One of the awesome benefits of building a self-hosted WordPress blog is the plugins! WordPress plugins make life soo much easier. You can make a professional looking blog with absolutely no coding required. Plugins broaden your site functionality. They are like apps for your website.
There are tons of plugins available to download. All of the ones available on WordPress are free to download. You can also purchase premium plugins to gain even more functionality. The plugins that you need vary from site to site.
All of these plugins are available for free. Some of them do offer premium versions if you would like more features. You can download any of the plugins listed below by logging into your WordPress site. When you are on your dashboard screen you are going to scroll down to where it says plugins on the left sidebar. Hover over plugins and click add new. Simply, search the plugin name, download, and activate it. Once the plugins are activated you will need to configure them to your preferences.
For bloggers specifically, there are some must-haves! I have put together a list that I use and would be beneficial to you.
WordPress Plugins Every Blogger Should Have
Search engine optimization (SEO) is EXTREMELY important for your site visibility in search engines. Yoast SEO is the number 1 SEO plugin for WordPress. If you are unfamiliar with SEO it is okay, because Yoast SEO walks you through the process step by step. There is a free and premium version offered. The free version has all of the basics that you need. But if you would like more control over your SEO, you should look into purchasing the premium version.
Yoast SEO increases your site visibility in search engines. You have the ability to optimize keywords for your posts so they are found when people search those key terms. It gives you a readability score of your content. Yoast will walk you through all of the necessary steps to link your social media profiles and make sure that your site is indexed by Google.
Google Analytics by Monster Insights
Google Analytics is a must for your blog. This an awesome tool to manage traffic to your blog. There are lots of great features that Google Analytics offers. If you are interested in learning more about it, click here or click the related link below.
The plugin by Monster Insights makes analytics more convenient for WordPress. It gives you the ability to see how to find and use your blog. It is the best Analytics plugin available for WordPress.
Here is why you need Google Analytics by Monster Insights
- Ability to view real-time visitors
- Track sales from WooCommerce or digital downloads
- Track usage of links such as affiliates and outbound
- View the most popular sections of your site
- View where people are being referred to your blog from
- Track who is clicking on your ads
- Easily view analytic dashboard
This plugin is a powerful tool that will help you keep visitors coming back to your site. Blogging is all about trial and error. Google Analytics gives you an in-depth breakdown of where your site is doing well and where it can use improvement.
If you use Instagram, this is a great plugin. As long as your profile is not private you can display a slideshow of your Instagram images on your blog. Using this plugin can increase your social engagement on Instagram. It shows people the quality content on your profile to make them want to learn more. The plugin is customizable to show and hide details of your choice. If you choose to show your username, people can easily follow you right from your feed.
If you do not have an anti-spam protection, I am sure you get lots of spam comments and emails. I cannot tell you how much junk emails I was receiving from spammers before I got this plugin. It was extremely annoying. Thank God for Akismet Anti-spam because the spamming has stopped!
It checks your comments and contact forms to protect it against malicious content. It saves you time and hassle from having to individually filter through your emails and comments for spam. Do yourself a favor…get the plugin and keep the junk away!
All 404-Redirect To Homepage
How many times have you clicked on a broken link and it leads you to an error page? We have all had that happen at some point. How frustrating is that when you are trying to get somewhere and you can’t?! Well, this nice plugin prevents you from reaching those frustrating error pages. When you click a broken link, it will redirect you to a page that you choose in the plugin preferences. It is that simple! This can also be beneficial to keeping traffic on your website. You can redirect users back to your blog, and then they may see another article that interests them. They will then click and read the post. Without the re-direction, they would have probably just moved onto the next website that they were going to visit.
Coming Soon Page and Maintenance Mode
If you are just starting your blog or undergoing changes, you do not want everyone seeing them. This plugin allows you to put your site in coming soon or maintenance mode. You have the ability to design a webpage that users will see when they visit your website. For example, if you are a new blogger you would put your website in coming soon mode. When people visit your website it will show your logo and a message letting users know you will be coming soon and to check back soon. You do not have to worry about people visiting your blog before it is ready.
Contact Form 7
Having a contact form on your blog is important. If sponsors visit your website and like what they see, they are most likely going to visit your contact page and email you. You do not want to make it a hassle for them to contact you. With contact form 7, you can create a form to display anywhere on your website. People interested in contacting you can simply fill out the required information on the form and with the click of a button, it is conveniently sent to you right from your blog. The contact form gives you more control over the information that you require from people that are wanting to email you. This will also help prevent spam.
Insert Headers and Footers
If you do not know code or like messing with the backend of your website, this plugin is a must-have! Programs like Google Adsense, Opt-in forms, VigLink, etc. require you to place a code into the header or footer of your website. Usually, this would mean going into the backend of your theme, locating the header and footer PHP files and placing the code in the correct spots. But with this awesome plugin, all you have to do is download it, activate it, and place the codes right in the designated boxes. It takes care of the behind the scenes stuff for you.
Inline & Contextual Related Post
When you scroll through a blog article such as this one and see where it shows a list of related posts, Contextual Related Post does that for you. Inline Related Post places interlinks in your posts to others that are related. You can customize the settings based on how you want it to search for related posts. When it finds a post that is related, it will display for your readers to click and view. This is a great way to keep traffic on your website. It is referring readers to keep reading content on your website which lowers your bounce rate.
One Click Demo Import
I love this tool! If you purchase a premium theme and upload it to your site, it will most likely look different than the live preview did. This is because you have to install the demo content. The demo content will upload stock content to fill space and make it display exactly how the preview showed and then you can customize it to your liking. It makes building and designing your blog much easier and saves a lot of time. Some themes allow you the ability to import demo content directly from the theme. But if you come across a theme that does not allow this option, one click demo import is a great tool.
Wordfence is the most popular WordPress firewall and malware scanner. It is enabled with tons of security features to protect your website against malicious content. Take control of your website security with the plugin and add protection to your blog.
Jetpack is packed with features. It offers extra security, site stats, and SEO tools. It is the ultimate toolkit that you won’t want to miss out on. There is a premium version with more features such as the SEO tools but if it is not something that you are interested in right now, the free version is great.
- View site stats of visitors to your page over time
- Automatic social sharing
- Related post feature
- Site protection
- SEO tools
- Site backups
Pinterest PinIt Button
Pinterest is such an important platform to increase traffic to your blog. This awesome plugin places a PinIt button on every picture, post, and page to allow your readers to easily pin your content to their Pinterest profiles. It works great and will help get your content shared to a wider range of people which will, in turn, visit your blog!
This is a social share plugin. It allows users to share your blog posts to all sorts of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StumbleUpon, email, message, etc. This is a great plugin to allow users the ability to easily share your content with others.