11 WordPress Plugins That I Whole-Heartedly Recommend To You
What is a WordPress Plugin?
Over the last two months, I have been experimenting with numerous WordPress plugins and today I am sharing 11 plugins that I wholeheartedly recommend to you. Plugins extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site. According to WordPress, there are 46,373 plugins with 1,380,246,145 total downloads that are available are at your fingertips located in their official plugin directory.
Before we begin, I want to mention that I initially conducted online research to see what other bloggers and entrepreneurs have used and recommended on their site. I thought this would give me an idea of what to look for before downloading and using any of the plugins.
For instance, Theme Trust shared this blog post on the 27 must-have WordPress plugins of 2016. Ann Moss of Yeys wrote this blog post 6 WordPress Plugins That Will Actually Benefit My Blogs and followed up with this post a month later Best WordPress Plugins To Install On My Blogs. I can’t forget to reference this post by WP Daily Themes, 14 Essential & Must-Have Free WordPress Plugins for 2016. And finally, my Twitter friend Crystal shared this link to her former blog ‘Tidbits of Experience”, where she posted “16 WordPress Plugins I Love and Why. After gathering all this information, I was able to start my evaluation and decide which ones would be best suited for me.
How To Install Plugins
All of these plugins below are completely FREE. Login to your WordPress dashboard, hover over Plugins in the left-hand menu, click “Add New” and then search for the name of any of the below plugins. Click “Install Now” and then “activate” and you’re all set! It’s that easy.
11 Plugins That Worked For Me And Why
Akismet – 4.8 out 5 stars with over 1Million + active installs
Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
Since installation, Akismet has blocked 648 malicious login attempts and 144 spam comments on my site. I’d say it’s doing its job!
Broken Line Checker – Rated: 4.1 out of 5 Stars with over 400,000+ active installs
This plugin checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found. Depending on the size of your site this can take from a few minutes up to an hour or more. The broken links, if any are found, will show up in a new tab of the WP admin panel –Tools -> Broken Links.
In the beginning, this plugin found over 120 broken links on my site. I believe that the reason that there were so many broken links is because my blog has had three name changes since I started blogging. It’s taking awhile but I’m starting to try and fix the broken links.
Click to Tweet – Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars with over 10,000+ active installs
This WordPress plugin allows you to easily create tweetable content for your readers. Use pull quotes and custom messages inside the body of your blog post to highlight your content for the reader and make it simple for them to share on Twitter. This is a WordPress plugin by CoSchedule, the all-in-one content marketing editorial calendar for WordPress.
I’ve tried a few different “Click to Tweet” plugins and felt discouraged each time. The reason I ended up liking this one is because it was effortless to set up. As well, when you clicked to tweet, it opened in a new window. This is wonderful because your readers can remain on your website. The last thing you need is to lose readers because they lost your site trying to share your post.
CommentLuv – Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 20,000+ active installs
This plugin will visit the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieve their last blog posts which they can choose to include at the bottom of their comment when they click submit. It has been found to increase comments and the community spirit for the thousands of blogs that have installed it.
Initially, I used Jetpack’s plugin for my site but decided to try CommentLuv as it was highly recommended by others. So far, I haven’t seen much of a difference between the two but for now, I will continue to use CommentLuv.
Jetpack by WordPress.com – Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars with over 1 + million active installs
Jetpack simplifies managing WordPress sites by giving you visitor stats, security services, speeding up images, and helping you get more traffic.
Okay,Jetpack is a default WordPress Plugin, but it does SO much. In fact, there were several other third party plugins I was able to eliminate simply because Jetpack had it covered in a way I preferred (such as my related posts section).
Mailchimp for Wordpress – Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars with over 700,000 active installs
MailChimp for WordPress helps you add more subscribers to your MailChimp lists using various methods. You can create good looking opt-in forms or integrate with any other form on your site, like your comment, contact or checkout form.
I am still learning to use this plugin as well. I can’t decide to continue using SumoMe or try this one. Or even if there is a difference between the two plugins. Help, anyone?
Simple Author Box adds a responsive author box at the end of your posts, showing the author name, author gravatar and author description. It also adds over 30 social profile fields on WordPress user profile screen, allowing to display the author social icons.
When I was looking at other blogs, I noticed wonderful little author boxes at the bottom and went on a mission to find the right one. I tried quite a few different WordPress plugins, but Simple Author Box was really the one that stuck for me. It seemed like a great way to get a little bit of info about the person behind the blog at the end of the post and if you have multiple contributors on your blog you can set it up so it shows the info of that person specifically.
SumoMe– rated 4.0 out of 5 stars with over 100,000 active installs
SumoMe is a suite of apps designed to help you need to grow your WordPress site. This WordPress plugin will make it easy for your readers to join your email list, share your articles and optimize with analytics
Out of all the WordPress plugins, this is probably one of my favorites due to its multifunctional capabilities. You can use SumoMe to: Increase website traffic; get more subscribers for your email list; Increase social shares on your blog and see what posts readers are engaging with and which ones they dislike. And once SumoMe is installed you will be able to test all of these different options and see which one works best for growing your list. It even has analytics within its dashboard or you can connect to your Google analytics.
The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improves 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.
Since this WordPress plugin has been trusted by many popular sites including AT&T, Mashable, Smashing Magazine, WPBeginner, and a million others, I figured it would be safe to use on my site. I used this tutorial by WP Beginner to help me set up W3 Total Cache.
Powered by the constantly updated Threat Defense Feed, its Web Application Firewall stops you from getting hacked. Wordfence Scan leverages the same proprietary feed, alerting you quickly in the event your site is compromised. Their Live Traffic view gives you real-time visibility into traffic and hack attempts on your website. A deep set of additional tools round out the most complete WordPress security solution available.
Again, with over 1 million active installs, I knew that I could trust this plugin.
Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is the complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users. It incorporates everything from a snippet editor and real-time page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.
This is by far the most important plugin to increase traffic on your blog/biz. SEO means Search Engine Optimization. Having good SEO means a higher chance of being found on search engines, which is vital and can make or break your website. I am still learning how to use this plugin but so far, it’s fairly easy to use for non-techie people. Right now, it’s all about ensuring that each blog post is readable and that I get the green light for SEO!
There were four elements that I was looking for in a WordPress plugin to decide if it was a right fit for me. First of all, the plugin had to be easy to use. There is nothing worse than wasting valuable time because you’re trying to figure out how to install, activate and use the plugin. Second, the plugin had to be compatible with my WordPress theme. Third, it was an asset if the plugin had the capability to be multifunctional. Fourth, the plugin had to either have a FAQ available or at least list how to contact the developer. Finally. because I am not ready to invest financially, the plugin had to be free.
Is there an amazing plugin out there that I should be using? What are some of your favs? Comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!
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