Do you love plugins as much as I do? They make it so easy to add great functionality to your site.
There are so many great plugins out there and often it is easy to think you need them all. Plugins make it so easy to add great functionality to your site, but too many also slow your site down.
I have tried hundreds of plugins myself over the past seven years and in the post I want to share with you the very best, tried and true plugins you should consider adding to your blog.
Here are my top 15 must have WordPress plugins for bloggers::
Yoast SEO is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for bloggers. It makes it super easy for you to optimize your blog and each post for the search engines. This is a must have if you want your blog to be found in the search engines.
Yoast has all the abilities of an ordinary SEO plugin, you can set titles and meta descriptions for all your pages and posts, but the power of Yoast lies in it’s additional features.
Yoast has a SEO grader that will automatically grade your posts/pages for how well optimized they are for a keyword/phrase of your choice. This plugin also has a snippet editor that will allow you to see what your post will look like in the Google search engine results, allowing you to make changes and adjust it to you liking.
This plugin also has an XML sitemap feature which will automatically create an XML sitemap for your site and automatically submit it to Google every time you create a new post or page. This will aid in Google finding and indexing your new posts and pages.
One of my favorite features of Yoast is their social features. Yoast SEO’s social features lets you add Facebook Open Graph data, Twitter Cards, Pinterest verification, and Google+ meta data to your website. This means you can take control over what image and description appears when sharing your post on social media.
Use it to: Find and eliminate broken links
As you continue to add content to your site and your site gets older, some of the links stop working. It could be you are linking to content that no longer exists or maybe you have changed the URL for some of your own content.
These broken links can hurt your search engine rankings and annoy visitors.
This plugins will regularly scan your blog/site and detect all broken links. Your will receive an email with a list of all broken links so you can start to fix and address them.
Use it to: Add links to your social profiles on your site
This is a handy and super simple plugin allowing you to add social icons for your social media profiles to any widgeted area on your site. You can also customize the size, color, and shape of the icons to match your brand colors.
Use it to: To encourage social sharing of your content
This plugins allows you to easily add social sharing buttons to your site’s posts and pages.
This plugin is highly customization and lets you choose which post types should display the buttons and where they should appear. You can control the size, style, or even create your own custom buttons.
Price: Free (or premium for $10/year)
Regularly backing up your site is one of the most important things you should be doing.
This plugin allows you to easily backup your WordPress blog and restore previously saved versions.
You can schedule automatic or run manual backups and save them just about anywhere: Amazon S3 Dropbox, Google Drive, FTP, email, and more.
Price: Free (or a premium version for $70/year)
Use it to: To make your site load faster
A slow loading website is annoying for your visitors, but it also hurts your search engine rankings. Google’s ranking algorithm takes a site’s loading speed into account.
If you care about the speed of your site, you MUST have this plugin installed. Quick Cache basically creates static versions of your pages so that they can be served to your visitors without querying the MySQL database. W3 Total Cache also allows you to easily connect to a CDN (content delivery network) to really supercharge your blog’s speed and performance.
Use it to: Block Spam.
This plugin now comes pre-installed with WordPress and it should. Without it your blog would become overun with blog comment spam.
Akismet automatically catches any suspicious comments and automatically marks them as spam.
If you have blog commenting turned off, for your site, then you don’t need this one.
Price: Free for personal sites/blogs.
Use it to: Make your site faster
Many sites today use a lot of images. Optimizing your images is one of the easiest ways to make your site load faster.
WP Smush optimizes your images by reducing the file size, making your pages load faster.
After installation, it will automatically optimize any new images added. You can also go back and optimize images your previously loaded on your site as well.
Use it to: Keep your site secure
Wordfence is one of the most popular and effective blog security plugins.
Here are some of it’s features:
Scanning – This plugin checks your site for malware as well as keeps an inventory of all the files on your site and notifies you anytime a new file is created.
Limit Logins – You can automatically control how many attempts a user can have to try to log into your site and block their IP address if they have exceeded the max. This is very useful for keeping hackers out of your site.
Real Time Traffic – This shows you what is happening on your site in real time. It tracks Google crawlers, hackers, and human visitors and grabs information about their location, IP address, browser, and page visits.
Price: Free (or premium version for $59/year)
Use it to: Add a click to tweet quote within your post
Easily design and insert “click to tweet” boxes in your blog posts that make it easy for your readers to tweet your content, images and link
Use it to: Easily add a form to your site
Every site/blog needs at least a contact form. This plugin makes it super simple to add a contact form (or any form) to a page/post.
Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.
Use it to: Promote pinning of your images on Pinterest
This plugin adds a Pinterest Pin It button overlay on top of any image that appears in your blog post. You can also configure this plugin so that it only shows the Pin It button when you add a specific CSS class to an image. You can also change the settings so that the button only shows on images on single posts, pages, index, category, and more.
Use it to: Build your email list
OptinMonster comes with an easy to use form builder that allows you to create beautiful optin forms that are proven to convert. You can create various type of optins including WordPress popup forms, floating header and footer bars, slide-ins also known as scroll triggered boxes, sidebar forms, after post forms, in-line forms, mobile-specific forms, welcome gates and more.
Price: $9-$19 per month
Use it for: Easily view your site’s traffic and statistics
This plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics stats right inside your WordPress dashboard.
Use it to: Create easily shareable short links
This handy plugin makes it super simple to create easy to remember shareable links to your posts/pages.
For example, suppose you are doing a webinar and the link to the signup page is something like http://stevenstromick.com/build-your-list-webinar. With Pretty Link, you could create a much more shareable URL http://stevenstromick.com/webinar that would automatically redirect to the sign up page at http://stevenstromick.com/build-your-list-webinar.
With this plugin, not only can you create short links, but you can also track how many times the link is clicked.
This plugin also comes in very handy when doing affiliate marketing and you want to mask your affiliate link.
Now it’s your turn…
Let me know your favorite plugins in the comments below.
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