affiliate links.
Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you chose to make a purchase. I ONLY recommend products that I have personally used and tried for myself. You can read more info here.
This is one of the best backup plugins in the WordPress industry. I use this plugin not only to backup my website and client sites, but I’ve also used it to migrate websites from one domain to another, when I’ve had to switch web hosts either for myself or clients, and even used it to restore my website when it got hacked last year (worst thing ever!)
BackupBuddy allows you to back your website up so it’s available for download in your WordPress dashboard, and you can also do remote storage backups to cloud services such as Amazon S3, Google Drive, good old email and Dropbox.
I’m using Backup Buddy on this site and it gives me peace of mind knowing that my site is backed up on a daily basis, and I can easily access the backup file at any point in time.
If you’re just starting out and want a reliable backup system, go with the Blogger edition for as low as $80/year (that’s $6.67 per month.) For me, since I manage client sites and frequently do migrations and transfers, I chose to go with the Gold Package.
Oh my goodness do I love Gravity Forms! It’s simple drag and drop, super user-friendly and there is literally so many things you can do with it. Some of the things I’ve used Gravity forms to create for myself or for client sites:
- Resume application
- Contact forms
- Survey forms
- Accepting payments and donations via PayPal
- Discovery questionnaires
- Clients: Do you use Freshbooks? There’s a Add-on feature for that.
- Email subscriptions: Gravity Forms integrates with Mailchimp, Mad Mimi, Get Response, Campaign Monitor, Active Campaign, Aweber and possibly a few more email service providers.
The possibilities are endless. Want to see Gravity Forms in action? I’m using it on my contact page , my Web Design Service page and several other service pages on my website. I currently have the Developer License because it allows me the extra add-on features with Mailchimp, PayPal and Freshbooks.
Gravity Forms follows a similar pricing structure to Backup Buddy, with annual fees and tier option. A simple Personal license for $39/year should suffice for many of you. However if you need some of the extra bells and whistles I mentioned above, consider a Developer License.
Oh! One good thing about Gravity Forms is that if you renew your license within the first 60 days, they give you a 50% discount on the renewal fee. So for me, I pay $99/year for my Developer License if I renew it within that 60 day window.
If you want to create a coming soon or under construction page on your website and can’t afford something like LeadPages, Ultimate Coming Soon Pro is a great alternative (I mentioned the free version of this plugin in my Top 10 Recommended Plugins posts.)
Why I like Coming Soon Pro:
- Lots of custom options to create an under construction, coming soon or landing page while you work on your website.
- You can customize the background, fonts, colors.
- The option to capture email addresses while you put your site together – which is something the free version doesn’t offer. Integrates with several popular email providers, including MailChimp, Aweber, Infusionsoft and Get Response.
- You have the ability to link to your social networks on the coming soon page and also the ability to share your coming soon page with others on social media.
You’re starting to see a trend here aren’t you? It’s pretty self-explanatory. I always recommend starting out with the most basic package unless you know you’re going to need something more. When I first came across this plugin, I started with the business license, and eventually upgraded to the Developer License because I used it so much on my sites and individual sites.
If you plan on using affiliate links of any kind, I would definitely consider this plugin.
It “cloaks” the long gibberish mess of affiliate links we are typically given (eg.http://prettylinkpro.com?aff=webspyredmedia) and changes it to something magical that looks like – http://webspyredmedia.com/prettylink :). See isn’t that better?
There is a free version you can pick up here , but the premium version allows for split testing, analytics tracking and even sharing on social media where permitted. I’m using this plugin right now on my website and all the links I mentioned here are being “cloaked” using Pretty Link Pro.
It’s also a great way to organize your affiliate links and you can see the amount of unique clicks per link.
I personally have the Developer Edition because I work with multiple websites, however the Blogger Edition is a perfect fit if you’re just getting started.
And there you have it! So….to recap:
Backup Buddy – secure website backups and peace of mind.
Gravity Forms – user friendly contact forms and better communication with your audience.
Coming Soon Pro – awesome coming soon pages that capture emails while you work behind the scenes.
Pretty Link Pro – clean and simple way to share your affiliate links while providing value.
I would love to hear in the comments: What are some of the premium, must-have plugins that you use on your WordPress website? Did I miss anything?