When you start a blog or have been blogging for a while, you will realize that themes are limited. FREE and Premium themes do offer a lot of features, but most of the time you will need to download a few essential plugins.
For those who don’t know a plugin is a piece of software that adds additional functionality to your blog.
It is important to note that essential plugins are extremely helpful to your blog, but they can also cause a lot of problems. Plugins and themes don’t always agree with each other, that’s why you need to make sure you only download a plugin if you really need it.
Plugins will damage your blog if they are not compatible with your blog’s theme. Trust me, it is truly irritating when that happens. This tends to happen a lot when you are using a free WordPress theme and have a lot of plugins installed.
New bloggers tend to do this, to make up for the lack of functional variety within a free theme. I do recommend a Premium Theme if you want fewer plugin problems on your blog.
A great way to make sure that plugins won’t damage your blog is to look at the following:
- Rating and Reviews;
- Last Updated Date;
- The Number of Active Installations; and
- If it is compatible with your version of WordPress.
The following essential plugins all have their own unique purpose and I highly recommend you install these, as they do provide useful functionality to your blog.
Essential Plugins You Need
Want to rank high on search engines? Then you need Yoast SEO. This is definitely one of my favourite plugins. There are a lot of other SEO plugins online, but this one truly won it for me.
Yoast makes everything so much easier. What I love about Yoast is the that it will tell you how well your post is optimized for both readability and SEO. It then shows you exactly what you need to do to improve your posts.
This has been such a helpful tool for me since I switched to Yoast. Ranking higher on search engines is what most bloggers are aiming for and being able to know exactly how you can achieve that, is a huge plus in my book.
Yoast does all the hard work for you, all you need to do is follow their guides and optimize your posts.
Download it here: Yoast SEO.
Website security is extremely important, that’s why you need a plugin to help protect your blog from any potential threats.
The Wordfence Security plugin is one of the best plugins that you could consider, it is certainly one of my favourite plugins.
This plugin will protect you from any malicious traffic, prevent brute force attacks and scan your website for any vulnerabilities. These are just a few key features that this plugin has to offer.
I certainly wouldn’t want something to happen to my blog, that’s why I make sure that my website is protected. You should do the same.
Download it here: Wordfence Security.
Spam is probably one of the most annoying things online. I’m sure if most of you have experienced some form of spam in their lives.
I’ve had the great delight of experiencing it multiple times in my life.
Luckily you don’t have to experience it with your blog, thanks to Akismet.
Akismet is a plugin that helps fight spam on your blog. This is such a great plugin to have on your blog. We receive countless spam comments on our blog, luckily Akismet identifies these comments as spam and filters them out for us.
Download it here: Akismet.
The last thing you want is to visit your blog and realizing that you have lost everything. This can happen for a few reasons and at the most unpredictable times.
That’s why you need to make sure you have backups of your website. Some hosting options do offer backup options, but if you want to be extra thorough, then you need to use a backup plugin.
UpdraftPlus is one of the best backup plugins in the blogging world and it truly one of the essential plugins you need for your blog. You can easily backup your website, in case something happens. It will be as if nothing happened.
Download it here: UpdraftPlus.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Being able to identify exactly what type of people visit your website and what content they find more interesting, has become truly essential in the last few years.
Analytics has enabled bloggers, marketers, businesses and many more to identify who our target market is in a way that was never possible.
Bloggers use this analytical data to identify genders, interests, locations, and on-site behaviour. This helps us create content specifically targeted to those people.
This plugin does give you access to a great deal of that data within your blog’s dashboard, without you having the need to visit Google Analytics every time.
Download it here: Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights.
Contact Form by WpForms
Every blog needs a contact form. This is a simple and great way for people to get in touch with you. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to contact you.
The Contact Form by WpForms plugin can help you here. This plugin has easy-to-use drag and drop builder, allowing you to design your contact form easily.
The Contact Form plugin allows you to include quite a few types of fields in your contact forms. This is great if you want to be more specific with your contact forms.
Download it here: Contact Form by WpForms.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization
The Smush plugin does one simple thing, it compresses and optimizes your image. This is because images do use a lot of space and it will slow down your blog, which is something you do not want.
This plugin is great if you upload a lot of photos, I know travel bloggers tend to post a lot of photos of their trips. That’s why they need to use plugins like Smush, to compress their images.
Download it here: Smush Image Compression and Optimization.
WP Fastest Cache
As I mentioned above, having a slow blog/site is bad. Site speed is one of the most important factors that you should consider and always work on.
Search engines and people generally like faster websites and if you don’t have a fast website/blog, then you will struggle online.
The WP Fastest Cache helps improve your blog’s speed by creating static HTML files from your blog and saving it in a cache. This cache system will help avoid the possibility of pages rendering over and over again for repeat visitors.
By using this plugin, you are making sure that your blog’s speed is at its best.
Download it here: WP Fastest Cache.
This plugin is a great tool that cleans your WordPress blog’s database and ensures that it runs at maximum efficiency. Unnecessary data can have an effect on your blog, that’s why you need a plugin like WP-Optimize to clean it for you.
Download it here: WP-Optimize.
Broken Link Checker
Most bloggers have experienced broken links in their blogging journey. This can happen for a lot of reasons.
I know we had to change a bunch of the links on our blog after we did a complete overhaul of our posts a while back. We optimized and updated our posts, and this forced us to change some of the URL’s on our posts.
The problem with this is that when we create new content, we link back to related posts that we have written in the past.
We have done this since the beginning and that’s where the problem came, we changed a bunch of our post’s URL’s. We had to fix all the links we have posted in our old posts, but that would’ve been quite a difficult and time-consuming thing to do.
Luckily, we had the Broken Link Checker. We could easily see exactly what links were broken. This plugin allows you to edit those links directly, saving you a lot of time trying to find, check and edit links.
Download it here: Broken Link Checker.
Plugins provide a lot of great features to your blog, giving you the opportunity to get a lot more out of your blog. These essential plugins all provide amazing features that will certainly be beneficial to your blog.
It is important to remember that you need to be considerate of the type of plugins you install on your blog, as well as the number of plugins.