8 Essential and FREE plugins for your WordPress Blog
In this article, I will talk about the 8 must-have plugins for your WordPress blog. This is in continuation with my article in the series of illustrating how to develop your own money making website. My earlier two articles talked about:
- WordPress hosting & installation,
- Basic WordPress settings and
- Theme installation
WordPress is an open source Content Management System (CMS) project wherein a number of developers have contributed by developing plugins for WordPress. Now, first of all, what is a plugin?
WordPress plugins are the software codes which when installed extends the functionality of WordPress. You can find a plethora of amazing WordPress plugins both free and paid. Availability of such large number of useful plugins is one of the prominent reason for worldwide WordPress popularity.
We have seen in the previous article of theme installation that most themes come with their own pre-defined plugins which are recommended to be installed with the theme.
Still, there are certain tasks which your theme does not perform by default and you need to have a plugin for that.
I am giving you the list of must have 8 WordPress plugins. Read their description and details to further make your mind on installing them.
- Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode – This is a superb and easy to use the plugin. You should display the Coming Soon page when you are doing some major changes or customization on your site. It doesn’t look professional if your visitor lands on your site and see the broken page. This plugin can be very well integrated with Mailchimp and is useful in collecting email ids of visitors who wants to get updated when the site resumes.
2. WordPress SEO by Yoast: This is the best SEO plugin available, having more than 1 million downloads. This is the must have WordPress plugin for every blogger. You can’t afford to ignore the power of SEO in today’s digital age. Marketers are betting their life to get their site on the first page of Google search result.
- UpdraftPlus Backups: Technical issues can bug your website anytime. Hackers will try their best to sneak into your admin panel. Hence, you are required to take the backup of your site at regular intervals. Updraftplus is a great plugin for migrating and backing up WordPress sites. You can save your backup in various cloud data storages like Dropbox, Google Drive etc. You can also set up automatic backups after certain time interval.
- W3 Total Cache: Your site speed is very crucial for SEO ranking as well as user experience. W3 Total Cache is the best available WordPress plugin to enhance the speed and performance of your WordPress blog. It allows you to easily setup page and browser caching, compress pages for quicker downloads, and sets up a content delivery network for your static files. Although settings of this plugin look very daunting but even the default setting works like magic. I have website’s upload time decreasing from the 20s to 4s by just installing this amazing plugin.
- Contact Form 7: You must be hosting a contact form on your website through which your users can reach or contact you. Forms can also take other forms like feedback form, submit information form etc. Contact Form 7 will help you in making these forms in a matter of few minutes. You have to just drag and drop few fields to build any kind of form.
- Wordfence: You will be shocked to see the number of hacking attempts which takes place on a new website. Your site will be attacked by hackers around the world and the thought of getting hacked might give you nightmares. Wordfence is a powerful plugin which keeps the hackers at bay. It blocks their URL after the specified number of attempts. The premium version of the plugin also gives you the option to block certain countries from accessing your site. Also, as a matter of security, always choose a strong admin password for your dashboard.
- Akismet: Akismet plugin comes by default with your WordPress installation although you have to specifically activate it. Akismet is a comment spam filtering plugin. Akismet catches the spam comments automatically and saves your precious time in moderating the spam comments.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: This plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics reports in your WordPress install. You can also install google analytics app to track you site analytics in real time from any place.