Learn about the best WordPress plugins for blogs that I have found, as well as ways to cut out unnecessary plugins that may slow down your site.
The Best WordPress Plugins for Blogs
WordPress is one of the most popular blog platforms available, in large part because of the many wonderful themes and plugins that make it easy for bloggers without programming experience to create beautiful,easy-to-use blogs. Adding plugins is always a balancing act; you want to make your site to run as smoothly as possible without overloading it with content.
These are the WordPress plugins I use on my own blogs, as well as those I design for others. Bloggers may also find my post son How to Organize Pinterest Boards and How to Use Google Analytics helpful.
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I use BackWPUp to keep my site backed up, so that if there is a server crash I don’t lose the content I spend hours creating every week.
Broken Links Plugin
I used to use Broken Link Checker, but now I use this web-based program because it means one less plugin for my site! If you do choose to use the plugin (it is more user-friendly than the website), I recommend installing and then removing it for a while once you have cleaned up links.
EU Cookie Law Plugin
Most of my readers are US-based, but I do have a significant number from the UK and other European countries, and this means that I need cookie law disclosure on my site (honestly, I think that it’s a nice thing to do for US readers as well). Cookie Law Info is an easy plugin to use plugin with a clean design.
Caldera Forms is a polished upgrade from Google forms, although sticking with Google will save you from needing yet another plugin
Use the Genesis Responsive Slider to create a slideshow of recent posts. This is an easy to use plugin, but unfortunately it only supports Genesis child themes and so will not work if you do not have the Genesis framework installed for your WordPress site. I do recommend Genesis as a way to easily run clean WordPress sites.
Newsletter Subscription Plugin
Mailmunch is the cleanest-looking newsletter subscription plugin I have seen – it places a bar at the top of a site.
No-Follow Links Plugin
Sponsored links and affiliate links are supposed to be no-follow. The External Links plugin makes this easy – you can set it to make all external links to be no-follow, or specify sites that can have follow links (such as links I post to other blogs that are not compensated links).
Page Speed Plugin
W3 Total Cache is designed to improve user experience and page speed by caching content.
Related Posts Plugin
I use Google Adsense Matched Content to avoid having yet another plugin on my site.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Plugin
I use Yoast SEO for search engine optimization, along with every blogger I have ever asked about this. This plugin is frequently updated for optimum performance. I also use webtexttool to help me find the best keywords for posts.
Site Speed Plugin
Every once in a while I download the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin and run a test to make sure I don’t have any plugins that are really dragging down my site speed. Then I delete the plugin for a few months, because it isn’t something I need on my site all the time.
If you use a lot of images on your site, compressing images can reduce the amount of space those images take up, speeding up your site.
I used to use the free version of Smush for this, but I’ve since switched over to ShortPixel, which seems to compress the images quite a bit more.
Social Icons Plugin
I used to use the Simple Social Icons plugin, but I finally got around to making my own. One less plugin to clog my site’s load speed!
The Best Social Share Plugin for WordPress
This is the only instance where I pay for a plugin, because I found that the free versions were hogging my site’s resources. I used to use Social Warfare, but switched to Social Pug after experiencing a couple of security issues with Social Warfare.
Spam Control Plugin
For a long time, I used Akismet to control spam on my site. Unfortunately, spam on some older posts became so out of control that I had to turn off comments on older posts. Now I get a few spam comments every day, but I simply moderate comments and removed Akismet since even this relatively lightweight plugin does add to the overall load time on my site.
Do you have a favorite WordPress Plugin for blogs that I should add to this list? Share favorites in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or by tagging me on Instagram.
MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
22 thoughts on “The Best WordPress Plugins for Blogs”
When I only need some images optimized and cannot use a WP plugin I tend to use this website
Maybe someone finds it useful as well.
So informative, thanks for sharing!!
Great recommendations! I agree that ShortPixel does a fantastic image compression job and that really improves site speed!
So glad to hear that you are happy with WordPress. I am seriously considering going with them for the re-branding that (Hopefully) will be coming up shortly.
I highly recommend it, especially if you are re-branding. There is just so much more flexibility in how you use WordPress. I started off on Blogger, and I’m glad I switched over.
What a great list! I’ll be referring back to it. Thanks for sharing!
Very interesting…there is so much that bloggers need to be aware of.
There is always something to work on!
Thanks for this Mary Ann. The was most impressed by the fact you made your own plug in. Was it hard to do? Where did you learn to do that?
It’s just some code. I took a beginner programming class in college but honestly had to re-learn it as it’s been so many years!
Thanks for this list! I just installed GDPR Cookie Consent. I am trying to keep up with the UK disclosure laws!
Thank you for this awesome article!
THANK YOU so much for your recommended plugins!!! What to use on the backend can be so confusing!!!
I need to do a cleanup and this list will be very helpful! Thank you.
I don’t use WordPress, but I’m sure this is really helpful info for those who do!
Thanks for sharing MaryAnne! This information is like gold to a blogger! It’s so hard to find the right plugins as well as combo of plugins.
Do you use the Backup plugin in addition to what your host backs up?
My host actually backs up via the Backup plugin.
I considered several times to move my blog to WordPress, but it just seems like too much hassle… I would love playing with plugins and more templates though!
I bet you would design a beautiful blog with WordPress.
Looks like you listed most of the ones I’ve used. I’m thinking of deleting/revising a few on my blog as I’m doing another round of clean ups on the back end.
I just finished a round of clean ups – that is what inspired this list.
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