WordPress Plugins for Beginner Bloggers
With close to 60,000 WordPress plugins on the market, it can be an overwhelming nightmare for beginner bloggers to navigate.
How do you decide which ones you need and what to avoid?
By the end of this post, you will know the essential plugins that are helpful for your blog, as well as some red flags I watch for when choosing plugins.
The best part, all of the plugins I share with you are free or have a free/lite version, fantastic for bloggers on a budget.
If you missed my last post where I discussed the bare bone essentials needed to start a blog, you could check it out here.
What is a WordPress Plugin?
A plugin is a piece of code you install on your WordPress site to add functionality.
Plugins allow you to customize your WordPress site to your specific needs. It’s like downloading an app to your phone.
WordPress plugins are usually free or have a free version and a premium paid version that provides you with more features than the free version does.
With so many plugins on the market, how do you decide?
Choosing a WordPress Plugin
The first thing you need to do before choosing plugins is to determine the purpose of your website.
Some different types of websites you can build with WordPress include:
- a blog (of course)
- eCommerce sites
- business websites
- membership sites
To name a few. The possibilities are endless. Some websites may even be a combination of all of these.
The great thing is you can add plugins as your website evolves or delete plugins you no longer need if it is feasible to do so.
So decide what functions are essential for your website and go from there.
Use Caution When Choosing Plugins
Many of the plugins you will use are well-known, well-supported plugins developed by people who know and care about the work they are doing.
But if you ever feel adventurous or need to stray from the well-beaten path, do so with caution. The last thing you want to do is crash your site by installing a plugin you shouldn’t have.
WordPress Plugin Updates
I always check to see when the plugin was last updated. WordPress makes this very easy to do by posting a prominent notice if the plugin hasn’t been tested with the latest version of WordPress.
Not all plugins will need regular updates, but no recent updates may indicate that the support for that plugin has dropped off. This is especially true if the reviews suggest there have been issues with support.
You can also check to see if support tickets are getting answered in a timely manner.
Read WordPress Plugin Reviews
The next thing you should do is read the reviews.
Are there more bad reviews than good ones?
Do the bad ones have a common theme, such as a specific function not working or problems contacting support?
You want to stay away from these.
I don’t worry about one-off nasty comments, but when you see multiple complaints about the same issue, that’s an excellent indicator to steer clear. Especially when they seem to be going unresolved or support isn’t replying to comments.
Once you know what plugin you want, you will need to install it on your WordPress.
Installing a WordPress Plugin
I always install plugins from inside my WordPress.
On your WordPress dashboard scroll down until you find “Plugins,” click “Add New” and you will be able to search for the plugin you want.
When you find the plugin click “Install Now” and follow the directions.
This is the simplest way to install plugins.
Uninstalling WordPress Plugins
You would think that uninstalling plugins would be as simple as installing them, but that may not be the case.
Since I have not had to uninstall a plugin, you can refer to this beginner’s guide here for more clarity.
Suggested WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
I like to keep things simple, so this is by no means a complete list, but it will get you started with the essentials and a few extras to enhance your blog posts.
And because this is for beginner bloggers on a budget, all the ones listed here are free or have a free/lite version.
- WPForms– creates contact forms.
- Antispam Bee– to reduce spam comments on your blog. Alternatively, you could use Akismet.
- MailOptin– build opt-in forms to collect emails for your email list. I use this alongside AWeber.
- Pretty Links– you may use this to create affiliate links.
- Social Media Feather– displays your social links on your website and in your blog posts.
- Wordfence– is your antivirus protection.
- GA Google Analytics– integrates your blog with Google Analytics.
- Better Click to Tweet– allows you to create custom Tweets throughout your blog post.
- Simple TOC– block editor plugin for creating a table of contents for your blog posts.
- Yoast– This is essential for SEO. It makes sure you are doing it right. You can get by on the free version if you need to.
A couple of other popular plugins include:
- Elementor– is a page builder. I have never used it, but it is very popular.
- Jetpack– backup, and security. I don’t use Jetpack. Most features are only available to premium members, so I backup WordPress in cPanel and use other plugins for site security, such as Wordfence.
These plugins will provide your site with the security and functionality essential to beginner bloggers.
The most important thing is to make sure your site is secure and protected from hackers and spammers.
This makes plugins such as Wordfence and Antispam Bee essential.
Having a contact form, social media links, and an opt-in form to build an email list (like to one above) is required to grow your blog and connect with your readers. This is where plugins like WPForms, Social Media Feather, and MailOptin are helpful.
If you want your blog to look good and stand out, Pretty Links, Better Click to Tweet, and Simple TOC are the type of plugins to look into along with Elementor.
Lastly, simplify SEO with Yoast and track traffic with GA Google Analytics.
Combining a few helpful plugins with everything you need to start a blog from the last post and you have a solid foundation on which to build a successful blog.
Be sure to join me next time as I share more fun tools that will take your blog to the level.
Until then, happy blogging. 😀
Please Leave a Comment
Did I miss anything?
What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins?
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