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WordPress Black Friday –
Top 10 Indie Plugins (2022)
As the owner of a small WordPress plugin business myself, I recently spent some time researching other WordPress Black Friday plugin deals that my customers might want to purchase. Trawling through 49 pages of the most popular plugins listed on wordpress.org, I filtered plugins that met the following criteria:
Jump straight to the Top 10 list
The last criterion is admittedly a bit specific. It ensures that all plugins in this top 10 list are relevant to my customers. My plugin (Microthemer) is a visual WordPress CSS editor for styling any kind of WordPress content. So content-generating plugins are complementary.
The second-to-last criterion isn’t because I have anything against WP Beginner plugins (e.g. WP Forms, OptinMonster, SeedProd) or Stella WP plugins (e.g. LearnDash, Kadence, iThemes Security). In fact I rate their plugins highly. It’s just that they get plenty of exposure over Black Friday. Do a Google search for “WordPress Black Friday” and you will find WP Beginner as the top non-sponsored result. And if you dig into the other results on page one, you will see their plugins featured prominently. So to give you a fresh perspective, I’m focusing on plugins that don’t have quite so much exposure. That said, these plugins are still very well established and have at least 10’s of thousands of sites actively running them.
I must confess, I had an ulterior motive for trawling through 49 pages of WordPress plugins – partnership opportunities. But before making contact I made sure they were a company I would be happy to recommend to my users. So I spent quite a bit of time reading their reviews and forum support threads. I excluded some that had many five star reviews of just four or five words long, which made me a bit suspicious (perhaps unfairly, I sometimes get short five star reviews too, but there is a mix). Plugins that only selectively replied to support requests in their forum didn’t make the cut either.
I decided to write this post because all of this research should be helpful to potential buyers looking to allocate their Black Friday budget wisely. Funnily enough, most of those I contacted didn’t reply. But hey, I rarely respond to cold contact emails myself. I’m including them anyway for the sake of passing on some value to you, dear reader. My ultimate ulterior motive is that you find this resource genuinely useful and share it with others or spend a little time checking out Microthemer.
Some of these plugins have an affiliate program, which means they pay me a share of the sale if you click on my affiliate link to their site. However, this is completely optional. There are two links in the table below: “Free” and “Premium”. The “Free” links are not affiliate links. Some of the “Premium” links are. The price you pay if you ultimately choose a paid plugin is not affected either way.
WordPress Black Friday – Top 10 List
So without further ado, here is my curated list of independent and high quality WordPress plugins. These plugins are not dominating search engine results during Black Friday this year, and so you could easily miss them. But they are all highly rated, well maintained, and solve real world problems that can help you save or make money as the world enters murky economic waters.
A point-and-click CSS (and Sass) editor that removes the friction for both beginners and developers. You can use it to style absolutely any WordPress content - if you can see it you can style it.
Beginners can save money by making fine-grained design changes to their site without hiring a developer. Whereas developers can turn around website projects quicker by speeding up their workflow with Microthemer.
Apply lightweight animations to your pages in the form of Gutenberg blocks or shortcodes that integrate with your page builder of choice.
This plugin specialises in animation and delivers some pretty impressive effects that can help with your conversation rate. And it's paid blocks even have specific elements to help with marketing.
Create web forms with calculated fields, whose values are dynamically calculated based on other fields' values. Like dynamically updating a price based on the number of nights stay in a hotel.
This plugin offers some fairly niche functionality that you won't find bundled in other products. It saves you having to hire a programmer, or make do with a less than optimum solution.
Create forms visually with drag and drop, choose from a library of design templates, and integrate with email marketing services like Mailchimp and ConvertKit.
Forms are an essential component in lead generation, so having reliable, nicely designed forms that don't slow down your website can help increase your bottom line.
Adds a widget for converting your WordPress content into another language on the fly. The premium version also creates translated copies of your pages on a language specific subdomain so you can appear in foreign search results.
If your product or service is relevant to an international audience, getting organic search engine traffic from a wider selection of countries can help you increase traffic and sales.
Create popups for email opt-ins, lead generation, eCommerce, content upgrades, cookie notices, and more. Integrates with various form builders like Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms, and WP Forms.
Popups can be annoying for users, but they're popular nonetheless because they work. They help you build up your mailing lists so you can sell cost effectively to an audience that trusts you.
Increase your conversion rate and reduce customer support queries with this drag and drop FAQ section builder.
Adding a professional FAQs section to your site can help potential customers overcome objections to buying your product or service. This plugin can therefore increase your conversion rate.
Build a review form you can invite your customers to complete as part of your on-boarding process and display them on your site automatically. You can also import reviews from Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
Testimonials are an essential trust building component of any site that sells a product or service. I've had tons of great reviews that I haven't taken the time to collate and display prominently. I'm considering using this plugin myself!
Add a WhatsApp chat button to your WordPress site to open up a convenient line of communication with your prospective customers.
I think whatsApp is an interesting option for adding live chat to a website because, in some countries at least, it has enormously high uptake. For other countries, it can be a complementary option alongside a more generic chat solution (e.g. Tidio). The advantage of WhatsApp over generic chat is that the user doesn't need to manually enter an email address or phone number if you're not present immediately. They need only say "hi" and you have a means to contact them. The benefit of a generic chat widget is that anyone can use it.
An alternative to Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) that is pitched predominantly at developers but has a UI extension for creating custom fields with drag and drop. It also has a views extension for displaying custom field content on the frontend without writing code.
The advantages of Meta Box are similar to Microthemer - it helps beginners make changes to their site without a developer, and it helps developers build sites quicker.
Well I hope this list has introduced you to some useful products that you didn’t know existed. It will be updated next year if I find a particularly noteworthy undiscovered gem. The total number will stay at a carefully curated “10” because there are enough super long lists of Black Friday deals around.
Feel free to suggest your own plugin for consideration if it fits the criteria outlined at the top of the article. Especially if you have between 10K – 40K active sites and 4.8+ stars. Unfortunately the last page of the most popular WordPress plugins listed on wordpress.org stops at 40K active sites, so I couldn’t systematically review plugins with fewer installs.
Oh and if you do end up using one or more of the plugins in this top 10, remember to checkout Microthemer, my WordPress CSS editor. You can use Microthemer to make any plugin content match the design of your site visually, with point and click.