Having more WordPress plugins doesn’t give you a better site. Use the best WordPress plugins to optimize your site from the start. Maximizing security, social interaction, and SEO on your site is paramount!
You could spend months going through the WordPress repository installing every plugin you think you need. Remember, plugins are supposed to enhance what’s already there, not dominate every part of your blog. This list contains the top FREE plugins on the market right now.
I consider these plugins to be the fundamental building blocks for any blogger. Compare this list to what you have installed and see how you measure up.
1) Wordfence Security – Secure your website with the most comprehensive WordPress security plugin. Firewall, malware scan, blocking, live traffic, login security and about a million other features.
This is a must have plugin for every WordPress site. It may seem a bit overwhelming with the amount of options and security features you can configure, but just take it one page at a time. It’s worth every second you spend configuring it.
2) Akismet – Checks your comments and contact form submissions against our global database of spam to protect you and your site from malicious content.
If you’ve been around WordPress for any amount of time you know Akismet is the standard for blog comment spam. It only takes a second to get the API and activate the services. There’s a reason it comes with every WordPress install.
3) Bot Block – Block spam referrals showing in Google Analytics and save bandwidth. Central database of sites, ability to add custom URL’s and stats.
Ever look at your google analytics report and see hits from weird sites like semalt.com, or some button-directory.com? That’s referral spam.
These fake pageviews throw off your Google Analytics reports and doesn’t help with accurate tracking of visitors
4) Shareaholic – World’s leading all-in-one Content Amplification Platform that helps grow your site traffic, engagement, conversions & monetization for FREE.
This is really an all in one solution for your social sharing needs. You can set up the sharing buttons at the bottom of post or embed within the content.
I like the “Follow Me” buttons they provide. The colors can be customized to fit the color scheme of your blog theme.
One problem I had installing it was getting the icons to fit to the width of my sidebar widget. Some minor theme elements may have to be tweaked if your theme isn’t sizing properly.
I suspect that it’s affecting my page load time. Results from pingdom.com indicated this is the main plugin slowing my site down.
There’s no better all in one solution that I could find that looked just as good AND had all the functionality this plugin does. For now, I’ll bite the bullet on the few extra seconds it takes to load.
5) Broken Link Checker – This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.
This is a really handy plugin to have for posts just like this! Nothing is more frustrating for a user clicking on a link and not getting the page they requested. It hurts your credibility and damages the user experience.
There’s a neat little widget that sits on your WordPress dashboard. It automatically checks all your links at a predefined interval.
6) Disqus Conditional Load – DCL is an advanced version of Disqus Commenting System, with which experience the boosted page loading speed difference. This free plugin adds advanced features like lazy loading and SHORTCODE, comment widgets, script disabling and more to your Disqus powered website.
Disqus is notorious for slowing down websites. This plugin gives you all the features of Disqus with a little added boost. You get all of the features but don’t have to deal with slow page load times.
7) Contact Form 7 – 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.
This is the plugin I use on my Contact page. It’s pretty straight forward and you can use it for other areas of your site. I wanted it to be easy for people to contact me if they wanted to.
You may not NEED to have this plugin, but it’s the best at what it does.
FREE: Content Upgrade
I’ve included a free content upgrade on this post. Just share or like the post on your favorite social media platform and it’s yours! Direct from my personal Dropbox account.
It’s not enough to just have a WordPress blog and some plugins. You need to configure and set everything up properly. This PDF report will make sure you hit all the important stuff
Search Engine Optimization
8) Yoast SEO – Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast SEO is the standard in WordPress search engine optimization. There’s no other FREE plugin that can deliver what you get here.
Yoast has taken it a step further and added a walk through-point and click setup. They don’t enable the advanced options by default. It’s probably for the best as most users wouldn’t know how to configure it anyways.
Even if you only get half the options right you’re still in the running for some sweet Google SERP lovin. Yoast even has it’s own knowledge base articles. The Yoast website has a comprehensive guide on settings and preferences. I won’t bore you with the details.
9) Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – Displays Google Analytics reports in your WordPress Dashboard. Inserts the latest Google Analytics tracking code in your pages.
This is really hitting two birds with one stone. You don’t have to insert the tracking code, and you don’t have to go to google.com/analytics to see your stats.
You need to set up a Google Analytics account. Having the top level information consolidated in your dashboard is the main perk of this plugin.
10) SEO Friendly Images – SEO Friendly Images automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images improving traffic from search engines.
You may think this plugin doesn’t work at first glance, but take a closer look and you’ll see the changes will be carried out as the page is rendered, not applied to the files and media library.
WordPress normally does a pretty good job with maximizing the SEO juice you get from images. I prefer using a third party plugin just to make sure.
11) Pretty Link Lite – Shrink, beautify, track, manage and share any URL on or off of your WordPress website. Create links that look how you want using your own domain name!
The biggest advantage of this plugin is being able to create your own links instead of using a shortener service like tinyurl, bit.ly, or goo.gl etc. It allows you to present a branded presence and track your clicks.
For example, if you create a YouTube video and want to sell an affiliate product. YouTube won’t allow you to link directly to the sales page, but you can redirect from your website.
The Pro version of this tool allows you to cloak your links. You can integrate with Google Analytics and tons of other features. It’s worth considering upgrading this plugin.
12) WP-PageNavi – Adds a more advanced paging navigation interface.
This plugin is really just for looks. It will come in useful as you build your blog with more post. Full customization styling that fit just about any theme.
User experience plays a huge role with site navigation. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to find your content and engage with it.
13) WPFront Scroll Top – WPFront Scroll Top plugin allows the visitor to easily scroll back to the top of the page.
Do you see that neat little arrow at the bottom right hand corner of the screen?
Don’t click it yet! You’re not done reading this post yet!
BONUS TIP: How to Find The Best WordPress Plugins
I often come across blogs and want to know what plugins or theme they’re using.
The best tool that I’ve found is What WordPress Theme is that?
What website owners recommend vs. what they actually use are two different stories. I like to deep dive on blogs and find out what makes them work.
It’s a great tool that will expose you to new plugin and themes. I find new ones on blogs that aren’t associated with Internet Marketing all the time.
Wrap It Up
All of these plugins aren’t needed to have a fully functional site. It comes down to user preference, what the purpose of the blog is, and what you’re trying to accomplish with it.
Compare what you have to my list. What do you think should be added? Or maybe removed?
Tell me about it in the comments.
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