S O F T W A R E S P I C E

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It is the most crucial step for WordPress beginners to choose the best WordPress plugins for blogs. There are over 55K WordPress plugins in wordpress.org plugins directory, indeed that is a large number. There are WordPress plugins for SEO, drag & drop landing page builders, plugins for Ecommerce, membership and newsletter plugins, and so on, the list is huge. That’s why it’s a bit difficult to decide about the best WordPress plugins for blogs that will improve the blog’s speed, performance, looks and style. Most of the time, I use to say where there is a problem, there is a plugin. As I stated earlier, whether you are looking for forms, photo gallery, a forum, security, editor, site speed, CDN and cache, there is a WordPress plugin for everything. 

Just after completing WordPress installation on your host, the next step is to install the best plugins so that our blog should give a professional look. You can use these Top 20 best WordPress plugins for blogs. However there are some limited functionalities on some of the plugins and you need to upgrade to a pro version to get all the features.. Like Yoast is the best WordPress plugin for SEO and you can get most out of it for free but you need to upgrade for $89 to get all the features of the plugin. In the beginning I would NOT recommend to buy any plugin for your site, being a beginner, just use the free plugins and upgrade when your blog starts generating some revenue.

See How to Install a WordPress Plugin by 3 Methods

Now let’s get started!

1. Elementor

It’s a drag and drop live page builder plugin with advanced features and capabilities. It is one of the best free landing page plugins for WordPress. You can build, modify and update your page or a post with live previews using Elementor landing page templates. It is a recommended plugin by the modern themes providers to build perfect landing pages. However you must know a little bit of the Elementor plugin’s functionality and how it works and don’t worry there are tutorials on Youtube for it.

Elementor page builder comes with great features, you can save any design as a template and import it on any other post or page. Furthermore, in the responsive mode, you will be able to see how the page looks in desktop and mobiles. See the live changes in the preview option and navigate to the other tools being on the same page.

Features
  • Elementor is not just a plugin, it’s a complete website building platform.
  • With it’s hundreds of pre-designed templates and blocks, choose the ones that are suitable for your blog, insert them and re-design as you wish
  • Highly mobile friendly plugin to build mobile friendly sites
  • Built in under construction, maintenance mode and coming soon pages
  • Elementor is great editor for Woocommerce sites and online stores
  • Multiple free widgets and language support
best wordpress plugins for blogs

2. Akismet Anti Spam

Huge spam comments on the blog is a disaster that needs to be stopped. Such spam comments eat up the bandwidth due to continuous spam and also affect the performance of site. Also with very smart spamming, it is really hard to differentiate between the spam and original comments.

Akismet has a global database that reviews each comment posted on the blog and if it is spam, it automatically moves it to the spam folder in comments. Login to the WP dashboard and go to the comments section to view all the comments and approve only legit comments.

Complete guide on Akismet API Key Free Activation

Akismet has over 5 million active installations and wordpress.org features it in the popular and a must have plugins. You can use it totally for free and contribute if you want to, it is a must have WordPress plugins.

akismet free key protecting site

3. Yoast

There are many WordPress plugins for SEO but Yoast ranks at the top when we look for best SEO plugin. It is my favorite and an amazing SEO plugin for on page optimization of the blog. The plugin began to optimize websites since 2008 and has millions of active installations. It updates you with both SEO and readability analysis and highlights about the improvements and issues encountered while your write the content.

There are multiple checks in SEO analysis like the density of the focus keyword, meta description, duplicate content, readability score, image alt attributes, internal and external links and no-followed links. Yoast also has an advanced XML sitemaps functionality. Furthermore, you can easily edit and update robots.txt and .htaccess files. Yoast also lets you not to index your site while it’s under construction.

See the Complete Yoast Setup Guide

Additionally, Yoast also has a check & balance of overwhelming content. Like if you are repeating any sentences a lot or writing the similar image attributes on all the images in a single post, the plugin will warn you doing pretty much. That’s a special feature and I like it very much. When everything is good, there will be a Green dot and analysis turn into Green. Hence it’s an ideal and included in the list of best WordPress plugins for blogs. Though the premium version is costly at $89, I will recommend to stick with free version because you will get all the major and exclusive features in it.

4. WordFence

It is an excellent free plugin for the security and protection of our blog and WP installation. The plugin has a built in firewall that detects the threats and eventually blocks all the malicious traffic and hits towards our blog. Wordfence has a malware scanner that scans approximately all the major files, themes and plugins. Most of the times, websites are hacked by negligence of the people leaving backdoors for the attackers. Attackers inject malicious code to use your site or blog for phishing and fraudulent activities.

Wordfence keeps tracking of all the plugins and theme files in the web directory of the blog. Just like a normal scan, Wordfence malware scanner provides us the update about the scanned files and folders, deletes the malicious content and informs via alerts. We can configure email, SMS and slack alerts about hack or intrusion attempts.

There are multiple blacklist and reputations checks and Wordfence shares the complete result report. These checks inform about any changes in the files, server status, IP blacklisting, spam comments, outdated plugins and vulnerabilities. More importantly we can enable two factor authentication for more increased security of our account. Last but not the least, Wordfence is the best WordPress plugins for blogs for security & protection and it is free to use for unlimited sites.

wordpress security plugins

6. WP Super Cache

There are many free WordPress cache plugins out there and you can search best wordpress plugins for blogs for cache p in wordpress.org plugins library. But I personally like and recommend WP Super Cache for WP as the best cache plugin for caching and faster speeds for multiple reasons. Though I won’t go into the deeper technical aspects but I would like to share a very general overview of how caching works using this best wordpress cache plugin.

Whether you have dynamic pages in your WordPress blog, WP super cache plugin creates static HTML files. That static file will be served to the users instead of processing a complete and heavy WP script. If you visit a certain page for a thousand times, the same static HTML file will be served and it will load with super fast speed.

After the installation of the plugin, please enable simple caching. Keep the cache delivery method as Simple, it is set to Simple by default, so don’t change it. Compress pages for faster delivery and do not cache for known users. There are a number of other advanced settings like CDN. garbage collection, cache rebuild and extra homepage checks, I would suggest them to leave as default.

7. MonsterInsights

It is the Google Analytics dashboard plugin to know the traffic stats of your website. Just like Google Analytics, it is updated daily with the updated stats of the total visitors, sessions and page views. MonsterInsights have a beautiful dashboard with infographic details about the new and returning visitors, top 10 countries where the traffic is coming from. Also you can see the top 10 referring platforms like Google. Bing, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter and the number of clicks and pages visit through each platform.

There are many limitations in the free version and for full details, you need to upgrade to MonsterInsights Pro. But still, there is much more to know about the stats for free and I strongly recommend to install it. With the continuous growth of the blog, we can easily see the top performing pages and posts to optimize them more for higher rankings. One of the most beautiful features about that plugin is you don’t need to add any code or modify any file to make it work. Just install it in few clicks and that setup won’t hardly take more than 10 minutes and fully furnished working analytics dashboard is ready to rock within the WP dashboard. There is no doubt to say about MonsterInsights as the best WordPress analytics plugin, I use it personally and it is among my list of top 20 best wordpress plugins for blogs.

blog stats with monsterinsights plugin

8. Social Snap

It is my favorite and a great WordPress social share plugin for social media sharing. We should never ignore the importance of sharing our blog posts on all the social media platforms. Social Snap has all the advanced social sharing features like share count, click to tweet, social identity and social followers. The social snap floating side bar is available on both left/right sides and at the end of each post. Therefore it is highly powerful, robust and an essential plugin for social media marketers.

Features

Here are some of the promising features of Social Sanp:

  • Social share icons for popular social networks
  • Share counts
  • Setup the social follow buttons for your official social media pages
  • Import and export social snap settings to use on other blogs/websites
  • Change button spacing, shaping and slidebar position
  • Email sharing to share the content directly via email
  • Option to share on selected pages and posts

You can unlock plenty of other features via upgrading to the Plus plan for one site which costs $27.30 per year.

best wp plugins for blogs

9. Thirsty Affiliates

For business blogs, this plugin is used to manage the affiliate links for website monetization. When you sign up for any affiliate program, you get a random link to track the sales & stats for earnings. The link does not look so pretty due to its length, product code and affiliate ID in it. For example, an affiliate link looks like:

https://www.affiliatewebsite.com/index.html?productid=xyz&affiliateid=xyz

Google does not like it and too many such links on a single page can affect the site reputation. Thirsty Affiliates solves that problem by clocking these links into much beautiful and smarter URLs. The above link is converted into:

https://www.mysite.com/go/product

Now isn’t it smart and beautiful and additionally, Thirsty Affiliates have the default option to redirect the affiliate links from 301, 302 or 307 safe redirect links. That will be perfectly fine and it will never hurt the site’s rankings or reputation. Just keep in mind, not to add too many affiliate links on a single post because it turns out to be spammy.

It is really simple to install and setup Thirsty Affiliates. Once the plugin is installed, go to Affiliate links and add a new link. Name that link and add the destination URL that you get from the affiliate site, Thirsty Affiliates will turn it into a pretty URL.

best affiliate plugin for wordpress

10. Broken Link Checker

For a great user experience and to avoid high bounce rate, it is extremely important to all the website’s links up and running. If a user visits a certain page and gets a 404, it will not leave a good impact. Therefore, Broken Link Checker plugin checks all the “NOT Working” links, images or posts and notifies on WP dashboard or by email. The broken links are displayed differently in the posts area so the admin can check quickly and fix them.

Broken Link Checker not only checks the links, it also looks for missing images and redirects. You can even allow search engines not to show up broken links. More importantly, we can edit any broken links directly on the plugin’s page. There are multiple options to manage the broken links in a blog. It is highly configurable plugin and once it is installed, there is a widget in the WP dashboard that will notify about the broken links.

Finally we can also monitor the progress and tweak the settings of the links in the plugins Settings ==> Link Checker option. At the end, it is the best plugin for blogs with huge volume of links to detect links with problems and it is a must have WP plugin.

11. Insert Headers & Footers

It is not a good practice to directly edit the core WP files to insert code snippets for a newbie blogger. It can create a mess and you can even break your site. However, it is required to add the code in WP headers or in the body tags for certain important things. For instance, when we verify our site using Google Search Console or if we need to add the Google Analytics code and Facebook Pixel, Insert Headers and Footers is the most safest plugin to add code in the respective sections.

Neither any developer required nor to edit the theme files, simply install this plugin. Go to WP Dashboard ==> Settings ==> Insert Headers and Footers. There are 2 boxes where to insert the code, one for Header and the other for Footer. Copy the code from Google’s search console or analytics sites, and paste in to the Headers box and save it, you are all done. Just to confirm, right click on the page and view it’s source, you’ll find the code added in the headers section.

12. Contact Form 7

With over 5 million active installations, it is the most popular free plugin to create contact forms. Contact Form 7 supports Captcha and Akismet Anti Spam filtering. Though it is simple and not as stylish like other plugins, but it is the best free forms plugin you’ll ever have on a WP site. CF7 is not only used for creating forms and questionnaires that fits perfectly into the WordPress interface but it also enables beginners to create queries quickly and easily.

Contact Form 7 is highly effective and gets the job done. It is highly customizable and flexible to update and modify mail contents. Since its a completely free plugin, therefore it needs our support to keep it going, you can donate here.

13. Updraft Plus

It is a WordPress backup plugin that creates and restores backups. Backups are very important and you know that right? Imagine you’ve been working hard on your blog and one day it gets hacked or compromised with malicious content or the hosting server crashes, there can be other numerous reasons too. Without having a backup, you will certainly loose everything and it can turn out to be worst nightmare ever.

Therefore, it is really important to have a latest backup of the site every time. So in case of any mishaps, we restore it and migrate to somewhere else. Because of the fact that your blog is everything for you, you should be very careful about it’s data protection. Updraft is the No.1 best scheduled backup plugin for backing up files and databases just with a single click. Create the backup and store it in any of the world’s famous cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive or Amazon S3 storage.

Updraft plugin also has a premium plan with a lot of additional features. Here is a comparison of both free and premium plans. Updraft also allows us to automatically schedule backups to create and restore backups in the off peak hours. It is among the best WordPress plugins for blogs and furthermore, cloud storage options, encryption and advanced reporting are offered in the premium version.

14. WooCommerce

If you are planning to launch a business site and start selling online quickly, WooCommerce is the best WordPress plugin for ecommerce to setup a shop or an online store. It is an open source free E-commerce solution for building an online store of your choice in a couple of minutes. Supported in 61 languages, it has a 4.6 rating and over 5 million downloads and no matter what, if you have a new or existing site  it works on both.

The WooCommerce WP plugin is a complete online store packaged with cart, products and checkout pages. It is highly flexible and configurable that suits and fulfills every brand needs. Most noteworthy feature of this plugin is it’s integration with Google Analytics, Facebook and MailChimp. It also supports secure payments by credit cards and supports more than 100 popular payment gateways. Paypal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, Ali Pay, Authorize.net and 2Checkout are major supported payment gateways. You can find all the details about the payment providers here.

With WooCommerce, it is easy to setup shipping. The plugin is highly configurable for free or paid shipping within the country or internationally. There are pre-built extensions to connect with local and international careers for product shipping. Finally there are many add-ons  in the plugin like free gift offers, reviews and plenty of E-commerce stuff.

15. LuckyWP Table of Contents

Table of Contents inserted in any post or page give us a professional look. As we all see, professional bloggers use table of contents in their posts to give a general overview of the content written on that page. You click on that heading and it drags you down to the exact point. It is a necessary plugin that every blogger should have for long and lengthy posts. I have installed it and using it in my each post and page.

While trying other table of content plugins, I’ve came across LuckyWP Table of Contents plugin and absolutely loved it and included it in the best WordPress plugins for blogs list. It is highly customizable, you can set the number of headings to list in the table of contents and numerate them with different styles. Furthermore, it is really easy to increase the font size and adjust that fits in mobile and desktop page. It is highly SEO friendly and on Google, it shows the snippets extracting from the contents.

LuckyWP gets auto-updated when the new headings are inserted and there is no need to update the table itself. Additionally, you can set the hierarchical or linear views, color schemes, border colors and the minimum number of headings. Finally it’s a great plugin with Gutenberg support and smooth scroll and it works with approximately every WordPress theme.

best wordpress plugins for blogs

16. WP Last Modified Info

As we know that Google and other search engines have very powerful algorithms that bring the most relevant and latest information at the top. Let me share a nice tip that you might have seen yourself as well. You’ll see the articles that rank on the first page of Google are updated only a couple of days ago. Therefore, for WP blogs, this plugin is the best to show the last modified information.

After you install this plugin, it automatically shows the date on each post. You can select to show on blog pages as well but I would recommend to stick with posts only. Furthermore, you can even show the custom information on posts adding date and time as well. Here is a snippet from one of my posts showing the last modification information.

best wordpress plugins for blogs

17. ShortPixel Image Optimizer

We can never ignore the importance of images in a blog. Highly optimized images play a vital role in the success of your blog and can be a big source of traffic. There is a popular saying that “an image say a thousand words”. Currently in the beginning of my blogging journey, I have noticed after setting up Google Search Console that images on my site were getting a lot of impressions.

However just blindly uploading images without compressing and changing their attributes is not at all a good practice and it won’t bring any fruitful results. All our images should have a small size for the faster page loading speeds instead of uploading image files in the MBs sizes because it will make our site heavy. With that being said ShortPixel Image Optimizer compresses all the images into smaller sizes automatically up to 90%.

However, there is a little limit in the free version. You can only compress 100 images in a month but still it’s worth a shot. For image SEO, I would strongly recommend this plugin.

18. MailChimp for WordPress

It’s a freemium plugin for the visitors to subscribe to the newsletter. With the help of this plugin, it’s really simple and easy to create contact forms and connecting them to the MailChimp account. I have checked and found that it is easy to integrate with 13 popular WP forms plugins like CF7, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms, WP Forms, Buddy Press and Member Press.

Just keep in mind that Mailchimp is free for 2000 subscribers only. You will need to upgrade to a premium version if the subscribers grow beyond that number. However, you need to create a free account on Mailchimp first, after that, get back to your WP dashboard and install the mailchimp plugin and integrate it with the Mailchimp account.

19. Ad Rotate Banner Manager

Almost every blogger places advertisements to monetize the blog. It’s a free plug that works with the top advertising networks like AdSense, Media.net, Amazon Affiliates and JuiceAds. Ad Rotate is very easy to set up and configure because it’s dashboard is similar to the main WP dashboard. With the help of this plugin, you no longer need to modify any theme file or add any code.

This plugin helps us to create and place ads on selected pages and posts and the ads automatically disappear when they are expired. For instance, during Black Friday or holiday seasons, create online ad campaigns and all those ads will go away once the campaign ends. Additionally, you can create ads with different sizes like 125×125, 468×60, 729×90 and 160×600.

Ad Rotate is a complete banner management package, create mobile friendly ads, check the stats of each ad’s performance according to the country and location. Finally a really nice plugin to turn your blog into a money making blog.

20. No Self Pings

I am not sure about you guys but I really don’t like intra-blog pinging. In the very first 2 weeks of my blog launch, I started to put internal links among posts. But every time I visited the dashboard, there were a couple of comments to and from my own site.

There are no further settings, install the plugin and the site will stop pinging. However, there is also an option in settings to add other domains too. Like if you own multiple sites and don’t want to get pings from those domains, simply add the domain names and you will never get any pings or comments. But if you like self pinging, do not install this plugin.

Time to Wrap it Up

It is my recommended plugins list for every blogger and these top 20 plugins are considered as the best WordPress plugins for blogs. I tried to mention only those plugins that I trust and use for my own blog. You must check that all these plugins have a very good reputation, millions of downloads and a superb rating. Not only that, these plugins help a lot to give the blog a professional look and a speed boost, so you must know how to install a plugin and check out necessary things before the installation.

I know it’s overwhelming to choose the most suitable plugins from 55K WP plugins. Although some of these plugins have a premium version and if you are a newbie blogger like me, I would like to say to stay in the free premises to get the most of each plugin.

Finally, if you are planning to launch a blog soon, check out my Blogging as a Business Guide and Top 10 Best Web Hosting For Small Business to start not just a blog but a business.

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