In order to keep all this information FREE for everyone, earns affiliate commission for some of the products/services recommended on this website.
Its calledaffiliate marketingand is widely used by many popular websites on the Internet. You can read more about it here:33 Ways to Monetize Your Website.
When youre using our affiliate links, youll be able to purchase some of the services or products at a discounted rate.
We only recommend the products/services that weve personally used or find useful to our visitors.
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For Sharing, Speed, Security & Analytics
You dont have to be a coding expert or a design whiz to create an awesome WordPress blog or website.
In fact, my two most read guides (how to start a blog&how to make a website from scratch) are aimed towards beginners who have no coding experience whatsoever.
But to really make your WordPress website stand out youll need to use WordPress plugins.
Thanks to the help of plugins, you can make your website slick, secure, and lightning fast in a fraction of the time.
The cool part? Some of the best plugins are free.
But you need to know which plugins to choose, and which to avoid. Otherwise, youll do your website more harm than good.
With over 40,000 plugins to choose from, you may have a bit of analysis paralysis.
Some plugins are harmful to your site, and an overall abundance of plugins may slow your site down.
How? Well, plugins require your site to make additional HTTP requests and/or additional database queries. Both of these things slow your site down.
So, you need to choose your plugins carefully, and also keep your plugins up to date.
Well youve come to the right place. In this post, I lay out the best free plugins for your WordPress blog. So, get ready to bookmark this post and come back to it whenever youre in need of a new plugin!
But before we get started, here a few plugin tips for 1) getting the most out of your plugins and 2) making sure they dont bog down your site
Delete any plugins you no longer use or need.
These may be unnecessarily slowing down your load speed.
Its usually not too many plugins that cause problems on your site, but poorly coded ones. So, look for plugins with great reviews and lots of installations, as well as the plugins were going to list here.
Dont allow your plugins to get out of date. Older versions of plugins can also slow your site down.
Dont always rely on good ratings and installations. Check support forums and reviews to see how the plugin is working for other people.
Okay, now lets dive into some of the best free plugins
How often does your content get shared on social media?
Ideally, the more, the better. If you can increase those social shares, you can get more traffic, exposure, and revenue.
And one of the best ways toincrease trafficand social shares is with the Floating Social Bar plugin.
You see, many social share plugins are heavy and can slow down your site. But Floating Social Bar stays slim because it only supports major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Whats more, the plugin only loads scripts when necessary it shows a replica image with all the share counts until a user scrolls over the social share buttons so your site can stay as fast as it normally is.
Download it here:Floating Social Bar
Your visitor excitedly loads up your webpage, only to be dismayed when it doesnt work. So, they click off your site, possibly never to return again.
Broken links on your website can have a big-time negative impact. They can stop search engine crawlers, lead to lower website traffic, and create a subpar user experience. All of these things can take a chunk out of your revenue stream.
The solution? Stop broken links dead in their tracks, and correct them before its too late.
You can do this easily with the Broken Link Checker plugin.
It quickly finds all broken links on your website, and allows you to fix them immediately.
Download it here:Broken Link Checker
How easy is it for visitors to navigate your site? Well, if youre still using the default WordPress search bar, it may actually be quite difficult.
Visitors use your search bar to quickly find content theyre interested in. If the search query doesnt return anything useful, theyll be left disappointed, and may click off your site.
Thats the problem with the default WordPress search bar
It organizes search results by date instead of relevancy, and also doesnt allow you to index custom post types for searching. And so, the search results are quite subpar.
The solution? The Relevanssi plugin.
Relvannsi delivers search results in order of relevancy, plus has some other cool features, like:
This allows you to match partial words, in case complete words dont match
If you dont want the search bar to appear on a certain post type, you can easily disable it.
When users click through the results, it will highlight the search terms within those results for easy navigation.
The easier it is to contact you, the more visitors will do so. And as a result, you can develop a better relationship with more visitors, address more objections people have to buying your product or service, and create a better user experience.
And the easiest way for visitors to contact you is through the Contact Form 7 Plugin.
Its simple, easy to install, and easy to customize.
Download it here:Contact Form 7or readmy full tutorial here.
Not a design, coding, or html expert? We feel your pain
But with the right plugin, you dont have to be. You can build your page exactly the way you want it without messing with any code.
And best of all, with the Page Builder plugin by Site Origin, its completely free.
Whats more, it works withany WordPress theme. So, you can create sales pages, squeeze pages, and more, all in an efficient (and free) way.
Download it here:Page Builder by Site Origin
Do you review products/services on your website? If so, WP Review is a must-have plugin.
It displays your ratings for your posts in Googles search results. You can customize it so that the review shows up as stars, points, or percentage ratings as well.
Whats more, this plugin used to premium, so you know it is high quality.
Do you have trouble managing your WordPress site? The fact is, theres a lot that goes into site management, and it can be overwhelming at times.
With Jetpack, you can easily manage your WordPress site from one centralized location.
Here are some of the features included in Jetpack:
You can turn on the related posts feature, which makes related posts appear underneath your blog posts to increase the time visitors stay on your website.
Jetpack protects your site against spam logins and comments, and also monitors your site for downtime.
It automatically optimizes images and reduces bandwidth.
Easily manage plugin menus, publish posts, and view enhanced site stats.
SEO should be a priority of every website. The better your SEO, the higher youll appear in the search engines, and the more traffic you can get.
That means more chances for conversions and revenue.
There are thousands of SEO strategies out there that are beyond the scope of this post.
But a simple way to start improving your SEO right now is to download the Yoast SEO plugin.
Here are some of the features you get with Yoast SEO:
Before you publish a post, it checks images to make sure they have alt tags that contain a focus keyword. It also checks whether the post is long enough, and whether youve written a meta description with a focus keyword.
This allows you to control the pages that show up in the Google search results.
The plugin automatically creates sitemaps and notifies Google and Bing of their existence.
This increases your chances of working with chosen keywords.
As you probably know, its important to keep a close eye on your analytics, so that you understand your visitors behaviour.
As the old saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. And Google Analytics allows you to measure visitor stats better than anything else.
Here are some of the features of this plugin:
The Google Analytics tracking code.
This is the fasted and most reliable tracking code that Google has to offer.
Visitor metric dashboards in WordPress install.
You can easily see all the metrics in one place.
It integrates with Google Analytics API, so you just need to select the site you want to track and authenticate it, then youre good to go.
Download it here:Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Your website security should be at the top of your list of priorities. All it takes is one attack to throw your website into turmoil.
And so, you need to be prepared with the property security defences.
One of the best forms of security is the Sucuri plugin.
Here are some of the ways it protects your site:
This monitors all security-related events within your WordPress site.
This helps you to take the right actions if your site does get compromised.
Get notified whenever there is a security-related event on your site, so youre always in the loop.
Scan your site for malware, and get alerted if any anomalies appear in your code.
In short, if you want your site to be secure, this is the plugin to use.
Have you ever lost a site because you didnt have it backed up? If so, you know how frustrating it can be.
And if not, we promise you its something you definitely dont want to deal with.
Backing up your site regularly is like insurance. It prepares you for the worst-case scenarios, which sometimes happen.
And you can back up your site easily with the Duplicator plugin.
All you have to do is run the plugin, have it zip up your site, copy it to the new server, and run the installer file.
Site speed is one of the most important aspects of your website. When visitors have to wait more than 2 seconds for a page to load, theyll start clicking off your site.
There are several ways to speed up your site from using a faster host, to optimizing images, etc.
But one of the easiest ways to keep your site running quickly is with the W3 Total Cache plugin.
It saves a static HTML version of your site, so it doesnt need to generate new pages all the time.
This reduces the amount of requests made to the server and database, and helps pages to load more quickly. This leads to happier visitors and better search rankings. So, its really a no brainer!
WordPress plugins can have a powerful effect on your website or blog. But a common mistake is when you choose too many of them, as well as when you choose the wrong ones. This mistake can harm your website and slow it down.
To avoid this mistake, choose your plugins from this list. Each of these plugins will positively impact your website in one way or another, and help you improve your visitor experience.
Further reading:Top (FREE) WordPress Themes
What are your favourite plugins? Leave a comment 🙂
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One thing: Ive downloaded the Sucuri plugin but its warning and subsequent instructions are beyond me. Can you help?
Is there a best plug in for site visitors to access your site as either a guest or allow them to create a login, or is that a WordPress Standard feature?
Also, can word press handle heavy traffic, or is that when you would want to have someone create a website from scratch for you?
And lastly: how does ad. integration work with wordpress?
What plug-ins do you recommend for a sales/catalog page and for a subscription based side to your website. Like a membership only side of the website that would have member only information? Thank you
Chris Lema put together this awesome comparison: agree with him 100%)
Thank you so much, I am just getting started, I hope you do not mind, I went into my web admin to download your recommended plugins?
I am unsure how to handle product if I downloaded in your page, how to get it across to my page . I am lost mostly, I work as an affiliate, reason I do not have my own products.
Thanks for the list of proven FREE plugins.
Im new to WordPress and have gotten the white screen of death a few times because a plugin has broken the theme.
I need a recommendation for a proven SPEECH to TEXT plugin to install on my WordPress site. I need it to write content for Pages and Posts. The plugins that appear in the plugin search say this plugin has not been tested or is not compatible with your theme. They also have not been downloaded and used by many people. If the plugin is reliable, compatible, tested not to break, and updated by the developers, Im willing to pay.
Is it true that creating content in programs like Microsoft Word and copy and pasting them in the Pages or Post editor of WordPress is a bad idea because of the extra fonts and styling Microsoft Word adds to documents?
Creating content in programs like MS Word can add some additional lines in your WordPress Editor back-end, but it shouldnt reflect the outlook.
Very interesting read. Im new at this and being a senior and retired Im trying to set up a web site from scratch for the first time primarily for affiliate marketing. I have been watching tutorials on YouTube for help in the development of a site for the purpose of supplementing my retirement. Im glad I came upon your site, it has very good information. In my google search for tutorials on utube I find they are hard to follow, Why, because the wordpress tutorials Im interested in are based on is 3.7 or maybe earlier. If you have any ideas to help me, like a tutorial either as a video or even a PDF document I would be very appreciative. Thank you.
PS; I purchased Genesis Executive-Pro and Genesis 2.4.2 theme packageFramework.
Thank you, Robert. Im about launching a website and have found the articles here useful so far. Will be coming back for more guidance along the way.
Thanks a lot Robert! I tried to look at other similar lists before this one, but I much prefer yours.
I am going to start downloading some of these tomorrow.
Thank you! Your website has been extremely helpful for me so far. Keep up the good work!
Before I start with my website I would like to confirm that WordPress can do what I need. Maybe you can help.
I want to have my golf buddies sign up for our group games a few times each week. I need to have a table with a row for each day and a column for each golfer.
I need to require that the golfers sign in somehow and can only update their column.
I need to count the number of golfers signed up for each day, then stop signups when the maximum is attained.
So its essentially a very simple spreadsheet with security.
Thank you for providing such a great content for free 🙂
Thank you so much for all your valuable information, it is much appreciated! Sharing is caring x
Thank you so very much for all this helpful info. Do you know how long it took me to find you. Im very pleased 5 stars for you, Thanks. Amy Allen
Thank you for this website. The information for a website builder newbie like me is fantastic.
I have a question about WordPress membership site plugins.
The following have been recommended to me which you dont mention in your article:
Are these okay or are there some issues with using them?
Thank you for sharing this essential list. The most important reason why those plugins are so important is easiness of use and so many guides for users to use plugins properly. I just cant imagine running a website 10 years ago without them.
What plugin should i use if i want to connect some hall owners together and rent their halls to the public using my website? Halls will be rented for a few slots a day.
How can i get a plugin for matching two people together or two to one matrix on a website i want to design and how can i go about it, i seriously need your help about this, like a the one used on MMM website for matching participants, peer to peer payment.
I would like to add one more in this list which isUser Activity Log Pro WordPress Pluginfor security enhance. It helps to monitor and keep track of all the activities occurs on the admin side.
Like David Hanna I am also retiring (for the second time though) and have decided to go into business myself .
Thanks for the interesting, clear and complete education in building a web-site I will be leaving my position at the beginning of May and will then get myself involved in developing a new business together with a new computer , e-mail etcetera and then start building a website.
I will let you know how I get on and in the meantime thanks again and all the best to your other customers.
I am looking for a website, or plug in where someone can click on an image (say a pair of shoes, or chair) and it takes them to a page that gives all the specs, info, and maybe a price. But also, Id like to leave the price off when its appropriate. Does WordPress have that ability? Or can you recommend a platform or builder that does?
Thanks for the list, Robert, there are some quite good plugins to use. I downloaded Floating Social Bar and really like the way it works for me, so thanks 🙂 Regarding that, I wanted to mention a plugin that Ive started using, that makes my content and sharing even better and its a comment plugin, I think even better than Disqus and the rest. Its called graph comment and it is about making comments stand out and stay on your website, not taking away all that engagement juice off to Social Media, like the rest do. The good part is that its free, you should check it out and tell me what you think.
What is your opinion / experience with Wordfence?
Would you recommend it over Sucuri that you listed? It seems like Wordfence has a similar set of scanning capabilities but it offers also many more options to lock down a site and increase protection level.
I havent used WordFence personally, but based on the reviews Ive read I think its a solid plugin.
Can you easily tell me how to add an image or adjust the colors of a free theme Im using? I specifically want to make changes to the big title so with the big title also comes an image with it. Also Id like to change the colors on the text of my header information. WordPress seems to easily let me change a lot of items with either widgets or plugins on all pages except the very static front page of site which seems to be hidden front eligible changing from my view. I dont know code. Any help is appreciated.
I recommend you to try free version of this plugin (WordPress builder):
With this, you should be able to change/edit that.
Hi Robert, I just saw your plugins guide. Its excellent.
I have a pair of questions: Do you use akismet? Do you recommend it?
Sure, every website needs some kind of an anti-spam plugin and akismet is pretty good at what it does.
Dont have website yet? Do it right (and free) by following the steps & images.
WebsiteSetup is afreeresource site for creating websites. WebsiteSetup was founded in 2013 byRobert Mening. The main goal of this website is to provide step-by-step instructions for setting up a website, blog or e-commerce site.
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