As a blogger you’re always on the lookout for things to make your site better, faster, more feature rich and to make your life easier when it comes to creating your content.
There are so many plugins available that are great for blogs that you can often get bogged down in choice. I’m here to help you cut through all the noise, all the shitty out of date plugins and point your directly at the plugins that you should install if you want to power your WordPress blog up.
Installing plugins can come with a downside though as installing too many can leave your site slow and running unnecessary scripts to do a simple task which is the opposite of what you’re looking to achieve. Be selective in your choice of plugins that you install and think if you really need them and if they add much value to your visitor.
Always delete unused plugins as they will slow your site down. I recommend going in and running through the list of active plugins every few months to see if you still need them. It just helps keep things running smooth.
Now time for the list.
W3 Total Cache – (FREE)
This is my caching plugin of choice. There are many on the marketplace but I think this is my favourite.
A caching plugin basically help to speed your website up for visitors by storing a local version of files that don’t change on their computer so that when they visit again the site will load faster for them.
It also allows you to consolidate files of the same type down into one big file which means less requests to your server which in simple terms means faster. This is called Minifying, although it’s important to be careful with minification as it can cause your site to not display correctly. If it does, then just untick the minification box and purge the cache and it will be back to normal.
It’s a must to have a fast site if you want to be friends with Google as they really pay attention to pagespeed when it comes to determining their rankings.
If you do decide to download W3 Total cache, this is a great post for setting it up and it’s the guide I use pretty much every time I install W3 on a new site.
Header and Footer Scripts – (FREE)
I absolutely love this plugin because it’s so lightweight and so simple.
There are times you need to add bits of code into your blogs head section and if you aren’t running a child theme any changes that you’ve made to the files will be lost when you update. So this gets around that issue and makes it easy to install any snippets of code that you need to without the worry of that happening.
Google analytics, Webmaster tools verification codes and adsense are probably the main pieces of code that you will be installing and this gives you the ability to do that in seconds.
One of my favourite features about this plugin is that it lets you add in pieces of code on individual pages too, so if you have a conversion thank you page that you want to insert a tracking code on that you don’t want to trigger on all pages then you can do so in seconds with this.
It’s a proper lifesaver and it cuts down the need for installing multiple plugins for multiple different verification codes, tracking codes, etc.
Contact Form 7 – (FREE)
Having a contact form on your website is a must have for any website owner. It’s the easiest way for people to get in touch with you with all those blog opportunities or if you have fans wanting to get in touch with you. Contact Form 7 is by far my favourite plugin for adding these to your blog.
It’s just as simple as installing the plugin, choosing the fields that you want people to provide when they get in touch and then stick the shortcode into a page you create called “Get in Touch” or simply “Contact”.
You can make as many contact forms as you would need, but I can’t imagine many situations where you would need to have more than one.
Prettylink – (FREE)
If you’re part of an affiliate program through your blog or if you’re intending on using affiliate programs to make money from blogging then this is the plugin that you should definitely consider installing. When signing up to affiliate programs you are given a unique link to track the traffic that you send through to their services but quite often the links are long, messy and just not that nice to look at.
Prettylink does exactly that, it makes your link prettier. Rather than your affiliate link being affiliateprogram.com/program/id=?affid you can make it much cleaner and make it look like it’s part of your blog.
Take this link to get started with tailwind, https://www.impeter.co.uk/tailwind which looks much cleaner and much easier to remember.
Just remember that you need to disclose that you are using affiliate links to ensure that your readers are completely aware.
Yoast – (FREE)
Yoast is a plugin that allows you to optimise your posts to help them have a better chance of ranking in google for search terms that you think your readers would be looking for.
Giving you the ability to rewrite your SEO title and meta description on posts and pages which is how a page will display in the google search results.
Yoast also lets you control what is included in your sitemap.xml file for submitting to google webmaster tools telling them what you want them to include in their results.
If you’re serious about getting your website ranking in the search results then this is a plugin you can’t afford to miss.
Updraft Plus – (FREE)
Losing your hard work is something that is every bloggers nightmare, so that’s why plugins like Updraft Plus exist.
Updraft allows you to schedule your blog to back up every single day taking a full backup of all the files and the database and you can even schedule it to store the backups to a remote location like Dropbox or Google Drive.
This is great if you are on shared hosting and don’t have much file storage space on your server.
It will also save you the fees that many hosting companies charge to take a backup of your website on a regular basis. Just remember that it is your responsibility to make sure that your site is backed up.
WP Smush – (FREE)
As we said before when talking about W3 total cache, speed is key if you want to provide your visitors with the best experience and to keep yourself in the google good books.
You should be making your images as small a file size as possible using something like photoshop to reduce the image dimensions to be as big as you need them to be and not 9 million pixels wide by 10 million tall.
WP Smush also helps by running your images through a compression service once you’ve uploaded them to ensure that they are as compressed as possible.
There are limits of how many images can be compressed in a month, but unless you’re posting an incredible number of images, you should be fine with the free version.
Start Your Own Blog
If you are yet to start your own blog, then head on over to my page to help you get started with setting up your own blog in around 10 minutes and begin your journey to making an income from blogging.