As a more “experienced blogger” (lol) I’ve learned a bit about WordPress and how it works. I am by no means an expert but after doing this for a couple of years now I’m realizing what I can and can’t live without. That’s why I put together a helpful list of 11 must have WordPress plugins for bloggers and I hope you find these suggestions useful as well.
What is a Plugin?
WordPress plugins are are simple ways to add functionality to your WordPress site. Looking to add a sign up form for your email list? There’s a plugin for that. Trying to increase the security on your site? There’s a plugin for that as well.
WP Beginner offers a super helpful and more in-depth explanation about plugins and how they are created if you’re interested. For our purpose today, you just need to know that plugins add functions to your blog.
How do I find them?
First you need to decide what type of functionality you need. Let’s say you want to connect use a new email service provider – MailerLite, for example.
Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on plugins. When you do, a three item menu will show up.
From the three options choose “add new”.
Searching for your Plugin
When you click the “add new” option, a new screen will come up with a bunch of choices. Look to the right side of the screen and there will be a search bar. You can search by keyword, tag or author. I usually search by keyword.
Type in what you’re looking for. In our example – MailerLite and press enter. After you press enter a number of suggestions will pop up. If you know what you’re looking for then choose that one. If you’re not sure exactly which plug in to use, check the following characteristics to see if it’s a good fit:
- Is it up to date with your version of WordPress? This is pretty important to make sure there are no glitches or problems between the plugin and your site.
- How many positive reviews does it have and how many active installs are there? I tend to prefer more established plugins. That way I know they’ll work and have a strong history behind them.
- When was it last updated? This shows that the plugin is properly supported. If it hasn’t been updated in three years I’d choose a different option.
How to Install & Activate the Plugin
To install the plugin just press “install now” and it’s done. You’ll see the little orange circle doing it’s work and once it’s done a green check mark will appear. Once you’ve got your check mark you’re good to go.
Once you install the plugin you need to activate it. Go back to the menu on the left hand side and you’ll see the option to “activate” press that button and you’re ready.
Now that you know how to install a plugin, here is my list of must have WordPress plugins for bloggers:
Must Have WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
Please note, this list contains affiliate links to products I use and enjoy. If you make a purchase I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information please see my Disclaimer. Thank you for supporting the blog!
General Must Have WordPress Plugins
Favicon by Real Favicon Generator – see that little square on the left side of the web address? That’s a favicon. I had no idea until a fellow blogger suggested that I change my favicon and I looked it up on google. This plug in helps you personalize your favicon.
Google Analytics for WordPress – this helps you keep track of how many people have visited your website, where they came from, how long they stay on the site etc. This is really important information when you’re trying to understand your audience and grow your blog.
Insert Headers and Footers – does what it says – lets you insert a header/footer.
Yoast SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps you get your site found by search engines. This plug in helps you figure out if you’re ticking off all of the boxes.
Security Related Must Have WordPress Plugins
Akismet – protects against spam
Limit Login Attempts – since there are malicious spammers out there it’s important to make sure you have security measures in place.
Wordfence – another security plug ins. This is a must have WordPress plugin because it is so helpful when your site is being attacked by spam comments. With this plugin you can block the IP addresses sending those spam comments and stop them in their tracks. I’ve had to do this a few times and thank goodness for Wordfence.
Audience Related Must Have WordPress Plugins
Sumo – this plug in allows you to insert sharing buttons, which makes social media sharing that much easier. It also has a bunch of other features but I primarily use it for the sharing buttons.
MailerLite – I’ve been using MailerLite as my email service provider for the past few months. So far, I’ve found it much easier to use than some of the other options out there. MailerLite makes it easier to send updates to your subscribers, create a landing page and reader friendly pop ups to capture email addresses.
MailMunch – see the pretty boxes in my posts telling you to subscribe? I created those using MailMunch and so far it’s been pretty great. I find the sign in boxes are much more attractive than the other free options out there.
Jetpack – also provides you with insight into how your site is doing and provides sharing buttons.
Now it’s your turn…
What are your must have WordPress plugins? Please share in the comments!