Launching a new blog is very exciting. You can’t wait to start sharing your informative posts with others. But before you get too far into the fun stuff, there are a few things that you should consider to make your blog run fast, be shareable and optimized for the best reader experience. You need the best free WordPress plugins for blogs to help with that!
I’m sharing my recommended 10 free plugins for WordPress for blogs that you should consider for your site.
So for a newbie blogger or anybody who’s been blogging for a little while and needs to give their site a bit more oomph, these are things you can do without breaking the bank. Or digging into any money your blog is currently making!
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a product or service, and decide to purchase it, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. All recommended products and services are based on my positive experience with them. For more information, please read my Disclaimer.
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Add The Free WordPress Plugins For Blogs That You REALLY Need
However, before you go plugin crazy, consider this: the more plugins you have, the slower your blog will run.
You want to make it a fast-loading site so that you increase your chances of Google ranking you higher.
And you want visitors to actually stick around, instead of getting annoyed, and waiting for your site to load. So, less is more, for now.
These plugins below are by no means the only free plugins out there.
There are some really great ones available for use. However, they can be either too difficult to set up or just don’t offer the best features for simple blogs, in my personal opinion.
You can always explore others, but these are a good place to start.
So without further ado, here are my recommended best free WordPress plugins for blogs that you should check out for your site.
Autoptimize is one of the best free WordPress plugins for blogs and one of the more important ones.
It speeds up your site by using minifying, aggregating and caching scripts. It moves certain things like scripts and CSS to the footer and minifies HTML, making your page load up faster.
Why should you add it? Not only does it speed up the initial loading of your website, it makes the file size of your page smaller (so, faster to load) and reduces the number of requests made to your server. Voila.. faster loading site.
To configure Autoptimize, check out the step-by-step instructions on WP Villa.
2. Akismet Anti-Spam
This handy plugin keeps spam comments from appearing on your site’s comments. Askimet filters them out so that they don’t appear on your site. Instead, they get pushed into your spam folder.
Set up your API key on the main site to use with your Askimet plugin for WordPress. Once you’ve activated your plugin, all you need to do is enter the API key from the site and voila! You’re protected.
Next on my list of best free WordPress plugins for blogs is UpdraftPlus – a free plugin that helps you back up your blog.
Always back up your blog! Unless you have an automatic backup service with your hosting provider, always do a backup of your blog.
Ideally, it should be every two to four weeks at a minimum.
There are many plugins out there that help you back up your blog, but the one that’s probably one of the best is Updraft Plus.
You can easily do a backup and save it on your Google Drive or your Dropbox. When something goes terribly wrong with a theme update or WordPress, you’ll have a backup file of ALL your content at your fingertips.
4. Pretty Links
I’ve added this plugin to my best free WordPress plugins for blogs because if you’re starting to monetize it, you want to do it in style and with some organization!
If you’re getting into affiliate marketing, it’s best to hide the ugly link with a pretty one and make it a Nofollow link.
The Pretty Links plugin transforms your link into one that looks like it’s hosted by your site. Also, it helps with keeping your site from looking like it’s sending out spammy links.
You enter your affiliate link and using your own blog’s URL, you add a descriptive word for your link and the plugin creates it for you. You use this new URL when you want to link an affiliate link to an image or text on your site.
| Related: Affiliate Programs For New Bloggers That Make Money
5. W3 Total Cache
There are many caching plugins. I’ve used several in the past. W3 Total Cache is what I recommend for beginners who want to use a free plugin to speed up their site.
- Better SEO
- User experience is better with a reduced load time
Nobody wants to wait forever for it to download. As well, Google likes faster sites for results.
There are numerous caching plugins out there and many are free WordPress plugins. However, I find W3 Total Cache to have the best features. Caching is like providing a pre-made version of your site to visitors, instead of having it load up every single element every time somebody checks it out.
Although W3 Total Cache can be a bit overwhelming at first to set up, if you’re stuck, Blogging Wizard has a good rundown of how to set it up for your blog.
NOTE: If you’re open to investing in your blog, I strongly suggest WP Rocket. It is extremely easy to set up and it speeds up your site so much more than any free caching plugin ever would.
6. Rank Math
SEO is key! The free version of Rank Math SEO plugin is your best option for SEO plugins.
It helps you set up how you appear in Google searches and with focusing on keyword usage throughout your post, your snippet, etc. It’s a must-have for good on-page SEO.
And it also allows you to set up your sitemaps. No need for additional plugins for your sitemap.
If you’re making redirects, it’s got a great tool for that too!
It’s super easy to set up and Rank Math has done an amazing job of providing you with step-by-step instructions.
NOTE: The alternative is Yoast SEO. While this is a powerful plugin that does much of what Rank Math’s free plugin does, you have to upgrade to Pro to get a deeper dive into your keywords and key phrases, interlinking features, and re-directs.
| RELATED: How To Grow Blog Traffic Using Social Media Sites
7. Social Warfare
Social Warfare is probably one of the best free WordPress plugins for blogs out there. It makes it extremely easy for site visitors to share your content with their followers on social media and Pinterest.
I’ve used it in the past and when I need a temporary free plugin when my paid plugin is wonky, I always revert to Social Warfare.
The free version is pretty standard. It gives you several of the most popular options for sharing. It’s fairly lightweight so it doesn’t bog down your blog’s speed stats. Social Warfare is also great at customizing where you’d like to place your shares.
It’s easy to set up and the support team is very good at getting back to you quickly if you’ve got questions.
However, to get the most out of Social Warfare (such as adding Pinterest images that are hidden ones), I recommend upgrading to Social Warfare Pro.
8. EWWW Image Optimizer
A plugin that compresses the size of your images is key to speed, especially if you have an image-heavy blog.
Before I knew much about these types of plugins, my blog was very slow. The load time for images that I thought I had compressed by shrinking manually in Photoshop was still too long.
Plugins such as EWWW Image Optimizer and WP Smush are free and do a great job reducing your image sizes. Pro versions take things a step further, however, the free versions are good enough, for now, to make your site faster.
| RELATED: 5 Top Free Image Editing Tools For Bloggers
9. Broken Link Checker
This is one of the best free WordPress plugins for blogs, especially if you have hundreds of blog posts. To ensure all of the internal and external links that you’ve included in your posts are not broken, you need Broken Link Checker, a free plugin, to scan them for you.
Not only is it good for SEO to have functioning links, think of all the missed opportunities if you use affiliate links… and they’re broken. Not good!
The Broken Link Checker gives you an opportunity to update the links in one handy spot.
TIP: Since this plugin is a bit of a hog when it comes to speed, I deactivate it and reactivate it only once a week to check my links.
10. Lazy Load – WP Rocket
If your blog is image-heavy, and your free caching plugin doesn’t have this feature, you need to install Lazy Load to speed it up. Why? Your page speed needs to be fast for not only your readers (they want it fast!), but also for Google.
Slow-loading pages don’t rank as high in Google as those that are optimized.
What Lazy Load does is load the images as the user scrolls through the post. This makes what they’re seeing quickly load as they see it.
Lazy Load by WP Rocket is a reputable plugin and is super easy to set up.
To Summarize… Top 10 Best Free WordPress Plugins For Blogs
Although there are many numerous alternatives, if you’re starting out, go with the basic but best free WordPress plugins. I recommend these, but you can always explore others.
- Updraft Plus
- Pretty Links
- W3 Total Cache (or another caching plugin)
- Rank Math SEO plugin
- Social Warfare
- EWWW Image Optimizer or WP Smush or any other image compression plugin.
- Broken Link Checker
- Lazy Load – WP Rocket
A couple of additional plugins to add include:
- WPCode Lite (free plugin) – so you can easily add important code to the header section of your site
- Sucuri (freemium plugin) – a security plugin that detects malware, and helps you protect your site from hacks.
I don’t expect you to stick with these plugins forever. Try them out. See if they work for you and your blog!
Additional Resources And Tips
Now do a little checklist of your new blog:
- Launched it with a self-hosted site?
- Have I started writing a few blog posts, and have more blog posts in the hopper?
- I’ve got a kick-ass About Me Page
- Created a logo for my site?
- Started boosting my blog posts using smart promotional strategies?
- Using Pinterest to get my blog in front of an interested audience?
- What should I do to make my blog look professional?
- How many blog posts should I publish before I launch my blog?
- How do I set up my categories and what are tags?
| Related: Three Strategies That Boost Blog Traffic By 200% In One Month
You’re on the right track! Keep growing your blog!
QUESTION: Let me know if there are any other best free WordPress plugins for blogs that have worked for you in the comment section. Are there any others to add to this brief list?
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