Best WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
If you’re using WordPress, then you know how crucial finding the right plugins can be. Plugins can do a huge variety of things, and some are definitely better than others. This list will give you the best WordPress plugins for bloggers all in one place. (And most are free!).
Let’s get started!
*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.
What is a Plugin?
First things first, what exactly is a plugin?
A WordPress plugin is essentially a bit of code that “plugs in” to your self-hosted WordPress site. In human terms, that means a WordPress plugin is something that adds new functionality to your WordPress site or extends existing functionality on your site.Kinsta
Plugins can do a huge variety of things, like:
- Improve your SEO
- Allow people to share your post on social media
- Create buttons that lead to your social media profiles
- Secure your website
- Improve your site speed
- Backup your site
- And many, many more…
But not all plugins are created equal, so you want to get the best plugins you can.
Can You Have Too Many Plugins?
Yes, definitely. Many plugins slow down your site, and site speed is super important both for your reader and for SEO. That doesn’t mean to stay away from all plugins, because some are really worth it, but don’t just add every one you see.
If you’re having problems with site speed, consider getting rid of some of your plugins.
How to Install a Plugin
Before we get going, you need to know how to install a plugin. It’s not hard, so don’t worry, even if you’re not “techy.”
First, go to the bar of settings on the lefthand side of your WordPress admin area and click on “Plugins.”
You’ll get a screen that looks like this, with a list of your already installed plugins.
Next, go to the top of that page and click “Add New.”
You’ll get a screen that looks like this:
From here, you can install new plugins in two ways.
First, you can use the search bar to search for the plugin you want, and the results will display on this page. Some plugins will come up this way, but not all of them will. If the one you want does come up, just click install and then activate.
If the plugin you want doesn’t come up that way, then try Googling it. You should be able to download it either from the WordPress webpage or from a third-party site that puts out the plugin. Download it as a zip file. And then click upload plugin. After that click install and then activate and you’re all set!
So now that you know how to install and activate a plugin, let’s talk about which ones you should be using.
Best Page Builder Plugin: Elementor
Elementor is my absolute all-time favorite page builder plugin. It lets you create each page on your site completely from scratch. And it’s super easy to use (no coding required). I use it on every page on this site, to create my sales pages, to create my opt-in pages, and more. Try it out.
Best Instagram Plugin: SmashBalloon Instagram Feed
There are tons of Instagram plugins out there, but they often have a lot of bugs. The best one I’ve found is SmashBalloon Instagram Feed. It allows you to customize the kind of Instagram feed you want to show (number of photos, numbers of columns, spacing, etc.)
You can see it at work in the footer of this site.
Best SEO Plugin: Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is one you really should have. It will help you out with SEO (“search engine optimization”), which is how Google ranks your site. Obviously, the higher you rank on Google, the more traffic you’ll get, so this is important.
Yoast does some stuff on the backend, like submitted your sitemap to Google and Bing for you.
And Yoast also has some very helpful features that will help you SEO-ify your blog post.
You can input the main keyword that you’re trying to rank for, and Yoast will remind you to do things like putting it in the URL and using it in your headings. (Both of which help with SEO).
It also allows you to customize the meta description for your post, which is the little description that comes up on Google. Also helpful!
This is one that every blogger should have.
Best Social Media Plugin: Grow by Mediavine
Grow by Mediavine is a great social sharing plugin. It does a few things.
First, it gives you social follow buttons, which are buttons that people can click and be taken right to your Facebook Page, your Instagram profile, etc. These are nice for a sidebar or a footer.
Second, it gives you social sharing buttons to put on your blog posts. These are buttons that people can click to automatically share your post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. This helps you get your content out there and you should definitely have them in place.
Third, it allows you to set up custom Pinterest and social media images and write your own Pinterest title and description. Keywords are crucial on Pinterest, so you want people to be sharing your image with the title and description that you created. This is important.
Best Anti-Spam Plugin: Akismet
Akismet will stop spam comments on your posts. That’s it, but it’s really crucial because you wouldn’t believe how many spam comments can come in.
This is one you want.
Best Site Speed Plugin: W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache will help your site speed. It does all kinds of things, most of which I honestly don’t even understand, but site speed is important for SEO, so this is a good one to have.
Best Affiliate Link Plugin: Pretty Links
If you’re using affiliate marketing on your blog, Pretty Links will save you a ton of headaches.
Pretty Links allows you to turn your long affiliate links filled with gibberish and numbers and convert them to something simple. For example, my ConvertKit affiliate link is beccaklein.co/convertkit. Easy to remember, easy to add to blog posts, easy to share.
I use Pretty Links for all my affiliate links and I highly recommend it.
Best Header Plugin: Insert Headers and Footers
This is a very simple plugin that simply allows you to easily insert code into the header or footer of your website.
You’ll need to insert code like this when you’re installing Google Analytics or a Facebook Pixel, for example.
You don’t need to go digging around in the techy stuff in your theme to install these kinds of codes, you can just use the plugin.
Best Cookie Plugin: GDPR Cookie Consent
This plugin will allow you to create a customized cookie bar that informs visitors that you are using cookies and asks them to click Accept.
You can even customize the colors.
It’s a must have to be legal right now.
Best Coming Soon Page Plugin: Maintenance
Maintenance allows you to put up a “Coming Soon” page when you’re working on your website. If anyone comes to your site, they’ll just see the Coming Soon page and won’t be able to access the rest of your site while it’s being worked on.
You can customize it with a photo background, whatever text you want, and whatever colors you want.
You won’t need this one all the time, but if you are working on your site, it’s a quick and easy way to accomplish the task.
Best Image Compression Plugin: Short Pixel
Short Pixel is another one that I think everyone should have.
Site speed is crucially important for SEO, and having big images on your site slooooows things down.
Short Pixel will take all your images and compress them to take up less space, without sacrificing the quality of the image.
And it’ll even do it retroactively, so you can start using it today and it will go back and compress all your previous images.
Best Backup Plugin: Updraft Plus
Updraft Plus will backup your site for you. You always want to have a recent backup of your site on hand, because you never know when something weird will happen and crash your site. If this happens and you haven’t backed up, you could potentially lose all your work.
Always back up!
Best Contact Form Plugin: Contact Form 7
If you want a contact form on your contact page, you’ll need a plugin to do it. Contact Form 7 is free, and easy to use. It’s all you need.
There are zillions of other plugins out there, but these are the ones that I would recommend to any blogger. In my humble opinion, these are the best WordPress plugins for bloggers.
Do you have other plugins that you’re loving? Let me know in the comments!
More blog tips you’ll love:
- How to Create a Resource Library on WordPress
- How to Create an Online Course: The Tools You’ll Need
- How to Write a Killer About Page for a Blog (with a template!)
- How to Use Keywords on Pinterest