There are so many WordPress plugins out there that it may be overwhelming to figure out which ones you need. Which plugins should new bloggers use? Which plugins are useful for your blog? Here are 5 essential plugins that I recommend for every blogger, whether you are just getting started or you are trying to grow your blog.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is the best SEO plugin for WordPress. It is packed with options and features that, if used correctly, can really help you optimize your website for search engines. Although it comes with many features right out of the box, it’s definitely not something you just install and forget about. The plugin is just a tool; you’ll still need to know basic SEO techniques to get the most out of the plugin.
Google Analytics by Yoast is another great plugin, but this one is for tracking stats with Google Analytics. Google Analytics is one of the most popular stats applications out there, and it’s important to use it with your blog so that you can see referrals, trends, visitor behavior and more information. This plugin even includes a dashboard module so you can review your stats right there in your WordPress dashboard.
Jetpack by WordPress.com brings some of the power and features from WordPress.com to your self-hosted WordPress blog. There are a ton of features that you can activate or deactivate as you see fit, including a built-in contact form, sidebar visibility, related posts, sharing, extra sidebar widgets and more. I love that this plugin eliminates the need for so many other plugins, and the less plugins you use, the better. I recommend deactivating any features of Jetpack that you won’t be using, though, just to keep things from getting too cluttered.
Editorial Calendar is a great tool to schedule and plan your blog posts. It features a calendar view, so that you can get an overall look at what you’ve posted and when. Planning and scheduling your blog posts can really help you improve your content and stay consistent.
WordPress Popular Posts is a plugin that tracks views on your posts and pages. It also includes a widget and shortcode that you can use to display the most popular posts and pages on your site. I recommend this because it’s a great way to recommend your best content to your readers. Also, you might actually be surprised about what’s getting the most views on your blog.
Akismet is already installed when you install WordPress, but I highly recommend that you activate it and set it up. It doesn’t always catch each SPAM comment, but it’s usually pretty accurate. If you need more SPAM protection, you can always install an additional or replacement plugin.