Choosing the best WordPress plugins for bloggers is just one of the must-do’s now that you’ve created your own website. But how to understand what your blog really needs? Here’s the list of must-have WordPress plugins for bloggers and some additional suggestions.
If you’re just thinking about getting started, make sure to check out Blog Creation Simplified: a free guide all about WordPress website setup.
I’ve never found a really simple way to explain what is a plugin for those who don’t have the smallest clue… But I’ll give it another go! A plugin is an upgrade to your website – by installing plugins you install new features. Yes, it’s kind of that easy.
There are plugins for almost anything! Just a few quick samples: contact forms, galleries, media players, sidebar designers, theme improvements, opt-ins, sliders, banners, counters… gooosh… really – anything.
Let’s say, I’ve just started a new blog. Most likely, my blog will have a formatted text within it and maybe a photo or two – since these are the basic features of WordPress.
With additional plugins, I’ve upgraded my own blog posts and you can too. In my posts, for example, you can see “Click To Tweet” quotes within the text, you can also spot Pin It button on the images and find opt-in forms for my mailing list.
All of that – thanks to plugins! So let’s see what are the must-have WordPress plugins.
What to keep in mind before adding plugins to your WordPress website
The simple truth of less is more works for plugins as well. If you install tons of plugins, your website will get slower and might even run into all kinds of errors.
Therefore, before adding plugins to your website make sure you will benefit from them. And keep the number of active plugins reasonable!
At the same time – WordPress websites can’t run without plugins. There is no option to “okay, I just won’t use them, just to be safe”. Even for the most basic features, you will need a plugin. And most WordPress websites already come with some plugin installations to begin with.
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Must-have WordPress plugins for bloggers
Jetpack is the most basic and most must-have WordPress plugin you might need. It has several features.
Here are just a few:
– Easily manageable site stats (great for tracking your visitors on a daily basis!);
– Anti-spam program which protects your comment section from unwelcomed visitors;
– Share buttons to make your posts easily shareable (although I have suggested another plugin for that as well!);
This one is a pretty basic suggestion and most if not all “must-have WordPress plugins for bloggers” articles will list this plugin.
Yoast SEO is a plugin that’ll help you to optimize your blog for search engines (since SEO is exactly that – Search Engine Optimization)
It will not only show you how to improve your blog posts by showing your SEO score per post or per page but Yoast SEO also turns this whole process into a fun experience.
After installing this plugin, you’ll see SEO & Readability score by each of your posts and pages. Each of them will be either Red, Orange or Green. If the score is bad and there are some ASAP improvements necessary, it’ll be in red. Once you’ve adjusted some parts, it’ll be Orange. And once it’s done and good to go – Green! Well, call me geeky but I call this my kind of fun…
Another great thing about Yoast SEO is the fact that it not only requests updates but also educates you on what and how to improve. Within a week of using this plugin, you’ll be the master of your blogs SEO!
Here’s another plugin that bloggers just love to mention and no surprises so!
Pretty Links is a plugin that lets you convert any link into a link with your domain name. It’s especially great for those bloggers who are into affiliate marketing. You can use affiliate programs provided link and convert it into a link with your domain. For example, google.com/link-ref-numbers-12323234 turning into yourdomain.com/google Much prettier and easier to remember and type whenever you need to.
There’s an unlimited number of links you can create. This plugin also gives you an opportunity to track one link shared in various places. For example, you can create
google.com/link-ref-numbers-12323234 into yourdomain.com/google-twitter or yourdomain.com/google-facebook and see which social media gets more clicks.
There are various plugins that let you create “Pin It” buttons on your images but this one is my favorite.
First of all, Pinterest is a must-have platform if you’re looking forward to increasing your readership. I’ve written more about how to grow your blog with Pinterest over here.
Once you’re into Pinterest, the next step is to actually optimize your blog and website for Pinterest users. One of the steps to take – add Pin It buttons on your images! And voila! here’s the plugin to do just so.
This lets people pin your content on Pinterest right from your website.
Although SumoMe offers all kinds of amazing tools, the one and only I’m using and truly suggesting are their share buttons.
From all Share button plugins I’ve found, this one has worked the best and proved itself the coolest. You might’ve seen this style of share buttons on many blogs and no wonder why so – they do work!
You can easily adjust them to your specific needs – choose which social media to add, what colors to use, how big or small to make these buttons and where on your website to place them.
Even if you have custom Share function in your theme or you’re already using another plugin – give this one a try!
Okay… but what else they have in store? They’re also offering all kinds of email marketing options: welcome mat, pop-ups, signup forms. As well as website stats and others.
This is something I’m using based on Siteground’s suggestion. Siteground is my hosting service (which I totally adore and suggest) and each specific hosting plan offers limited features. I mean, these limits are great and hard to beat if you have a decent traffic without huge peaks but they’re there.
HeartBeat Control is a plugin that controls one of these limits and keeps “hand on a pulse” to make sure my website is working as necessary at all times and not exceeding its limits.
In other words, this plugin automatically shuts down some technical functions my website might not need and turns them back on when necessary. All kinds of serious tech stuff I don’t know much about.
The only thing I know – it’s working! There was a day when my traffic reached level “incredible” and my limits were overextended Siteground warned me about this and
WP Super Cache
As much as I’ve been getting into the whole cache thing, I’ll be honest here – I hardly understand it.
Therefore, I won’t get much into explaining WHAT is a cache but I know for sure – Cache plugin is very important.
In a simple version – it cleans your website, on a daily basis, from all kinds of minor and bigger files that might get stuck and slow down your website.
Having a Cache plugin can make your website faster and improve its performance. Which will make it more user-friendly. So make sure to install this plugin!
Other WordPress plugins for bloggers
Here are some plugins that might not be “must-have” but bloggers will find useful:
- ButtonsX button designer – if you’d ever want to add a button in your blog post, ButtonsX is a simple and good plugin to do that with. You can create buttons in different styles and sizes, leading to any link you want. Most of the design features are for Premium users only but I’m sure you could make it work with the basic version just as well.
- Better Click To Tweet – Although your blog can fully function without this plugin, you can increase your post shares by giving an easy option to tweet/share your posts. This plugin also makes your post easier to read – separating a rather big chunk of text into smaller parts if you put these tweetable quotes in between. I see it as a nice design feature!
- Widgets on Pages – I found this plugin just recently when I wanted an easy to use option for my website design improvements. Most themes have several Widgets – Footer, Header, Sidebar. Some have more, others – less. And they work only where they’re supposed to be. But what if you want to add a Widget on your Page or in your Post? You can do that with Widgets on Pages!
- WP Forms Lite – It’s so far my favorite Contact form plugin for WordPress. I’ve had several issues with many different plugins. Some are hard to set up, others can crush or their design is not as aesthetic as I’d like. WP Forms Lite is a simple to use and well-designed plugin for your WP contact forms!
I hope you’ve found what you were searching for! When starting a new website, always make sure to check out what plugins come with your theme. Most likely, they will be the first must-have WordPress plugins in your case.
If you’re seeking any specific plugin, just Google it and it might be your lucky day. As said, there really are MANY different plugins for all kinds of needs. You just have to dig.