WordPress plugins are somewhat of a tricky thing.
- Too many of them can bog down your load times.
- Creators sometimes abandon them, leaving you vulnerable to all kinds of problems.
- Some of them are just not created well or don’t function like they should.
Whenever I look for a new plugin, I first look at when it was updated last. Then I also look at how many times it’s been downloaded verses how many stars it has, to see what people think of it.
Finally, I check to make sure that it has been tested with my theme.
There are 8 amazing free WordPress plugins that I have that I’d recommend for everyone!
1. Akismet – First and foremost I recommend Akismet. There are few things in the blogosphere more annoying than spam comments. What’s worse, spam can really make you potentially vulnerable to being hacked.
In all the time I’ve used Akismet on the three sites I run, I can count on one hand the number of spam comments it failed to filter out.
2. Broken Link Checker – Having broken links on your blog can quickly put you on Google’s SEO blacklist. Not only that, it tells your readers that you’re not a very serious blogger.
Say you wrote a blog post last year about Fall Fashion for Girls and you linked to a fellow blogger’s post that she took down 3 months later. That link is now broken. But how would you know it if you didn’t go back to that post and check the link.
For those of us who have literally hundreds of posts, it is impossible to keep track of all of the places we’ve linked to, that is why I have Broken Link Checker. It regularly checks both internal and external links and warns me when one is broken.
3. Jetpack – I know there is a lot of debate about Jetpack because it can potentially bog down your blog. Jetpack is a package of a whole ton of potential services that you can turn off or on. That is why I don’t mind promoting it. You use what you wan and turn off what you don’t want.
What I like about Jetpack is that when you publish a post, you can immediately have it publish to your Facebook, Twitter and Google + automatically. Additionally, it provides you comment forms, extra sidebar widgets, optimizes your mobile theme, offers related posts in your footer, gives you site stats (Google Analytics is still the industry standard, but I like having Jetpack stats, too), gives you short links and more. All things you would need additional plugins for.
4. Jonradio Display Kitchen Sink – This is a fancy way of saying that with this plugin you can edit your text with bold, italics, headings, underlining, and more without having to use code. Just like you’d edit your text in a Word document, you can do the same in dashboard with this plugin. I love it!
5. Yoast SEO – If you want Google to catalogue your posts (and believe me, you do), you need to optimize your content for SEO. What does that mean? Well it means that when I go to search for “Scrapbooking Supplies” your post titled “10 Best Scrapbooking Supplies You Need Today!” will show up in the first page of Google….if it’s optimized that is.
Yoast helps you craft a post with keywords and at the bottom of your post gives you a place to edit the preview of what people see in search engines and helps you choose keywords that will help it get categorized for those people searching for what you’re writing about.
6. SumoMe – You know those welcome mats, popups, and that bar at the top of some blogs that offer readers signups and products? That’s what SumoMe does….and more!
It also gives you those fancy social media share icons I have in my sidebar. I’d be lost without SumoMe.
7. WooCommerce – Do you have products, or even freebies, that you’d like to offer your readers in your own store without having to go through a 3rd party like Amazon or eJunkie? You can, for free, with WooCommerce. Your customers can pay you through Paypal and your products stay right on your own site! It’s easy to set up and adding a new product is just like writing a blog post.
8. Quick Adsense – Google Adsense is a good source of income for me. But one thing that was holding me back was ad placement. I couldn’t figure out how people got their ads in the middle or bottom of their posts (not their footer). Then I stumbled on Quick Adsense. With Quick Adsense you can stratigically place your ads exactly where you want them right within the plugin. No messing with your widgets, header, or footer! It takes all of the guess work out of it. It is so easy!
For some reason I can’t find a link to the Quick Adsense plugin, but if you do a plugin search, you’ll find it.
These are my top 8 go-to plugins. Do you have a favorite? Write a comment below and tell me what it is and why!