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.
Google Authorship Plugin
The Google Author Link plugin allows you to easily manage Google Authorship for both single author and multi-author WordPress sites.
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.
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.