Essential WordPress Plugins For Your Blog
When starting your new blog, there are essential WordPress plugins that you’ll need to install to enhance your blog features and systems. A plugin is an add-on feature within your WordPress site that gives you more flexibility. The WordPress platform itself is already extremely powerful, but with over 10, 000+ plugins available within the WordPress Plugin Directory, you’ve got the ability to really build out and tailor an online site that works for your blog and business.
If you’re new to WordPress and blogging, “plugins” can seem a little daunting at first – you’re not sure “what plugins are, how they work, why you need them, which ones work, which don’t, and which plugins are an absolute must.”
Some themes may require you to have particular plugins installed in order to work with their theme. This is often the case with child themes on the Genesis framework. But just incase your theme doesn’t come with a plugin guide, here’s our list of essential WordPress plugins for your blog that you need to install when starting your new blog or business website.
Our List Of Essential WordPress Plugins For Your Blog
Safety, Security & Protection
Akismet is the best guard against comment spam for a WordPress blog. Spam comments are always going to happen, and can make your blog look horrible if they slip through the cracks. Akismet checks your comments again the Akismet Web Service to see whether they look like spam. Free
This is a WordPress plugin with free and premium versions that lets you complete both manual or synced backups to your server. It will also backup to your nominated cloud storage device. You can restore with a single click in the event you lose your current website data. Free, and premium options.
Someone will try to hack into your blog at some point, because the internet is home to some not so nice people. Wordfence lets you set parameters for how many login tries per IP address you’ll allow before they get locked out. Free, and premium options
Data & Analytics
The Google Analytics plugin for WordPress brings your essential Google Analytics data into your WordPress dashboard for easy access and review. It will show you key stats to monitor your traffic, users, referrals, and top performing blog posts. You can easily install this app using your API key from your Google Analytics account. Free
Jetpack is a powerful feature within your WordPress dashboard itself that connects to additional features in the free WordPress.com platform. Once enabled, Jetpack can give you spam protection, social sharing buttons, related post buttons, and other features that could potentially render additional external plugins unnecessary.
SEO, Optimisation & Indexing
Yoast SEO (as it’s commonly referred to) is probably the best-known and most popular SEO plugin for WordPress users. Yoast makes it easy and fairly user-intuitive to ensure your posts, pages and images are optimised for SEO before you hit publish. At the bottom of each blog post or page you will find a box with fields you must fill out, and it will prompt you on how to fill these fields out based on your blog title and the SEO keywords selected. You can also control your social sharing features (images, headlines, and descriptions) within Yoast SEO. Basic version is free and is great!
This plugin will let you update your images with the proper title and ALT tags as you upload them, which is a key component of your on-page SEO tactics helping to improve your ranking in search engine results pages and increasing your web traffic. Free
This plugin is crucial for SEO, and will automatically generate an XML sitemap for your site. Having an XML sitemap will help search engines index your blog. It will also notify all major search engines every time you publish a new post or page. Basic version is free and will do the job.
This plugin will monitor your posts, pages, images, and comments for broken links. Once broken links are identified on your site, links can be edited directly from the plugin page to avoid manually updating each post. FreeA plugin is an add-on within your #WordPress site giving you more flexibility. #blogtips #blogchat Click To Tweet
BJ Lazy Load helps to reduce your page load time, and site bandwidth. It does this by only loading images once they become visible as you browse through the page. It replaces your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images, and content iframes with a placeholder. This is especially important if your blog is photo-heavy, such as food or travel related blogs. Free
W3 Total Cache is designed to increase the page load speed for WordPress sites, which will improve your visitors’ overall experience. W3 Total Cache can also help to improve web server performance during high traffic periods; crucial for larger websites. Free
The WP Smush plugin lets you reduce the file size of your images by stripping them of unnecessary information. Doing this helps to increase your page load speed time – benefiting you in the eyes of search engines like Google. Your page speed time is a critical component within the SEO algorithms that factor into page ranking. Basic free, or enhanced paid premium version (WP Smush Pro) available.
Writing & Bogging
The Editorial Calendar for WordPress is a drag and drop scheduling addition with your “Posts” area of the WordPress dashboard. It lets you schedule and plan posts days, weeks, and months in advance, giving you a visual way to map out your content delivery and strategy. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog. Free
The Black Studio Tiny MCE plugin gives you an almost Microsoft Word type toolbar, allowing you to select fonts, headings, sizes, and insert images into your posts and pages. This means you can stay within the “visual” editor and don’t have to fiddle around learning html shortcuts to format your content the way you want it. Free
Social & Sharing
If you’re not displaying links to your social accounts on your blog, you’re missing the opportunity to grow your social following. One of the first things a new reader will do after landing on your blog (apart from checking out your “About” page), will be to click through to your social profiles. Your social profiles serve as your social proof, and give an indication as to who you are, what you do, and why this reader should spend time reading the content on your blog. If your blog theme doesn’t come with social icons built in, this plugin lets you link your social account info. Free
If your theme doesn’t come with this option built-in, then YARPP is a great plugin to let you display related posts or pages to the current post within your site. This is ideal as you will want to encourage your readers to stay on your site and continue reading your content. Free
ShareThis provides free sharing buttons and tools to drive traffic and increase engagement on your site. The social engagement your posts and pages get within the community is part of your Off-Page SEO. You can customise the look and feel of the share icons within the plugin, and select your preferred platforms that your content can be shared on. FreePlugins let your site run faster, optimise content, aid back up + security. #blogtips #blogchat Click To Tweet
This plugin lets you greet new visitors to your site with a custom welcome message, prompting them for example to subscribe to your RSS feed or opt-in to an email service. You can completely customise the message, its lifespan, and its location. You can also exclude the message from being displayed on certain pages. Free
This is arguably the best click to tweet option on the market for WordPress. You can easily with a simple click of a button insert pre-loaded tweetable messages to increase social sharing and engagement by your readers. It’s fully customisable if you know CSS, and you can easily make links nofollow for the SEO-conscious. Free
Sometimes your web theme will come with contact forms within. There is also a generic contact form within the Jetpack features of your WordPress platform. However, depending on your needs, you might want to install a superior plugin to give you more flexibility and customisation options. Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customise the form and the contents within. Free
The Pinterest Pin It Button let’s you enable a “pin it” button to display when hovering over images, to make it easy for your readers to pin your content to Pinterest. This plugin is not always needed, often your audience will have a “pin it” button already installed within their Chrome browser, and sometimes your web theme or alternate social plugins will also give you this option. However if you are using this plugin – it’s great! The paid premium feature will also let you customise the image of your “pin it’ button. Free, and premium paid available.Essential #WordPress plugins for your blog or business website. #blogtips #blogchat Click To Tweet
Plugins are the heart of what makes WordPress so powerful, and on the surface – are the deciding factor between blogging via a self-hosted WordPress.org platform and any other platform. Plugins can make your site run faster, improve content optimisation, and help with back up and security – without the trouble of having to learn and implement code.
Just remember that although plugins can enhance your site, running too many plugins can cause your site to run slowly and wreak havoc between each other. So it’s best to be highly selective with the plugins you choose to install. The essential WordPress plugins listed within this post are just a guide, based on popular recommendations and our personal use. You may not need all, or any of these WordPress plugins, and you may choose to select alternatives to those listed above.
When selecting your essential WordPress plugins for your blog, be sure to check the reviews, research the developer, check for any red flags, make sure the plugin is regularly maintained and compatible with your current version of WordPress, and consider the necessity of the plugin.
>>> Which essential WordPress plugins do you have running on your blog?