We all love great websites and we want our blog or website to be perfectly looking and perfectly working. But most of the times, to craft it as we would like it to be, we need to install tons of different plugins, some of them easy to use, some a bit more complicated, instead.
Plugins are like little software and give you the possibility to add new features to your blog. No matters how much you want to enrich your blog, there are some plugins that you need installed, no matter if you want to run a profitable blog or just a personal website for your side business.
After playing with so many plugins in the last years, I’ve finally found my absolute 5 best WordPress plugin everyone should need on their blog.
Not started your blog yet? Read the post on how to start a new blog in 5 simple steps.
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When it comes to SEO, we need something easy to use and powerful. Here it come Yoast SEO plugin.
What is SEO?
According to Moz and their beginner’s guide, SEO is a “marketing discipline focused on growing visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results”.
That means all those “magic tricks” you do in order to drive traffic to your blog/website, improve ranking on a search engine and increase awareness of your blog in search engines.
It’s a no-brainer that it’s my number 1 choice. Something so important cannot left behind.
Once the plugin is installed, it has a very easy-to-understand interface which guide you through the plugin’s main features:
The “problems” section displays all SEO problems regarding your website, for example that your homepage cannot be indexed. It’s important to keep an eye on this section as some problem can afflict your website ranking and traffic.
But that’s not all! The most useful feature of this great plugin arrives when you are writing a posts and you can check and edit the snippet preview of how your post will appear on Google research, plus it gives you a SEO analysis of your post and what to improve! I love it.
Even if SEO is a complete unknown identity for you, Yoast it makes it easy and understandable. 100% recommended.
The security of your blog is very important when it comes to your data on the web. Even more if you store other people’s sensible data, too.
I decided to go for the plugin Wordfence Security and it has been the best choice ever. It periodically scans your blog to find if there’s any problem, the firewall blocks brute force attacks ( for example people, trying to guess your username/password) and other type of hacking. It can have a look at recent and live IP address logins and so much more.
I really love the option where you can set up live email alerts to your inbox. They literally saved my life when my site was under attack! This way I can always be updated on who logs in, who tries to brute force the website or even if any plugin need to be updated. You can customise the email you prefer to receive and the frequency, as well.
The plugin comes in two versions: free and premium. The free on is great if you have a small blog with little traffic, for example if you’ve just started out. If you have a blog or website with a significant traffic and data stored, I definitely recommend the premium version for just $8.25/month. If you are sure you’ll keep your website live for many years, they also offer discounts for multi-year and multi-license purchases.
We all feel that thrill when someone comment our posts, especially if we’ve just started blogging. Comments are a great way to engage with your readers, network with other bloggers, share tips and build followers.
But we want real people comments, not spammy ones.
Thankfully Akismet can help you to get rid of those spam comments and keep your posts nice and tidy, without annoying spammy content for your audience.
To set it up, you have to first activate the plugin from plugins> akismet anti-spam> settings> Activate Akismet.
They offer three different type of licenses: Personal, Plus and Enterprise.
If you don’t have any ads or don’t sell any product, like a personal blog, a Personal license will be fine. If you already, or plan to, use ads to monetise your website or sell your own products, then you’ll need a Personal one.
Keep spam comments away from your website is something that I highly recommend, especially if your blog traffic increase. Keep your blog spam-free will raise your credibility and professionality.
It took me time to install this plugin, silly me, but it’s the best plugin ever for social sharing that I’ve ever used.
If you want to drive more traffic to your blog, spread your knowledge around the web, and get to known by people as top influencer in your niche you cannot miss this plugin out.
Your readers, once they have enjoyed reading your blog posts because it gave them useful information, they want to be able to share your content EASILY.
That’s the keyword. And Social Warfare is what makes social sharing easy.
It provides a sharing bar at the top and bottom of your posts: you can set it only at the top and bottom, or add floating buttons, meaning that the readers will be able to see the social buttons all the time while reading your post. This last option is definitely the best as you want to make easy for your audience to share your content, no matter if they’ve just started reading or they are half way.
You can a lot of feature already with the free version: it offers a Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn button. If you’d like your audience to be able to share on platforms like Reddit, Whatsapp or Tumblr, you can buy the Pro Version for just $29/year.
In my opinion, for the potential of this plugin, $29 in a very fair price.
Another great feature of the Pro Version is the possibility of pinning all the images in your post, instead of just the featured one! So if you are planning, or currently implementing a Pinterest strategy for your blog, the Pro Version is a must have of your blogging tools.
The last, but not least, plugin that you need on your blog, especially if you’ve just started, is a form plugin.
Why I should need a form in my blog?
Of course, you could just put your email address and say to your audience “if you’d like to contact me you can write to this email address”. But, if your readers have the possibility to send you emails directly from the page they are visiting, they’ll be more likely to contact you and you can increase the possibility of being contacted!
With Gravity forms, you can easily create different kind of forms to add to pages or post. When creating a form, you have wide customisation options like standard fields (single line text, dropdown, checkbox, radio buttons and more), advanced fields (name, date, captcha, quiz, signature and much more), post field (yes, you can gather information to create an automatic post from the replies!) and pricing (shipping, quantity, credit card and more).
An easy drag and drop editor will help you visualise and edit the different fields until you are ready to publish it.
This is an example of a poll you can create with Gravity Form.
The 5 best wWrdpress plugins you need on your blog
This is a list of 5 WordPress plugin which I absolutely recommend as they’ve really simplified my life and my clients’ one.
I’d like to know if you’ve already tried these plugins or which are your must-have ones and would like to share your opinion. Leave a comment below to let me know!