WordPress is an excellent (and increasingly popular) platform for all sorts of websites, including blogs. It’s free and intuitive, making it very accessible even for people who are just starting their online business ventures. But that’s not its only appeal. In fact, one of the greatest things about WordPress is how customizable it is both for end-users and web administrators. This is mainly achieved through plugins. Tens of thousands of plugins are available to make your blog and your experience with running it better. But with so many WP plugins for blogs out there, how will you know which to choose?
What are WP plugins?
A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that you add to your WordPress site to improve its functionality. You can do almost anything with a plugin. Plugins screen your comments for spam and increase the security of your website. They redirect your links and speed up your pages. They enable quick cross-posting to social media accounts and give you access to free themes. Pretty much anything you can think of, a plugin for it exists. This makes them very popular among WP users, professionals and amateurs alike.
Why should you use WP plugins for blogs?
WordPress is perfectly functional without plugins. In many cases, you can manually do pretty much everything plugins do. But that takes time and skill. If you’re not sure that you can commit to that much work and you want a website that’s more than just functional, then you need WP plugins. Plugins are all about convenience – they make managing your website and producing quality content easier and faster. Ultimately, this is worth the price you’ll pay for premium plugins.
The best WP plugins for blogs
While plugins are very helpful, and there are no rules as to the number you should have (this will depend on your website), you can definitely have too many. Too many plugins can slow down your website, decrease its functionality, and cause compatibility problems. So you want to focus on getting the most important ones at first. Here are some must-haves:
If you’re running a blog or any other type of website that relies on search engine optimized content, Yoast SEO is a plugin you simply must have. Even professionals from WP Full Care swear by this plugin. It will help you optimize new content, grade your existing content on how well it is optimized, and give you tips for making your content easier to read. That might not seem like much, but it will actually drastically improve your content. And perhaps the best of all – the basic version (which includes all the main features) is entirely free.
Page speed is essential for any website; your users expect your website to load within seconds, and it’s up to you to meet those expectations unless you want to lose traffic. WP Rocket will help you achieve this. It is a powerful caching plugin with several features that work together to speed up your WP website. Unlike Yoast SEO, WP Rocket is a premium plugin, so you’ll have to cash out a minimum of $49 a month for it. But it’s well worth the price!
If you want to limit the number of plugins you’re using, then Jetpack is perfect for you. This all-in-one plugin offers security, backup creation, SEO functions, social media posting, and more. The free version will give you access to most of the main features, but you can also upgrade to various premium plans.
As WordPress grows in popularity among users, it also becomes more popular as a target for hackers. Even if you think your odds of being targeted are slim, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So you’ll want to increase the security of your WP website. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a security plugin like WordFence Security. With a malware scanner, firewall, two-factor authentication, and more, this is one of the most comprehensive security plugins for WP on the market. The free version provides solid protection, but you’ll need to invest in the premium version to unlock all features.
The most popular WP plugin of all time as it stands right now, Akismet is what you need to protect your website and users from spam. It scans comments and contact forms to find and reject suspicious content before it can harm anyone. The plugin is free, but upgrading to a premium version (for a mere $5/month) will give you access to additional features like stats and priority support.
If you frequently forget to back up your website and then live in fear of something happening to it, UpdraftPlus is perfect for you. It will automatically back up your website at scheduled intervals, ensuring that you never lose anything in case you are hacked, your server crashes, or some other misfortune befalls your website. The free version is plenty enough if you use Dropbox or Google Drive. But the premium version will unlock more storage options and features like incremental backup and database encryption.
If you’re just starting your website and looking for an easy way to design it that doesn’t require any coding knowledge, then Elementor is exactly what you need. This visual drag-and-drop page builder will let you create beautiful pages even if you don’t know anything about web design. The plugin is free but the premium version unlocks additional templates, widgets, effects, and more.
Some tips for using WP plugins for blogs
WP plugins for blogs are usually quite intuitive, which makes them pretty easy to use. But if you find yourself confused about any of them, you can typically find instructions for them on the WP website where you downloaded them from. What you need to keep in mind, however, is that WP plugins require regular updates to continue functioning correctly. So don’t forget to update your plugins whenever a new version comes out to ensure that you’re always getting the most out of them.