So you’ve downloaded your WordPress theme and you’re ready to get started with your blog. To make your blogging process run smoothly and save you time, WordPress has these nifty apps called WordPress plugins. Today, we’re going to look at five of my favorite free plugins to get you started with your blog.
Before we get into the specific plugins, here are a few tips to keep in mind when working with WordPress plugins.
- Download plugins that you have a use for. If you don’t find yourself using the plugin immediately, you don’t have to download it right now. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many WordPress plugins.
- Make sure the plugins play nice with each other and don’t clash with your WordPress theme. Not every plugin works alongside each other and some are known to mess up your WordPress theme. That’s why it’s important to keep it simple and few.
- Use plugins that have high ratings, constant updates, and positive feedback. You don’t want to choose a plugin, have it work for a few days, and then have it cause issues.
- Choose plugins that are small, but powerful. Your plugins shouldn’t make your website drag or slow down. They should be accenting and adding a minor touch to your WordPress site to bring it all together.
- Disable WordPress plugins that you are no longer using. There’s no reason to have them clutter up your account and potentially clash with the plugins that you are actively using. You don’t have to uninstall them completely, but disable the ones you aren’t using.
Wordfence WordPress Plugin
New bloggers can end up being the target for attacks and security issues. Wordfence will let you know when someone is trying to login to your website, without permission. They will send you e-mail alerts so you always know what’s going on with your website. As an added bonus, they will even block certain IP addresses from accessing your website if the IP address is a repeat offender of trying to break in.
A lot of new bloggers don’t think about the security of their website. This simple WordPress plugin can make the difference between getting hacked at 2am or running smoothly.
Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
Yoast is by far the most popular SEO plugin. As a new blogger, you might be rolling your eyes at me a little saying, “But Virginie, I don’t really know much about SEO. I just got started with my blog. Do I really have to worry about this?”
The nice thing about the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin is that it is completely beginner friendly. You don’t need to know a single thing about SEO to make it work. This plugin will tell you exactly where and how to put your keywords throughout your blog post in order to rank higher on search engines.
Think of it as a “done with you” type of SEO plugin. It’s easy to use and completely free.
Prettylink WordPress Plugin
Prettylink is a super easy to use and simple plugin that can mask your links. This makes the links easy for you to remember, especially if you need them for social media.
For example, you have a planner that you want to recommend. You might mask the link to look like www.yourdomain.com/planner instead of a long Amazon link that no one will ever remember.
While you can get by using a bit.ly link, it looks so much more aesthetically pleasing to have the link be the same as your domain.
JetPack WordPress Plugin
JetPack is an all-in-one, but I love using it for its analytics. Being new to blogging, you might not want all the bells and whistles that come with heavy analytics software like Google Analytics. JetPack can tell you how many visitors you are getting to your blog, where they’re finding you from, and which posts from your website are the most popular.
This WordPress plugin is so easy to use. The simplicity of it is great for a new blogger because you won’t get overwhelmed by all the options of bigger plugins.
You get exactly what you need, nothing more.
Note: I still recommend installing Google Analytics from the beginning, but you don’t have to look at the data just yet. Start gathering it, and when you’re ready for it, you’ll have it handy. But on a daily basis, JetPack is a lot nicer to look at.
MailChimp for WordPress Plugin
One of the most important ways to keep readers coming back to your blog is reminding them that you exist and where to find you. You can do this by giving them a newsletter to subscribe to. A free and popular way to do that is with MailChimp.
You can add the MailChimp for WordPress plugin to your website to capture the e-mails of people who want to stay in touch with you.
The plugin is beautiful, lightweight, and completely free.
Have you started experimenting with WordPress plugins on your new blog?
There are literally millions of plugins out there. These are a few of my favorite ones for new bloggers, but I would love to hear which WordPress plugins you’re using. Let me know in the comments below and drop a link to your blog!