WordPress plugins can make the experience for both you and your visitors significantly better. They can allow for additional functionality, help you keep track of who is doing what and create opportunities for your visitors to connect with you.
If you’re a new blogger or you’ve been blogging for a while but have never really looked into plugins, these are my top 11 picks for best WordPress plugins for blogs.
They’re easy to use, provide you with something that you may need or want on your site and they make everything more fun and easier to understand. Most of these I actively use on my own websites.
1. Rank Math
Everyone loves Yoast SEO to help with keywords but I’m a bigger fan of Rank Math.
Like Yoast, Rank Math helps analyze your post based on the keyword you want to potentially rank for. But unlike Yoast, Rank Math can help you with multiple keywords, not just one for free.
It also provides you a better picture of your overall placement. Whereas Yoast SEO has three levels—red for bad, yellow for ok and green for good—Rank Math gives you a percentage. As a writer, this makes it easier for me to understand what’s working and what’s not.
Now, Rank Math has announced that they’re bringing on a pro version and I’m not yet sure what they’ll be adding but chances are it’ll still be better than Yoast SEO based on their current free version.
This is my absolute favourite SEO plugin, I use it on all of my websites. It can help make your well-researched blog topics go further.
2. Updraft Plus
You’ll never truly grasp how much work you’ve put into your blog until the day you have to re-create it because you somehow accidentally deleted EVERYTHING.
This is my blogging nightmare. It’s a recurring thought I have every so often, which is why I invested about five minutes of my time and zero dollars to set up a WordPress plugin called UpdraftPlus.
UpdraftPlus regularly takes a backup of your site and stores it in a cloud drive so if anything happens, you have a backup that you can access and save your site.
It’s the best five minutes you’ll have ever spent the day that you press a few wrong buttons and get a dreaded error message on your site. You will not regret it and it’s a piece of cake to set-up.
I use UpdraftPlus to backup all of my WordPress sites. I have my backup set up to run once daily and store in my Google Drive.
I highly recommend setting a maximum number of backups stored at a time so you don’t take up your whole cloud drive. Mine is set at two so UpdraftPlus only ever has the two most recently saved backups sites.
If you don’t have a regular backup running on your site, I’d recommend that you pop open a second tab right now and set it up!
Redirection is one of those handy little WordPress plugins for blogs that you never realized you needed. It helps you redirect pages that have a 404 Error—essentially pages that are no longer active.
This is really helpful if you’ve updated links or deleted pages but you’ve already started sharing them on social media platforms like Pinterest.
With Redirect, you can send broken links to new pages or your homepage. That way your visitors never see that pesky error notice and ditch your site before they’ve even had a chance to see all of your great content.
4. Akismet Anti-Spam
Akismet is one of those great plugins that works in the background to make your life easier.
Essentially, Akismet blocks spam from your website. But one of the most important parts of your website that it monitors is your comment section. Without it, you could end up sifting through a ton of useless spam comments manually. No one wants to do that.
The best part is you can use it completely free.
Now, the activation process is a bit more complex than most of these plugins to get the free plan. But you can totally do it.
To use Akismet, set up your account. Then “choose your own price” and when you’re on the new page, slide the money bar down to zero.
It’s as easy as that.
Google Analytics is the best way to measure your site’s traffic, in my opinion. Analytify plugs directly into Google Analytics so you can look at your traffic inside of your WordPress dashboard.
I will say that Analytify isn’t perfect, I find that it doesn’t pick up every visitor. But it is my favourite tracking panel that you can see within WordPress. It reports visitors, sessions, pageviews and gives you a look at your most popular posts.
If you’re looking for something quick that will give you a quick overview of what’s happening on your site, this is the plugin that I recommend.
Drift one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs if you’re planning on connecting your blog with products and services to yours.
Drift gives you a pop-up chat bar that makes it easier for visitors to contact you, which can ultimately help increase your engagement and direct contact with visitors.
It’s a really easy plugin to set up and use. Though I do recommend that you ask visitors to leave an email because one time I got an inquiry but they left no email so I couldn’t respond back.
If you’re looking to create a real tech-forward professional look on your blog, Drift might be your secret weapon.
7. Stackable and Ultimate Blocks
There are a lot of people that don’t like the new Gutenberg content editor that WordPress has, but I am not one of those people. I think the blocks give you great options for functionality and appearance that you simply couldn’t get in old versions.
I use them specifically to add in my Table of Contents and divider components to my blog posts. But there are a lot more things you can do.
If you’re looking to upgrade your blog posts and give yourself more content options, then I would recommend checking these out.
8. Monster Insigths
Monster Insights does a lot of things, which makes it one of the great WordPress plugins for blogs.
They calculate how many pages are visited per day and they can help you collect emails, but my favourite part of the plugin—and the only one that I really use—is their new headline analyzer.
This is like the CoSchedule headline analyzer but it’s built right into your website. It gives you a great opportunity to improve your headline right there in your blog posts.
Sounds pretty convenient, no?
9. GDPR Cookie Consent
If you have visitors from the EU, you need to have a cookie consent on your website. But even if you don’t intend to have EU visitors it’s not a bad idea to have one of these.
GDPR Cookie Consent is a great free plugin that notifies visitors who are on your site that you are collecting their information.
It’s easy to add to your WordPress site and easy to set up. Just the kind of plugin you want.
10. WP Legal Pages
WP Legal Pages is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs.
This plugin goes hand-in-hand in some ways with the GDPR Cookies Plugin. They’re both plugins that you want to add but likely won’t review or use very often. It’s important that they’re there and you’re using them and they give you a certain peace of mind in helping to make your site legitimate.
11. jQuery Pin It
jQuery Pin It is a simple WordPress plugin that makes it easier for visitors to share your posts on Pinterest. It also makes it easier for you to share your own content on Pinterest.
This plugin allows you to set up which images can be pinned, where the description comes from and allows you to disable pin-it buttons on photos you don’t want to be pinnable.
You can use the pro version of this plugin if you want to be able to share multiple pin images for a post or page. I recommend starting out for free, then moving to the paid version when you’re ready.
How do you install WordPress plugins?
Installing WordPress plugins is easy.
You’ll want to be on the backend of your site and find Plugins on the menu and choose Add New. This is where you’ll find a search bar to search the over 50,000 plugins that are available for download.
Pro Tip: If you want to see what plugins you already have installed choose Installed Plugins instead.
Search for the plugin that you’re looking for in the database and find it. Once you’ve found it you’ll want to click on Install Now.
Your plugin will take a few minutes to install.
Once the plugin is installed the button will change from Install Now to Activate. Select Activate and give it a few more moments to activate your plugin.
Your plugin will activate and depending on what plugin it is you’ll be redirected to the plugin setup or the list of your active plugins.
WordPress plugins make the experience more personalized. They allow you to add more functionality to your website and improve the overall user experience.
You don’t have to install all of these plugins, just pick and choose the ones that work best for you. There are a ton of WordPress plugin gems out there, but you might have to try a few before you find the best ones for you.
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