Decided to start blogging? Great! You are on the right track. Scope in blogging is like an ocean. The more you explore, the more will remain unexplored.
Have you decided on which platform you want to start your blog? There are numerous options that you can try. Here is one article which may help you to choose the right blogging platform.
Recommend Read: Best Blogging platform to earn money in 2020
Well, WordPress contributes more than 50% of blogs. So I would suggest you start your blog on WordPress only. I am talking about WordPress software and not WordPress.com
So I am assuming that you decided to go with WordPress. Please make sure that you have to choose a good domain name that reflects your niche. Here is one guide to help you out choosing a good domain name.
Must Read : How To choose a domain name
Choose a reputed web hosting service to host your blog. Go with shared hosting if you are a beginner. If budget permits go ahead with VPS or managed WordPress hosting.
Must Read: 10 Best Web hosting for WordPress
Do you need any help installing WordPress? Below is one exclusive guide on how to install WordPress. If you hate reading then this YouTube video might help you.
So I hope now you could able to install WordPress. Basic WordPress install does not come with a lot of features. You need to have plugins to enhance the functionality.
WordPress repository has over 50000 plugins. Out of that, a fast WordPress blog should not have more than 20 quality plugins installed. But How do you decide that 20 plugins?
Experienced bloggers are well aware of what plugins need to be installed. In this article, I will focus on beginners who may not know what plugins are good for their blog. They usually are more confused, Hopefully, this article might help them a bit.
- This list only shows free plugin considering beginners may not have enough funds for paid plugins
- The list is not exclusive. You can install as many plugins as you want.
- This list assumes that you may have some plugin from your theme along with a page builder
- These plugins are tried and tested and known for optimum performance
- I would always suggest trying new plugins first in a staging environment before going live.
I think you are now boar with this lengthy intro. Right? Let’s get into our main topic. Let’s figure out 5 Best WordPress Plugins for a Blog. These are must-have WordPress plugins which almost every blog installs
Let’s have the list first. If you already know about a few of the plugins you can simply scroll down to the one you don’t know about.
15 Best WordPress Plugins
No wonder, Jetpack is the first plugin in the list of best WordPress plugins that I will suggest you install. It connects your blog with WordPress.com and offers many premium features that only WordPress.com user enjoys.
If you install Jetpack you get the privilege to use WordPress mobile app and you can access your blog on the go, write articles, reply to comments, etc. You can also manage media files in WordPress App.
Jetpack comes with image CDN features which help to reduce the load time of your blog. Usually, images contribute to the major chunk of your hosting bandwidth. Jetpack saves your hosting bandwidth by delivering images directly from the Jetpack server. JetPack also can serve static files from their CDN, but I never found it as per my expectation.
It offers a basic level of security like preventing a brute attack, notifying users when the website is down, etc. If you buy the premium plan, it offers a good level of security and competes against the big leaders who are expert in WordPress security
One of the best and useful features of Jetpack is that it automates social share. Whenever you publish a post Jetpack can share it automatically to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and MailChimp. Sounds Good?
Jetpack is not a single plugin but a bundle of plugins. For beginners, it may not be retired to use all features of Jetpack. On top of that, I would suggest not to enable each and every feature of Jetpack. If you do so your site will be extremely slow
Let’s summerise the best features of Jetpack which newbie may plan to use. In fact, I use Jetpack for the following reasons.
- Powerful Image CDN to serve content directly from the Jetpack server.
- Automatically post to many social media platforms
- The free plan offers a basic level of WordPress security
- Offers the privilege to use the WordPress Mobile App
- Basic statistics of your blog
By default, WordPress does not have any SEO functionality. You need to install SEO plugins to achieve SEO features in WordPress. Free plugins are good to start with but with limited functionality.
Yoast is the leader in the WordPress SEO plugin category. But I won’t recommend that. Instead, I would suggest using Rank Math SEO plugin which offers much more than Yoast. On top of that Rank Math is 100 % Free. No paid plan. So you can enjoy the full list of features free of cost
Rank Math is a new entry to the market. If you are not sure how to set up Rank Math then below I shared one video where I explained about Rank Math and how to set up. If you want to see various on-page optimization features that Rank Math offers, then you have to watch the second video. Rank Math does not have any premium version. So all feature that it offers is free.
One of the best features of Rank Math I love is that it has the option of redirection feature. Earlier I used to have multiple plugins to achieve redirection, 404 monitor, and many other important features. Rank Math comes packed with all those features off the shelf.
Must Read: Yoast vs Rank Math : Which is better
Rank Math also has an onboard search console feature where you get a sneak peek of how your blog is showing up in searches. You get a broad overview of what are the keywords that are ranking. Ideally, those kinds of features are rare in SEO plugins but Rank Math has all those extra features in its bucket.
It also offers an SEO analysis option where you can see your website’s SEO based on various parameters. This option is great because you will come to know what is the issue that your website has in terms of SEO and fix those accordingly. Rank Math is one of the best WordPress Plugins that many pro bloggers use.
Here are a couple of salient Features of Rank Math apart from the basic SEO functionality.
- Custom redirection and 404-page monitor
- The flexibility of indexing /no-indexing every aspect of your blog
- No-Index of paginated pages
- Onboard search console
- Off the shelve SEO analysis tool
WP Super Cache
If you are using VPS ( Virtual Private Server) or a dedicated server, you can expect to have a server-side cache. Otherwise, it’s very rare for shared hosting to provide a good server-side cache. Leave apart the caching mechanism in your web server but you have to have a caching plugin in WordPress to get the best speed.
WP Super Cache is the best cache plugin I have experienced. It is offered by Automattic, the company which develops and maintains WordPress. You are expected to have no compatibility issue as both WordPress and WP super cache is developed by the same company
This plugin has a very simple interface. You can easily navigate through options and in fact, this plugin has very minimum options. Don’t think that it’s not as powerful because it has fewer options. It’s a very powerful plugin and easily competes with other paid plugins like WP Rocket.
What makes WP super cache unique is that it serve cached HTMP pages instead of PHP pages that other plugin serves. Personally, I notice that you can have more than 50% improvement in speed with WP Super Cache if it is configured properly.
Salient Features Of WP Super Cache
- Very lightweight plugin and does not make any HTTP calls
- A fewer option in setting page. Good for new users.
- Server static HTML pages instead of buggy PHP pages
- Offered by WordPress. So compatibility and support are great.
Autoptimize along with WP Super cache can do the wonder. Yes, You read it right. The combination of these two plugins performs great and can easily beat other premium plugins like WP Rocket.
Apart from minifying it also helps in removing Google font, emojis to speed up your blog. It also offers an image optimization feature but that’s a premium feature. I would suggest using WP-Optimize to optimize images rather than this plugin.
Point to be noted that Autoptimize cache grows very quickly and it does not delete cache automatically. So you will have to delete the cache manually in a frequent interval. If you hate to do that you can install Auto Clear Autoptimize Cache plugin to automate the job.
Here is why I use highly recommend to use Autoptimize
- Can be used with any Cache plugin
- Removes Google Font and emojis
Google Site Kit
Site Kit by Google is one of the very useful plugins for WordPress. Earlier we had the pain of using many plugins and code to integrate Google Analytics, AdSense, and Google search console to our WordPress. This plugin has all of them in a single plugin.
If you have this plugin you can see all data of AdSense, search console, and analytics in the WordPress dashboard itself. On top of that, you don’t need to inject any code for activating all these Google services. The plugin will take care of everything.
You get the option to see how your blog is earning through the Adsense option in the Site kit. You can also look into the Pagespeed insights data to check the speed of your website.
You also get the option of in-depth analysis of your article and can see how good it is performing in Google searches. Overall it’s a very good plugin if you want to integrate Google services to your WordPress blog.
Here is one wonderful video to explain how to set up a Google Site Kit plugin.
Lets summerise what makes Google Site Kit So special
- Integrate all Google services right into your WordPress
- Offers data from all services so that you don’t need to visit the respective websites to get the data
- Offered by Google, so you can trust the plugin
- Offers the sneak peek about how every article in your blog is performing
Table Of Content Plus
You might have noticed in Wikipedia articles that it has an index of topics. Usually, it is shown in a tabular form. This is called Table Of Content Plus. The table of content is very useful to show a snippet of topics that are getting covered in the article. It gives the reader a broad overview of the article.
Although there are many plugins to achieve this kind of table I found the table of contents plus is the best. No wonder why it is having more than 300K downloads. After Gutenberg was introduced, Table of Content was offered by many block-based plugins. But nothing could match the features of Table Of Content Plus.
You can place the table automatically or you can use a shortcode to insert the table wherever you want. I personally love the automatic as it reduces the work. You can tweak CSS codes to make it look very attractive. Below is a sample of how a Table Of Content Looks like.
You don’t know how your blog might behave if something goes wrong. Now it can happen due to a new theme, new plugin or could be because of an update. It’s always safe to take a backup of your WordPress blog periodically.
Do you want to lose your website in case something goes wrong? Then you have to use Updraftplus.
It creates a backup of your WordPress files, database, plugins, etc whenever you need it. In case of any issue, you can restore your website from the backup very easily.
Updraftplus has an option of remote backup. What that means is that you can take a backup of your WordPress website in cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. So in the worst case even if you loos your Updraftplus backup, you can still restore your website using the cloud backup. Updraftplus has a plugin premium but for a casual user, the free version is more than enough.
Schema & Structured Data
If your theme offers schema or if you use rank math then you don’t need this plugin. But if not then this is the best schema plugin for WordPress. If you are not sure what is a schema, then this YouTube video might help you.
Well, Schema & Structured data plugin is nowhere close to a premium plugin like WP schema pro offered by Astra, but it does the basic job for free. You can have a schema for article, recipe, review, blog post, and many others. They strictly follow the schema guideline by Google. You can use the KK star rating with this plugin to have a star rating in your articles.
Sassy Social Share
Social media plays a big role in your blog success. A great chunk of traffic comes through social media. Without a good social media presence, it’s next to impossible to get success in blogging.
In the market, there are many themes that offer a social share of a post, but Sassy social share is the best free plugin to share your post on social media. Although Social snap leads the market and considered to be the best plugin if you are considering a free solution then sassy social share is the best.
It creates a social share button in every article /page and also creates a floating button. For mobile devices, it creates sticky buttons at the bottom so that users can share your post with ease.
Affiliate marketing is one of the main sources of income from blogs. In fact, it is the most profitable source of income for a blog. Thirsty affiliates can help grow your affiliate marketing business exponentially.
You might be tied with so many companies for affiliates and they might have given affiliate links. Remembering all those links is a big pain. But with a thirsty affiliate, it’s very easy.
Thirsty affiliate converts ugly affiliate links and gives genetic links HTTPS:// blogbyts.com/go/*** in that *** is the affiliate name. What it does is that it creates a 301 redirection to the original link. For example one of the affiliate links that I got from Astra https://wpastra.com/?bsf=3015 converted to https://www.riansblog.com/go/astra by Thirsty Affiliates.
Not only it does create genetic affiliate links but it can also embed automatically those links while writing posts. These save time to inject affiliate links in a blog post. You can even insert affiliate images automatically to your blog posts. Thirsty affiliate has a premium version but for beginners, the free version is more than enough.
As a beginner, you might face the issue that all your domain emails (Example: [email protected]) are going to the junk folder. You can use SPF and DKIM records to fix the issue but sometimes it’s not enough. Either you reroute your email through premium services like Gmail or use a free plugin like SendInBlue to authenticate emails.
SendInBlue solves this problem by sending all domain emails through the SendInBlue server. With SendInBlue your emails will never go to the junk folder. All your emails triggered by WordPress will always pass through SendInBlue.
Using a SMTP plugin helps boosting email marketing reach
SendInBlue can be used as an email marketing tool also. You can have one subscribe box which will collect email addresses and then use those emails to send marketing emails. It’s a great replacement for Mailchimp.
If you are running WooCommerce you can take advantage Of sending transactional emails and SMS using SendInBlue. In the free plan, you can send 300 emails per day to unlimited contacts. If you want to send more emails, you can buy their premium plan which comes at a very cheap rate.
AMP For WP
Trust me, AMP is the future. AMP concept was developed to give a faster mobile experience to users.AMP removes all unnecessary scripts, codes and only renders basic HTML so that it loads fast. Google tanks good those articles which have AMP compatibility.
AMP for WordPress is the best AMP plugin for WordPress which converts your article to amp instantly. On top of that, it looks good even after removing all Java scripts. You can use Google Analytics and AdSense in the AMP version as well which is a plus. It has a dedicated mobile theme and interfaces if that theme is very good.
One of the biggest concerns of the AMP plugin is that it removes most of the visual elements from your website. That is not the case with AMP for WP. It retains most of the visual elements and supports most of the leading themes.
If you want to optimize your database then this is the plugin that should use. It only offers basic database optimization. If you want advanced features then you can use any other premium plugin. It’s a good practice to run database optimization once a month. You can also delete expired tables when you delete any plugin.
This plugin also has an image optimization feature. So you don’t need to install any other plugin to optimize images. It uses Resmush API to optimize images. You can choose between lossless and lossy optimization for images.
One of the best features of this plugin is that it takes on the fly backup for the database while optimizing it. Also, images can be optimized on the fly when you upload those in blog posts.
WP All In One Security
WordPress is the most popular CMS. So it is excepted to have security issues. By default, WordPress does not come with security features. You need to install a third-party plugin to enable security features in WordPress.
Usually, all full-fledge security plugins are paid but this is the only plugin that is 100% free. What that means is the there is no premium version of this plugin.
WP All in one security saves blogs by protecting user logins, brute attacks, spam attacks, etc. It can also save the database and WordPress directory. Also, it can backup important files like .htaccess and WP config.
If you love Gutenberg then you will also love Ultimate block. It enhances the default Gutenberg functionally by adding many useful blocks.
Although there are many block plugins available in the WordPress repository most of those are theme-specific. Ultimate block, on the other hand, can be used with any theme
A couple of blocks like ” Click to tweet”, ” call to action” ” Styled list” is very useful to create powerful content
Conclusion: Best WordPress Plugins
Well, this list only shows plugins that are useful for beginners. Mostly they look for free WordPress plugins. This is just a comprehensive list of the best free WordPress plugins. As and when your blog grows you may need to install plugins that have more features and usually those are paid.
All those plugins I personally used in all my blogs and I found those to be very good and effective. It might be a different case for you as based on the niche you may need other plugins as well. There is no list which we can call as best WordPress plugins. It depends on the type of blog and niche
If you feel that I have missed any plugin to be listed. Please write in the comment section about other plugins and I will list those in this article.