WordPress is a fantastic platform on which to host your blog or website. But it’s not a perfect out-of-the-box solution; WordPress functions best in conjunction with plugins.
So here’s a collection of the best WordPress plugins that will help your site run smoothly. I’ve personally used all of these and consider them indispensable. And the best part – they’re all free!
1. Limit Login Attempts
Limit Login Attempts keeps your site safe by limiting login attempts and temporarily blocking IP addresses. It also detects bots with Captcha verification.
Akismet is another fantastic security tool that filters spammy comments. It has more than one million active installs, making it one of WordPress’ most popular plugins.
Before I had Akismet installed, I spent up to an hour each day deleting spam comments. Akismet saves you time and energy by filtering out all the spammy comments you don’t want on your site.
3. WP Database Backup
Can you imagine anything worse than losing your entire site? Nope, me neither.
To prevent losing your site, download WP Database Backup. WP Database Backup automatically backs your site based on the schedule you set – I recommend once a week minimum.
4. EWWW Image Optimizer
The EWWW Image Optimizer automatically resizes the images you upload to your blog. Smaller images can do wonders for your site: faster page load time, speedier backups, and less bandwidth usage.
5. W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache speeds up your site’s overall speed by reducing download times. By speeding up your site, W3 Total Cache improves your site’s user experience and your site’s ranking in search engines.
6. Broken Link Checker
Broken Link Checker continuously monitors your blog for broken links, and prompts you to replace them when necessary. It also detects missing images and redirects, overall improving your site’s functionality.
7. Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
As any savvy blogger or marketer knows, Google Analytics is the best analytics dashboard on the web. In order to easily install it, use the MonsterInsights plugin. Monster Insights enable demographics and interest reports, and tracks search result pages and 404 pages.
8. Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack is a powerful plugin that offers a suite of tools that make WordPress easier. Its many functions include traffic insights, an analytics dashboard, site security, and image performance.
9. Yoast SEO
Yoast is one of the best WordPress plugins for SEO. It helps you increase your search rankings by ensuring you have everything in place for optimal SEO: images in your post, alt tags containing the focus keyword for that post, meta descriptions, and more.
Yoast also offers paid premium services for larger sites. If you’re in need of more robust SEO solutions, see their Gold SEO and Platinum SEO reviews.
10. Instagram Feed
Instagram Feed beautifully displays your Instagram photos on your site. It’s also completely responsive, so your readers will be able to see your Instagram feed on the mobile and desktop versions of your site.
11. Simple Social Icons
Simple Social Icon offers sleek social icons that link to your Instagram, Tumblr and beyond. The icons are very customizable so you can be sure they match your theme.
12. Pinterest Pin It Button for Images
Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the most important sources of referral traffic for bloggers. The Pinterest Pin It Button allows you and your readers to easily post blog images to Pinterest.
13. Comment Email Reply
Comment Email Reply sends your replies to commenters by email. It ensures that the commenter receives a reply to their question and encourages discussion.
CommentLuv rewards your readers by placing a link to their last post underneath their comment. It helps create a community on your blog as well as give your commenters exposure to their sites.
Disqus (pronounced ‘discuss’) replaces WordPress’ somewhat clunky commenting system with a sleek, easy-to-use commenting system. Disqus automatically logs in users on any site that uses Disqus, making it super easy for your readers to contribute.