WordPress Plugins for beginner bloggers on a budget

WordPress Plugins for Beginner Bloggers

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

WordPress Plugins for beginner bloggers

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.

WordPress plugin support tickets should be 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.
Plugins infuse personality into your blog by allowing you to create & customize all aspects of every page you publish. WordPress Plugins for Beginner Bloggers #blogging #WordPress @WordPress Click To Tweet

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.

Conclusion

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.

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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

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Did I miss anything?

What are some of your favorite WordPress plugins?

Please let us know in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “WordPress Plugins for Beginner Bloggers”

  1. SharlaAnn, great breakdown!

    Good note too on caution. A few plugins can break your site if you are not careful. Also, going overboard slows down your blog and removes functionality. All we need is a few to get the job done. Beyond those few, take time to create and connect generously for a long time. Success flows through creating and connecting.

    Ryan
    Ryan K Biddulph recently posted…1 Day on the Streets of Kathmandu NepalMy Profile

    1. Ryan, I always use caution when it comes to the technical bits of my website.

      1. Because I am not good with the technical stuff.

      2. If I “break” it, I have to find someone who can fix it. How do I know who will be good at fixing it if I don’t even know what needs to be fixed??? And how will I know it is fixed and not just duct-taped together. Ahhh! (I clearly have some anxiety issues about this)

      This is why I did not try to build my website even though I had step-by-step instructions at my disposal.

      I agree; the plugins, any tool really, need to get the job done so you can focus on more critical aspects of your business like connecting with people and learning cool new things.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      SharlaAnn
      SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Everything You Need to Start a BlogMy Profile

  2. Hi SharlaAnn, great review of plugins and how to use them, etc. I had one that almost took my entire site down years ago. I am so careful now of what plugins I use and try not to use too many. Sometimes they can slow down a site or cause trouble. Even when they update, one plugin can affect another. I have a techie that helps me with that cause it’s a huge job! I try to be self-sufficient but don’t want to mess up the site after 10 years now.
    This is great advice for newbies and oldies alike 🙂

    1. Hi Lisa, the thought of my site going down terrifies me, so I can’t imagine what I would do if it were to happen. I suppose, though, if you spend enough time online, something is bound to happen eventually? I better find myself a good techie, so I’m prepared if my site does go down. It is crazy to me how often some plugins need to update. It seems that I go through phases where every time I log into my dashboard a plugin needs to be updated.

      I figure if it works and does what you need it to do, leave it alone. Some people constantly mess around and change things all the time then have nothing but problems.

      SharlaAnn
      SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Ditching The 9-5 Mindset-Not The Usual AdviceMy Profile

  3. Hey SharlaAnn,

    What’s funny is I have 24 active plugins and the only one both of us are using is Wordfence; that’s intriguing. I’m not going to take over and start mentioning lots of plugins, but I would recommend WP Database Backup or something like it because over the years I’ve known lots of folks who’ve had something go wonky and they’ve lost all their blog content. I use the free version but they have a Pro version; no idea what’s in it but the free works well for me.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…7 Blogging Beliefs You Interpreted WronglyMy Profile

    1. Hey Mitch,
      It is very strange that we only have one plugin in common. That being said there are so many plugins that do the same job. I backup my site right from my cPanel dashboard. Am I the only one that does this? Regardless of how you do it, having a backup is essential. I imagine using a plugin is easier and more convenient for most people. I may check that one out.
      Thanks for the recommendation.
      SharlaAnn
      SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…3 Key Factors That Limit Your SuccessMy Profile

  4. Hi SharlaAnn,
    What an informative share for the beginners. No doubt plugins will ease our work a lot, but at the same time, we need to be very choosy while adding one. As you said we need to check the updated date, as some outdated ones will give you great trouble. Once it happened to my site, and was so difficult to uninstall and i took the help of an expert techy to get back my site.

    As Ryan, and Lisa mentioned some plugins can really slow down the sites functionality.

    Good share for all.

    Keep sharing.
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip Ariel
    Philip Verghese Ariel recently posted…The Power of Blog Comments And Other StoriesMy Profile

    1. Hi Philip,
      I am in a situation right now where the social media plugin I was using is no longer supported by WordPress. I don’t know what is going on with that. So I have to decide whether or not to switch to a different social media plugin or wait until the current issue with the one I am using is resolved.

      Just one more thing a person needs to learn to deal with as a blogger! LOL

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Take care,
      SharlaAnn
      SharlaAnn Matyjanka recently posted…Improve Your Focus With These 5 Simple TipsMy Profile

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