Starting a blog is not a hard thing to do. It’s maintaining the blog that breaks the deal for many people, which is why you need the best WordPress plugins for blogs out there to be at the top of your game. You have great content in mind; you have a great name for your blog, but something is missing.
That’s where the plugins for your WordPress blog take over. With their help, you can easily create and start a blog in no time, WordPress dashboard, here I come style.
Luckily, there are FREE plugins for WordPress that you can use that will make your life a lot easier and not only did I create a list of some of the free plugins for you, but I also made sure I collected the best plugins for WordPress blogs.
WordPress plugins can really make sure you enhance your blog's appearance and your readers' experience on your page.
They are your blog’s builders, incorporating important functions to your website, everything from adding contact forms, boosting SEO, website speed, and creating an online store to newsletter plugins, backup and user registration plugins, content plugins, organizing, and managing email addresses and email opt-ins.
- Google Analytics Dashboard
- Free Plugins
- Bridging the Gap
What Are the Best WordPress Plugins for Blogs?
Yoast SEO is a plugin for WordPress SEO. Your search engine optimization is one of the most important things, and your go-to WordPress plugin for SEO should definitely be this tool for your custom post. For many bloggers, search engines are the only source for a lot of bloggers out there, so you need this kind of booster.
Yoast SEO leaves no stone unturned. They update it frequently, so it’s compatible with Google algorithms. It was last updated on September 29th, 2020. Previous updates were September 1st and August 25th, so you can imagine the effort invested into this WordPress SEO tool.
This optimizations plugin is also user friendly and can optimize your keywords and organize and structure the length of your paragraphs so they are easy on the eye and aesthetic too.
It also analyzes the readability of your content and calculates the Flesch Reading Ease score so that your readers can understand your content better. It points out to potential areas of improvement related to the title or content readability.
There is also categorizing blog posts into primary categories so they are not lost and forgotten long after they’ve been created. When it comes to schema implementation, breadcrumbs control, or canonical URLs to avoid duplicates, Yoast SEO is not lagging behind either.
The plugin notifies you if you have some outdated content you haven't updated in more than 6 months; you get a Google preview of the page you created, and you can work in both the classic editor or the block editor.
The WordPress plugin is available in Dutch, German, French, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Indonesian language.
This is an extremely easy plugin to use focusing heavily on providing the best user experience possible, and I know this because my team has never had problems with it.
My writers have had a beautiful experience using the plugin form day 1 not just because they need it while producing content, but also because the plugin it's one that it’s easy to follow. It’s pretty intuitive.
If you want Twitter and Facebook preview, 5 keywords and phrases, suggestions which posts to link to (otherwise you do them manually), or 1-year free access to 24/7 support, you can get Yoast SEO Premium. The plan costs $89 per year. You get one year of free updates and support.
Elementor is the right choice when choosing a plugin for WordPress, and again, I know this for a fact because I’ve been using it for years now for my blog.
The fun part about Elementor is the drag-and-drop interface through which you can easily make any changes you need for your blog. Elementor also provides customizable design options for your blogs, undo and redo action along as well as revision history, and a robust design accessible on mobile devices. It comes in 56 languages.
Ox Shadows, Background Overlays, Headline Effects, Animations, Shape Dividers, Hover Effects, and Gradient Backgrounds are the most popular features. Elementor has a built-in maintenance mode for special circumstances.
Speaking of word-press plugins, Elementor includes 100+ templates which are also customizable. You can use and reuse them for your calls to action, testimonials, or other services. The tool offers an exclusive toolset equipped with different font sizes and more than 40 FREE widgets.
Elementor is your page builder for any purpose. Apart from the supercharged design options, you can come up with clear, pixel-perfect websites, intuitive drag-and-drop features, and a full open-source approach.
The plugin was built with bloggers in mind and all sorts of people who haven’t really been developers in their past lives. Naturally, it’s really making your job a lot easier and faster through an easy to master interface without having to write even a single code or CSS.
Further features include:
- Heading. For captivating headlines.
- Image. Control image size, opacity, and other settings.
- Text Editor. Just like the WordPress editor.
- Video. YouTube videos or Vimeo to your page.
- Button. Controlling button design.
- Icon. There are 600+ icons available.
- Social Icons. Icons to your social pages like Facebook / Twitter.
- Accordion. A collapsable display of content.
- Toggle. Like Accordion, for FAQ pages.
- Star Rating. Social proof using a star rating.
- Alert. A colored alert box to draw the attention of the visitor.
- HTML. Insert code.
- Shortcode. Easily insert shortcodes from any plugin into the page.
- Columns. Create columns within the column.
Elementor PRO offers a much faster workflow with all the features I shared with you, and you can use it for more sites than one site. The pricing plans are below:
Google Analytics Dashboard
No coding, no developers needed. Google Analytics sets up your tracking features, and it’s the best WordPress plugin when it comes to tracking your audience and what they are doing on your site. What posts are popular, what posts have the highest number of engagements… within just a few clicks.
You cannot predict readers’ behavior or preferences, but you sure can track them!
Google Analytics, who hasn't even heard of it, right? That's only because it is the king among website tracking plugins. The standard or free version allows a pretty in-depth tracking and analysis, which is perfect for smaller to medium-sized businesses. You get:
- Real-Time Data
- Advanced Segmentation
- Custom Reporting option
- Flow Visualization
- Social Reporting
- Data tracking and exporting
- Conversion Reporting
- App Tracking and Mobile Device
- Video Performance Measurement
- Integration with Search Console, AdSense, Adwords, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange
- Multi-Channel Reporting
Google Analytics 360 is the premium version and guess what? It costs $150,000 per year. You get insanely advanced analytics and 99.9% data accuracy, but you don’t need that, especially not when you are starting out, so the free version is what you need and it will do wonders for your website.
Given the importance of mastering web analytics, and the complexity of Google Analytics plugin, you will need to hit the books for at least 6 hours. The training is free, and it sets up the foundation of everything you need to know.
Google Analytics' learning is free. Navigate to Google Analytics for Beginners for the free course by the Google Analytics Academy. You start off by learning how to set up an account and interpret data. You’ll learn the layout and conversion tracking procedures with a heavy focus on 5 main categories:
- Real-Time–it shows what’s happening at the moment and where the reader has found you on the web.
- Audience–What kind of content would suit your audience best, the demographics.
- Acquisition–Where your traffic is coming from? Social, direct, organic search,
- Behavior–How visitors behave on your page, what pages are visited the most, and how long people stayed on your site?
- Conversions–Following actions such as filling out a form, a “thank you” page, etc.
This is the most valuable insight because it tells you where you should go, what direction to follow. It’s this background tracking, stuff that you otherwise cannot see or feel or touch, that makes Google Analytics one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs. Ever. Hands down.
Another logical option for your WordPress website is Akismet, the anti-spam plugin. Akismet is your WordPress backup plugin, also another one of the tools I use. The Akismet plugin allows helps you deal with spam comments.
You may not have problems now, but as your blog grows, you’ll deal with a fair share of comments. Akismet takes care of them. It analyzes the comments people leave on your site and then blocks spams and bots.
The WordPress plugin allows for a status history view for each comment, and it supports restoring processes. By getting rid of the unnecessary, potentially harmful comments, Akismet speeds up your site and cleans up space on your disk. The plugin comes in 70 languages, which is great for inclusivity.
Price: FREE for spam protection and stats you can get for if you run a personal website or nonprofit, that is, while the plugin costs $5 per month for small businesses and $50 per month for enterprises.
Where do you fit in? While starting out, the free version is your best bet.
My business is leaning a great deal on affiliate marketing, so naturally, I use an affiliate links plugin. With Pretty Links you can manage your social media links, redirects, affiliate links, and have complete control over them, so you don't have to do it manually. I mean grouping, tracking, searching, and sorting of links – all in one place.
The plugin will take care of your broken links, no third parties included like Apache directives. To get started with Pretty links, all you have to do is upload a zip file to your WordPress website, activate it, and you are done in less than a few clicks.
Pretty Links merges a third-party solution with the benefit of a custom solution, which is something I particularly like about this plugin.
It's there to back me up, but I can do my own link tracking and choose among various ways to redirect links. I get some say in the process, it's not 100% automated, and that's a nice edge – you actually being included in the formation process.
Some processes are long and tiring and you do need them to be automated entirely, but the subtle art of links can use a bit of your personal touch as well.
The plugin automatically creates short links for all your pages and posts and automatically tweets a customizable message to as many twitter accounts as you want when you make a post go live. Keyword-rich posts, adding important and related links within your content is also an option with this
Pretty Links will also help you create and add relevant links to your blog posts automatically. You can conduct split testing, link importing and exporting too, which is something I do for all my blog posts.
Everest Forms is part of our best free WordPress plugins for blogs because if you want to add registration and login options to your blog, you absolutely can. The plugin is easy to master thanks to the – you guessed it – drag-and-drop interface for forms building.
You can build unlimited forms and add multiple column grid in 3 simple steps. You can choose to start from zero and add custom fields or use a template. The plugin supports ReCaptcha and email marketing services and email notification upon new user registration.
Everest Forms allows for user redirection to a certain page after form submission and ShortCode for adding the forms to your page.
There are also multiple email notifications and recipients, form previews, editable submission messages, and email settings, even spam protection via honeypot. Oh, and the forms are mobile-responsive, which is ABSOLUTELY fancy, given the fact that I spend much more time in front of my smartphone than in front of a PC.
As for the premium features, you can get PayPal and Stripe add-ons for payments, custom Captcha, surveys, polls, and quizzes, Zapier, and user registration, starting from $49 per year up to $199 per year depending on the size of your company.
Mailchimp is your WordPress Email and Newsletter Plugin. Blogging and dealing with tons of email addresses can sometimes be a tough pill to swallow, so this WordPress plugin can make your life easier because it helps you deal with bulk tracking. It will manage your emailing campaigns, your email addresses, and bring in those subscribers home where they belong – with you.
Mailchimp offers you a really nice and smooth user-friendly interface, higher functionality through extensions and code snippets, as well as mobile-optimized sign-up forms.
The plugin can be translated into every language for better understanding, too. It is built with both developers and bloggers in mind.
Price: FREE for email lists up to 2,000 subscribers.
WP Rocket is your caching plugin that allows you to load WordPress in one click. It allows for image optimization, cache preloading, and page caching which add up for faster page load.
WP Rocket is a brute force in the sense that caching is crucial for your SEO, for scaling conversions, and indexing. It also offers a live chat so you can chat with your visitors within your WordPress dashboard.
It improves your website indexing, so no wonder it is a popular WordPress plugin among many bloggers. WP Rocket is extraordinary for advanced coding and another specialty it has is reducing your HTML weight, so your files can be lighter and your page load much, much faster.
Website performance in terms of speed and lazy load or delaying load if you will, will not be legging behind. So, the images and other resources on your site will not open until needed for faster page load.
Pricing: $49 for 1 year of support and updates, while for 3 websites and 1 year of the same benefits you have to pay $99. Last but not least, you can get the same for $249 for unlimited websites. The package includes:
- Quick setup
- Page caching and page preloading
- Sitemap preloading
- GZIP compression
- Browser caching
- Database optimization
- Google fonts optimization
- Differ JS loading
- CloudFlare compatibility
- Mobile detection
- DNS prefetching
- eCommerce friendly
- Connected users
- Multilingual compatibility
- Multisite compatibility
Whoosh, what a list! WP Rocket offers you these features and when compared to W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, or Hyper Cache, it leads in functionality. It is not free, but you pay once in a year and you are good to go for 12 months, 365 days.
Autoptimize is what you use when you want to get all fancy and high-class. The performance plugin makes optimizing your site easy breezy. It can narrow down your cache scripts and styles. It moves and adjusts scripts to the footer. The plugin can also implement CSS as well as inline critical CSS in the page head by default.
If your website doesn’t get considerable improvement in page loading, you will get your money back, but the option is available only for the complete speed optimization package, aka the premium version.
You are expected to have an active role in the process feedback-wise; you are also expected to provide backup, and test after the changes have been incorporated. The plugin's team will also run tests after the implemented changes, but they want you to be up to date with everything that's happening along the way.
Easy Social Sharing
Suggestive of the name, this gem is your social media plugin. You can display social share buttons with ease and you also get that social share count feature too. Easy Social Sharing is your content sharing plugin. Check the reviews below:
You get numerous layouts, designs, and custom colors. There are 18 social sharing buttons that you can embed right into your page. Other features include:
- Backend Live Preview
- Caching for instant load
- Easy Dashboard Settings
- Ajax count update
- Floating/Inline Social Buttons
- Inline Social Buttons
- 7 Design Layouts and 4 Icons Layout
Price: FREE + premium features you have to pay for.
Robust and high in functionality, Jetpack is your WordPress plugin security and backup tool. It’s built personally by the people behind WordPress. Powerful customization tools for the design you desire.
Jetpack is a stunning option for your website security because it lets you defend your website against spams, malware, hackers, malicious traffic, and every other threat that comes your way.
The plugin has customization tools for your page’s design, SEO tools, multiple websites managing from one dashboard, but its specialty is security. This WordPress plugin delegates massive force attack protection and spam filtering.
You have a much faster mobile experience with lazy image loading, PayPal payment buttons so you can sell your products or services, and the customization tools are easy to follow and intuitive, but the best part is that they can help you match your site’s design with your brand and the niche you operate in.
Jetpack apart from the analytics and the AdSense, Facebook Ads, AOL, Amazon, Google AdX, and Yahoo integrations, it is a well-rounded app, and what I mean by this is it’s multifunctional. Site management, security… performance.
High-speed videos and site searches conducted from their servers… I mean, where does it end, right? Jetpack Security offers scan, backup, activity log, and antispam all priced at $20.89 per month billed annually.
Jetpack Backup will take care of your blogs – it will make sure you never lose a single letter, let alone a blog post. It offers Automated WordPress backups one-click restores from desktop or mobile, unlimited secure storage, Activity log, and priority support. It costs $8.33 per month paid annually.
Jetpack antispam offers automated antispam support for $8.33 per month paid yearly. Jetpack Complete offers all these services mentioned above, and it costs $83.33 per month paid yearly.
As for Jetpack FREE, you get downtime monitoring, brute attack force protection, secure authentication, plugin auto-updates, gallery and slideshow tools, themes, priority support, and stats.
Perfmatters reduces HTTP requests, stripping out code, it optimizes your database, and it can work with all plugins and themes, however, it is specifically designed to work along with your caching plugin. If you are interested in the pricing, look at the table below:
Most WordPress plugins have a free version included, which tends to be pretty functional, especially when first starting out with your blog. You can download your free plugin by visiting the particular plugin's webpage and clicking on that download button.
Follow the prompts to successfully install your desired plugin. As you progress, you can definitely move onto a paid, even premium version of the plugin. Nonetheless, take it easy. Modesty is the best policy at times.
When in the beginning, you might even want to choose a clean, neat WordPress theme that will not twist your eyes. It will make it easier to navigate through the dashboard given all your newly installed plugins, published blog posts, etc.
Plugins that offer a free version, or at least among some of those that do are, Yoast SEO, Jetpack, Elementor, Akismet, WP Super Cache (as a substitute for WP Rocket in case you don't want to pay right away), Easy Social Sharing, Mailchimp, Everest Forms, and many more!
Bridging the Gap
When starting out, you are likely to feel lost. Go one plugin at a time. Master it, then move on to the next. Some of these plugins can really cost a lot of money, at least their premium versions. Luckily for you, their free versions will be good enough for your blog at the beginning.
As your blog grows and your audience expands, you can make sure you use a premium version of some of these plugins currently on the market and really be on top of your game. But first things first. It's a matter of priorities when starting out.
What do you need help with? What do you need to get better at? Some WordPress plugins are inevitable to get and an absolute must, others more of a luxury. So let time to decide which ones you need, then slowly increase your circle as you learn how to play with the features.
The thing about this list I created for you is that all these plugins offer a GENEROUS free version and they are extremely useful when blogging, so if you happen to be in the middle of a plugin hunt, don't hesitate to check these babies out. Thank me later.