When you start a blog, choosing the best WordPress plugins can be tricky at times.
With over 50,000 plugins to choose from, picking out the most trusted ones requires a bit of time and research. There are plugins which will enhance your blog and some which will do the exact opposite.
To save you some time on research, below is a list of the best plugins to download for WordPress – all which are totally free to use! These WordPress plugins are essentials for any blogger.
- Yoast SEO
- Editorial Calendar
- Sumo Me
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Smush
- Pretty Link Lite
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- XML Sitemap
- Page Builder by Site Origin
- Contextual Related Posts
- Wordfence Security
1. Best SEO WordPress Plugin
Yoast SEO is hands down the BEST WordPress Plugin out there. Period. Yoast SEO takes care of ALL the technical aspects that will skyrocket your blog’s SEO rankings. From the readability level to setting your focus keyword, Yoast makes sure you cover all the SEO requirements to boost your SEO score. All in all, they encourage you to write better content through real-time analysis and feedback.
It also includes a snippet preview which lets you see exactly how your post will look like in Google search results. Tweak it to perfection and you’ll notice traffic flooding in from all directions! Another key feature of Yoast is their XML Sitemaps. This allows search engines to easily crawl through your pages so your posts can be seen in Google, Bing and Yahoo’s search results.
The more I can say about Yoast, the less. Since this is a FREE plugin, I don’t see a reason for you to not have it.
2. Best WordPress Calendar Plugin
Scheduling your posts ahead of time really lets you stay ahead of the competition. Using a calendar plugin for your blog posts creates a natural sense of urgency in your mind. You know what to do next, and exactly when to do it. Many bloggers lose focus because their thoughts are scattered all over the place. Not posting in a periodic and timely manner can be detrimental to your progress in blogging – your traffic can take a hard hit because of that.
With the Editorial Calendar, you’ll be able to plan out your blog posts months in advance. This will help create better conversion funnels and lead to higher targeted traffic flow. This calendar allows full flexibility with the options to drag and drop posts and edit them directly in the calendar.
3. Best WordPress List Building Plugin
If one of your main strategies is to increase your list of email subscribers than SumoMe is one of the best list building plugins out there.
SumoMe has 8 different list building tools to choose from:
Welcome Mat: A full-screen is displayed when a visitor lands on your homepage. Include a catchy call-to-action on this display and watch your subscribers come pouring in.
Heat Maps: This tool is one of the most tactical tools out there. Heat Maps will show you exactly where your visitors are clicking and the amount of times they have clicked.
Share: Adds a horizontal or vertical social media bar on your pages or blog posts making it extremely easy for readers to share on their social networks.
Scroll Box: An email opt-in box is triggered depending on how far your reader has scrolled down.
Highlighter: Allows readers to highlight any sentences and share it directly on twitter.
Smart Bar (My Favourite): A floating bar that can appear at the top or bottom of the page. You can direct your readers to either opt-in, share or redirect to a new page.
Image Sharer: Makes it a breeze for readers to share your posts or pictures on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.
4. Best Plugin to Increase Site Performance
Does exactly as the name states – caches your WordPress pages to improve SEO and overall page speed. This plugin enhances the user experience on your website by creating a flawless and lag-free navigation.
5. Best Plugin to Optimize Images
This plugin helps decrease your site’s load time by optimizing and compressing all images in your media. It helps reduce image size while enhancing your site’s performance and boosts SEO. This results in a flawless user experience which is a key factor in reader retention.
6. Best Plugin to Shrink and Customize URLs
This plugin helps your blog/website look much cleaner. You’ll be able to create custom URLs according to your liking. Pretty Link also counts the click frequency of individual URLs – meaning you can run manual A/B tests to optimize click rates.
7. Best Plugin for Blog Security from Spam
Akismet is great for bloggers who are experiencing frequent spam comments. It automatically checks all comments and filters out the spam. Consider this your automated garbage bin!
8. Best Plugin for Creating a Sitemap
Ever see the footer of a web page which says sitemap? Well, every website and blog has one for a reason. This plugin generates a special sitemap which encourages engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to easily crawl your website. Once your website is indexed, each post and page will be submitted to the search engines. Furthermore, it notifies every search engine about your new post – increasing the possibility of ranking higher in searches.
9. Best Page Builder Plugin
With over 1 million downloads, this plugin is a must have for beginners! It lets you fully customize your page with their drag-and-drop feature. Not as advanced as the Divi theme but it does the job quite well. All the widgets are mobile friendly and built for responsive content.
10. Best Plugin to Decrease Bounce Rate
In order to decrease your bounce rate, you need your visitors to go from one page to the other. This plugin helps you do exactly that. At the end of your post, CRP shows thumbnails of related blog posts which entices your readers to dig deeper into your site.
11. Best Anti-Virus Plugin
Their headline reads, The most downloaded WordPress security plugin. Without a doubt, this plugin is the best security option for your blog. From Malware protection to building an internal firewall, this plugin will ensure your blog stays out of trouble. Wordfence is the best bodyguard a website can ever have!
As mentioned earlier, there are tons of plugins to choose from. Just remember, do some research before your download and activate a plugin. The last thing you want is your site to crash because of this. Trust me, it happens to the best of us.
If you want to mitigate your errors before you start your blogging journey, then head over to The Do’s and Don’ts: What I learned in my first two months of blogging. It’s a 2000 word post jam packed with info so you can avoid the mistakes a lot of beginner bloggers always make.
Last but not least, if this post was of any help to you, then don’t forget to share it – it helps with the growth of this blog.