Things don’t always go the way you want it to when it comes to your blog. But the reason I love WordPress is that with the right plugins you can optimize and work on your site with ease.
Honestly, there are way too many WordPress plugins out there to choose from. That’s why I have listed the best one’s that I use on my blog.
Having too many plugins installed will slow your site down, so it’s good practice to keep your plugin count under 20. So only install plugins that you need.
So, here are the best plugins that you should be using.
God! How I hate comment spam. For that I use Akismet. It’s an easy to use tool that checks your comments and who they are coming from, filtering out the crap and putting them in the spam folder.
You have the option to have it delete them automatically, or you can review them yourself. This saves you time and headaches, not to mention it’s free to use.
This tool is a must and the best of its kind. Yoast serves many functions, one being that it helps improve your blog’s seo.
Yoast helps you pick the best keywords to target for organic traffic. readability, internal and external links, meta descriptions and more.
Another feature I love from them is there sitemap. I have tried all in one seo, and Google XML Sitemap and Yoast’s works the best for me.
It also helps you get your Pinterest verified by adding the open graph tags.
Social Media Warfare
One of the best social sharing plugins out there is Social Warfare. This tool is fast, will not slow down your site, and makes it easy to for your readers to share your posts. Before this plugin, I was barely getting any shares, but now, my share counts are in the hundreds.
Just because you are able to get traffic to your site does not mean they will share your hard work. Make it easy for them with a great tool.
This is a must have plugin if you plan on using Pinterest for traffic. It lets you control which image and description to share unlike other sharing tools that show a list of images.
This plugin runs at only 2$ and change a month which is worth the price for this tool.
Jetpack provides a lot of powerful features for your site. Everything from a mobile theme, site security, site performance, content tools and many other features.
Another great feature with this tool is it’s traffic stats. It shows detailed tracking of your sites visitors, what they are searching for, where they came from, what links they are clicking on and more.
Contact Form 7
Something I mentioned in my other post of what you should do after installing your WordPress blog is to add a contact page. Because I have a great theme like elegant themes, I use there contact form that comes with their easy to design theme, but before that I used Contact Form 7, it’s lightweight and easy to you. no coding, or complex CSS required.
If you’ve been around my blog, you will notice I love recommending tools from thrive. They offer a lot of great tools, but today we’re talking about optin and capturing emails.
Thrive leads provides powerful feature, yet so easy to customize and use. You can A/B test, advance targeting, exit intent, sliders, in line forms; you name it, Thrive Leads does it. I love and highly recommend Thrive leads for email capture.
Pretty Link Lite
A great way to make money on your blog is by doing affiliate marketing, but a downside to affiliate marketing is the links they provide. It’s usually long and ugly, making it less likely that your readers will click on it.
Instead of something like http://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=864065&u=1659811&m=65788&urllink=&afftrack=
you can shorten it and make it look like this: Sproutorigin.com/shareasale
This tool is also great for shortening links you add to Instagram. You can track the clicks to see how well it is doing.
Note: Do not shrink amazon affiliate links – it goes against their policy.
W3 Total Cache
What W3 Total Cache does is increase your pages performance and speed. The many ways it does this is by minify, leveraging browser cache and more.
I use and highly recommend wp rocket, but W3 Total Cache is OK because it’s free and will get you close to wp rocket’s results. If you are using wp rocket – you can download my settings here, unzip the file then review the settings after installing.
Be sure that you know what you are doing when setting up this plugin.
Images tell a thousand words, but if they are not optimized, you might as well not put them up. One of the main causes of a slow site is the image.
A good practice is to optimize your images before you upload them. For that I use Tinypng. Once they have been uploaded to my site, I compress them again. Short pixel does a great job of compressing images for me without losing quality. I have a lot of images on my site and went with their one time plan – no monthly or yearly payments, you just pay once.
It’s crucial to keep your site secure. Failure to do this can result in it being hacked and there goes all your hard work. You may not notice it, but your site is being attacked daily, and sooner or later it will happen, that is if you do not secure your site.
To keep it cheap, use Wordfence Security, it’s what I started off on. You can monitor issues in real time to take action right away. Its firewall does a great job of fending off known attackers. If you desire more advanced security you can always go with Sucuri – I canceled my Cloudflare and maxcdn accounts because Sucuri takes care of both my security and cdn needs.
Updraft Plus WordPress Backup Plugin
Although a great host like Siteground provides automatic backups for me, I thought I would mention this great tool.
Updraft Plus is trusted by millions, fast, easy to use and lets you setup automatic backups. You should be backing up your site, this prepares you for whatever may happen, so you don’t end up having to start from scratch and losing all your data.
Let me know what you think of these great tools or what tools you use that you think should have made the list.