The popularity of plugins rises and falls with the passage of time, but there are a few plugins that are a bare necessity as we move into 2016. If you need help finding the best plugins for your website, don’t despair. The following are the top WordPress plugins we'll be using in 2016.

  1. Gravity Forms

Most websites today need some form of tool to help them create quality web forms. Whether they are used for username and password data, shipping information, contact forms, or subscription information, there is a definite need for these types of plugins. The problem, though, is that some of the form builders create ugly looking forms or they are difficult to use unless you have significant coding experience. Gravity Forms, on the other hand, is simple to use and it creates aesthetically pleasing and flexible forms that are easily added to your desired pages.

  1. Yoast SEO (free)

Yoast SEO has reached a legendary status within the WordPress community, and it is used very frequently. If you’re looking for a quality SEO plugin that won’t break the bank, Yoast SEO is your best bet. If you want, you can even buy the upgraded premium version for extra functionality.

  1. Google Analyticator

This free plugin provides the extremely useful feature of allowing you to manage your Google analytics data. While there are other plugins that provide the same functionality, this is one of the best free tools. Managing your Google analytics these days is a must, so you need to be prepared with the best tool. If you want you can search around for a premium plugin, but most people opt for the free plugins because they do just about everything the premium plugins will do without any extra bells and whistles.

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  1. Woocommerce

Woocommerce is a fantastic shopping cart system that will help you take payment card data and receive financial transactions like PayPal and other credit cards. There are a ton of addons which can create a huge benefit to your users and make your website look even more professional. They offer a variety of payment gateways like Stripe, Paypal and Pay by Amazon.

  1. Akismet

Hey, do you want some spam? Of course not! Fortunately for you, Akismet was designed (in part) to help you block unwanted spam to your website. Frequently Internet hucksters will spam links to affiliate and CPA programs in an effort to sell products and earn a commission, but this tool will help block them.  It's still my favorite spam blocker - and you can even customize it if you use forms like Gravity (mentioned above) or ContactForm7.

  1. Easy Social Share

If you’re not plugging your website into social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, you are missing out on free advertising and you desperately need this plugin! After you have created content, all a user will need to do is click a single social share button to share your content with everyone connected to them on social media. While this plugin is a premium plugin, there are many similar plugins that provide the same functionality for free (like YARPP, which we often use for our clients).

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.