WordPress is a free, self-hosted content management system designed with bloggers in mind. Whether your WordPress website is exclusively dedicated to blogging or your blog is just one component of a more complex site, the right combination of plugins can make it run more efficiently and provide a better experience for visitors. WordPress continues to support bloggers, with an array of plugins that enhance the functionality of blogs ranging from small personal sites to the business blogs of large corporations.
WordPress itself is a set of core code that contains all the essential elements for a generic website. Those elements include a content editor with options for customizing the site with a variety of interchangeable themes. You can also install plugins, which are independent pieces of code that can add a variety of specific functions to your WordPress site.
What Kinds of Plugins Do Bloggers Need?
Your self-hosted WordPress blog site needs two kinds of plugins – ones designed to enhance your site’s performance, security, and searchability, and ones that add functions related specifically to blogging.
There are more than 54,000 WordPress plugins created by WordPress users and third-party designers from around the world. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices available in nearly every category, and some plugins aren’t trustworthy tools. They can fail to perform with your version of WordPress, break certain parts of your site, or even introduce malware and threaten your WordPress security.
The plugins you choose to install will depend on the specific needs of your site, but these plugins should be compatible with your version of WordPress and with each other. The best plugins also include at least some user support and have a long track record of user downloads and five-star reviews. Some are available for free through the WordPress Plugin Directory, while others are available through third party developers in free and premium versions with more features and support.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best plugins for blogs of all kinds.
1.) WordFence Security
Every site needs protection from hacking and other kinds of security issues. WordFence is a comprehensive security plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites that helps with malware scanning. The plugin includes a firewall with multiple security features, as well as protection from viruses and malware. WordFence also does real-time traffic monitoring and sends email alerts about critical security concerns.
2.) Yoast SEO
Search Engine Optimization is crucial for building brand awareness. Yoast SEO covers all the bases in a single plugin. Yoast checks every part of your site for searchability based on keywords you provide. This full-service plugin automatically “grades” your content for searchability and tags areas for improvement. Download Yoast from the WordPress Plugin Directory for free, or go premium for more options.
3.) Google Analytics Dashboard
Google Analytics is a premier tool for tracking statistics on your website, and this plugin puts the full range of Google Analytics functions right on your WordPress dashboard. Without leaving your site you can check traffic and clicks, get data on visitor behaviors, and more. Install this free plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Jetpack is a powerful plugin originally created for the hosted WordPress site, WordPress.com. The Jetpack plugin includes a bundle of features for social media sharing, site statistics, SEO and more. Users can select the features they want to activate for social sharing and customize them to suit their needs. Jetpack is free to download from the WordPress Plugin Directory.
5.) Really Simple SSL
Google now tags sites without an SSL certificate as “Not Secure.” Really Simple SSL is a free plugin that converts your site from unsecured “http” to secure “https” in one click. The plugin automatically updates URLS, manages redirects and supports security. You’ll need a free SSL certificate (usually available from your host) in order to install and use Really Simple SSL.
6.) Elementor Page Builder
WordPress comes with a basic content editor with both visual and HTML modes, and you can customize your site’s appearance with themes designed for blogging. But Elementor is a drag and drop page builder that allows you to control the appearance of every aspect of a page or post. Elementor is free to download from the WordPress Plugin Directory, with a premium version for more features and support.
7.) WP Smush
Images make a blog more appealing, but large image files can take up storage space and slow down your site. WP Smush is a free WordPress plugin that can compress images in a variety of formats for faster loading, without sacrificing image quality. It’s available from the Plugin Directory in free and premium versions.
Akismet is the most popular WordPress plugin for protection against spam comments. Created by the team behind WordPress itself, Akismet filters all comments and allows users to block or approve commenters. Akismet is free for personal sites, with premium plans available for business and professional bloggers.
9.) Disable Comments
Comments are important for building a community around your blog, but in some situations, they aren’t appropriate. Disable Comments is a free plugin from WordPress that allows you to remove the comment feature from selected pages and posts.
10.) Contact Form 7
Contact forms are essential for building a blog readership and community. Contact Form 7 is a complete form builder that also includes optional reCAPTCHA from Google and the Akismet spam filter. It’s available for free from WordPress.org.
WordPress was made for bloggers and other content publishers. With the support of the best WordPress plugins for blogs and many other third party developers, you can add the features you need for your blog’s appearance and performance.
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