If you've got a WordPress website, then you know how crucial finding the right plugins can be. Plugins can do a huge variety of things on a WordPress website. 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!).
Finding the best WordPress plugins for bloggers, or better yet, the best FREE WordPress plugins for bloggers is a tall order.
But I've got you covered. This list has all the best plugins for bloggers. And these are WordPress plugins for beginners OR more advanced bloggers.
Let's get started!
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*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. I appreciate your support! You can read my full disclaimer here.
What is a WordPress Plugin and how do they work?
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 WordPress plugins are created equal, so you want to get the best WordPress plugins you can.
What plugins should I install on WordPress?
I've got a full list below! You don't need all of them though, so pick and choose what features you need for your WordPress blog.
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 single one you see.
If you're having problems with site speed, consider getting rid of some of your plugins.
And if site speed is really a problem, I HIGHLY recommend Grayson Bell's Site Speed Course.
What plugins are necessary for WordPress?
Strictly speaking, no plugins are necessary. You could run a WordPress blog without any plugins at all. But I wouldn't recommend it.
There are some great WordPress plugins out there that add all kinds of useful features to your site. So learning how to use WordPress plugins is a good skill to have.
How to install and use a WordPress plugin
Before we get going, you need to know how to install a WordPress plugin. It's not hard, so don't worry, even if you're not “techy.” We'll get to that list of must-have WordPress plugins for bloggers soon, pinky swear.
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:
This is the WordPress plugin directory. It's a great place to find a good plugin.
From here, you can install new plugins in two ways.
First, you can use the search bar to search for the WordPress 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 WordPress plugin, let's talk about the best free WordPress plugins for bloggers!
Best Free WordPress Plugins for Blogs
There are lots of plugins out there, both free and paid. In this section, we'll talk about the FREE ones, and in the next section, we'll talk about the paid ones (most of which will not break the bank).
Best WordPress Page Builder Plugin: Kadence
Kadence is my absolute all-time favorite page builder plugin for WordPress blogs (and one of my favorite WordPress themes). It lets you create each page on your site completely from scratch. And it's super easy to use (no coding required). It's a truly simple drag and drop page builder.
Another reason to love Kadence is its effect on site speed (which is crucial for SEO). A lot of page-builders like Elementor can create gorgeous sites, but they can really slow things down. My reason for switching to Kadence was that the page builder I was using got me a page speed score of SIX out of a hundred. Not good.
Kadence is light-weight, and won't slow you down.
Kadence offers both a free and a pro version. I do recommend the premium version if you're going to use it a lot, but you can always start out with the free version and see where it takes you.
Best WordPress Gutenberg Blocks Add-on Plugin: Stackable
There are lots of WordPress plugins for bloggers that add additional blocks into the “Gutenberg editor.” The Gutenberg editor consists of “blocks,” or:
[Gutenberg blocks] are great new tool for building engaging content. With blocks, you can insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with very little technical knowledge. Instead of using custom code, you can add a block and focus on your content.WordPress
Gutenberg already comes with some blocks, like headings, images, videos, dividers, and more. But if you really want to take things to the next level, I highly recommend the Stackable plugin.
Stackable adds a lot more blocks into the Gutenberg editor, and some of them are pretty cool.
Stackable offers both a free and a premium version of its WordPress plugin for bloggers (the premium version has more blocks, some of which are pretty neat).
Best WordPress Instagram Plugin: SmashBalloon Instagram Feed
There are tons of WordPress social media plugins out there, but they often have a lot of bugs. The best one I've found for Instagram is SmashBalloon Instagram Feed, and it has tons of customization options.
It's one of the best WordPress plugins for bloggers out there…at least if you care about Instagram (shameless plug to follow me!).
This plugin allows you to customize the kind of Instagram feed you want to show (number of photos, numbers of columns, spacing, etc.). You can also have a call-to-action button asking people to follow you.
This is the one I put together for one of my older sites:
You can also set it so that if someone clicks one of the images, it takes them to your Instagram page, making them more likely to follow you.
Make sure to set it to update not more than once a day. Updating it constantly will slow down your site, and having the most up-to-date picture isn't exactly a life-or-death matter.
It's one of the best WordPress social media plugins.
Best WordPress SEO plugins: Rank Math
Rank Math seems to be a bit of a hidden gem in the blogging world. And I don't know why.
Most people use Yoast SEO as their SEO plugin on their WordPress sites, and I did too. For years. But then my SEO consultant turned me on to Rank Math and I've never looked back.
There are loads of features in this WordPress plugin (for beginners or advanced bloggers). But the one that really seals it for me is this:
Rank Math allows you to have an unlimited number of keywords, whereas Yoast only allows one (unless you upgrade to the premium plan). If you want to get found by search engines, this is crucial. This is the essential feature, as far as I'm concerned (although it has others).
The reality of SEO is that you are going to be optimizing for more than one keyword, and it's hard to keep them all in your head (for me anyway). Having multiple keywords at my fingertips is a lifesaver. Rank Math is absolutely one of the best free WordPress plugins for blogs.
Plus, Rank Math keywords display right on the side of the screen as you write, so they're always top of mind. Yoast SEO keywords appear at the very bottom of the post, so that's lots of annoying scrolling.
It's much easier to incorporate all those keywords if they're easy to see like that. When they're all the way at the bottom of the post, they just fall away.
Best free WordPress SEO plugin:…still Rank Math
Rank Math does have a paid version (which I use), but they also have a free version that still has tons of great features. I recommend it for all the reasons discussed above.
Best WordPress Google Analytics Plugin: MonsterInsights
You don't actually need a Google Analytics plugin, because you can just copy/paste the tracking code into the head of your website using the Header & Footer Scripts plugin (discussed in this article).
But, if you do want a Google Analytics plugin, MonsterInsights is the best one out there. It'll install the code where it needs to be and give you a dashboard to look at right inside your WordPress admin area.
Another Great WordPress SEO Plugin: Asset Cleanup
Did you know that when you install a little plugin like Contact Form 7 (for example), which only needs to be used on one page on your entire site (your contact page), it actually keeps loading on all other pages? Extra stuff loading = slower site speed. And slower site speed = bad for SEO.
Asset Cleanup allows you to turn this kind of stuff off when you don't need it.
Under each blog post, Asset Cleanup will load a list of everything that's loading on this post. You can go through and disable the ones you don't need.
And you don't need to do this every time you write a new blog post. You tell Asset Cleanup to never load something, if it's never going to be useful on a blog post. And you can also make exceptions to these rules on a case-by-case basis, if you actually do need one of these things for one blog post.
It's free, and it's one of the best WordPress SEO plugins.
Best WordPress Contact Form Plugin for Bloggers: WP Forms
There are lots of WordPress plugins for contact forms, but the best WordPress plugin for contact forms is WP Forms.
WP Forms also offers a paid version with more features, but if all you need is a simple contact form (which is what most of us need), WP Forms Lite is free and works great. It's one of the best plugins for bloggers.
Best WordPress 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!
You can also sync Updraft Plus to Google Drive, allowing you to safely store your backups without taking up space on your site.
I always recommend this WordPress plugin for beginners making big edits to their site.
Best WordPress Social Follow Buttons: Simple Social Icons
Want to display social follow buttons (i.e., buttons that lead to your social profiles) in your sidebar or footer (or any other widget area)? Look no further than Simple Social Icons.
It's a great WordPress plugin for beginners. It's lightweight, won't slow down your site, and looks great.
You can customize the colors and which networks you want to display (out of a ton of choices, most of which I've never even heard of). You can also choose whether you want circle, rounded, or square icons.
It gets a thumbs-up from me.
Note: You'll need to use the Classic Widgets plugin to use Simple Social Icons.
Best WordPress Comment Plugin: The native WordPress comment system
I tried my best to justify bringing in a comment WordPress plugin here, but honestly, you don't need one. Some of them will slow down your site, some of them will lose you commenters because they make you log in.
Plus, the regular plain old commenting system that came with your theme has all the functionality you need and it won't conflict with anything else.
Best WordPress 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 blog, 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.
Bonus: it's one of the best free WordPress plugins for blogs.
Best WordPress Live Chat Plugin: Tawk.to
If you want to install a live chat widget on your WordPress blog, and you want to do it for free, the best option is Tawk.to.
It's totally free, and you can customize the color and look of the widget. Here's an example of one:
They even have an app!
Best WordPress Header/Footer Plugin: Header & Footer Scripts
This is a very simple plugin that simply allows you to easily insert code into the header or footer of your blog.
You'll need to insert code like this when you're installing Google Analytics or your Facebook Pixel, for example.
Without this plugin, you would need to go digging around in your theme files, and that can get real techy, real fast. This plugin avoids that.
It contains two big text boxes–one for the header and one for the footer–and all you have to do is copy/paste the code in and hit save. That's it!
It's one of the best plugins for WordPress.
Best WordPress Table of Contents Plugin: Easy Table of Contents
Easy Table of Contents pretty much does what it says it's going to do. It inserts a table of contents for your blog post.
When you have a long post (like this one), you want to make it easy for people to jump to what they're interested in. Someone landing on this post might want to read about every plugin I talk about, but they also might just be interested in an SEO plugin.
You can view it in action at the top of this blog post.
You can customize the colors and appearance, and you can turn it off if there's a post where you don't want it. You can also disable particular headings or classes of headings (for instance, if you don't want H4 headings to appear).
It's one of the best free WordPress plugins for blogs.
Best WordPress Search Plugin: Better Search
WordPress comes with a default search option, so you don't technically need a plugin for this. But the functionality is pretty limited.
The default WordPress search feature is pretty limited and often fails to find relevant content for your on-site search queries.
Luckily, there are some great WordPress search plugins.
My (free) plugin of choice is Better Search.
“Better Search replaces the default WordPress search engine with a more powerful search engine that gives search results relevant to the title and content of the post. This means that visitors to your blog will find what they are looking for quicker than if you didn’t have Better Search installed. Better Search can search through not just posts, but also pages and other custom post types. Let your visitors find what they are looking for.”wordpress.org
You'll pretty much always get more relevant search results with Better Search than you would with the default WordPress search function.
Best WordPress 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.
True story, I once accidentally turned off Akismet (I still don't know how I managed that), and I started to get dozens and dozens of spam comments a day. Luckily I eventually figured out what I'd done, but ever since then I've been an Akismet die-hard.
Akismet is free for personal use, and for commercial use it's a “pay what you want” situation.
This is one of the best free plugins for blogs.
Best Free WordPress plugin for site speed: WP Fastest Cache
Site speed is important both for user experience and for SEO, so you definitely want to have a good site speed WordPress plugin.
Best WordPress Cookie Plugin for Your Blog: GDPR Cookie Consent
This plugin will allow you to create a customized cookie bar/pop-up that informs visitors to your blog that you are using cookies and asks them to click Accept.
You can even customize the colors.
This is what mine looks like:
It's a must-have WordPress plugin for bloggers to be legal right now.
Best WordPress 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 actual ConvertKit affiliate link is https://convertkit.com?lmref=NmL60A. I'd never be able to remember that. But my “pretty link” is beccaklein.co/convertkit. Easy to remember, easy to add to blog posts, easy to share.
Pretty Links has a paid option with a few more features, like categories, but the free version is totally fine for most purposes.
I use Pretty Links for all my affiliate links and I highly recommend it.
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Best Paid WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
Now we've been through the best free WordPress plugins, and there are some great ones. But, sometimes it pays to have a premium plugin. So let's talk about those too.
Best WordPress related posts plugin: Inline Related Posts Pro
It's common to display related posts at the bottom of a blog post (and I encourage it), but Intelly Related Posts Pro is a little different. It inserts related posts right in the blog post (as you've seen as you've scrolled through this post).
You can set the number of posts it'll make, how far apart they should be, and how they should look.
Mine look like this:
It's one of the best plugins for WordPress.
Best WordPress Facebook Pixel Plugin: Pixel Your Site
If you use Facebook ads, or even think that there's a remote chance that you someday might use Facebook ads, then you definitely need to install your Facebook pixel on your blog (and all your other websites, but that's beyond this post).
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that tracks visitors to your site. So it allows you to show Facebook ads to people who have visited your site, which often works well because they've already demonstrated an interest.
Installing the pixel can get a little tricky, which is why Pixel Your Site is a great WordPress plugin. It will install your pixel for you, and take care of things like adding “complete registration” and “purchase” tags and lots of other techy stuff.
You can also use it to add other code like the Pinterest tag (same kind of thing for promoted pins) and Google Analytics code.
Best WordPress Podcast Plugin: Podcast Player Pro
If you have a podcast, I can't recommend Podcast Player Pro highly enough.
Among other things, Podcast Player Pro adds a bar to the bottom of your site (you should see it now) where people can click to play your podcast. This may not seem like a big thing, but my podcast downloads went up 12X between the last week I didn't use it and the first week I did!
It just works!
You can customize the colors to match your brand and turn various features on and off.
It's a must-have WordPress plugin if you're a podcaster.
Best WordPress Block Plugin: Kadence Blocks
Even if you don't use Kadence as your theme, you can still use the blocks plugin. It's one of the best plugins for bloggers.
Best WordPress social media sharing plugin: Grow
Setting up social media sharing buttons on all your blog posts is an important thing for any blogger. Grow is one of the best WordPress social media plugins.
It adds buttons in a few places (you can choose which ones you want):
- Puts share buttons above and/or below each blog posts
- Puts share buttons on the lefthand side of the screen
- Gives you a share button pop-up
- Puts a Pinterest hover button on images
You can see it in action here, both on the left-hand side and below the post:
Additionally, it has important Pinterest features. Getting your post shared on Pinterest is crucial for traffic (every blog post should have a Pinterest image, btw). But beyond just getting the image shared, it's also very important that the Pinterest title and description are optimized with Pinterest keywords for Pinterest SEO.
Grow allows you to designate a Pinterest image (so that people aren't pinning random things) and it allows you to set the title and description so that your carefully keyworded words are what is being shared.
You can also set Twitter/Facebook shared images and descriptions too.
Best WordPress automatic internal linking plugin: Link Whisper
Link Whisper is one of my all-time favorite plugins (heck, it might even be #1).
One important aspect for SEO is having your site interlinked, meaning that you link to other blog posts within each new blog post. But it's hard to write a blog post and simultaneously think about the other 50 posts you've written and how they could fit in. Link Whisper solves this.
It scans your post, and suggests places where you can insert links to specific posts. And if you like the suggestion, you can insert the link with the click of a button.
It also does the reverse. Every time you write a new post, it'll scan all your old posts and find places where the new post can be inserted.
It's a HUGE time saver and DEFINITELY helps with SEO. I highly recommend it.
Best WordPress Pinterest Plugin for Bloggers: Grow…again
We just talked about Grow as one of the best general social media plugins, but it's also a Pinterest plugin, and one of the best WordPress plugins for beginners.
Grow does a few things with respect to Pinterest:
- Sets Pinterest descriptions and titles
- Allows you to utilize alt text properly (not for Pinterest descriptions)
- Allows you to have hidden Pinterest images on your page (so they'll show up when someone clicks the Pin button, but not on the actual blog post)
- Allows you to disable pinning for images you don't want pinned
- Adds a hover button on all images
- Adds a Pinterest banner on post images
- …and more
Grow makes sure that when someone clicks the Pinterest social sharing button on one of my posts, they're only going to have the option to pin my Pinterest images with my titles and descriptions (hello, keywords).
It's an important part of a good Pinterest strategy.
Best WordPress Site Speed Plugin: WP Rocket
WP Rocket is hands down the best WordPress plugin for site speed.
While there are other WordPress caching plugins out there, including some free options, for those who want a solution that can be used to speed up a website with no technical knowledge and very little effort required, WP Rocket is definitely worth investing in. Simply activate WP Rocket on your site, and you should start seeing improved loading times.WINNINGWP.COM
I won't get into the nitty gritty here, because it's pretty techy, but you can read all about WP Rocket's features here.
WP Rocket is absolutely one of the best plugins for bloggers.
Best WordPress 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 compresses 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.
Be sure to install this WordPress plugin for the best SEO on your blog.
Best WordPress photo grid/resource library plugin: Essential Grid
Essential Grid creates very cool image grids that you can insert in posts or pages. It has all kinds of hover features, movement, colors, and other cool effects.
There are lots of cool ways you could use it, but I use it for my Resource Library. I wrote a post all about how to use Essential Grid to create a freebie library right here.
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There are zillions of other WordPress blog 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 – whether you're a beginner blogger or a pro blogger.
Do you have other WordPress plugins that you love? Let me know in the comments!