Once you have your blog setup and theme installed – now what you may ask? Plugins are like mini programs that can “plug-in” to your website or blog. They are great features to have if you know which ones will be a great benefit and addition to your site. Below I have rounded up my top 15 wordpress plugins to instantly improve your blog. If you are just starting your blogging journey and need to set-up your blog, make sure to read my step-by-step guide first.
15 WordPress Plugins To Instantly Improve Your Blog:
Every WordPress installation comes with two plugins pre-installed. One of them is Akismet, which is definitely a lifesaver! Even though Akismet comes pre-installed, it is not activated by default. You will have to take some extra steps to activate it. A typical blog or website gets about 80% of spam comments coming in – which can be a time consuming task to say goodbye to the majority of comments.
The pop-up form I use to grow my email list. Since using this pop-up form, I’ve been able to more than double my monthly email subscribers. they work on several CMS (content management systems) including WordPress, Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr, Google tag manager, Shopify + Weebly.
I currently use the free version (which I feel has loads of good features included) but you can upgrade to get more in depth. Some free version included items are a list builder, smart bar, welcome mats, social share icons, scroll box, and even a place where you track where you audience is clicking throughout your website. (how freakin’ cool!)
Below is the Sumo Me plugin tool that allows me to customize my list builder pop up box. Does the pop up look familiar?!
I’ve tested a handful of SEO plugins on the blog, but none compare to this one. It can:
- optimize your content for social sharing
- analyzes pages for how well they are optimized for specific keywords and phrases
- reporting is easy to follow and comprehend
This is a great plugin that brings Google Analytics reports to your WordPress site. The tracking component of this plugin will automatically install Google Analytics on your website by inserting the required tracking code in all your webpages. You will need to have a google analytics account before using this plugin.
Love this calendar which is located directly within the backside of the blog for your eyes only. It gives you a view of your entire blog post publishing plan and allows you to glance at your monthly or weekly scheduled posts to keep you on track. It’s drag and drop is easy for adjusting your schedule. You can easily create blog drafts to save for later. It has helped me plan out my upcoming weeks’ blog posts.
This is a plugin made by WordPress – so obviously it’s a great one to have! Jetpack comes with 33 tools already integrated. It allows you to use contact forms, seek out related posts, and view a built in analytics, and more.
One of the most frustrating things when visiting a website is clicking on a link that goes nowhere. Am I right? It is definitely hard AND time consuming to go through each and every link within a blog post. Luckily the broken link checker quickly scans a blog post and points out the links that aren’t working correctly.
Simple Social Icons allows you to add up to 14 of the most popular social media icons to any area on your WordPress blog or website. These icons include: Dribbble, Email, Facebook, Flickr, GitHub, Google+, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, RSS, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube.
It even allows you to customize the look! (genius!) You can change the size, shape, alignment, and hover color.
Create a tweet specifically for your blog post! This allows for more engagement and takes it social. This plugin integrates right into a blog post and allows the instant tweet from a viewer by hitting “click to tweet.”
It’s no secret that I LOVE Instagram – so I go out and find the best plugin to display those tiny squares as simply and easily as I can. This plugin’s options include Headers, Captions, as well as Likes and Comments. It even has a “load more option and a “Follow on Instagram” button which will make it easy for viewers to follow along.
This is the plugin I use for all food and recipe blog posts. I use this plugin to display my recipe cards. It gives you tons of options as to how the recipe card is displayed. There are lot of different styles, colors, and fonts to choose from!
There are many times blog posts gather a lot of discussion between your community where viewers would like to be updated on. With this plugin, it allows users to subscribe to your comment feeds.
Large image files might be slowing down your website/blog, which you might not even be aware of. WP Smush resizes and optimizes all photos, limiting the lag time on your website. PLUS – with your page loading faster – search engines such as Google will love you for it (and rank you higher!)
Site speed is something that we take very seriously. In order to make sure that your site scales and sustain huge loads of traffic without crashing, you can utilize this plugin.
Make images easily share-able to pinterest with a “pin it” hover button over blog post images.
So many plugins to choose from – it was hard narrowing it down to 15! What are your favorites? Do you utilize any of the plugins listed here? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!