There are so many plugins in WordPress’ repository! However will I know the best WordPress plugins for blogs?
If this is you right now, you are at the right place.
Fun fact: I started my first blog on Blogger four years ago.
Now, you know my deepest, darkest secret. I was the most naïve blogger around. I didn’t know jacksquat about blogging. It was not even real blogging, just child’s play. I can’t even remember the name of the blog.
The thing that frustrated me most about Blogger was the limitations I faced. If you create a blog on platforms like Blogger, Wix, or Squarespace, you do not own the blog fully.
Your domain address will look something like this: www.nameofblog.blogspot.com. That just means the blog is not fully yours.
Because of these limitations, you are not allowed to customize your blog or add functionalities you might need. The best way to add extra functionality to your blog is by using plugins (more on that below).
That is why it is very important to create your blog on wordpress.org.
Note: wordpress.org is NOT the same as wordpress.com. Creating a blog on wordpress.com is just the same as creating one on Blogger, Wix and Squarespace.
Many newbie bloggers make this grave mistake of using wordpress.com to create their blogs. When they notice how limited the functions are, they upgrade to a paid plan of wordpress.com. This is terrible because this paid plan still DOES NOT give you what you need. Many essential plugins are not compatible with blogs or websites created on wordpress.com.
In a rush? Why don’t you pin for later? Thank you!
What are plugins, anyway?
A plugin is essentially a piece of software that contains a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress blog/plugin. Plugins enable you add wonderful features and functionality to your blog. You can do anything, change anything, add anything to your blog using plugins.
And the best part? You don’t need to write ANY code at all.
As a site admin, you can install and uninstall plugins from the admin area. Alternatively, you can download and manually install them using an FTP client.
There are currently about 200,000 free and premium WordPress plugins (yeah, they’re that many). Basically, anybody can create a plugin and upload it to WordPress. This is why you must know which plugins are essential for your blog or website.
Understand that the majority of plugins are free and, therefore, do not come with tech support or even updates. That is why you should be careful when choosing the plugins to install on your site.
There are many plugins that are touted to perform similar tasks, but some are much higher quality than their counterparts. To choose the right plugins, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions.
These questions include:
- When last was it updated?
- Is it compatible with the latest version of WordPress?
- Do people get answers to their support questions?
- What is the rating?
Picking out the best plugins for your blog can be an overwhelming experience because you are just starting out. It can also be scary because plugins have the power to either boost your blog/website’s performance or destroy it completely.
At the start of your blogging journey, the plugins you will need should help you perform tasks like launching your WordPress blog, helping people contact you, growing your blog traffic and email list, etc. re you looking for the best WordPress plugins to start a blog? Plugins let you add great features and functionality to your blog, without having to write any code.
Below, I have listed some of the very best WordPress plugins for blogs that you can install to make your dream blog. Most of these plugins are free, but have paid options/plans.
Every major plugin on this list are used by me on this very blog and I can vouch for them anywhere.
Let’s make your blog better, shall we?
Related Read: 100+ of the Most Profitable Blog Niches in 2021
MonsterInsights is the best WordPress plugin for Google Analytics. With this plugin, you can connect your blog or website to Google Analytics in as little as one click.
When your blog/site is connected to Google Analytics, you will be able to monitor your blog traffic and important stats within your WordPress dashboard.
Bloggers that seek to scale their blogs use analytics to understand their audience, curate better blog post ideas, and monetize their blogs effectively.
When you get actionable analytics, you can see what is working and what is not. This way, you will be able to make profitable decisions to grow your blog.
- Universal tracking across devices and campaigns
- Google analytics in WordPress dashboard
- Real-time traffic stats
- Enhanced e-commerce tracking for WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads and MemberPress
- Detailed stats for each post and page
- Automatic tracking of affiliate links, banner ads, and other outbound links
- Automatic compliance of Google Analytics with GDPR and other privacy regulations
- Tracking for authors, categories, tags, searches, users, etc.
- Google Optimize for A/B testing, adjust rate, and sample rate, and other advanced features
- Seamless integration with plugins like WooCommerce, WPForms, Yoast SEO, etc.
This plugin is the best WordPress contact form plugin. It allows you to create a simple contact form, survey form, conversational form, and every other form in between. These forms enable to you connect with your blog visitors in a lot of ways.
With increase in blog growth, people will want to get in touch with you. They might want to talk about guest posting, displaying ads, partnerships and other wonderful opportunities. The last thing you want to do is share your personal email address on your blog. This is because your inbox will be filled with spam.
WPForms will enable you create a customized contact form that will protect you from spammers. The free version of WPForms will help easily create a secure contact form. The paid version contains lots of templates and advanced features that will help you grow your blog.
- Ability to create an unlimited number of forms
- Easy drag and drop form builder
- Customizable form fields
- Six editable form templates (The paid version contains lots more templates)
- Ability to create multi-page forms
- Spam protection measures
- Use of conditional logic to control field visibility
- Integration with popular email marketing services
- Allow file uploads and blog post submissions
- Ninja forms
- Gravity forms
OptinMonster is, hands down, the best WordPress lead generation and conversion optimization plugin. It allows you to create gorgeous opt-in forms that will convert your random blog visitors to loyal subscribers.
On average, 70% of the people who visit your blog or website will forget about it and never come back? Yeah, that’s a tad scary because it means that all the time, money, and effort you spent on getting that person to your site is wasted.
That is why it’s very important to get those visitors to subscribe to your email list. OptinMonster makes this really easy with its features like popup forms, floating bars, and other campaigns.
- Ability to create unlimited forms for different posts on your site
- Exit intent which only shows popups as reader is about to leave
- Integration with all major email marketing services
- Ability to clone forms for instant A/B testing
- Ability to add custom HTML and CSS to forms
- Dozens of form design templates
- Impression and conversion stats for each form
- User-friendly WordPress user interface
- Thrive Leads
- Bloom by Elegant Themes
- Grow by Mediavine
Grow by Mediavine is a social media plugin that allows your readers to share your blog post and other web content to their social media profiles.
This plugin is essential because it helps you grow the reach of your audience. It is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs when it comes to sharing on social media.
With Grow, your content can be shared on many different social media networks. It also has a feature that lets you add sharing buttons either at the top or at the bottom of your posts.
Therefore, you can place it at your desired position depending on the length and layout of your blog.
- Display social share counts and total share counts for all social media networks
- Place social share buttons before your content, after your content, or both positions
- Floating sidebar social share buttons
- Grow Social Pro enables social share buttons to match your own brand colors
- Retina-ready sharp share icons
- Editable button labels
- Sassy Social Share
- Anti-spam Bee
Having countermeasures set to offset spams is very important for your blog. If you don’t have any security measures against spam, your blog will most likely be filled with them.
Spam can contaminate your website and your backend files through comments or contact form submissions from users.
Anti-spam Bee is a WordPress plugin that examines all your comments and contact form submissions to find any kind of potentially harmful content. It will analyze your site and drop out contents that might occur as spam.
- Validation of commenters’ IP addresses
- Allow comments only in certain languages
- Notify admins by email about potential spam
- Block or allow commenters from certain countries
- Delete existing spam after a set number of days
- Select spam indicators to delete spam comments directly
- Trust approved commenters
- Trust commenters with their own Gravatars
- Limit approval to comments/pings (it will delete other types of comments)
- Exclude trackbacks and pingbacks from spam detection
- Spam Destroyer
- Wordfence Security
Wordfence is a free WordPress plugin that helps defend your site from malware. It includes an endpoint firewall (WAF) and a malware scanner.
Wordfence also boats several other security measures which include login security. For login security, there are measures like two factor authentication (2FA), login page CAPTCHA, and limiting login attempts.
There is also Live Traffic and advanced rule-based blocking.
Wordfence is a localized firewall. This means that it stays on your web server and is not a cloud service. Therefore, it can perform deep level server-side scans and provide complete end-to-end encryption
- Identifies and blocks malicious traffic
- Protects your site at the endpoint and enables deep integration with WordPress
- Malware scanner that blocks requests containing malicious code or content
- Protects your site from brute force attacks by limiting login attempts
- Checks your site for known security vulnerabilities and notifies you about any issues
- Keeps your content safe by scanning file contents, posts and comments for dangerous URLs and suspicious content
- Checks the integrity of your core files, themes and plugins to make sure they are safe for use
- All in One WP Security & Firewall
Installing security plugins and systems for your blog is essential. But, even then, your blog might still be vulnerable. It might still be susceptible to hacking or crashing due to certain malwares.
In case this happens, you need a backup plugin. UpdraftPlus is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs as regard backing up of your site.
With UpdraftPlus, you can back up your content in the cloud databases like Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, iCloud, and more. If you need it, you can restore it with just a single click.
Using scheduled automatic backups, you can back up your content to more than one cloud service with this plugin.
- Automatic schedule backups for your web content
- Helps you back up content on multiple cloud services
- Easily duplicate or migrate websites with the help of Migrator
- Free dedicated expert support
- Use fewer server resources to enable faster processing
- Jetpack Backups
In the blog creation process, you will need to add the images on the blog page yourself. As the number of blog posts you write increase, so will the number of images.
If you don’t compress your images, it will take a lot of space on the blog. This can affect the speed of the blog (site speed).
Smush plugin can help you compress your images. It is essentially an image optimization plugin which is really good for blogs. This plugins can really help you optimize and compress your blog images while maintaining their quality.
- Bulk image compression for up to 50 images at a time
- Compress images without reduction in quality
- Resize images with a specific height and width
- View Smush image stats directly in image blocks
- Detect incorrect image sizes and locate the images that are slowing the site speed
Elementor is one of the most popular page builders on the market right now. It also comes as a plugin. Installing a page builder plugin is definitely helpful for any WordPress blog or website.
With Elementor, you can quickly modify any part of your blog in minutes. It has a wonderful drag and drop interface with which you can make any changes you need for your blog or website.
- Easy to use drag and drop interface
- High customizable design options for your blog or website
- Undo and redo functions coupled with a revision history
- Fully responsive design that is accessible on any mobile device
- Built in maintenance mode in case of special circumstances
- Beaver builder
- Themify builder
- Yoast SEO
I don’t know any blogger that doesn’t want their blog or site to rank higher on search engines.
To do this, you need to practice good search engine optimization (SEO). SEO practices change all the time and can be a pain in the ass.
With the Yoast SEO plugin, on-page SEO practices become very easy to implement
A blog needs good SEO to grow. This makes Yoast SEO one of the best plugins for blogs when it comes to that. It has been trusted by many WordPress websites and blogs. It is also updated frequently to be compatible with Google algorithms—which are a total mystery, by the way.
Yoast SEO has many features that can make your blog better, not just SEO. It can also optimize your keywords and synonyms too. The plugin analyzes the readability of your blog and helps you calculate the Flesch Reading Ease score. This helps your readers understand your content better.
- Find high-performing keywords in Yoast SEO
- Keyword optimization for synonyms and related keywords
- Readability assessment from Flesch Reading Ease score
- Content insights to check the match for chosen keywords
- Full control over breadcrumbs for setting primary categories for posts
- Preview of your page in Google
- Avoid confusing Google with the help of canonical URLs
- All in One SEO
- RankMath SEO
- Google XML Sitemaps
For your website or blog to be found on Google and other search engines, you need them to index your site.
To do this effectively, search engines need a sitemap. A sitemap file will help search engines crawl and index your site properly.
If you don’t have one, your ranking will suffer and the information search engines display might be outdated.
Hence, submitting a sitemap to search engines is a very crucial step in SEO. Doing this manually sucks though. It is stressful and you might lose track of the URLs.
That’s why you need the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. This plugin creates a dynamic sitemap of your WordPress website or blog, which is compatible with Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Google XML Sitemaps also allows you to notify search engines about changes to your sitemap. When you update your website or publish new blog posts, the plugin will notify search engines automatically.
Seriously, this plugin has saved me a lot of time and is a must-have plugin for every WordPress website and blog.
- Pretty Links
Pretty Links is a very popular URL shortener and link cloaking plugin for WordPress blogs and sites. It allows you to shorten and customize URLs for your blog affiliate links. These links can be shared on emails and social media.
If you have ever tried to share a very long link on social media, email or a business card, you will know that it doesn’t look good. It also doesn’t make viewing easy for visitors.
With Pretty Links, you can create short links very easily. These links are memorable and professional.
- Shortening of links
- Redirection of links
- Link management and automation
Other plugins worth installing
Though the plugins (and alternatives) listed above are among the best WordPress plugins for 2021, there are still some other plugins that are worth installing.
These plugins include:
- Insert Headers and Footers – This plugin helps you easily insert code into your header and footers. It is especially ideal for claiming your website on Pinterest.
- Simple Author Box – This plugin helps you display an author box at the end of every blog post.
- Broken Link Checker – This plugin helps you find out what internal and external links are broken.
- Redirection – This plugin helps you redirect readers from one link to another.
I really hope this article helped you find the best WordPress plugins for blogs. Like I said earlier, every major plugin on this list (excluding the alternatives) are installed on this very blog. I also have experience with the alternatives from working with other WordPress blogs.
With this plugins on your dashboard, you can scale your blog.
And don’t worry, most of the plugins on this list offer free versions. If you are a blogger on a budget, you can still use the free WordPress plugins to improve your blog.
As your blog grows, you can update to the Pro versions.
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Hi there! I’m Althea Storm, creator of Althea’s Alcove. I am a blogger, beauty expert, makeup artist, Pinterest strategist, freelance writer, future crime fiction author and video game programmer. I know it’s a lotta things, but a girl’s gotta get the bag, not so?
With this blog, I aim to help ALL beauty enthusiasts–male, female, queer, non-binary, etc.–achieve luminous skin, healthier hair, and advanced makeup skills.
I also help newbie bloggers achieve financial freedom through blogging by sharing my very best blog creation guides, monetization channels, and promotion strategies.