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If you are reading this, we are assuming you have your blog set up and are ready for the next step. If you have yet to set up your blog, please click HERE to find out how to set up your blog in five easy steps. Ready? Okay. Let’s talk about my Top 10 Free WordPress Plugins for 2018.
Yoast is the #1 SEO (search engine optimization) plugin for WordPress users. This plugin helps you to understand what content details to include/exclude to help your posts and pages potentially rank higher in online searches. There is no technological expertise needed here. Yoast is VERY easy to understand and follow. Using simple-to-follow red/orange/green color indicators and directions, you will know when your content is ready to publish!
“Yoast SEO is an all in one WordPress SEO plugin. This plugin handles the complete technical optimization of your site for search engines. It also helps you write content visitors like to read, by giving readability advice. There’s a reason Yoast SEO is the industry standard for optimizing WordPress sites!” – www.yoast.com
The security of your website is absolute top priority. The Wordfence plugin helps protect from malicious bots, spam, potential viruses, unauthorized login attempts, SEO spam, bad URLs, and much more. Wordfence is top rated and highly recommended!
“Our WordPress security plugin provides the best protection available for your website. Powered by the constantly updated Threat Defense Feed, WordFence Firewall stops you from getting hacked. Wordfence Scan leverages the same proprietary feed, alerting you quickly in the event your site is compromised. Our Live Traffic view gives you real-time visibility into traffic and hack attempts on your website. A deep set of additional tools round out the most comprehensive WordPress security solution available.” – www.wordfence.com
Images take up a ton of storage territory on our blogs, and if not dealt with correctly these images will slow down your page load time and potentially send readers away. The WP Smush plugin compresses and optimizes all images on your site, increasing page load time (speeding up page response time) without losing the quality of the images.
“Large image files may be slowing down your site without you even knowing it. WP Smush uses WPMU DEV’s super servers to quickly smush every single one of your images and cuts all the unnecessary data without slowing down your site.” – www.wordpress.org/plugins/wp-smushit/
Nobody likes spam (spam, not Spam – you know, the kind in the can). Askimet checks all of the comments made on your blog posts against WordPress’s global database to prevent any malicious content from being published on your site. You are able to monitor the comments prior to publishing them. Read more here.
“Akismet is a spam fighting service that protects millions of WordPress sites from comment and contact form spam. Akismet filters out hundreds of millions of spam comments from the Web every day. Add Akismet to your site so you don’t have to worry about spam again.” – www.akismet.com
So, you’ve started your blog and you’ve got some readers (or you will soon). One of the most IMPORTANT steps to take from day one (or two, or TODAY) is to build your email list. You want a way to keep in contact with your readers and keep them coming back to your blog! Secure those email addresses and begin building your email list right away. Mailerlite’s free program allows you to build your database up to 1000 subscribers before moving to an affordable paid program. The tool is user friendly with tons of features and customization. Get started today!
“Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses, Professional Bloggers and Authors. All plans include drag-and-drop email builder, automation & landing pages. As well as unlimited emails & 24/7 customer support. Sign up for free and start sending beautiful emails today!” – Mailerlite. Sign up using my link here.
Google Analytics DWP
As you grow your blog, you will want to keep track of your site’s analytics. This is the information that will tell you how your site and readership is behaving over time, where your site traffic is coming from, demographics of your visitors, etc. At some point in the future you might have a desire to work as an influencer with brands to promote their products and services. One of the key pieces of information you will need to provide is your site analytics. It’s also great to have this information at your fingertips, regardless of whether or not you ever intend to share it.
“This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics stats in your WordPress install. In addition to a set of general Google Analytics stats, in-depth Page reports and in-depth Post reports allow further segmentation of your analytics data, providing performance details for each post or page from your website.” – www.wordpress.org
As with many of these recommended plugins, the purpose is to have your site running as efficiently as possible for the enjoyment of your readers and SEO ranking. WP Optimize helps to do exactly what the name indicates. It optimizes your site by removing unnecessary data automatically. Again, this helps those of us who are not “techy” by taking care of site optimization for us so that our sites run at maximum efficiency.
“WP-Optimize automatically cleans up and optimizes your WordPress database.
It’s a simple, highly effective tool that removes all kinds of old revisions, spam and trash with just a couple of clicks.” – www.getwpo.com
Shareaholic is the ultimate social sharing option for you site or blog. Their share button have customizing options, and they are fun and stand out on your page, making it easy for readers to share your content via various social media channels. This plugin provides much more than social share buttons, and combines the functionality of several other plugins in one. Read more about it here.
“Shareaholic makes it easier for you to reach, grow & monetize your audience. Arm yourself with a high speed suite of best-in-class content marketing tools. Start in 30 seconds, no coding required.” – www.sharealolic.com
Easy Google Fonts
“A simple and easy way to add custom google fonts to any WordPress theme without coding. This plugin integrates with the WordPress Customizer so you can preview google fonts on your site in realtime. It’s compatible with any theme.
It also allows you to create custom theme specific font controls in the admin settings area to control particular css selectors. Once created, these custom font controls are instantly available in the customizer with no coding required!” – www.wordpress.org
Insert Headers and Footers
I will admit that I know almost nothing about coding. Like, nothing…other than the fact that it’s more than I want to learn. So, using plugins like Insert Headers and Footers has been a lifesaver for me. This plugin allows me to easily embed code into my site pages using their dashboard. This allows me to display banners, headers, and footers without having to mess with the code in my theme files. Gotta have it.
“Insert Headers and Footers is a simple plugin that lets you insert code like Google Analytics, custom CSS, Facebook Pixel, and more to your WordPress site header and footer. No need to edit your theme files!” – www.wordpress.org
Top 10 Free WordPress Plugins for 2018
So, there you have it. My Top 10 FREE WordPress plugins for 2018. Some of the plugins have premium options available, however, the free versions are all you need to get started with a great blog. I have yet to upgrade any of these plugins to a paid option, as it’s simply not necessary (but if you REALLY wanted to, you always have that option).
All of these plugins can be found in your WordPress dashboard (sidebar) under Plugins. Simply click “Add New”, type in the plugin name in the search box, click Install, and then Activate. You can set up accounts, explore details, view demos and FAQ, customize features, etc. once the plugins have been installed and activated.
Plugins options and availability change often, so it’s a great idea to check for new options at least once a year. We will look at the best plugins for 2019 towards the end of this year. Check back often!
If you missed our post on How to Start a Blog in Five Easy Steps, check that out first. Once you have your site up and running and your plugins installed, check out 10 Ways to Promote Your Blog to keep the journey moving.
Blogger Helping Bloggers,