WordPress has been a life changing switch for me. It has granted me many different possibilities to transform my blog and make it better all through the use of their different WordPress plugins. There is seriously a plugin for just about everything. You can use them to customize your website, for social media sharing, to even analytics, spam guard, and so much more. In this article I am going to go over my favorite WordPress plugins and the functions of each one of them.
MY JOURNEY ON THE WORDPRESS BLOGGING PLATFORM
WordPress is a whole new world. Compared to my previous platform, Weebly, WordPress was a huge learning experience but over the months I have come to learn the ins and outs and all the must haves of working with WordPress. The transition from Weebly to WordPress has been long. I was able to transfer my blog over but did loose all of the photos in my posts in the process along with my website’s theme. It was a good switch though and wish I had done it sooner. To be honest, I wish I had started with WordPress to begin with.
It has been about 8 months now since I made the switch and you may still find a few posts here and there that aren’t fully updated again so I apologize. Note to you… Start with WordPress from the very beginning. Don’t hesitate. You won’t regret sticking with WordPress. Here are a few of the plugins that I currently use and highly recommend to others.
RELATED ARTICLE: Full Guide on How To Start Your Own Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
10+ MUST HAVE PLUGINS FOR WORDPRESS
Like previously mentioned, WordPress plugins will help you make the most of your website. It has truly been life changing for my blogging journey. After some trial and error and now a few years of experience, I have updated this blog post to bring to you the most up to date plugins and recommendations that I personally use on my WordPress website.
This plug-in helps me get a good SEO on each and every one of my posts, pages, and even my website. It will continue monitoring my pages and let’s me know which blog posts need SEO or needs the SEO improved in. It also helps me write a good and well-rounded blog post by detecting run on sentences, tone of the post, and other readability issues.
This is by far the best plug-in for comment spam protection. When I first started with WordPress I had no idea how many spammers were on here looking to comment on every post. Comments are good but not when it’s filled with spam, ads, and other unrelated things. Comments are a section in the post where you can engage with your audience. Don’t let spammers spook them away.
Best if using a self-hosted website. It helps you get all of the features you need that WordPress.com uses get including the stats for your website.
EASY FACEBOOK LIKEBOX
Best and most easiest way to get a new likes and followers to your Facebook page.
Update February 2020: I actually took this off my website when I updated the theme. I went with having all my social media linked in one section instead but it is still a plugin that I would recommend if this is your style or preference.
ADD ANY EXTENSION TO PAGES
I love this plug-in because I have a shop that I run on BigCartel. You can also have a shop on WordPress but haven’t looked to into the specifics of it. You can easily click on “SHOP” and it will redirect you to my shop’s website.
Update February 2020: I actually still use this extension but I have created a new shop on Etsy now instead of BigCartel. You can check it out here or find the button above where it says SHOP.
GOOGLE ANALYTICS FOR WORDPRESS
I love using Google Analytics to learn specific stats about my website. Having the plugin makes this much easier to retrieve.
These are the share icons that you can find at the bottom of every blog post. This makes it easy for your readers to share your post with their friends or to save it on Pinterest.
Update February 2020: I actually bought the Social Warfare Pro for this plugin which is only $29 for the entire year so I can customize the caption for the different social media platforms including Pinterest.
WORDPRESS POPULAR POSTS
These are the “Featured Posts” that you see on my sidebar. It will share some of your top posts for the category you choose or for your entire blog section. You can adjust this according to what suits your business best. I currently only feature my top 10 blog posts that are trending in the last 30 days. You can adjust the number of days to less or more as well.
I swear by Pinterest. Pinterest is like my best friend in the blogging world. The majority of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest. Having the Pinterest widget will show your audience what things you like to pin about. It will also make it easier for them to follow you.
Since the recent WordPress update, the Instagram Slider Widget plugin I was using didn’t update so I had to switch to a new one. I am now using Instagram Feed and have no complaints so far. Works perfectly and if not better than the other one.
Update February 2020: I removed this plugin when I installed my new theme because my theme already had Instagram on the bottom of my pages. I didn’t want it to be showing up twice on my website.
UPDATE! The following plugins have been added after I have published this article. They are the ones I started using in the beginning of 2019.
This plugin helps smush the file size of your photos so it can load faster. The faster your website runs the better it is for SEO. I had a few posts that had large file sized photos so now I am having to go back and reload those photos using the plugin. So far I am very impressed with how it works and how much easier it makes my blogging life.
This is one I am still playing around with but it is helping a lot so far. I was using some very ugly links such as www.avantlink.com/affiliate/affiliatenumberandmorejumbobumbo and these links were ugly especially when pinning it to my Pinterest. Their logo will pop up on my pins and it looked very spammy. I have decided to use this instead and now I have pretty links that also look more attractive to buyers and pinners looking at my content.
Update February 2020: I still use it from time to time. I see that it works best if you are linking to the same affiliate link over and over again versus randomly. I am always using new affiliate links on my blog posts so the process seemed a little much for me when I was just going to use that link once. However, it is a good plugin to have if you will be using it more than me.
BEAVER PAGE BUILDER
This plugin helps you build your pages with a drag drop layout. I absolutely love using this cause it makes it easier for me to layout my pages more professionally by adding images, columns, and even separations. I just updated my “About” page using this plugin.
Update February 2020: I am currently using Elementor (more details below) but still use Beaver Builder with some of my clients. They both work great. Just see which one you like best and go with it.
Related Article: How To Write An “About Me” Page For Your Blog
WP MAINTENANCE MODE
I love this plugin. It helps me update my website without having a chaos when my audience comes to visit. It leaves my website looking the same while I update it and finally publish the new design, layout, theme, or whatever it is that you may be updating. I highly recommend this plugin.
Update! I have started using the following plugins towards the end of 2019 after I had my website redone and updated. (February 2020)
ELEMENTOR PAGE BUILDER
This is just like Beaver Builder above. It is a drag drop layout to help you build your pages. This is the one that I currently am using on some of the pages on my website.
This WordPress plugin makes your site faster by optimizing CSS, JS, Images, Google fonts and more. It has truly been amazing to have.
W3 TOTAL CACHE
This plugin is the highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.
After WordPress updated to the new editing style on their platform, I was not impressed. I’m not one that likes big changes. I decided to immediately download the Classic Editor for WordPress so I can continue to edit my blog posts and my website with the Classic version.
404PAGE – YOUR SMART CUSTOM 404 ERROR PAGE
I had archieved a few blog posts and pages that were not needed anymore. After making the changes I decided to create a 404 page. A 404 page is the error page that you bump into when you click a link that is no longer active or published. It will take you to this page which will help your audience and readers to find their way back to your website. You can view my 404 page here.
I hope this helps you keep your WordPress running smoothly. If you have a WordPress.com website, what plugins do you like to use and why? I would love to hear more about the plugins others use.
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