If you use WordPress, you’ll know that there are a ton of plugins to choose from that it can be a little overwhelming when you’re trying to decide which ones you need for your blog.
Because there is so much choice, it’s pretty easy to go a little too plugin crazy! However, overloading your blog with unnecessary plugins is not a good idea because it can slow down your site which is bad for SEO and can drive people away from your site.
10 Best Free WordPress Plugins Every Blogger Needs
In today’s post, I’ll be talking about the 10 best free WordPress plugins I use on a daily basis that help me stay efficient, improve my social shares, and keep my overall site running smoothly with no hiccups.
I highly recommend you check these out as well if you’re a new blogger because they’re totally free!
If you’re interested in using plugins on your site but you only have a WordPress.com site, I recommend that you become self-hosted so you can freely customize your site and use plugins. You can read my easy to follow tutorial on how you can start your own self-hosted WordPress blog for just $3.95/month here!
1. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one of my first WordPress plugins I’ll be talking about today and it is one of my favorite tools.
As a blogger, you’re always trying to find a way to improve your SEO so that you can rank higher in search engines. This plugin has a bunch of cool features that help you do just that.
My most favorite feature is the handy list included in each post that tells you whether your post is SEO friendly or not and how to improve the specific post’s SEO rankings. I highly recommend you get this tool if you haven’t yet!
2. Inline Related Posts
Has a line inside a blog post that started with “Related post:….” ever caught your eye?
If you did and you were totally enticed to click on it, this is exactly what you want one of your readers to do!
The Inline Related Posts plugin helps to keep readers on your site for a longer period of time by showing related posts that you specifically choose or random posts that are related to the topic of the current page.
This is a must to keep your readers to keep readers reading and improve your stats!
3. WP Smush
WP Smush is my 3rd essential plugin I’d recommend you get if you want a fast loading site.
If you’re a blogger, you’re probably uploading pictures every time you post. You may notice that if you upload a high-quality picture on a page that’s very large, it slows down the loading time of the entire page by a lot.
That’s a huge no-no for any blogger and exactly what you want to avoid!
Every second counts when a new viewer lands on your page for the very first time and they’re debating on whether or not your page is worth exploring further.
If they like your content but all of your pages take eons to load and they’re just left scratching their head as the circle continuously spins, they’re gonna hit the little x button at the top right corner of the page and probably never come back. No bueno.
In comes WP Smush. This little handy plugin will smush down, as its name states, all of the pictures that you upload onto your server so that they aren’t so large and every page will load a lot faster.
Keep in mind that it’s best to upload images that are already compressed as much as possible when you edit and resize them in your image editor before even uploading them onto your server. WP Smush is the icing on the cake and just helps to further smush the pictures down even more.
4. Pretty Links
Pretty Links is a plugin that you definitely need to use if you’re monetizing your site.
This plugin allows every affiliate link on your site to be cloaked which is great because regular affiliate links do not look very enticing to click on and they can even look spammy.
Pretty Links also lets you track, organize, and optimize your site with split testing. Definitely a must in my books!
5. Social Pug
If you’re looking to increase your social shares, Social Pug is one of the best tools you need in your arsenal.
The plugin is lightweight but it’s jam-packed with a ton of customizable features that will get people sharing your content! It’s also a great way to display social proof.
6. UpdraftPlus Backup
Have you ever made an important change on your website but then something went wrong and you lost everything?
When you’re a blogger, that can be one of your worst nightmares so it’s so important to regularly back your site up if you want to avoid that scenario.
UpdraftPlus Backup is an awesome plugin that allows you to do just that and you can even automate backups by setting how often, at what time you want the backups to commence, and where you want the backups to be saved.
Just set it and forget about it until you need those backups one day (which hopefully you never actually need)!
7. Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker is another absolute must-have plugin if you want to increase your efficiency and productivity.
As a blogger, having external and internal links that work 100% is very important.
Can you imagine if you had to constantly manually check all of your links?
You’d go bonkers and it’d be extremely inefficient if you had to manually check them all the time. Plus, as you accumulate more posts, you’re not going to have enough time to re-check these links anyways on a regular basis!
I highly recommend getting this plugin because it’ll help save you time and it’ll automatically check your links for you every so often.
Say goodbye to those 404 errors and say hello to less work and more time to do other important tasks!
8. Lazy Load
Another great plugin is Lazy Load. This plugin is so helpful if you have lots of high-quality pictures on your site. It helps to decrease the initial time it takes to load each page by only loading images as a viewer scrolls throw your page.
This is great news for you as a blogger because it will help increase the chances that viewers will revisit your page because it doesn’t take ages to load.
9. Caldera Forms
One of my favorite form plugins is Caldera Forms.
It’s straightforward to set up and the free version comes with a lot of basic features that should be enough to satisfy you if you just want a basic working form such as on your contact me page.
This plugin always works seamlessly for me and I’d recommend that you try it as well if you’re looking for something simple and easy to use.
Jetpack is one of my favorite WordPress plugins and it’s a definite must in my books.
It has a bunch of great features including site stats (a great addition to having Google Analytics), Wordfence (protects your site from security threats), related posts, social sharing, and so much more. Definitely check Jetpack out!
Looking for more blogging essentials? Check out my resources page for other great blogging tools I recommend.
Dare To Conquer – DTC (formally known as the Billionaire Blog Club ) teaches you everything you need to know on how to create a successful blog. From SEO, Pinterest, affiliate marketing, email list building, to content creation, Scrivs covers every aspect of blogging that helped him grow multiple successful blogs!
Making Sense Of Affiliating Marketing – If you’re looking to monetize your blog, the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing e-course is an absolute must-have purchase. Learn how Michelle earns over $50,000 per month just from affiliate marketing! This course will teach you everything you’ll need to know to improve and increase your passive income and make money. So far I’ve doubled my blog income after taking this course!
How To Make Over $1,000/Month With Amazon Affiliates – Do you have trouble converting your affiliate links into sales with Amazon? This e-book will teach you the strategies on how to make over $1,000 a month in affiliate income with Amazon Affiliates even with a small blog. Carolina shows exactly how she made over $1,000 each month with Amazon while having less than 10,000 pageviews a month!
Tailwind – This is an absolute must-have tool if you want to gain massive traffic to your blogbut you don’t want to spend all day manually pinning on Pinterest. It’s the official scheduler of Pinterest (so you know it’s legit!) and it’s programmed to find the most optimal time slots for your pins to circulate out to your followers. Sign up with Tailwind using my link and you’ll get your first month for FREE!
Pinteresting Strategies – If you’re just starting out your own blog and/or can’t justify spending a ton of money on a Pinterest scheduler such as Tailwind BUT you want MASSIVE traffic to your blog, I’d highly recommend you to get the Pinteresting Strategies e-book! Carly teaches you how to go from 0 to 200k page views with her easy to follow manual pinning strategy and she also includes tips on how to improve your Pinterest account.
Restored 316 Designs – If you’re looking for a beautiful feminine WordPress theme, Restored 316 Designs has got you covered. They have a ton of beautiful designs to choose from that’ll give your blog a feminine feel. If that’s what you’re looking for, you definitely need to check them out. (Note: You will need to purchase the Genesis framework in order for these WordPress themes to work.)
Bluchic – Bluchic is another shop that has so many beautiful, feminine WordPress themes to choose from. A must-have if you’re looking for something girly but professional. They also have beautiful social media templates and landing pages!
Pretty Darn Cute Design – Pretty Darn Cute Design sells a variety of beautiful, feminine WordPress themes for female entrepreneurs and bloggers. You definitely have to check them out if you’re looking to spruce up your site. (Note: You will need to purchase the Genesis framework in order for these WordPress themes to work.)
Don’t forget to also check out my other posts on blogging:
- Best Resources To Get Beautiful, Feminine Stock Photos
- How To Start A Blog: A Step-By-Step Guide
- How To Quickly Skyrocket Your Traffic To Your Blog From 0 to 50,000 Pageviews
- The 2 Best Tools You Need To Automate Your Social Media Scheduling
What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins that you can’t live without? Feel free to share in the comments!