GUEST POST: In today’s post, Sarah will be sharing the top 10 best free WordPress plugins for bloggers! So, if you’ve ever wondered what plugins you should be using as a blogger, this post is for you!
Plugins are essential add-ons to your website that allow you to customise your blog in different ways. Plugins enable you to: take advantage of different fonts, optimise your site’s speed, display your Instagram feed on your blog and so much more. These little quirks improve the visitor experience, aesthetics and functionality of any website. But there are thousands of WordPress plugins out there and it can be hard to know which ones to install. Some of them are expensive, some of them aren’t very helpful and some of them are fantastic.
After trying out a raft of plugins, in this blog post, I’ve rounded up the 10 best free WordPress plugins for bloggers, which will help take your site to the next level. From improved loading times to SEO pointers, these plugins are must-haves for your blog.
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10 BEST FREE WORDPRESS PLUGINS TO USE
1. AKISMET ANTI-SPAM
As the name suggests, Akismet Anti-Spam is an anti-spam plugin. This handy plugin checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam. It also allows you to moderate and approve non-spam comments, before they are published on your site.
Although this plugin isn’t necessarily fancy, it’s an important one to use as it will save you a lot of hassle.
2. YOAST SEO
You’ll likely have heard of Yoast SEO. This handy SEO plugin helps you optimise your content so that it’s more searchable on major search engines, resulting in more traffic and content that’s easier to read.
The free version allows you to enter the key phrase for the page, warns you of consecutive sentences, gives you an indication of how easy it is to read your content, reminds you of internal and external links, and much more.
This SEO plugin is a must-have and provides some really helpful tips, while making your content more likely to rank in Google. The paid version offers even more options and insights, but I think the free one works really well.
3. A3 LAZY LOAD
a3 Lazy Load is a less well-known free WordPress plugin that can really help improve your site’s loading speed. Designed primarily with mobile users in mind, this plugin loads content on your site as the user scrolls down, rather than loading everything up all in one go. This results in improved site speeds and, as a result, a better user experience.
This plugin will be particularly helpful for people with image-heavy sites. Having lots of images on your blog may look attractive but can really slow your site down. However, this helpful plugin will help to remove this issue. Although, you should definitely consider whether your blog has too many images because no amount of plugins will work miracles if your site is littered with images.
4. WORD FENCE
Although not the most glamorous of plugins, Wordfence is an essential endpoint firewall and malware scanner. This important plugin helps protect your site from malicious attackers by limiting login attempts, enforcing strong passwords and other login security measures. Wordfence also scans for malware, bad URLs, backdoors, SEO spam, malicious redirects and code injections.
5. SMASH BALLOON INSTAGRAM FEED
Smash Balloon Instagram Feed enables you to add your Instagram feed onto your website in a simple and effective way. This helps to increase Instagram engagement and visibility, while keeping your blog looking fresh.
As you can see on my blog, I’ve incorporated this plugin to display my Instagram feed at the bottom of my homepage. This further helps establish my blogging brand and shows visitors what type of content I publish across my social channels. I also think it makes my blog look more interactive and engaging, so it’s well worth installing Smash Balloon Instagram Feed on your blog.
6. WORDPRESS POPULAR POSTS
As the name suggests, WordPress Popular Posts allows you to display your most popular posts as a widget on your blog. You can display this widget wherever you want, such as on a specific page, post or on your homepage. Typically, people display their most popular blog posts on their homepage to give visitors an indication of which posts others are loving.
You can display popular posts in different locations on your blog too and the free plugin is pretty customizable. For instance, you can list the posts on your blog that have been the most popular ones within a specific time range (e.g. last 24 hours, last 7 days, last 30 days, etc.)
People love to be nosey, so giving them a taste of your most popular posts is only going to draw more readers to your site and keep them on for longer.
7. GOOGLE FONTS TYPOGRAPHY
This handy free font plugin allows you to add different Google fonts to your site, which means you can deviate away from your theme’s default font.
With Google Fonts Typography, you don’t have to just stick to one font from Google’s massive library for your blog either as you can easily choose one font for headings and another for your content.
For my blog, I’ve set all of my H2 fonts to ‘Dancing Script’, which is a feminine swirly font that ties in nicely with my website’s logo and branding. You can see how this has been implemented in my KKW Beauty Crème Contour Stick review, for example. This is a great way to play around with how content looks on the page and keeps your blog fresh and dynamic.
A simple font change might be all you need to take your blog to the next level!
I use the Autoptimize plugin to cache pages on my blog. This essentially improves my site’s speed, which gives visitors a reason to stay and increases SEO scores. These elements are important for helping your blog rank on Google and turning first-time visitors into loyal subscribers.
WinningWP describes caching as:
In essence, the Autoptomize plugin helps improve your site’s loading times. Going onto a slow sight is off-putting, so it’s worth downloading this helpful free plugin.
9. PI BUTTON
PI Button allows you to add a ‘pin it’ button on any images on your site, meaning visitors can pin your content onto their own Pinterest account. This increases your blog’s visibility and website traffic.
It’s super easy to set up and you can choose from several button sizes and shapes with the free version. The paid version offers more customisability, but the free plugin will still encourage readers to pin your content to return to at a later date.
I’ve often pinned content from Gabby’s site so that I can read it in the future, so these sharing options will definitely increase traffic in the long-term.
10. WP FASTEST CACHE
Similar to Autoptimize, WP Fastest Cache is another free caching plugin to help improve your blog’s loading speeds. Compared to Autoptimize, this plugin is more user-friendly, but doesn’t offer quite as many advanced options.
It depends what you’re looking for and how good you are with technology and computer terminology. I use both plugins for different reasons, but you should check them both out to see what works for you. After all, improved blog performance is never going to be a bad thing.
And there you have 10 free fantastic WordPress plugins for your blog. Mixing aesthetics, functionality, SEO, engagement and performance, these plugins are sure to take your blog to the next level. The best part? You can do all of this for free.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. I’d also like to thank Gabby for this great guest post opportunity.
Gabby’s blog is awesome, so I’m thrilled to have written a post for her.
About The Author: A Woman’s Confidence
Sarah, the owner of A Woman’s Confidence, is a 25-year-old editor and content writer based in Leicestershire, England, with a passion for all things beauty. A Woman’s Confidence is a makeup, skincare and lifestyle blog providing you with no-nonsense reviews about the best and worst products out there as well as handy comparisons, makeup looks, skincare guides, monthly beauty faves, beauty hauls, plus handy tips and advice for life.
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Thank you so much Sarah for writing up this amazing piece! I found this post so helpful and I’m sure many other bloggers will too.