If you want to make money online with your new blog you’ll want to check out my favorite 9 WordPress plugins that will save you time and grow your business.
Plugins are another one of those wonderful “bloggers speak” you will hear a lot! And rightly so.
Plugins can help you improve your blog, save you time, customize your site, track your growth and stats, improve your social shares and more!
Plugins are Powerful!
A quick Google search or Pinterest will bring you up anywhere from the top 3 to top 103 plugins you just have to have to make a bazillion dollars in your new business.
Plugins are one of the awesome benefits of having a self-hosted WordPress site to begin with.
BUT before you go crazy trying to download “all the plugins” you read about it is vital to understand one simple truth about plugins.
Plugins Are A Tool!
And like a vital tool, they need to be chosen with care and with caution.
Too many plugins can slow down your site. Badly designed plugins downloaded from unreliable sources can not only slow down your site but allow loop holes for hackers to sneak in.
Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing:
- My own personal must-have list
- Where are great places to download your plugins
- What to look for before you download your plugin
- How to download and install your plugins
- How to update them
Before we get started, if you’re interested in using plugins on your site but you have a not invested in a self-hosted blog yet, I recommend that you get started today! You can get started right here: How To Start A Blog The Right Way For Beginners: No Experience Needed
What Is A Plugin?
Plugins are “a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites.” –WP Beginner
Think of them like an app you download on your phone to do a certain task.
They make my life so much easier! No coding needed. Just download, install, and go!
9 Of My Favorite Plugins For WordPress
I’m sharing a few of my favorite plugins that I absolutely love. The great thing is most of these are FREE!
And the ones that aren’t, I’ll share a free alternative.
Akismet Anti-Spam (Free With Paid Options)
This plugin is amazing for blocking spam comments. I believe it is one of the default plugins of WordPress that comes with every new WordPress core installation. Therefore you may already have it.
If not, you can download it for free here: Akismet Anti-Spam
Akismet allows you to see the history of comments and you can review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
The plugin is free for your personal blog, while you have to subscribe to its monthly plans for commercial sites.
Wordfence Security (Free With Paid Options)
In my opinion, this is the most important plugin you will have. It is crucial we keep our sites safe, this plugin does the heavy work for you.
Wordfence Security features Firewall protection which prevents your site from being hacked. The Blocking feature blocks all the known attackers, malicious networks which can be harmful to your site.
Wordfence Security Plugin also offers malware scan, login security, live traffic monitoring and more. The plugin lets you monitor all your traffic in real-time including robots, humans, 404 errors, logins, logouts etc.
Needless to say, it does a lot for free. You can download it here: Wordfence Security
Yoast SEO (Free)
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, meaning when people are searching for topics your blog posts will show up.
As a blogger you want readers finding your content and it is vital to be working on your SEO. This plugin helps you to locate areas you can improve.
The problem is that some bloggers get sucked into thinking that is all you need to do is turn the light green.
While the green light is a guide, it is not all you need to do. You need to create helpful content, format your blog post in a way that is easy to read and use keywords in a natural way, just to mention a few.
I love using Carly’s Blog Post SEO Checklist found in her Blogging Planner as another great guide.
Social Warfare (Free With Paid Options)
If you are looking for a great way to share your content and get more control over your shares you’ll love Social Warfare.
Sharing your content is an important way for others to find you and all your awesomeness!
Once you get a reader to your site, make it easy for them to share your content for you!
I can not stress how many times I’ve come across a great article with no way to pin it on my Pinterest account.
I use Pinterest as a bookmarking system. Even as a blogger who knows where to look, I find it annoying if I can not find the sharing buttons and end up leaving the page.
Don’t make your readers work to save and share your content!
Use a visible easy to find sharing plugin. I highly recommend Social Warfare.
You can see mine at the bottom of this post, or hovering over the Pinterest size image at the end.
First of all, can totally use the free version and be happy with it. It’s great and a lot of bloggers use it. Although I use the paid version and find it worth every single cent!
The free one allows you to insert customized individual tweets into your post, set up social shares buttons that match your blog branding and designs and hover pins just to name a few.
What I love about the paid one is you can choose what comes for the pin.
I find it annoying when people pin my own profile photo for a post. After all the hard work you do in designing your pinnable images, keywording them, choosing the description you want THAT photo to be shared, right? This wicket awesome feature is for pro only and well worth the money in my opinion.
Get it here: Social Warfare
Speed on your site matters. One of the culprits to of sucking up your speed is your images.
I use and love ShortPixel, what I love about it is it “smushes” or reduces image size without any before/after difference in quality, thus making your pages load faster.
Oh, and it does it automatically as soon as you upload them. Love it!!
I’ve been using ShortPixel image optimization plugin for WordPress and it made my website load faster.
Sign up using this link and get access to 100 free image optimizations + 100 more, because of this invite 🙂
Free Alternative: You can also use TinyPNG instead of paying. I am not a fan of the multistep process but it works! I used it until I bought ShortPixel Click here to learn more.
Google Analytics (Free)
Google analytics is going to be a very important tool for you as a blogger. It helps you understand website traffic, where it comes from, what content is getting more attention etc.
Understanding your audience and catering to them is a great way to improve your user traffic, along with understanding your audience.
Having a plugin do the work for you is an obvious choice. Use a Google Analytics plugin for your WordPress website and make it easy to gather the needed information.
There are several recommended Google Analytics plugins out there.
I am using GA Google Analytics because it is fast, lightweight and easy to use. It also doesn’t collect user data which is important to me. Get it here: GA Google Analytics
Another highly rated plugin is Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights. Get it here: Google Analytics Dashboard Plugin for WordPress by MonsterInsights
If you haven’t set up your Google Analytics yet, it’s easy!
Click here to set up your account. Use your Google account, or create one if you don’t have one yet.
Then look for the email confirmation and follow the steps.
For more information, here is a “how to get started guide” .
Inline Related Posts (Free)
Have you ever noticed this in a blog post?
^ That is what Inline Related Post plugin does. You can manually decide where and what is shown, like I did above, or you can set it and forget it style.
This provides value to your reader by helping them find related content and make the next step. It also helps you by drawing the reader in and getting them hooked on your awesome content!
Get it here: Inline Related Post
Pretty Links (Free With Paid Option)
If you want to track links or monetize your site through affiliate marketing this is the plugin for you!
Easy to use and free, it allows you to create customized links out of ugly URLs. I especially like it for sharing on Social Media.
I mean can you imagine saying that on a video? What a mouthful!
It is so easy to use, just drop in the URL you want made “pretty” and add the ending you want. Remember to make it easy to remember and say!
WP Super Cache (Free)
As you know, slow load times are a website killer. This free plugin helps speed up your site through Caching.
Basically, “When a browser doesn’t have to retrieve new information every time a site is accessed it results in faster page load times.” – source
Design Bombs compared 6 of the top WordPress Caching Plugins and explain what it does really well here.
I use WP Super Cache because it is free and easy.
Get it here: WP Super Cache
Plugins: Where To Get Them
While there are a number of places to get plugins you’ll want to make sure you are getting them from a reliable website.
The most common place is to get them from the WordPress Plugin Directory in your dashboard, from the WordPress.org site as shown above, or directly from the company you are purchasing from.
Before you download a plugin be sure to check the rating, when it was last updated, AND if it is compatible with the newest WordPress update. (Highlighted in the screenshot below)
Plugins: How To Install Them
Installing and/or uploading plugins is super simple. Let me show you how.
Please note: Your WordPress Dashboard may look different from mine because the layout changes depending on the theme, plugins, and widgets etc you are using.
Here is a quick video I created to show you how to upload a plugin into your WordPress dashboard.
The plugin shown here is called Hello Bar. You can get it here. It is great for collecting emails or redirecting readers. Fun but not needed.
Pro Tip: Sometimes plugins do not play nice together.
When this happens, your site or the function of the plugin doesn’t work. Go back to your plugins in the dashboard, select the one you just installed and deactivate it.
At this point, you can 1) find another plugin to do the same task 2) try uploading it again and see if it just bugged out.
Don’t forget to delete unused plugins.
Plugins: How To Update Them
Keeping your plugins up to date is vital because not doing it can cause security issues. The last thing you need to deal with is hackers.
Updating them is super easy, watch this quick under 2-minute video.
The plugin in this video is called Shortcodes Ultimate. You can get it here. I use it to create buttons, insert videos and more but it is not necessary to have.
There you have my top favorite plugins I feel you NEED to have on your blog to help you grow your blog, save you time or keep your blog safe.
This is not all the plugins I am using, as you noticed. I did not share those because plugins you choose will change according to your needs.
Just remember to do your research, upload from a reliable source and have fun!
Which WordPress Plugin are you excited to try? I’d love to know!
PS. if you’re interested in using plugins on your site but you have a not invested in a self-hosted blog yet, I recommend that you get started today! Read: How To Start A Blog The Right Way For Beginners: No Experience Needed
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