If you’re new to WordPress, or blogging in general, you’re going to want to download a few essential plugins. A plugin is a piece of software that adds functionality or new features to your WordPress site. Today, we’re taking a look at some of the best WordPress plugins for beginners.
First thing’s first, you must be self-hosted on WordPress.org in order to install plugins, rather than on WordPress.com. Need a blueprint for how to go self-hosted? Check out our post on how to start a blog today in 6 easy steps. Having a self-hosted site means you own all of your content and can customize your site as much as you want! It also allows you to start monetizing your blog and of course, use plugins!
These are thousands of free plugins available to choose from that will enhance your blog, either visually or functionally. Some of my top picks? Instagram Feed, Aksimet for spam, Yoast SEO, and Broken Link Checker, plus a few more! If you’re not using these WordPress plugins, you’re missing out! Here are 9 of the best plugins to download today!
1. Yoast SEO
In my opinion, Yoast SEO is the most essential plugin to have on your site. Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to get more eyeballs on your blog, and Yoast SEO helps immensely. Once you fill in your post content and focus keyword, the plugin gives you a red ‘Y’ if your SEO is bad, a yellow ‘Y’ if it’s okay, and a green ‘Y’ if it’s good to go! If it’s not green, the plugin offers advice for how to fix your post so that it’s more optimized.
The plugin also comes with a snippet editor, which enhances your SEO even further. Add in your “SEO Title” with the title of your post, the “Slug” will be filled in for you, and fill the “Meta Description” with a snippet about your blog post. This is a great way to add in your keyword again.
Akismet is one of the most popular plugins for protecting your blog from spam. Spam comments can be a pain in the you know what, but the plugin will moderate your comments and make sure there are no spammers on your blog.
Akismet is an advanced anti-web service that will protect your site so you can rest easy. It evolves daily to keep up with the web’s most proficient scammers. I’ve been using it since I transferred to a self-hosted blog over a year ago, and I’ve never once had a spam comment!
3. Instagram Feed
If you’re a blogger who’s on Instagram, you probably want to display your lovely Instagram feed on your blog side bar or footer so people can easily see your photos and follow you! If you read my post on creating a killer Instagram strategy you’ll know I’m totally in love with Instagram and want to show it off wherever I can.
The Instagram Feed plugin is customizable (choose how many photos you want to display, change the height, width, number of columns to display, background color, and more!). It’s mobile responsive and you can put it pretty much anywhere on your site! It works to increase social engagement, and adds a fresh aesthetic to your blog.
4. Naked Social Share
Speaking of increasing social engagement, the Naked Social Share plugin allows you to insert social share buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and Google+ at the end of each of your posts. This way, your readers can do the sharing for you if they love your post! You can style the buttons to match your theme, change the order the buttons appear in, and disable any you don’t want.
5. Broken Link Checker
The last thing you want is for your readers to be going through your content, click on a link that is supposed to lead them to an affiliate product or another awesome article, and it doesn’t work! Broken Link Checker monitors your links and detects the ones that don’t work. It will notify you by dashboard or email so that you can fix it right away. There are so many amazing features with this plugin, it’s a must!
Jetpack is one of the most popular, versatile WordPress plugins. It allows you to do things such as set up spelling and grammar checks, add infinite scroll to your site, display related posts, measure site stats and analytics, and so much more! It also offers state-of-the-art security tools and automatic plugin updates. It’s basically a one-stop-shop for most of your blogging needs!
7. Pinterest “Pin It” Button
You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to pin content from your blog. With the Pin It Button plugin your readers will be able to select any image when pinning. You can also disable the Pin It button on certain posts and pages. You can pre-select an image for your readers to pin and add a Pin It button to your sidebar or footer widget. Choose from official Pin It button color and sizes.
8. Easy Google Fonts
Want more font options to use on your blog? Easy Google Fonts is the plugin for you! It’s a simple way to add Google fonts to your WordPress theme without any coding. Choose from 600+ google fonts to ensure your typography fits your blog branding. Using the WordPress customizer, you can preview font changes on your website in real time to see how different fonts work with your theme.
9. Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
This plugin allows you to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site and see your stats and analytics within your dashboard. Google Analytics is seen as the most accurate source for website analytics, so it’s essential that you have it for your blog. Instead of checking on the Google Analytics website, this plugin makes it easy to see everything within WordPress!
These plugins are the best WordPress plugins for beginners. They will help take your blog from good to great, offering visual and functional features that will totally elevate your website!
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