As a new blogger, I had no idea what a plugin was. I had never created my own website before so it was all new to me. While on this blogging journey I’ve discovered essential plugins that every site should have.
Before we dive in let’s talk about what a plugin is. A plugin is an add-on that gives extra functionality to your site. There are thousands of plugins available and many of them are free. Plugins are perfect if you’re not good with code or tech-savvy.
Installing plugins is very simple. On your WordPress dashboard go to Plugins > Add New. Then in the search bar type in what you are looking for.
When you find a plugin you want to use go ahead and click Install Now and then Activate. Make sure you activate your plugins or they won’t work. To make sure your plugins are activated you can go to Plugins > Installed Plugins. If they are active they should be highlighted blue. If not you can activate them from here also.
There isn’t a limit to how many plugins you can have. You just need to figure out what works best for you and your website. I use around 20 plugins for my site but it’s been a lot of trial and error to find the ones I like. There are 11 plugins that I can’t live without and are essential to every site.
If you are looking to start a blog check out my How-To guide here. Make sure you grab your FREE checklist also!
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Broken Link Checker
This plugin is essential to your site because it continuously tests your internal and external links. It applies to posts and pages on your site. If it finds a link that doesn’t work it marks it as broken and notifies you via email or your WordPress dashboard.
When you are notified of a broken link you should fix it immediately. Having broken links on your site looks unprofessional and might cause readers to leave.
The ConvertKit plugin works best if you use ConvertKit for your email marketing. I highly recommend them when building your email list. You can start your FREE trial with ConvertKit here.
I love this plugin because it integrates the forms I’ve created into my site. I can choose where my forms show up. If you have multiple forms that’s okay. Just pick the one you want to use in the dropdown.
Cookie Notice & Compliance for GDPR / CCPA
Because you are collecting and storing visitor information you need to make sure you are compliant with GDPR and CCPA laws. This is why it’s also essential to have legal pages on your site. If you want more info about legal pages you should check out this post.
When I started my blog I struggled with the design. I was using WordPress and had no idea what I was doing. After doing some research I found out about Elementor.
Elementor is the leading website builder platform on WordPress. If you use WordPress you can actually install the free Elementor plugin. With the plugin, it’s very easy to design your site. You can drag and drop elements right on your pages or you can use templates that Elementor has.
There is also a paid version called Elementor Pro. It offers more templates and widgets. You can also create forms and popups with Pro. There is also premium support access. I recommend signing up for Elementor Pro. It is an essential plugin for me.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
Analytics are super important for all websites. Using them allows you to see how people find and use your site. With this information, you can work to increase your traffic and sales.
Many bloggers swear by Google Analytics. I use it as well and it’s extremely helpful. MonsterInsights has a free plugin that connects with Google Analytics. It has over 3 million active installs and has a dashboard built into WordPress.
You can still use Google Analytics separately but having the plugin makes the integration effortless.
As a blogger, I use many images on my site. The Smush plugin really helps because it compresses images. Images can make your site run slow. When your site is slow you are more likely to lose readers.
With the Smush plugin, your site is optimized for speed. It’s free to use and there are no caps on how many images you can compress.
Having social media share buttons on your site is HUGE. I went through a lot of plugins before I finally found Social Warfare. The other plugins I tried didn’t work well for me.
I love Social Warfare because the buttons look super clean and my site speed isn’t affected. I can turn off the share counts, choose where the buttons show up, and pick which social media buttons appear. My traffic has definitely increased since I started using the Social Warfare plugin.
Social Warfare also has a paid version called Social Warfare Pro if you want more social sharing options. I highly recommend the Pro version if you use Pinterest for your business. With Pro, you can choose custom Pinterest images and a description that will default when someone goes to share it.
The thought of something happening to my site is terrifying. Especially after all the time and work I put into it. It’s for this reason that I use the UpdraftPlus plugin.
With UpdraftPlus you can backup your site whenever you like. These backups are then stored in remote locations like Google Drive or Dropbox. I make sure to backup my site a few times a week.
If something happens like you get hacked or your server crashes you are able to restore a previous backup. It’s super useful and essential to every site.
W3 Total Cache
The W3 Total Cache plugin improves user experience and SEO on your site by reducing load times. It also helps to increase site performance. With over 1 million active installations the W3 Total Cache plugin is very popular.
As with any website yours need security. The Wordfence Security plugin has a firewall and malware scanner. This protects your site from attacks and threats.
Hackers are everywhere. When you’re using the Wordfence Security plugin you can rest assured that your site is safe.
Yoast SEO is one of my favorite plugins. This plugin helps immensely with SEO. With over 5 million active installs Yoast SEO is the most used WordPress SEO plugin.
With Yoast SEO it’s very easy to optimize each post for SEO. This plugin also helps with readability. When you are first starting out SEO can be intimidating. I know it was for me.
Now as I’m writing posts I just naturally consider SEO. It comes easier to me. Because of this, I don’t have to make as many changes when my post is done. It saves so much time. Yoast SEO is one of the more essential plugins for your site.
There are over 58,000 plugins on WordPress that you can use. These 11 that I mentioned are a very small chunk of what’s available but they have made all the difference for my site. They are also FREE.
With so many plugins I don’t doubt that you’ll find the ones that are essential to your site. Don’t settle for the first one you find. Make sure you love it and it works for you. I hope you found this post helpful.
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