One of the things I do effortlessly is creating WordPress websites. I can do it in my sleep. From buying domain names to setting up a hosting plan, creating emails and eventually installing the WordPress software. I’ve done it more times than I can count over the last seven years. At the moment, I have four WordPress websites and I thought I should share my staple WordPress plugins which I use across the board. This is particularly helpful for those of you that are beginners creating a blog for the very first time. It is also handy for experienced bloggers who might be missing something.
It is important to note that these plugins are the very basic that would get your blog up and running in less than an hour. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t better or more effective plugins that do the same thing. These are MY recommendations that have become a staple over the years. Over time as your blog grows, you would need different plugins for different things.
So, what are those WordPress plugins that are guaranteed to get you sorted as a newbie blogger?
Jetpack is more or less the OG of WordPress plugins. It’s so important that sometimes it crashes an entire website if it is not well installed. This means that Jetpack should be the very first plugin you install on your brand new blog. The free version of Jetpack helps you sort things like speed, security, mobile optimisation and social sharing to mention a few. It’s an all in one package that helps supercharge your website both on the front end and backend. I’ve never really had to pay for a premium version of Jetpack because the free version is usually enough for me. But if you eventually have some money to plunge, later on, or it becomes necessary you can try it sometime.
If you’re writing content in 2020 without considering SEO, are you even a serious writer? Are ready to make money at all? Yes, SEO is constantly being touted as being too technical but thankfully we have plugins like Yoast SEO that simplifies on-page SEO for us. In case you’re not familiar with SEO, there are two important types of SEO; on-page SEO and off-page SEO. As the name implies On-page SEO means everything you need to do to optimise your article for the search engines (e.g Google). While Off-page SEO is all the things you do to optimise your entire website for the search engines. Yoast SEO makes it so easy to optimise your content for search engines.
A couple of years ago, WordPress introduced a new editor: Gutenberg which was not exactly well-received. Personally, I hated it. I still do. But the good news is, WordPress gave us the option of switching to the old editor through a plugin. I don’t know about you but blogging is hard enough. I do not need my editor to make my work harder. The classic editor works for me because I’ve been using it for over seven years. So I have more or less mastered it. I also believe it is the best editor for a newbie blogger. You don’t want to be entangled with the complexity of Gutenberg just yet.
Broken Link Checker
One of the most important aspects of on-page SEO is internal linking. You need to be able to connect all your articles together through links. But sometimes things happen and the links are disconnected. This is where the Broken Link Checker comes in. It helps you detect broken links wherever they might be on your website. Rather than manually checking all your links, it alerts you when there is an issue with your link. This is one of those handy plugins for SEO.
Google Analytics for WordPress by Monsterinsights
So you have been writing all that content but you’re not sure how they are performing particularly on Google. You don’t know the important things to check because they all look too complicated. This Google Analytics plugin is the perfect beginner-friendly plugin for you. Just install it and connect it to your Google account and it will do all the grunt work. Every time you log in through your WordPress dashboard, you would see all your stats staring right back at you.
Insert Headers and Footers
If you’re anything like me and you have no plans of learning to code, for now, this plugin is your saviour. As time goes on and your website grows, you would need to install lines of code in the headers and footers. Rather than looking for a developer to help you do something this simple, this plugin is your sidekick. Every time you need to install code in your website, you just need to login into your dashboard and copy and paste the code into the plugin and you’re done.
MailChimp Forms by MailMunch
Email marketing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of building and connecting to an audience. But how do you gather people who are collectively interested in being your cheerleaders? Through sign – up forms. MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms, especially for new bloggers. MailMunch is also a company that wants you to gather email subscribers through your website by any way possible. Combine these two powerhouses and you have a powerful email marketing plugin. All you need to do is to connect your MailMunch account to your MailChimp and it automatically exports all your new subscribers to your MailChimp account seamlessly. No need to do any other thing on your end except to create the signup forms and position them strategically.
Pin It Button On Image Hover And Post
Except you plan to become a publisher which you aren’t for now, Pinterest is a blogger’s best friend. At the moment, I’ve been spending the last couple of months trying to master Pinterest as a primary source of traffic for my lifestyle and travel blog. When I’m done, I’ll come back here with an ultimate guide. In the meantime, this Pinterest plugin is very key if you want to optimise every single image on your blog. This plugin is a ‘pin it’ button which hovers on every image to increase sharability. If your readers forget to share your post via Twitter or Facebook, using great blog photography can encourage them to share your content on their Pinterest boards. When this happens, it increases your reach thereby increasing your chances of getting even more traffic. Don’t sleep on this nifty plugin.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
Quick story: a couple of days ago, I accidentally deleted the WordPress software on my CPanel. In simple English, I accidentally deleted my website. I didn’t even know how to cry because I didn’t activate my backup plugin. I had installed it a while ago but completely forgot about it because the website did not have that much content. While I was sad about the entire ordeal, I did not have that luxury of time to beat myself. My writer was waiting for me to create a new website. Best believe that yesterday, I took time to active UpdraftPlus in all my websites. Once bitten, twice shy! The best part about this plugin is that it is pretty user-friendly. All you need to do is set up your backup schedule (daily, weekly or monthly) and connect a remote storage. You can either use Google Drive, Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive. I use Google Drive.
Nothing more annoying than spam comments from bots. I mean there is only so much you can manually control. The Akismet Anti-Spam WordPress plugin keeps spam comments at bay. Like, you do not see them or have to deal with them at all. It’s such a handy tool. If I remember correctly, it’s one of the default plugins that come with a new WordPress website. All you need to do is activate it and you’re good to go.
It is important to note that all the plugins I have listed above are FREE. I do not pay a premium for any plugin. If I eventually decide to, I’ll probably pay for YoastSEO. But so far, I have not needed to and they work so well for me.
As you can see, all ten WordPress plugins try to cover the core aspects of blogging. From SEO to Social Media, Email Marketing and Google Analytics. It also covers blog maintenance so you’re not left hanging as a newbie blogger.
I hope these plugins help you navigate your new world as a blogger.