In today’s post, I’ll be talking about my top 10 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 blogger. Best of all, most of them are free to use and download!
If you want to use plugins on your site but you only have a WordPress.com site, I recommend that you switch to being 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 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 compressed as much as possible when you edit and resize them in your image editor before even uploading them onto your server but WP Smush helps to further smush the pictures down even more.
4. Pretty Links
Pretty Links is a plugin that you definitely need 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 Warfare
If you’re looking to increase your social shares, Social Warfare is one of the best tools you need in your arsenal. It’s jam-packed with a ton of features, some of which include link tracking, customizing individual tweets, the ability to only allow one designated Pinterest image to be pinned (this is one of their features in my opinion!), and the ability to fully customize your sharing buttons to match your site’s design. They even have a cool feature that can recover any social shares you may have lost if you had switched over to HTTPS/SSL. I highly recommend you get Social Warfare Pro to fully get all the benefits of this nifty plugin and help boost your social shares by at least 200%!
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. So 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! It’d be extremely inefficient if you had to manually check them all the time. And 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!
What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins that you can’t live without? Feel free to share in the comments!