Plugins for bloggers are many and you will find as many opinions as you will bloggers. After years of running a blog, I’ve tried dozens of them and will share below my must-have plugins for bloggers as well as some additional plugins that I recommend. I am not an affiliate of any of the plugins below. I am simply sharing my knowledge and experience with them as a service to bloggers just starting out or desiring to grow their blogs.
Must Have Plugins for Bloggers
Akismet is a spam filtering service that filters spam from comments, trackbacks, and contact form messages. This is one of the most important of the plugins for bloggers. Without it, you may be inundated with spam comments and trackbacks. Save yourself some headaches and install this plugin. It is free, but they do accept donations to keep the plugin going and updated.
SEO by Yoast
SEO by Yoast is the industry standard for SEO plugins. You can use the tools in this plugin as you’re creating your posts to guide you to make good wording choices and get the maximum leverage from keywords that will help you get found by Google. Use this for every post you write and follow their recommendations on SEO and readability. There are both free and paid versions available. The paid version gives you additional features including recommend internal links. At just $89 per year for one site, it’s good to consider that paid version as you grow your blog.
Social Share Buttons
There are many different social share plugins for bloggers out there. Each have their pros and cons. Currently, I use Simple Share Buttons Adder, a free plugin, but am considering switching to Social Warfare as the reviews have been excellent. Social Warfare is a paid plugin, but the cost is minimal – just $29 per year for one site. The purpose of this type of plugin is to enable your readers to share your content elsewhere. The more your content is shared, the higher your views, the more successful your blog will be.
Use Any font
Use any custom fonts you wish and give your site a custom look to match your branding. No css knowledge required. My brand fonts are added to this plugin allowing me to use them across pages and posts for a clean branded look. Consistent branding helps your site to look professional, which is why I have included it in this list of plugins for bloggers.
Google Analytics Dashboard
This plugin, also known by GADWP, enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics stats in your WordPress install. I review the dashboard several times per day to see how many viewers I’ve had, what pages they are visiting and where they came from. It is easy and clean.
Wordfence or Other Security Plugin
This free plugin , adds an extra layer of protection by locking out people who try to hack their way into your website, even blocking IP addresses of bots trying to access your site. You can customize email alerts to be sent to you if anything suspicious is going on, and they offer a premium version that gives you access to support if you need it.
I use Updraft Plus to back up my site. You can set it to conduct automatic backups. Backups are critical! Technology fails and I don’t think there are many more frustrating things than losing all of your content and not having a back up to replace it. All that work! Ugh. Additionally, some WordPress or plugin updates can cause issues with your theme. Having a backup allows you to use a previous version of your site if an update is incompatible with your theme.
Google XML Sitemaps
WordPress.org describes this plugin this way “Use this plugin to greatly improve SEO to create special XML sitemaps which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your site. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.” You really need this for your site to be found on search engines!
API For Mailing List
If you are a blogger, you are probably building a list. An email list, that is. Each email platform (I use Mailerlite) will have an API to allow you to capture email addresses from visitor to your site. While not actually a plugin, using an API from your email platform is a must have to include on your site. You don’t want to miss an opportunity to turn first-time visitors into lifelong readers and customers.
Plugin for Related Posts
This plugin allows your readers to see posts related to the one they are reading and they might find useful. I use the Contextual Related Posts Plugin. It “reads” your post and suggests other posts with related content for your readers. You can customize the plugin to show as few or many post as you’d like and where they display. If a reader clicks on a related post, awesome! They are enjoying your content and want to see more of it. Bonus: the more posts they visit while on your site, the lower your bounce rate will be, which is the direction you want to go!
Ok, so this one isn’t necessarily at the top of the list of must-have plugins for bloggers, but I do recommend it. The search bar allows the reader to search everywhere on your site and find the content they are looking for. I think it is a nice-to-have-feature and certainly one that I use regularly when visiting other websites and blogs. I use the Add Search to Menu plugin which is basic and easy to configure.
Did I miss any of your must-have plugins for bloggers? If so, which ones are on your list? Tell me below! I love checking out new plugins!
Until Next Time and Because of Him,
For a comparison of WordPress to Blogger for your blogging platform, check out this post.