When you start up a new blog you often wonder what are the essential plugins you should start out with. In this post I go over the best blog plugins for WordPress blogs.
Plugins are one of the reasons that WordPress is the recommended platform to use for blogging.
WordPress plugins are software that can add different functions to a WordPress website. These functions can be anything from increasing the functionality of WordPress features to completely adding new features that you can use on your blog. Some WordPress plugins are free, some cost money, and some have a free base package with upgraded pro features that you can buy at a later time.
There are currently over 55,000 plugins available on WordPress.org. Given the number of plugins available, it can be a bit overwhelming if you are just starting out as to which WordPress plugins you should be using on a new blog.
The Best Blog Plugins For WordPress Blogs
- Yoast SEO
- Cookie Notice for GDPR
- Broken Link Checker
- WP Smush
- Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
- Antispam Bee
Yoast SEO is one of the best SEO plugins I’ve used with my blogs. It has many features that help you keep track of SEO for your blog posts and pages.
Yoast SEO has millions of people using this plugin with their WordPress sites. It is by far one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress.
Yoast allows you to add meta data to your pages and posts, this includes custom post title, meta description, keyword phrase. It also shows you a preview of what the Google search result will look like.
This Plugin also gives you XML sitemaps that includes images.
Cookie Notice for GDPR
This way you can comply with the GDPR regulations. And you can also redirect users to a specific page for more information on the cookies on your site.
You can create your own custom cookie notice message with this plugin.
Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker scans your blog and provides you with a report showing what links on your site are broken.
It has an easy to use interface and allows you to recheck links that have shown up on the report.
If your blog has outbound broken links, this is bad for both your readers and your SEO. So it is important to be sure all links are working properly on your site.
WP Smush optimizes and compresses your sites images without affecting your image quality.
It also has lazy loader capabilities, this is where off screen image loading is deferred until the user scrolls to that section.
Over 1 million WordPress sites use WP Smush at this time.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights makes is super easy to connect your blog with Google Analytics. They have an easy to follow setup to hook up your Google Analytics to your WordPress site.
WPForms is a great form plugin to use to set up your contact page, and other forms you need for your blog. It has an easy to use user interface and quick set up.
The WPForms plugin features a drag and drop form builder which allows easy contact form setup, email subscription forms, order forms, surveys, payment forms, and any other type of online form you can think of.
You can also blacklist or whitelist certain IPs, this can help with things like whitelisting your own IP so you don’t accidentally lock yourself out of your site.
It is very important that you make sure your blog is protected from attacks like this. So a plugin that does this is a must have for any WordPress site owner.
Spam is the headache that every blogger has to deal with. Antispam Bee is your answer to this problem.
AntispamBee blocks spam comments on your blog. It also blocks spam trackbacks if you have those active. None of this requires you having to implement captchas, which is great. You just install the plugin and it starts blocking spam right away.
This addon is not compatible with Jetpack, Disqus comments, or AJAX comment forms.
Sumo is a WordPress plugin that can do many many things. But if there is one thing that you should use this for, it’s for the share buttons on your posts and pages.
This plugin makes it easy to set up sharing icons for your pages and posts.
In addition to the social sharing buttons, Sumo can also integrate with your email service and has eCommerce integrations.
Final Thoughts on Best Blog Plugins for WordPress
All of the WordPress plugins mentioned above are free to use, with pro options available on some for an extra fee. But for new blogs the free versions will suit your blogging needs just fine.
Below I go over why Jetpack was not in this list and why you should not settle for free affiliate link cloaking if you are in need of that for your blog.
I did not list Jetpack in this list of best blog WordPress plugins. Many sites that list essential blog plugins for WordPress have Jetpack as one of the plugins on the list.
However many bloggers report sluggishness due to Jetpack. I myself have experienced this sluggishness when trying to use some of the features such as Site Stats in Jetpack. The only time I have not had this happened is on my WordPress blogs that are on managed WordPress hosting.
So therefore unless you are using hosting that is geared to WordPress specifically, I would say pass on this plugin and use the others that are in the list to get the needed features on your blog.
Affiliate Link Cloaking Plugins
This is one area of plugins that I have to recommend you get a paid version.
Lets face it when you are using affiliate links you want full reporting available so you can figure out what is working and what’s not. Along with full traffic/click stats for those links.
Is all of this doable without paying extra? Yes, but it’s going to take a bunch of going back and forth between different platforms, keeping track of extra stuff in spreadsheets, and even more grunt work. So just save yourself the trouble and get a package.
One of the most popular and one of the best affiliate link cloaking plugins are ThirstyAffiliates.