In case you have already started blogging, you should be aware of various Plugins, often used in a WordPress blog. A plugin is a software tool that enables you to customize the features or functionalities, already available in WordPress.org
I am sure you would have come across an “Adobe Flash Player” pop-up on your browser while trying to access a video or an infographic. There are more than 50,000 WordPress plugins available on wordpress.org, some of which are free and some are premium.
As per my experience with WordPress, I would recommend installing these top 10 free WordPress plugin for your blog;
XML Sitemaps- Free WordPress Plugin
An XML Sitemap allows Google Search Engine to crawl your web pages. The sitemaps are very important as it helps improve the search engine rankings. It becomes easy for the crawlers to access and understand the complete structure of your website. It also helps in notifying other major search engines, every time you publish a new post. This plugin is one of the most efficient and free WordPress plugin available.
Search engine optimization is the continuous process in the improvement of a website ranking on a search engine result page. S.E.O is an organic form of improving the website ranking for a particular “Search Query” by an internet user. Businesses call the search terms used by internet users as “Keywords.” For Example, if an internet user searches for “Best Digital Marketing Training Institute in India,” then this search query becomes a keyword for the business which they strive to optimize. Yoast S.E.O is one of the best and free WordPress plugin, available on WordPress.org.
Yoast S.E.O provides Google XML Sitemap Support, Google A.M.P(accelerated mobile pages) support, Google Analytics support, in addition to helping you organize your website content to optimize for better rankings on search engines.
This plugin allows you to include a meta description of your article which appears on the search results. It also allows you to include a focus keyword which you can rank for your article.
Yoast S.E.O also allows you to optimize your blog for readability along with the S.E.O.
W3 Total Cache
Caching is a software program that stores your website data so that future requests for that data can be retrieved faster. ‘W3 Total Cache’ is known to substantially improve the page load speed as well as the user experience.
This WordPress performance optimization framework is recommended by various web hosts and developers. Other features with this free plugin are that it helps sustain high traffic to the site, Helps improve the search engine rankings and allows the web pages to interact more quickly.
After installing this plugin, you do not need to change the settings. You only need to click on ‘empty all caches’ whenever you make some changes to your website.
WP Touch Mobile
This mobile plugin instantly enables a mobile-friendly version of your website and enhances the mobile user experience. It automatically adds a simple and elegant mobile theme for mobile visitors to access your site.
It also ensures that your website’s S.E.O rankings do not drop due to not having a mobile-friendly website.
Google Analytics is one of the most potent plugins available on WordPress. It allows you to gather data about various quantitative aspects of your website, like the number of visitors per day/week, the number of user sessions, time spent by the user on each page, the location of the user, and so many other features.
You must have a separate Google account to access Analytify and can access the visitor’s data on it, like the way I did it!!!
Makes it one of the top 10 Free WordPress Plugin!!
Apart from the above few features in Analytify, the one that I like is the display of real-time data.
As the name suggests, an anti-spam plugin automatically blocks ‘spam’ in the comments section of your blog. Also, blocked spam comments can also be converted into regular comments if required. Like most of the WordPress plugins, this one also works as soon as you install it and activate.
Backup and Restore WordPress
This backup tool generates a back up of your entire site, which we can quickly and easily download from WordPress dashboard. It is essential to have this plugin as it features advantages like;
No c-panel required.
MySql knowledge is not required.
PHP MyAdmin is not involved.
No Complex configuration is required.
Broken Link Checker
Once this WordPress Plugin is installed and activated, it will begin monitoring your blog posts, pages, comments, etc. and detects the links those are not working, missing images and redirects.
Depending on the size of your website, the plugin can take from a few minutes to an hour for the repair process.
Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons
Social media is the must plugin to have when it comes to content marketing, as almost everyone is on one or the other social media channels these days. This plugin lets you share icons for social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and so on.
On clicking each icon, your website user can directly lead to these social media pages, you created. This plugin also allows giving your social media icons an animation in the form of ‘mouse-over effects’ to make the visitors aware of these channels, thus increasing the chance that they follow or share your blog with others.
One of the most critical parameters to rank higher on the search results is the Website Page Load Speed. For that, you must reduce the size of all those images which are a part of your website or blog. WP Smush is a great plugin to compress your pictures in bulk. So, after you activate the plugin and upload an image to your website, this plugin automatically resizes the photos by squeezing those thereby reducing the page load speed.
WP Smush is also one of the free WordPress plugin available on WordPress.org that you can include for your website.
There are various other premium plugins like OptinMonster which you can choose to install on your WordPress blog. I would recommend you to go for ‘free WordPress plugins’ mentioned above if you have just started blogging. Should you come across other ‘must-have’ WordPress plugin, do mention by commenting on this blog. I hope this blog gave a good return on your invested time.