Must-Have Free WordPress Plugins for your Blog

Categorized | Blogging Tools and Tips

The 10 Best Free WordPress Plugins for Your Blog

wordpress pluginsWhile every blog will have slightly different needs depending on the goals and needs of each individual blog, these plug-ins are generally ones that I recommend every blog should have. You may need more depending on the function of your blog. But, these are a good place to start because they are either simply cool or functional for the maintenance of your blog.

1. W3 Total Cache

It is important to have your site load quickly, not only for user’s sake, but to appease search engines.  A cache plugin is a huge contributor to quick load time, reducing the download of your theme, improving server performance, and compression of posts and pages.  There are several cache plugins out there, but this is one that I would recommend.

2. Google XML Sitemap

This plugin will help the search engines crawl your website better. It creates an XML sitemap that helps search engines understand the structure of your site. Another cool benefit is it notifies the major search engines when you update a post on you site.  All of this contributes to a better site index of your blog.

3. Contact Form 7

When people come to your site, they need a way to contact you.  With this plugin, you can easily create contact forms on your site.  You can also create multiple contact forms on your site with customizable settings.  This plugin is simple and easy to use and is great for the majority of blogs who do not need an elaborate advanced contact form.

4. All-in-One SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of optimizing your blog in order for search engines to find you.  This plugin makes SEO simple by giving you places for the right keywords in your title, description, and more for your blog posts. This is a must-have plugin.

5. WP-Spam Free

WP-Spam Plugin

No one likes spam on their blog comments.  Bots search through blogs and place unwanted comments on a blog that has non spam-free protection.  This plug-in eliminates spam in your comments so you don’t have to.  There is also a counter you can display to show how many spam comments were stopped.

6. Comment Luv

Comment Luv

When someone leaves a comment on your blog, this plugin allows the comment to display the commenter’s last blog post. When other people come to yout site to leave a comment, they can see that individual’s blog post.  This is great for backlinking in the search engines (it is a do-follow link) and also it shows visitors titles if someone elses blog , which many lead them to that person’ site.

7. Online Backup for WordPress

Online Backup for WordPress plugin

There is nothing worse than losing all your files for a blog you worked hard on.  I had to learn the hard way when I had no backup system in place.  Yes, your hosting company will backup your site, but not on a daily basis.  If you have an active blog, this is a simple plugin that allows you to schedule automatic backups or you can even do it manually.  The backup is also encrypted and compressed for storage and security issues.

8. Sexy Bookmarks

Sexy Bookmarks

I simply love this plugin for social bookmarking. (you can see it on my blog).  It provides visually “sexy” icons as a way for readers to submit your post to a social bookmark site.  While there are dozens of sites available to add to your blog, you can choose the ones you want and customize the look in the plugin settings.

9. Yarpp

YARPP

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) uses an advanced algorithm to provide a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site. Not only does this help the reader, but it contributes to SEO. Key features include templates, caching of related posts data, and omission of certain tags or categories.

10. Pretty Link

Pretty Link PLugin

The plugin gives you the ability to take an “ugly” link and create a shorter “pretty”version to link, track, and share anywhere on the Internet.  The URL contains your blog name instead of a typical URL shortening service.  This is great for bloggers who want to mask their affiliate links, track clicks from emails, or increase the exposure of their site by spreading these links via social media, forums or comments on other blogs.

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While I have provided links to the plugs-ins, these are all available from plug-in dashboard making the install even easier.  These plug-ins are basic suggestions for most blog ins.  There are always more you can add.  But, don’t overload your site with plug-ins because this can also bog-down your load time.  There is no hard-fast rule on the most amount of active plugins you should have, but anything more than 30 and you are going to probably start to have problems.

If you have multiple blogs, you can add these plug-ins easily to each blog by dragging them into your site’s directory using FTP instead of adding them individually to each blog.

If you have more suggestions on plug-ins that have helped you, please comment below!

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