When I created my first blog, I naively thought that once set up on WordPress, it will run by itself. Well, I was wrong. I underestimated the power of plugins.
Having good plugins is essential to run a successful blog or any website. If you do it well, they’ll ease and improve your experience with WordPress.
You don’t have to be a coder or a developer. All you need is the desire to learn.
Below is my list of 7 free WordPress plugins you can use when you start your blog.
Akismet is a great plugin to fight spam on your site. It comes pre-installed with WordPress but isn’t activated by default. You’ll have to sign up for a free Askimet plan and activate your API key (very easy to do).
This plugin will catch spam comments before they appear in your moderation queue. You’ll have more time and energy to focus on real comments and your site’s growth.
Your site’s security is your number one priority. You have to protect it from external threats, Wordfence will help you do that. It is a freemium WordPress security plugin with incredible tools.
Wordfence starts by scanning your WordPress core and comparing it to the official WordPress repository (including themes and plugins). Then, it will provide you with the recommended fixes to make.
I find it easy to set up and to use. The information is simple to understand, and you can receive a report and be notified by e-mail.
SEO is a crucial component if you want to write content that drives traffic and rank high on Google. Instead of using Yoast SEO, I found a plugin, which offers (almost) the same features for Free.
Rank Math is a SEO plugin for WordPress that makes it easy for anyone to optimise their content. The plugin proposes an incredible set of features and for zero dollars!
Nearly all SEO aspects – meta tags, sitemaps, schema, snippets – are editable.
Rank Math Features:
- Post Optimization (Edit Title & Descriptions)
- Google Schema Markup aka Rich Snippets Integrated,
- Google Search Console Integration,
- Google Keyword Ranking & Suggestions,
- Social Media Optimization,
- 404 Monitor,
- Only 30k Lines of Code compared to over 50k in other plugins,
- Import Settings from Other SEO Plugins, including Yoast.
It isn’t a secret. To manage a successful blog, you have to know how people find and use your website. MonsterInsights is a Google Analytics Plugin for WordPress. It is popular with over 2 million active installs.
I found it easy to set up and to use. I recommend watching this video on How to Install Google Analytics for WP.
The free version gives you access to the overview report, which shows:
- The number of unique sessions,
- The number of page views,
- The average duration of all sessions,
- The Bounce Rate,
- Top posts and pages,
- Top 10 countries your visitors are from,
- Top 10 referrals traffic.
Optimisation is primordial when creating a website. The time it takes for your page to load is what makes a person stay or leave.
Autoptimize will help you increase your site loading speed. It will simplify the optimisation process by:
- Compressing and combining your CSS, JavaSript, and HTML files,
- Caching your HTLM, scripts and CSS files,
- Optimising your site’s images (lazy loading option).
WordPress Hide Posts
WordPress Hide Posts allows you to hide any posts on the home page, category page, search page, tags page, authors page and RSS Feed.
You might not need it when you first create your blog. However, I think you should know its existence. I use it to design my home page or when I write an article for a client. After sending the PDF, I gave him access to a private page with the article layout for an enjoyable reading experience.
WPForms enables you to create contact forms, feedback form, subscription forms, payment forms, and more for your site.
The Lite (free) version’s features are enough when you start blogging. You’ll be able to :
- Create online forms without writing any code,
- Add and remove form fields easily with a drag and drop builder,
- Collect leads with e-mail subscription forms for your e-mail marketing list,
- Create responsive mobile-friendly forms,
- Get access to WPForms support.
I hope you enjoyed my 7 best free WordPress plugins list for beginners. I intend to use some premium plugins in the future. Once done, I’ll share my feedback with you.
If you need any plugin recommendations, let me know in the comments. I’ll be glad to help you get the right one for your site.
Beginning your journey as a Freelance Writer or a blogger without a clear direction can be difficult. I wrote a short post on where to start as a Freelance Writer. Hope you will enjoy it. 🙂