What are the best WordPress plugins for bloggers?
Let’s talk plugins. There’s soooo many and if you’ve just made the switch from wordpress.com to wordpress.org you’ll now know that the infinite world of plugins has opened up to you! Yay! … but … wait… where do you start? Which plugins are good? Great? Important?
I use a standard handful of staple wordpress plugins for both of my blogs. And every now and then I’ll need something mega specific so I’ll download and activate that as well. But, I’m not a plugin collector! And neither should you be.
Plugins can slow your site down… so make sure you’re only grabbing the ones that you need and are super useful to your blog.
Delete or at least deactivate any you are not using or are now not necessary as well.
So, lemme tell you which plugins I use to make my blogging life easier.
What are the best WordPress plugins for bloggers
1. Yoast SEO
Let’s start at the very beginner, as someone once said, it’s a very good place to start. Yoast SEO. This wee baby is the beginner bloggers knight in shining armour. Especially if you’re struggling to get your head around SEO and how to do it right.
SEO is literally just the practice of making it easier for your blog to rank on search engines. So, anything to make that little journey just a smidge less bumpy is alright with me. Check out my handy wee wrap up of SEO for beginner bloggers if you’re stuck.
Yoast SEO is a cool plugin that does a few very cool things…
First up… it gives you this handy dandy little check in at the bottom of all your posts…. Don’t get toooo caught up in getting the green lights on both readability and SEO.
It’s really important ot make sure your writing for your audience and not keyword stuffing or using too many “tactics”… just make sure you’ve chosen a great keyword and are generally following the Yoast suggestions to get you started.
Yoast also shows you your progress at the top right of your post editing screen.
Once installed (find it under add new plugins) … you can find Yoast SEO on your right hand side nav bar, where all your plugins will sit.
Once of the most handy functions of Yoast is that it is a mega helpful plugin when it comes to both claiming your website (verifying your website) on Pinterest… and adding rich pins to you blog.
I go into detail about how to do both in this post on setting up a Pinterest Business account … but in general, you’ll use the social tab on the Yoast SEO plugin… and go from there… really really easy. And so much better than having to manually add code to your blog! Am I right!?
2. WP Smush
So, you really want to make sure that your site speed is kept optimal. You don’t want things to take ages to load and you certainly don’t want your readers to bounce while they are waiting for images to load on your page.
In comes WP Smush!.. Theres a few different plugins around that will help compress your images.. But Smush has a free plan… and I love it!
The free plan lets you bulk smush up to 50 images at a time but allows you to manually re-run to complete any tasks outstanding.
It also automatically compresses any image you add to your media library.
It’s not as heavy duty as some of the paid options out there but definitely a good start in my opinion.
One caveat… my Like button from Jetpack wasn’t loading on my post pages – it was just spinning… and it turns out I had the smush lazy load option turned on. If you have Jetpack likes… then you want to turn this option off.
3. Grow by Mediavine
My all time favourite plugin for social sharing. Really, really simple to set up. It provides a floating sidebar that scrolls with your content… and a social sharing bar under your main image.
This is the best social sharing plugin for wordpress blogs by far!
You can choose to have the floater on mobile devices or not… I don’t.. It’s a pain on mobile for your readers IMHO.
You can also choose to show share numbers – great social proof if you’ve got a fair few shares going on.
4. Lucky WP table of contents
I tried a few different table of contents plugins with various results! Some were pretty ugly! And others not easily customised. Lucky WP table of contents is a winner for sure!
You can change the colour of the text and hover… and can add skip by text or header level.
Set it with or without numeration, choose decimal or roman numbers and choose how many headers there must be before the TOC is displayed.
5. UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore
Everyone needs protection and this wee plugin assists you with keeping your precious blog content safe and sound. Some web hosts will include this with some of their plans. Check with your provider… but it’s always good to have a backup!
You can backup locally or back up to Dropbox or Google drive amongst others. And choose to auto backup on a schedule or do it manually. This plugin is well rated and popular with bloggers.
Long title lol.. But cool plugin…
I love Pinterest, it’s a great driver of traffic and brand awareness. And this wee plugin gives your readers the option to Pin images direct from your blog post page.
On hover, your readers will get a save option on all pineapple images. Makes it easy for them to share your images. Especially if they don’t have the Pinterest chrome extension.
The jurys definitely out on this one in some blogging communities. Some say it slows your site too much. But I am a fan. For now at least.
I love that this plugin gives you the option to place a Like button on posts or pages… and it’s a decent button! And easy to use and find for your readers.
Jetpack also provides a social share option which, alongside Grow by Mediavine offers a wide range of sharing options for readers at the bottom or your blog posts.
I use both Grow and Jetpack for this.
This sits at the very end of my blog.. Unlike Grow which is only 3 social options and sits at the top of each blog on my site.
The like button is also prominent and easy to sue.
Jetpack also has a related posts option – which sits beneath your posts… Very cool and you can adjust it to suit your needs.
Finally, my honorable mention is the WordPress Hide Posts Plugin… this wee gem allows you to hide posts on search, in categories or on pages…. really great if you’re wanting a specific post to only show up in certain navs.
There’s a tonne more plugins that are super useful. But, these 7 are the ones I reckon will get you well under way as a new blogger. Let me know what plugins you love in the comments below.