Today I want to take you through the 8 essential WordPress plugins that every blog needs. Before you think it, these aren’t unnecessary WordPress plugins. These 8 plugins will protect, optimize and improve the functionality of your site. – Definite must-have!
You’ve probably read like 100 blogs before you’ve started your own blog, and read that you need all sorts of plugins. Your now super confused and dont know what are the “must-have” wordpress plugins.
I want to clear that confusion up and let you know why you only need these 8 wordpress plugin.
They’re all free however some are considered freemium (they have a free version but you can upgrade to a premium paid version).
You can easily add these plugins by going to your wordpress dashboard.
On the left hand side you will see a menu that has the option to click “Plugins”
Click “Plugins” and at the top of the page you should see a button that says “Add New”
Click “Add New” and it’s simply a matter of searching for the plugin name in the search bar.
Then Install and Activate.
All these plugins are pretty self explanatory but if you do struggle, they come with support documentations.
Lets get stuck in. 🙂
Plugin #1: Yoast SEO (Freemium)
If you’ve read my “36 Successful Blogging Tips That Every Blogger Needs To Know!” post, you know that SEO matters!
Good SEO is what will make your site more visible to more people, which will increase traffic to your blog.
Yoast SEO makes it easier for you to optimize your blog posts. It allows you to write a meta title and meta description. You can include your keywords in there.
It also has a section where you can put your keyword in and it will analyse your post to see if it it fully optimized for that keyword and other good SEO metrics.
I love the easy color coding to see if your post has met a good SEO score. If you haven’t met a good SEO score, it gives you indicators on what you need to improve.
Here is an example of the analysis Yoast SEO gave me for a blog post:
See how easy it is to use!! It provides so much useful information to help me improve the SEO of my blog.
Yoast SEO generates an XML Sitemap for your blog that can be submitted to Google and Bing. This is great because it allows Google and Bing to crawl your site and understand your content. It means you wont need a separate XML Sitemap plugin if you go with Yoast SEO.
This is the first plugin that I would download on every new blog as its effective in helping you write good ranking blog posts.
There is no need to upgrade to the premium version. The free version does everything that you need.
Plugin #2: Akismet (Freemium)
All the plugins I have mentioned on this post are free. Yay for free!
If for some reason you don’t want to install all of these wordpress plugins onto your site (I’m giving you the crazy eyes, there free damn it!), then I urge you to download this one and Jetpack at the very least.
Akismet gives your blog protection from spam. Spam can hurt your blogs credibility, site stats and any other things. Imagine having 200 blogs posts on your site that recieve comments daily. You would be bogged down with the boring task of going through each one, just to ensure that you’ve deleted all the spammy comments. – Aint nobody got time for that!
Let Akismet do the work for you. All you have to do is download it and activate it, the rest is taken care of for you.
Akismet does have an upgraded version that you can pay for but it’s at the beginning stage of your blog.
Plugin #3: Contact Form 7 (Free)
Every blog needs a “Contact Me” page, so that your visitors can easilty communicate their thoughts and questions with you. It also allows brands to contact you with opportunities. – You dont want to be missing out on this!
There are so many contact form plugins, that it’s easy to get confused as to which one you should use. Many of they are either too complicated to use or just to basic looking. You want something that is easy to use but also lets you create a nicely designed contact form.
Contact Form 7 is my favourite plugin for creating contact forms easily. Its one of the most popular contact plugins on wordpress, with over 3 million downloads.
Contact form 7 supports Akismet spam filtering so that you dont get those pesky unwanted emails.
You can see an example of a contact form created by Contract Form 7 on my “Contact Me” page.
Plugin #4: Sumome (Freemium)
Everytime I think of Sumome, I imagine a little sumo wrestler prading across the internet and waving my blogs flag to the rest of the world. As crazy as that is, thats what I use Sumome for – To share your content on social media platforms.
“Why do I want to share my content on social media?” you ask.
Simple answer: FAST FREE TRAFFIC
Sharing your content on social media platforms can drive traffic to a new blog post fast. You dont have to wait for google to recognise your content before you can start getting traffic. Utilize Sumome social sharing capabilities from day one.
When a visitor comes to your site they will be able to easliy share your content by clicking the social icons or an image in your post.
Sumome also gives you and your audience social proof that your content is popular. Each week Sumome sends you an email with stats about your posts and images. This can be really useful when coming up with new content ideas.
Sumome does so much more than just social sharing. You can use Sumome for list building, communication, on-site analytics and even e-commerce. Overtime you can play around with all of the features to see what you like.
Plugin 5: Jetpack (Freemium)
The Jetpack plugin is unique in that its a jack of all trades and master of all. It’s a super powerful plugin which can ease your blogging journey.
This was the must-have plugin I mentioned earlier.
Jetpack offers site protection, high performance modules and traffic growth tools. All of which you will need to build a successful online business.
One feature I love about Jetpack is the Related Posts module. It will automatically scan and analyze your site so it can add related posts from your blog in the content of your articles. This improve the time in which your vistors stay on your site, which is a good indicator to Google that your site is worth reading.
The free version of jetpack is enough for most bloggers.
Plugin #6: Ewww Image Optimizer (Free)
I’m not too sure why it’s called “Ewww” but I cant deny its usefulness.
You usually want to include at-least 2-4 images per post, depending on the post length. All these images add up and take a lot of space on your site. These images can also slow down your site too. Speed is everything! If your webpage doesnt load in less than 3 seconds, you can say goodbye to 40% of your visitors.
Ewww Image Optimizer compresses and optimizes your images as you add them to your blog posts. It also has no limits on how many images you can upload or file sizes to be optimized. The only thing I dont like is that it’s a bit outdated looking but you cant complain when it does a good job for free.
Plugin #7: WP Super Cache (Free)
I’m not going pretend that I know anything about caching.
But for you guys I learned the basic meaning. 🙂
Caching is the process of storing data and any kind of information in a software or hardware. Apparently when you go on a webpage, data about the webpage gets stored on your internet browser. So that next time you go to the exact webpage, the page loads faster because it already has some of the webpages data.
I hope that helped you understand it a bit better.
So, why does this all matter?
WP Super Cache increases page speed and performance of your site by chaching “better”.
The technicalities dont matter. Just trust me, download this plugin if you want a faster site 🙂
Plugin #8: ConvertKit (Free but you have to pay for the e-mail service provider)
You’ve probably learned by now that the money is in the list. You own you your list. The lovely people on your e-mail list can be considered a potential customer base. Recommending quality products to your audience via email is a great stratergy to make money fast.
To create a list you need a good email service provider that can deliver timely e-mail broadcasts, easy e-mail automations and beautifuly designed opt-in forms.
That’s were Convertkit comes in.
Convertkit was especially made for content creator and includes all the features needed for advanced level e-mail marketing.
The ConvertKit plugin is free but you will need to pay for a monthly subscription with Convertkit to use the plugin. I highly recommend using Convertkit as it’s the most affordable e-mail service provider that delivers.
The Converkit plugin allows you to easily embed your opt-in forms on your site.
This saves you so much time and can really help with building an e-mail list.
These are all the essential wordpress plugins that I would add to every new and established blog. It would probably take you 15 mins to install all of them and get them up and running.
Try to keep the number of plugins that you install on your site below 10. The more plugins you install, the slower your site gets. I personally use these 8 and these 2 additional ones (these aren’t necessary but they help build a successful blog):
- Thrive Architect
- Pretty Link
I hope this post has been super useful and cleared up any confusion you may of had.
If you’ve not started a blog yet and would like to know how to start a successful blog, then check out my post:
Leave a comment below and let me know what wordpress plugins you’ve tried.