Plugins are a great way to add extra functionality to your self-hosted WordPress blog, without having to fiddle with coding.
Ooo! A new plugin!
And even better news – many of them are free!
Too Much of a Good Thing?
However, it’s a good idea to limit the number of plugins you use – aim for 10 or less if you can (I must confess – I’m not very good at following my own advice!). Be very selective about the ones you install – and if you don’t use a plugin all the time, delete it. You can always install it again if you find you need it down the track.
Some bloggers mistakenly add every new plugin that takes their fancy (and there are squillions to choose from!). Unfortunately, they are not meant to work this way as plugins can be very resource hungry, slowing down your website.
8 of My Favourite Free WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
- All in One SEO Pack: Want to get your posts found in Google searches? A Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plugin can help. The Yoast plugin has a pretty big fan club, but I’ve used both Yoast and All in One SEO, and personally I prefer All in One.
- WordPress Database Backup: We all know how important it is to backup! What if your blog was hacked or there was some massive catastrophic failure overnight and all your precious posts disappeared forever? This plugin provides reliable automatic database backups – just make sure you download them to your PC or have them emailed to you, because if you store them on the server, chances are the backups will disappear too should the unthinkable happen.
- WordPress Editorial Calendar: I couldn’t live without this one on my blog. I love being able to see the month ahead, and being able to drag and drop posts and drafts to the date I want.
- Simple Follow Me Social Buttons Widget: There are heaps of plugins out there so you can include icons with links to your various social media channels. I like the simplicity of this one.
- Add To Any Share Buttons: Have you seen blog posts which end with a prompt to share on your social media? This is a plugin that allows you to do that.
- Fast Secure Contact Form: Having your email address on your website can be an open invitation for spam emails, so a contact form is a great way around this problem. This one is simple and easy to use, and you can set up more than one form if you want.
- Comment Reply Notification: When readers comment on your blog, this plugin sends an email to alert them if (and hopefully when!) you reply to their comment. It helps you build a relationship with your reader. Not essential, but as a frequent blog reader myself, I always like to know when people actually reply to my comments!
- Get Recent Comments: Again, not essential, but I like being able to see if a new comment has been left anywhere on my blog – without having to login first. I wonder if visitors to the blog enjoy reading them too? It could induce them to click through and read other posts – and that’s never a bad thing!
What About Jetpack?
Those in the know might be thinking, “What about Jetpack?!”
Jetpack as the name implies, is a jet-powered plugin that offers multiple functionalities – including some of the ones above.
However, it is resource hungry, and some web hosts (including mine) feel that it is a security risk …
If you are a blogger – what are your favourite free WordPress plugins?