Starting a new blog can be a very overwhelming and exhausting process, I know the feeling. But once you’ve bought your domain and selected a great host, (I highly recommend using Siteground) you’re ready to set up your blog! Now before you can begin diving into the design aspects, you’ll have to install these 12 must-have WordPress plugins for your new blog. I’ll also show you how to do it with a quick video!
To really kick off and celebrate starting a new blog, I have a free 120+ Resource Guide just for you! Simply subscribe to my site and I’ll send it right over. Did I mention you get four other free printable resources just for subscribing? One more thing – head over to my Facebook and Instagram and hit that like button!
Must-Have WordPress Plugins
All of these plugins are free to install and to use the basic version – most have the option to upgrade to a paid version. You can find all of the plugins listed in this post at WordPress.org/plugins.
Before we jump into plugins, here’s a quick video tutorial on the two ways you can install a WordPress Plugin.
Yoast SEO is the absolute best plugin possible for incorporating SEO into your blog and actual blog posts. SEO stands for ‘search engine optimization’ and it’s how Google (and the world) can find your blog. This plugin has over five million active downloads and is very feature-rich.
The Yoast SEO plugin helps you optimize blog posts for killer content Google will love, make large-scale edits to your site, manage site breadcrumbs, and even show you how your snippet description will look in Google.
The premium version has triple the amount of features than the free one but if you can’t afford the premium version right now – that’s okay! The free version has plenty to get you started blogging.
All-in-One SEO Pack
Another outstanding SEO plugin for bloggers of all levels including beginners like you and I. It has been downloaded over two million times. A few (of the many) features include:
- XML Sitemap support – submit your sitemap to Google and Bing and improve your SEO
- Image XML Sitemap submitted to Google and Bing to improve your Image SEO
- Google AMP support (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Google Analytics support
- Redirect attachment pages to parent post
- Automatically notifies search engines like Google and Bing about changes to your site
One big feature you’ll find pretty handy-dandy if you have an e-commerce store on your blog is that this plugin is the ONLY free plugin to provide SEO Integration for e-Commerce sites, including WooCommerce. YES!
No matter how big or small your blog is, spammers will come after you, unfortunately. This must-have WordPress plugin automatically scans every single comment left on your blog and tells you whether it’s legit or crap. This will save you a bunch of time and also protect your site from harmful links left in comments. Pretty neat if you ask me.
Another excellent option for spam control is Anti-Spam by CleanTalk. Basically offers you the same protection, it’s just up to you.
A real must-have WordPress plugin – WP Rocket is used for both SEO and improving your site’s performance. We all want fast loading blogs right? To check out my post on this incredible plugin, click here.
Basically, when your site loads fast visitors are more likely to hang around and explore but if your blog is lagging, they’re gonna jump off real quick. Not good.
Jetpack is your blog’s best friend. and it comes preinstalled on your WordPress site. Easy-peasy there. Now let’s check out what exactly Jetpack does.
Jetpack is your blog’s personal 24/7 security guard. It protects your site from malicious attacks and unauthorized logins. This plugin is very important for your blog! Jetpack also tracks your site’s traffic although the free version doesn’t offer much detail. Google Analytics is better for that.
The premium version offers full site back up, malware scanning, site accelerator tools, image optimization, advertising programs and support, hundreds of professional themes, and a list too long for me to write out. Paid or free – it’s essential bread and butter for your site.
So when you start a blog, there are required legal pages that must be on your blog like affiliate disclosures and privacy policies, etc. You usually find these at the very bottom of a website. The WP AutoTerms plugin is the easiest way to be GDPR compliant, display a cookies consent banner, and to complete the required pages needed by law.
It is super easy to use. Click on the policy you want to create, fill in the blanks, and poof! Your legal pages are created for you – no head-scratching or hours of Googling.
Broken Link Checker
This plugin does pretty much what the title says, it scans your blog for broken links. This is important because if your site has broken links then people could be getting an ‘error page’ when trying to click on a blog post link from an outside source like Pinterest. Oh no!
The Broken Link Checker plugin scans your entire site from head to toe – every blog post, pinnable image, and page. Then it will notify you in your WordPress dashboard if anything was found. You can also set how often you want your site to be scanned.
Easy Google Fonts
Finally something fun! Pretty fonts galore. There are over 600+ fonts to choose from, you can view the fonts in real-time using the live customizer, and it works with ANY WordPress theme!
This is such a great way to add style and personality to your website but remember to keep blog posts fonts very simple and easy to read. If this whole post was in a fancy script, you would have stopped reading a long time ago haha.
Insert Headers and Footers
It doesn’t quite sound like a plugin but it definitely is. This plugin is very easy to use and much easier than trying to figure out where to manually put code into your site’s theme. You use this plugin to add code for Google Analytics, Pinterest, custom CSS, and much more!
You have to insert codes to verify your domain with sites like Pinterest and to apply for rich pins. It also allows Google Analytics to track everything you can think of in terms of traffic and where it’s coming from.
Social Media Share Plugins
When someone visits a blog post, social media share buttons should be priority numero uno. Make it as quick as possible for people to share your content with the rest of the world! Personally, If I can’t find share buttons on your site quickly, I’m going to hop off real fast. These are the top rated social sharing plugins on WordPress:
- Social Pug
- Social Media Share Buttons & Social Sharing Icons
- Sassy Social Share
All of these plugins offer incredible features. Scan through them all and see which plugin appeals to you the most.
Custom Feeds for Instagram
If your Instagram is on fire and based on fashion, photography, or beauty, then why not add your insta feed to your blog? Awesome plugin to showcase your beautiful Instagram and attract more followers. This plugin has many different display options and can really liven up your blog.
Elementor Page Builder
This plugin gives you 100% complete control over creating pages for your website. It has an amazing drag and drop design builder that makes creating a page super easy and you’re unlimited on design.
The best part – you can design and create your page with a LIVE customizer. You can see exactly what the page looks like on your website in real-time. You can add background overlays, hover effects, headline effects, animations, shape dividers – everything you can think of.
Remember that plugins are easy to install, they help your site run smoothly and can take your blog from 0 to 100. Pro tip – If you’re not using a few plugins, delete or deactivate them from your site because they can slow down your site or even cause issues with other plugins. So only keep those you’re using.
Now that you have your must-have WordPress plugins all setup, you’ll need to learn how to promote your blog. Luckily, I have a post on that! You’ll learn how to promote your blog for free. Don’t waste money on ads! I hope this post can help ease some of the overwhelming choices when it comes to starting a blog. Enjoy and have fun bloggers.