10 WordPress Plugins You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner

by Ashley

Best WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

Plugins are a FANTASTIC way to improve your website. There is a WordPress plugin for just about anything from SEO, design, forms, social media, etc. As a blogger, they can save you so much time!

Important: You must have a self-hosted WordPress .ORG site to use plugins, not WordPress .COM.  I talk more about this in my free guide How to Start a Blog in 5 Easy Steps. But basically, a self-hosted site is what you want to be using for your blog. You can read my easy to follow tutorial on how you can start your own self-hosted WordPress blog for just $3.95/month here!

Today, I am sharing my 10 must-have WordPress plugins for blogging on WordPress!

What is a plugin?

Plugins are essentially add-ons to your site that allow you to make changes to or customize your site WITHOUT having to know complicated coding. Some plugins are more behind the scenes, and others help with the design elements of your site.

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Related: 10 Lessons I Learned in My First Year Blogging

Before you start installing allllllll the plugins…

WordPress plugins are awesome, but they can slow your site down. Not only is a slow site annoying for your readers, but it’s also bad for SEO.

Keep that in mind before you start downloading plugins left and right. Sometimes it’s best to see if you can do without a plugin. And if you happen to install a plugin that you don’t use, delete it! (You can always re-install it in the future if necessary.)

Having said that, there ARE some plugins that I use and LOVE!

I highly recommend you check these out if you’re a blogger.  Best of all, most of them are free to use and download!

Best WordPress Plugins for Blogs

(Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more information see my disclosure, here.)

1. Yoast SEO

This is an absolute MUST HAVE plugin for everyone. Yoast is a powerful plugin which improves your SEO (search engine optimization), so it helps you rank higher in Google search.

You can use the tools in this plugin as you’re creating your posts to to guide you with things like wording choices and keyword placements to help Google know what your post is about. It also allows you to write a proper meta description (the short summary that pops up under the title in Google).

For a total SEO beginner, this plugin is a lifesaver. You can either use the free Yoast SEO plugin or the paid Yoast SEO Premium one. I personally have the paid version, but I used the free version for the whole first year of blogging and recommend either one!

2. Akismet

Akismet is a plugin that will filter  your comments for you and reduce/eliminate any spam. It’s so important that it is usually automatically included when you install some WordPress themes. If you don’t have it already, be sure to download it ASAP.

3. Tasty Pins

If you’re not using this Pinterest tool yet, YOU NEED TO BE! The WP Tasty plugins started with a recipe plugin (Tasty Recipes) and expanded to include other plugins, including Tasty Pins. Essentially, with the Tasty Pins plugin you can create a separate Pinterest description for each of your images while also creating an alt text that pleases Google. (Without this plugin, Pinterest will automatically pull the alt text from an image into the pin description. Not good.)

Pleasing Pinterest AND Google is very very smart. Therefore I am a HUGE proponent of this plugin.

After you install Tasty Pins, you will see an additional text box inside the image settings that literally says, “Pinterest description”. It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Plus, the Tasty Pins plugin also allows you to easily add a hidden image to your post. This is great for the additional “pinnable images” you create for the post that you don’t want displayed in the actual post.

There isn’t a free version of the Tasty Pins plugin, however it is very affordable at only $29. I use Tasty Pins every day on my blog, and I love how it does all the hard work behind the scenes. It is so worth the cost!

4. Pretty Links

This plugin allows you to take long ugly URLs and shorten them up to make them pretty. It also tracks the number of clicks a particular link receives which is great for affiliate links and opt-in offers!

Pretty Links is what I use for nearly all of my affiliate links, and it’s the one I recommend. You can either use the free Pretty Link Lite plugin or the paid Pretty Link Pro one. I personally have the paid version, but either is fine to start with.

5. Social Warfare

It’s important to have an easy way for your readers to share your content, and Social Warfare is what I use on my site. There are a lot of social media sharing plugins out there, but here are the main reasons why I think Social Warfare is the best one.

  1. You can choose which share buttons are displayed AND where. I like this because I can have the buttons at the top of the post, and then once the reader has scrolled passed them, they automatically relocate to the bottom for additional exposure.
  2. This plugin is SUPER fast when it comes to load time, unlike some other social sharing plugins.
  3. It lists the individual social share counts, giving your post validity and encouraging others to reshare as well.

If you upgrade to the Social Warfare Pro, you can also customize your buttons so that they are on brand with your site’s color theme. I love that!

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6. Convertkit Plugin

An essential plugin to integrate your ConvertKit account with WordPress. ConvertKit is one of the most popular and affordable email marketing platforms which allows you to send marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns.

ConvertKit is the email service provider I use and therefore the ConvertKit plugin is an integral part of my site. It allows me to embed signup forms on my site to capture emails and build my list! This plugin is how I display my ConvertKit opt in forms at the end of each blog post.

If you’re on my Blogger Newsletter list, you know I love talking about email lists. But just in case you’re a new reader, here’s a free guide on what to send your email list!

7. Max Buttons

If you ever want to add a button in your blog post, Max Buttons is a simple and easy to use plugin to do that with. You can create buttons in different styles and sizes, leading to any link you want.

I originally downloaded this plugin to create my Instagram Links page (the landing page I setup for my Instagram followers to click to view any posts I mention on the app). I’ve also started adding buttons to posts to encourage people to click and checkout a freebie or similar content. This has been a great way to get readers to click around on my posts.

Like most plugins, there is also a premium version of Max Buttons. However, I have only ever used the free one.

8. Instagram Feed

Speaking of Instagram… the Instagram Feed plugin is a quick and easy way to display your most recent Instagram posts on your blog. You can add it to your sidebar or in your footer, or anywhere really! I’ve actually included my Instagram feed in both my sidebar and footer; Instagram is kiiiiiinda my favorite. 🙂

9. WP Notification Bars

A notification bar is one of the best ways to display short, but important, messages via small, brightly colored strips that anchor to the top of the screen. I prefer these over popups, as they’re a little less intrusive.

WP Notification Bars is the plugin I recommend for this. A lot of notification bar plugins only allow an email address to be captured, but WP Notification Bars let’s you display announcements, link to important content, and of course, it let’s you recruit new subscribers to a mailing list too.

You can customize the colors and fonts so that it matches your site and doesn’t look like an ad placement AND you can create as many notification bars as you want. Simply save each one and display different ones based on what you’re trying to promote at a given time.

All of this is included in the free version of WP Notification Bars, however there are some pretty cool options in the paid version if you’re wanting a little extra control.

10. Comment Reply Email Notification

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but extremely necessary. With this plugin, anyone who leaves a comment on a post will be notified when you reply to them. Super simple, yet really great for encouraging engagement and letting your readers know that you appreciate their comments.

There you have it! I hope you found this WordPress plugins list helpful! You can find all of my blogging related tips here.

Up next:

The Secret to Turning Social Media Followers Into Blog Readers

Best Free WordPress Plugins

LET'S TALK BLOGGING

To get exclusive behind the scenes content about how to boost your traffic, make affiliate sales, and tons of other blogging tips (including an insider look at what MY stats look like!) - sign up to get my Blogger Series emails sent right to your inbox!

Don't forget to check your inbox! I'll never send you spam & you can unsubscribe at anytime. Powered by ConvertKit