One of the best reasons for choosing to run a blog on WordPress are the opportunities to extend it through the many thousands of plugins available. In this post, I’m presenting a list of essential WordPress plugins for bloggers, as chosen by independent users in a recent survey I’ve carried out.
These are not plugins I’ve chosen to promote, though of course I have my favorites. They are however plugins that other WordPress bloggers, business owners and marketers have told me are essential to their blogs.
I’ve categorized them in the following groups to help you identify a WordPress plugin solution to perhaps a problem you currently have.
Table of Contents: Essential Plugins for WordPress Bloggers
- WordPress Administration Plugins
- WordPress Security Plugins
- WordPress Plugins for SEO
- WordPress Performance Improvement Plugins
- WordPress Page Builder Plugins
- WordPress Plugins for Content & Editing
- WordPress Analytics Plugins
Essential WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
These recommendations have been gathered impartially: they are the recommendations from WordPress bloggers and website owners running their businesses with WordPress.
WordPress is a very comprehensive blogging platform, with an intuitive and feature rich admin panel. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t improve it. These essential plugins will help most WordPress bloggers improve day to day maintenance and operation of their blogs.
Willie Greer – The Product Analyst
BackUpWordpress has been a great lifesaver for so many occasions that I don’t know what I would do without this plugin.
You can set this on to whatever time period you want: it can be daily, weekly, or monthly. Mine was set to daily and every morning.
BackUpWordpress would collect my files and put them into a .zip folder. And as soon as it’s done, it will send me an email with a corresponding link to that .zip file for me to download. If I need or want to find that page again, I just have to go to “Tools” and “Backups.”
This only means that all my important files are safe. So if anything goes wrong, I can just reinstall from the back-up and presto… I’m saved!
Julie Aragon – JulieAragon.com
The plugin that I couldn’t live without: It sounds boring but it’s Redirection.
It’s such a versatile tool for making sure our site’s pages can be tweaked to accommodate slug updates (especially when we want to update keywords in slugs), broken pages, and older content that we think is better to re-route users away from.
This plugin is also essential if ever moving to a new domain or acquiring another website for content or traffic. Plus, the regular expression capability makes the tool so powerful.
Janine Granda – The Bold Ones
I’ve been building WordPress sites since I was 13 years old or so and one of my absolute favorite plugins that I’ve just in every single WordPress site I’ve built is called Pretty Links.
As someone who has various lead gens and affiliate partnerships, the links can get pretty messy. Pretty links lets me take an obscure link and have it redirect to a much nicer one that’s also much easier to remember.
Nikola Roza – NikolaRoza.com
The one plugin I couldn’t live without as a blogger is Cleantalk
Cleantalk is a premium WordPress plugin that cleans up your spam problems for good. This plugin protects you from everything: common comment spam, Woocommerce spam, newsletter spam, spam bots registering and “buying” your courses and contact form spam.
For me, the impetus for installing it was incessant comment spam. I was getting 10 spam comments per day, and was about to close off my comment section for good. Then I learned of Cleantalk, bought it, and now get 1 spam comment per week, at the most.
WordPress Security Plugins
Security should always be a concern for any blogger. Since WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world, there are plenty of plugins to help tighten up security.
Mohinish Nirwal – MohinishNirwal.com
For me it’s WP Cerber. According to some estimates, 30,000 websites are hacked everyday and personally branded blog like mine are at a greater risk of being hacked.
Most small business owners don’t realize the threat. Getting hacked can impact a brand seriously – and it can become hard to rescue the damage (like spam sent from the domain).
This simple plugin monitors threats and sends me a weekly report. I can rest assured that hackers are not trying to damage my business.
Michelle Henry – Outdoor Dog Fun
I worry a lot about my blog getting hacked and losing all of my hard work, which is why the Updraft Plus plugin is the WordPress plugin that I can’t live without.
The best thing about this plugin is that it gives me peace of mind. Sure, my host is supposed to create backups for me, but what if something crazy happens to their servers? With Updraft Plus, I don’t have to worry about that.
Another thing that I like about the Updraft Plus plugin is that it works in the background automatically backing my site up to my Google Drive. So I don’t even have to think about or remember to do anything. It just works and I love that.
WordPress is an SEO friendly blogging platform. To really super-charge it for SEO, most WordPress bloggers use plugins. The following essential SEO plugins will help you strengthen the performance of your blog in the SERPs.
Stuart Crawford – Ulistic
My essential WordPress plugin is not free… but it’s worth every penny when it comes to internal linking. Internal linking is essential for great SEO and LinkWhisper is worth $167.00 per year for 10 sites.
LinkWhisper allows us to build effective internal linking strategies automatically and make sure future content with the keywords in our linking strategy are automatically linked. It is a true timesaver and a must-have for any WordPress developer serious about SEO.
Petr Minarik – Cyclists Hub
I focus on keeping my website as lean as possible to keep it swift but this plugin is a must-have for me: Broken Link Checker.
It’s a super simple but incredibly useful plugin. It scans your website for broken links so you can fix them when needed.
You can set how often it crawls your website, set up email notifications about broken links, apply custom formatting to broken links, specify the types of links to check add filters on certain domains and much more.
Alan Spurgeon – Hedgehog Digital
Yoast is a swiss army knife of a plugin for your WordPress website!
This WordPress plugin allows you to choose a keyword and essentially optimise your webpage around it. It’s useful for beginners to SEO as it’s relatively easy to use and not too daunting, but also good for more experienced digital marketers in the way that it can save you loads of time.
Once you have selected the keywords you are focusing on, Yoast will help optimise your title, meta description, and URL.
Using a simple traffic-light (red, orange, green) colour system, the plugin gives you tips on how to improve the page and it is even updated every couple of weeks to keep constantly evolving with the fast-changing world of SEO.
Simone Colavecchi – Thimba Media
My favourite WordPress Plugin is Feedzy RSS Feeds – the lite version.
SEO experts believe that fresh content and content curation influence Google Rankings.
The issue many bloggers come across is to try and keep their content updated. That is always a struggle but at least you can look like you are updating your content every day with the Feedzy RSS Feeds.
Chris Davis – Tiny Ships
Most WordPress bloggers understand the importance of site speed, not only for user experience but also to improve SEO.
However, without a developer on hand, they can easily end up with a bloated, slow site through no fault of their own. Even a basic blog with just images and text can have a very low pagespeed score.
Megan Imhoff – Ish Mom
Ranking in the search engines is so important for bloggers, and though there are many SEO plugins on the market, I couldn’t live without RankMath.
Rank Math helps me keep up with my keyword usage and come up with the best headlines. And when I’m not writing, it monitors 404s on the site to help me redirect them properly and create sitemaps too.
All of these different features just makes my life easier.
Lora Bovie – Choosing Therapy
I absolutely adore using SEOPress as a one-for-all plugin, and they do have a free version for anyone working on a budget.
While the paid version of this essential WordPress plugin gives a little more options for helping your site rank in Google, you can get what you need with a free version.
SEOPress also makes generating Schema tags, making meta tags and meta descriptions for your site a breeze. Highly recommend!
WordPress Performance Plugins
With site speed and user signals being important factors for search engine rankings, it’s vital to make sure your WordPress blog is user friendly. The following essential WordPress plugins will help make your blog run optimally.
Ben Taylor – WriteBlogEarn.com
The plugin that’s top of my list right now is NitroPack. It’s a speed boosting plugin that delivers some incredible scores from Google’s Pagespeed Insights. This is super important right now with Google paying more and more attention to site speed when it determines rankings.
The thing I most like about Nitropack is that once it’s configured, it’s largely “set and forget.” Caching and performance plugins can be incredibly complicated, with seemingly limitless combinations of options. Nitropack can replace several performance plugins in one hit.
If you have a good level of traffic, you do have to pay monthly for Nitropack, but for me it’s a no brainer on my busiest site.
Kevin Parker – vpnAlert
WP Optimize is one of the most basic yet essential plugins to have for your WordPress blog.
It keeps everything running smoothly by clearing your trash, removing unnecessary, extra data.
Everyone wants their site to run fast. By installing this plugin, your site will do precisely that, resulting in improved performance for your audience.
Steve Steinman – BALLISTIGLASS
Hummingbird is THE one plug-in to use on any WordPress site.
With Google’s new update launching in May, site speed will be even more important. Any website on the internet needs to be optimised as much as it can if you want people to be able to find it via search engines. Hummingbird helps achieve it!
Hummingbird (especially in the PRO version) beats WP Rocket ever so slightly in speed tests, but more so it allows you to carry out a huge load of site speed increasing jobs, all in one place.
It’s also not at all intimidating – so even if you haven’t heard of caching, minification and file compression, Hummingbird makes them nowhere near as intimidating as they sound, as it guides you through the process.
Nathan Sebastian – GoodFirms
Images constitute more than 50% of the average web page size. It means optimizing your images can have a positive impact on your blog’s load times.
Loading time is crucial because if a page takes more than three seconds to render, more than half of your visitors will leave.
Optimole will optimize all the graphics uploaded to a WordPress site. The plugin automatically detects screen size and resizes images accordingly.
Alex Williams – Turbo Gadget Reviews
Shortpixel is my can’t live without WordPress plugin. It’s great for compressing images so that you perform better in Google Pagespeed Insights. And, if you don’t have a ton of images each month, then you can use the free plan.
I also love that it works with the webp format to makes images even smaller.
I’ve tried some of the other image optimization plugins, but I always come back to Shortpixel as being the best. You just can’t beat it for compressing images so your pages load faster.
Sharon Gourlay – Dive Into Tasmania
I never create site without including the WP Rocket plugin. I think it’s a must-have in terms of site speed. Sure, it’s a premium plugin, but it performs a lot better than the free alternatives like W3 Total Cache.
I really like that WP Rocket is more than just a caching plugin. It lets you do thing like set your images and videos to lazy load. It also integrates with my free Cloudflare plan for an even faster loading site.
Matt Price – ATVA Online
For my sites, Perfmatters is the one WordPress plugin that I can’t live without.
We all know that Google is preparing to make site speed a ranking factor, which makes this plugin even more vital.
Not only does Perfmatters help me to optimize the speed of my site, but it’s also a really lightweight plugin so I don’t have to worry about it slowing down my site or making my WordPress dashboard lag. And I’ve only had to use their support once, but it was great.
I can’t imagine making WordPress sites without including this plugin.
WordPress Page Builder Plugins
Do you struggle with HTML and CSS formatting? The following plugins will help you design and build page layouts without the need for having lickety-split web development and coding skills.
Samantha Warren – SamanthaWarren.com
Elementor is a free WordPress plugin that features a drag-and-drop page builder. I use it to build fast, beautiful, and fully optimized pages for my WordPress site.
I can add text, images, videos, forms, and other content blocks with ease. Elementor also comes with free page templates that are highly customizable.
Since Elementor is so user-friendly, I can create my site without any coding skills. It integrates seamlessly into WordPress, and it comes with a slew of free features that I can use to bring my site to life.
Elementor does have a Pro version, but I haven’t found a reason to upgrade yet. The free version is the real deal.
My favorite feature on Elementor is the ability to preview what a page will look like on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. This helps me ensure that the page is fully optimized for all users who visit my site.
I highly recommend Elementor for anyone who is building a website but doesn’t have the skill set of a professional web developer.
Shaun Taylor – Moriti Private Safaris
The plugin I could not live without is WPBakery page builder.
It works very well with WordPress, is very responsive and helps to make my website looks great on mobile. Being able to save templates saves so much time as well. I am able to save formats for posts and pages that I can use time and again.
I also like the fact that they add elements to a deprecated section first before removing them altogether which gives me time to change them.
WPBakery has taken my website to new heights and is very user friendly. To date, I have never had an update that has damaged any of my pages. I cannot say enough about this plugin!
Matt Caspell – Lumo Digital
Restricting myself to just one WordPress plugin would be very difficult, but I can highly recommend SeedProd as an excellent resource for users who are looking for a no-code solution to making their WordPress websites look great.
SeedProd is a very intuitive drag and drop editor that will help non-technical website builders make something that looks and functions well, and it’s allowed me to build several client websites over the last few years.
Plugins to Help with Content & Editing
A selection of essential WordPress plugins for bloggers who want to improve they way they work with their content.
Jessica Rhoades – Create IT Web Designs
Yoast Duplicate Post is one of my favorite plugins.
I love how you can copy and paste (aka clone) a web page or post. It makes it so easy to keep all the page and post settings.
When I hand off a project to a client, it makes training so much easier to show them how to create blog posts. There are so many settings in the blog posts from the theme that I find it easier to do copy and paste. It cuts my training videos in half and makes it easier for my clients.
Teajai Kimsey – Teajai.com
There is one plugin I always install on every blog: Disable Gutenberg.
Maybe I’m old school but the new WordPress block editing is just nuts. I like to be able to fine tune the way the blog looks including indentions and quotes and I enjoy doing a bit of css hand coding to keep my skills up.
Personally, I like the freedom that you get when you don’t have the Gutenberg blocks to contend with.
Mark Wilcox – Camping Forge
As a blogger who worries about his writing skills, the Grammarly Chrome extension for WordPress is something that I don’t think I can live without… it’s essential. It catches all of my spelling mistakes and probably saves me from getting comments about my terrible grammar.
I think since I’ve been using Grammarly for WordPress, it’s actually helped me to improve my writing skills a bit over time. And I love that it is free to use, which is perfect for my budget.
I highly Grammarly to anyone who isn’t a strong writer and worries about that when they blog.
Lori Newman – Newman Web Solutions
There are a few plugins I could not live without but I would say if I had to pick only one would definitely be Gravity Forms.
GF gives us the ability to create forms with endless possibilities with the ability to request signatures and process payments via stripe or Paypal processors.
The conditional logic enables you to hide and show form fields to create a better experience for your users. Connect and integrate to your apps with direct integrations, or use Zapier to connect your forms with over 1,000 apps.
The possibilities are endless!
Analytics Plugins for WordPress
Understanding how people interact with your blog is vitally important. You should set up a Google Analytics account as early in your blogger career as possible. You can then add Google Analytics to your WordPress blog to gain insights into how your blog is progressing.
Kasey Monohan – Threadcurve
One WordPress plugin I can’t live without is the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin.
I love having access to detailed site data, including how many visits each day and month, where they are coming from, the demographics of visitors, and more, so I can use the data to optimize channels that are working and
cut back on those that are not.
WordPress is my “go to” blogging tool… I’ve been using it since around 2005 after all. One of the best aspects for me is the sheer number of extensions available… but you do need to choose your WordPress plugins wisely.
Badly coded plugins can have a substantial bearing on how quickly your pages load. This is important to know because slow loading blogs do not give visitors a satisfying experience… and Google takes a note of this.
Anyways… I hope this list of essential WordPress plugins gives you food for thought and perhaps helps you to extend your blog in the ways you need.
Thanks to everyone in this list who took the time to tell me about their favorite plugins and why they feel they’re so important.
That’s all for now folks!
Are there any more essential WordPress plugins for bloggers? Can you add something to this list? Drop me a comment below to add to the list.