When I switched to WordPress in 2015, I found it a bit overwhelming. There was so much to learn, and the most overwhelming were the plugins. Some plugins I’ve used since 2015, others only for a few months, but I’ve definitely narrowed down the ones that I like and that actually help my blog. So whether you’re brand new to self-hosted WordPress or you’ve been using it for years, I hope this list of the best WordPress plugins helps your blog!
The Best WordPress Plugins: The Plugins I Use And Love
404page – “Custom 404 the easy way! Set any page as custom 404 error page. No coding needed. Works with (almost) every Theme” (404). So the way this plugin works is that I made a page that I want to be my 404 page – aka the page you get when you type a url wrong or try to go to a deleted post and get a 404 error, aka what you’re looking for isn’t found – and I use this plugin to select that page as my 404 page.
Advanced Recent Post – “Plugin that shows the recent posts with thumbnails in the widget and in other parts of the your blog or theme with shortcodes” (ARP). So if you scroll to the bottom of this post and see suggested posts after the text of the post, that’s this plugin working.
Akisment Anti-Spam – “Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from spam. Your site is fully configured and being protected, even while you sleep” (AAS). This is a great plugin! It can really cut down on the spam.
BackWPup – “WordPress Backup Plugin” (BWP). Pretty self-explanatory.
Better Click to Tweet – “Add Click to Tweet boxes simply and elegantly to your posts or pages. All the features of a premium plugin, for FREE!” (BCTT). I use this plugin in most posts! If you see a pre-written tweet in a posts that only requires you to click a button to send it, that’s this plugin. I love it!
Blogger 301 Redirect – “Redirect from blogger to wordpress. Helps you keep your blog traffic and Pagerank after migration from Blogger to WordPress” (B301R). You may or may not remember that when I started blogging, I was on Blogger! Back in 2015, I moved to WordPress, and wanted to make sure that my Blogger posts were moved to WordPress. That’s where this plugin comes into play.
Google Analytics for WordPress – “The best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. See how visitors find and use your website, so you can keep them coming back” (GAFWP). Essentially, this helps you to use Google Analytics through self-hosted WordPress.
Instagram Feed – “Display beautifully clean, customizable, and responsive Instagram feeds” (IF). This is the plugin I use to display recent Instagram posts over on my sidebar.
Jetpack – “Bring the power of the WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users” (JP).
jQuery Pin It Button for Images – “Highlights images on hover and adds a “Pin It” button over them for easy pinning” (jQPITFI). Pinterest is vital for every blogger, so you want to make it easy for your readers to pin from your posts. That’s where this plugin comes it!
MailChimp Forms by MailMunch – “The MailChimp plugin allows you to quickly and easily add signup forms for your MailChimp lists. Popup, Embedded, Top Bar and a variety of different options available” (MFBMM). If you don’t make it easy and obvious for your readers to sign up for your email list, you won’t get a ton of subscribers. Since I use Mailchimp for my email list, I use this plugin. You can also do a whole bunch of settings that help you walk the line between making it easy for people to sign up and not annoying your readers. So I have it set up so that, once you’ve seen my sign-up form, you won’t see it for 14 days. Additionally, it doesn’t show up until 30 seconds into your time on my blog. That sort of thing.
Reduce Bounce Rate – “Get the real Bounce Rate and pageviews into Google Analytics” (RBR). Bounce rate is the percentage of people who go directly to your blog and then leave without going onto any other pages. I do a lot of things to help reduce this, and one of those things is this plugin. It’s really helpful!
Revive Old Posts – “WordPress plugin that helps you to keeps your old posts alive by sharing them and driving more traffic to them from twitter/facebook or linkedin. It also helps you to promote your content. You can set time and no of posts to share to drive more traffic” (ROP). I especially love this plugin! I’ve published close to 1,000 posts and it can be hard to keep sharing them to keep them alive. So this plugin helps with that!
SHE Media Infuse – “SHE Media Infuse simplifies running SHE Media advertising and related technologies on your site” (SMI). SHE Media is the company formerly known as BlogHer, and this plugin is used to display my ads with them.
Simple Social Icons – “A simple CSS and SVG driven social icons widget” (SSI). This is the plugin I use to display my social links in the sidebar to the right under my picture.
Skimlinks – “Skimlinks helps you easily monetize content by converting product links in your post into their equivalent affiliate links on-the-fly. Install the plugin and add a new revenue stream to your blog, including monetising the links in your RSS feed, without affecting your users’ experience” (SL). I don’t use Skimlinks for most of my affiliate links, but I do for some, and this plugin makes it easy to do so.23 awesome WordPress plugins Click To Tweet
Social Fabric Analytics from Collective Bias – “Plugin used for Collective Bias Analytics” (CB). I don’t use Collective Bias much because they don’t have a lot of opportunities that aren’t based on products that I physically can’t use. However, never say never, so I keep this going.
Ultimate Nofollow – “A suite of tools that gives you complete control over the rel=nofollow tag on an individual link basis” (UN). Nofollow links are required by the FTC for sponsored posts, and this plugin makes it really easy to add them.
W3 Total Cache – “The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress” (W3TC). I recently installed this to improve the speed on my site, and I’m impressed so far.
WordPress Popular Posts – “A highly customizable widget that displays the most popular posts on your blog” (WPPP). This is great because, the more you blog, the harder it is to manually display your popular posts. I have this plugin installed in my sidebar to the right.
WP Add Custom CSS – “Add custom css to the whole website and to specific posts, pages and custom post types” (WPACSS). I don’t use this one a lot, but I do use it enough that it’s worth having!
Yoast SEO – “The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more” (YS). SEO, or search engine optimization, is necessary for any website. Basically, it’s setting up your site to show up in results of search engines. Yoast massively helps with that. It helps evaluate your pages and posts for their SEO success based on the focus keyword you choose, and it provides tips on how to better your post based on that keyword.
What Plugins Do You Use and Love?
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