The beauty of WordPress is that there are hundreds and hundreds of free plugins at your disposal to help you build a better blog. With the endless list of WordPress plugins to choose from, it’s a bit daunting to know what is necessary and what isn’t. Below are my top favorite plugins that have helped me grow my blog or make it function better. Install them all and start seeing your blog thrive!
Yoast SEO: The BEST free SEO plugin out there. Install this ASAP! It sits at the bottom of each of your “new post” pages and guides you to fill out the meta description with the best keywords and length. If you want people to find your blog, this is the best plugin to start with.
Smush: I always resize my images to be 1000px wide when editing to make sure they are small enough to not overload my web loading time yet still is large enough to look pretty. After uploading to my blog, I then use the SMUSH plugin (aka “smush now” button!) to make the images even smaller. This plugin keeps all your images looking great but cuts out that extra space so your site can run faster.
HelloBar: This handy tool has a free and paid service. For the free service, you can install a HelloBar to the top of your blog to help drive readers to follow you on Instagram, click a certain blog post, sign up for your newsletter, anything!
Akismet Anti-Spam: Spam sucks. This is the best spam blocker on WordPress.
Column Shortcodes: Ever wonder how some bloggers can place two vertical images side by side by still have them separate? (Example post – check this one out). This is that plugin! It’s a gamechanger because vertical images look the best side by side on desktop and stacked on mobile.
No Follow All External Links
No Follow All External Links: Follow or No Follow links is highly disputed and you may at some point want to consult your SEO expert on their suggestions. That being said, I prefer to use this plugin that automatically makes all links on my site no-follow. The purpose? To cut down on spam or spammy comments from other bloggers. Dropping follow links on comment sections or getting links to your blog within normal posts helps your page ranking. The more sites that point to you, the better your page ranking is. When I choose to link to another website, I personally choose to have that not aide in their ranking. Again, it’s a personal decision but if you choose a no-follow, this plugin does all past + future links automatically.
Also – this plugin can make all links on your site open in a new window!!!!
Pin It Button
Pin It Button for Pinterest: That hovering Pin It Button on images can literally mean the difference between thousands of pageviews and zero pageviews. Having the option for people to easily pin your images (like the one below) to their Pinterest means you’ll get more free blog traffic!