After you set up your blog and create your first few posts, you will likely want some features that aren’t built into WordPress. You will quickly realize that there are many free WordPress plugins which can help.
Maybe you want to add contact forms, launch an online store or easily place ads on your site. Plugins allow you to improve your site’s functionality and add new features even if you don’t know how to code.
If your blog is due for an upgrade this year, you may want to add a couple plugins to give your readers a new experience. Here are 35 of the best free WordPress plugins you should be considering.
A large portion of your blog’s traffic will come from search engines. Yoast is the leading plugin for search engine optimization and it is one of the most popular free WordPress plugins.
Yoast will assess your blog post and offer recommendations for improving readability and keyword optimization.
It will point out the key things you need to do to improve SEO like including internal links and adding alt text for images.
Jetpack offers a collection of useful features which can help to improve both the look and function of your blog.
It includes themes, image hosting, spam filtering, backup, blog analytics, automated social media posting, and other optional features.
You just need to choose the specific elements which you want for your site.
Jetpack is easy to use and it’s one of the first plugins many bloggers install.
Tables are pretty simple to create but there’s no easy way to design them in WordPress if you don’t know some HTML. Enter TablePress.
This plugin lets you create beautiful tables and embed them in your posts and pages.
You can import and export tables in a range of formats including HTML, JSON, CSV, and Excel.
If you will have lots of information to present in the form of a table, this is one of the free WordPress plugins you should install.
Depending on the theme you’re using, you may not have access to the stylish, impactful fonts you want.
If you want to improve your site’s aesthetics and keep things interesting for your visitors, you should install this plugin.
Easy Google Fonts gives you more than 600 fonts to choose from and you can easily preview how they would look on your site before you make them public.
You will want to get questions and comments from your readers but providing your email address can open you up to spam.
Contact forms help you to avoid this while still allowing you to get legitimate messages.
Contact forms also allow you ask readers for specific information and to filter the messages which you get. Contact Form 7 makes it easy for you to build a relationship with your followers.
It is a fully customizable platform designed specifically for WordPress and it powers more than 28 percent of all online stores.
WooCommerce can be used for stores of all sizes so even if you start small, you can continue to use it as your blog and business grow.
WooCommerce is one of the most robust free WordPress plugins for eCommerce.
Polls are an easy way to increase reader engagement. Asking your readers for feedback can help you to get to know them better so you can create more content they like.
You can also use the feedback as a component of a future blog post or as social media content.
One of the easiest ways to launch a poll on your site is with WP-Polls. You can place the survey within a blog post or in your sidebar.
You’ll want your blog to be as fast as possible since many users leave websites that take too long to load.
Search engines will also penalize you for slow loading speeds.
W3 Total Cache helps to serve compressed files to your site and alleviate the burden on your server.
When your site is performing at optimum, readers will be more likely to stay there for longer periods.
If you want to create responsive photo and video galleries, this plugin makes it easy. You can simply drag and drop content to get the look you want.
Envira Gallery is designed to deliver an optimal server and web performance so it won’t make your site slow.
The plugin also helps to improve your on-site SEO.
Google XML Sitemaps is another one of those free WordPress Plugins which can help with the technical side of your blog.
It helps search engines to index your site and improves your SEO by creating XML sitemaps.
Sitemaps make it easier for web crawlers to see and retrieve the full structure of the blog.
Whenever you post new content, the search engines get notified.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways of monetizing a blog.
ThirstyAffiliates is one plugin which helps you with this. It allows you to shorten affiliate links and include your domain name in them.
This makes your links more pleasing to the eye and protects your commissions.
Maybe you host your own events, or you feature other people’s events on your blog.
You can easily create and display events for your readers in WordPress by using The Events Calendar plugin.
It’s simple to organize events and add the date, time and venue in an effort to increase attendance.
Get those spam comments under control with Akismet.
This is an official WordPress plugin and it automatically separates comments which seem like spam from legitimate feedback from your audience.
You have the option of reviewing spam comments and manually deleting them or just letting the plugin clear them after a period of time.
Spam comments tend to come fast and furious so you don’t want to spend valuable time deleting them when you can get a plugin to filter them for you.
It goes without saying that you want more traffic. OneSignal allows you to use push technology to get people to subscribe for updates to your blog.
Firefox, Chrome and Safari subscribers automatically get a push notification whenever you publish a new blog post.
You can also send manual push notifications to drive traffic to any link.
Sending browser notifications may be just the thing you need to boost your blog’s traffic this year.
Broken links frustrate readers and harm your site’s SEO. Broken Link Checker constantly monitors your website for broken links and sends you a notification if it finds any.
This plugin checks several areas of your site including your pages, posts, and comments. Broken Link Checker also looks for links on images which don’t work.
The plugin lets you prevent search engines from following the broken links on your site. You can manage notifications from the WordPress dashboard or with email.
Images can really help to improve the look of your site.
If you have an Instagram account or you want to display photos from another public Instagram account on your website, this is one of the best free WordPress plugins you can use.
If you want to drive traffic to your Instagram and display other photos your readers will enjoy, you can do so.
You can display photos from multiple accounts in a single feed or in multiple streams.
Instagram Feed lets you choose whether you want the feeds to appear on one page or multiple pages. Further customization options are available.
When used properly, pop-ups can help you to get readers to take action.You may want them to subscribe to your newsletter or course or sign up for a giveaway.
OptinMonster allows you to control when these notifications appear.
Readers often get frustrated when something pops up before they can find the content they are looking for and they tend to just close it.
OptinMonster gives you the option of delaying the pop-up until readers have spent a little time on the site. You can even set it to appear when it seems the user is about to leave your blog.
Social proof can help you to boost sales if you have an eCommerce site.
Proven helps to increase conversions by showing a pop-up to visitors when someone buys a product.
This helps to show that your site is legitimate, and people are purchasing your products. It help new users to trust you a little more.
Proven is easy to set up and it is one of the free WordPress plugins for eCommerce.
This plugin is used to backup content on more than two million websites. Using UpdraftPlus, you can create a complete backup of your blog or choose to protect only select files.
You can choose whether you want to download the backup to your computer or store it in the cloud.
You also have the option of backing up on a set schedule or performing on-demand backups.
UpdraftPlus can upload your backups to Google Drive, Dropbox, S3, FTP, email or other cloud storage services.
A picture is worth is thousand words and images are necessary on your pages and posts. They inform and entertain readers and make your site more appealing.
However, images also take up a lot of space and they can slow down your site if you don’t compress them.
The WP Smush plugin compresses and optimizes your images, so they take up less space, but the quality isn’t compromised.
It automatically compresses all the new images as you upload them, and you can manually compress the ones already in your media library.
There may be data on your blog weighing down your site even if you’re not aware of it.
Spam, posts you deleted, and pingbacks all need to be cleared periodically.
WP-Optimize automatically clears your databases of unnecessary data so your site can perform at peak levels.
Download the plugin and junk files will be cleaned up without you needing to do anything.
Google Analytics provides valuable statistics about your website traffic. It helps you to understand your audience and better target your content to meet their needs.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights is an excellent plugin for this.
It enables you to quickly monitor real-time stats and track views from multiple devices and platforms.
You also get information on various demographics that you may want to study.
You may have seen rich snippets below some of the results on Google’s search engine pages.
You can also get things like star ratings, reviews and images to show up with your posts or pages.
These extra bits of information tell readers your site is what they’re looking for and it helps to boost click-through rates.
All in One Schema Rich Snippets gives search engines the information they need to display your blog in this way.
It doesn’t guarantee that your content will be used like this, but it does improve your chances significantly.
Your blog can take really long to load if you have a lot of images. Lazy loading is one solution you can employ to reduce your bounce rate.
BJ Lazy Load replaces all your images with a placeholder and only loads the content when your reader scrolls the page.
Your site loads faster and uses less bandwidth.
BJ Lazy Load work with embedded videos and text widgets as well.
A key element of blogging is producing content on a consistent basis. Editorial Calendar helps you to plan and organize your posts well ahead of time.
You can see when all your posts are scheduled and rearrange them accordingly. If you have a multi-author site, you can manage all your contributors’ posts.
The plugin lets you edit post titles, content and publish times easily so you can fill gaps and ensure posts are being published regularly.
If you’ve had your blog for a while or you are migrating pages from another website, you may have changed the permalinks for some of your content.
Users who click on the old link will land on a page which doesn’t exist and they’ll get an error message.
Redirection helps you manage 301 redirections and track 404 errors so your site doesn’t drive readers away.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing solutions you will find today.
This plugin lets you integrate it easily into your blog.
You can add attention-grabbing subscription forms and integrate the plugin with other tools like Contact Form 7 and WooCommerce.
MailChimp for WordPress makes it easy to manage subscribers, send emails and track results.
Social media is key to growing your blog.
Not only should you be using it as part of your marketing efforts, but you should make it simple for readers to find you on the various platforms.
The Social Icons plugin allows you to add social media icons to posts and pages using widgets or shortcodes.
It supports more than 100 social media platforms, so it is likely that the ones you use are supported.
Whether you want to disable comments on your entire site or only on certain types of posts or pages, you can use this plugin.
It’s a simple tool to use and it helps you avoid spam comments.
Disable Comments gives you the option of removing all comment-related features from the admin bar, admin menu, dashboard, and widgets.
If you’re uncomfortable tinkering with your blog’s functions.php file but you want to add pieces of code, you can use Code Snippets.
This plugin lets you add snippets along with titles and descriptions without running the risk of breaking your site.
Once you save a code snippet, it automatically becomes active.
Even if you change themes, you won’t lose your code.
The WPForms Lite plugin makes it easy to build contact forms. If you’re an absolute beginner, it is ideal for you.
It has pre-built templates and a drag and drop feature to customize your form.
This free WordPress plugin is mobile-friendly, fast, and optimized for SEO.
Hackers, server crashes, and other problems can cause you to lose all your site’s content.
If you want a free backup, try UpdraftPlus, one of the most popular free WordPress plugins.
You can schedule automatic backups of your files and databases and store them in the cloud.
You can also restore your blog quickly thanks to the one-click restore button.
Sometimes you will need to add code to your header or footer to facilitate things like Google Analytics or the Facebook Pixel.
If you don’t know how to make changes to your theme’s files safely, you need a plugin like Insert Headers and Footers so you don’t stop your site from functioning properly.
You simply insert the script you’re given into a simple interface and Insert Headers and Footers handles the rest.
You should make it as easy as possible for readers to share your content. One way to do this is to create tweetable snippets with Better Click to Tweet.
Users will see the quote you selected and have the ability to click it and quickly tweet it to their followers.
It’s also quick and easy for you to use the visual editor or a simple shortcode to create the tweetable segments of your post.
This is one of those free WordPress plugins which make it easy to get your content in front of a larger audience.
Securing your site’s data goes beyond creating a strong username and password, although this is important.
Login Lockdown helps to improve your blog’s security by limiting the number of attempts a user can make to log into your site.
After three incorrect entries within a five-minute period, this plugin automatically locks out the person for an hour.
This is one of those free WordPress plugins which can help to maintain the integrity of your site.
Which plugins have you found to be most useful on your blog?
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