The 13 Best WordPress plugins for blogs
If you are thinking of launching a blog or if you already have one, you have probably wondered what the best WordPress plugins for blogs are.
For each category of plugins, there are countless variants, some better, some worse. Below, I will present the plugins that I use most often. They are not necessarily the best, but they are the most suitable for me.
Depending on the niche you choose, some plugins will help you, and others won’t. However, I’m sure you’ll find at least a few useful plugins you didn’t know about.
So, let’s get started with the list of the best WordPress plugins for blogs.
Table of Contents
1. WP Rocket
The first on the list of best WordPress plugins for blogs is WP Rocket. From my point of view, it is one of the best WordPress optimization plugins. Although it is not a free plugin, the features make it worth every penny. The best feature of them all is the easy configuration. Self-explanatory, and you can get great results with a few simple clicks.
No matter if you use regular web hosting or a dedicated one, you need optimization for WordPress. Nowadays, themes come with more and more functionalities. Out of the desire to attract buyers from as many niches as possible, the theme developers include various functionalities.
Although this is a good thing at first glance, too many features can make it difficult to load the site. For each feature included by the theme developer, a plugin is most likely required for that feature to work. The plugins come with their own JS and CSS files, so the server's requests will add up fast.
Other great features
Another great feature of WP Rocket is its file combining and minification system. The compression of all the JS, CSS, and HTML files makes your site load faster. Then, the plugin combines all the files into as few files of the same type as possible. This means fewer files to load and fewer requests made to your server.
Image handling also helps increase your site loading speed. Using WP Rocket’s LazyLoad system is easy, and it does a great job. This will help you save lots of initial requests. Images and videos don’t load until the user scrolls, and the media file is in the viewport. LazyLoad is perfect for pages with lots of posts, media files, and infinite scroll pages.
There are many more features available, but I focused on the ones that differentiate it from other optimization and caching plugins. For $49 per site, this is a great alternative for growing websites that need more flexibility.
2. Yoast SEO
Most of you probably already use it, but my favorite SEO tool for WordPress is Yoast SEO. I have been using the Premium version for the past 6 months and can safely say it is worth the money. If you are not familiar with Yoast SEO, here are a few things that make it a great plugin.
The first feature I want to talk about is Keyword optimization. With the free version, you can focus on only one keyword. But with the premium version, things get even better. You can optimize your articles and focus on multiple keywords, synonyms, and even all word forms. This allows you to rank the same article for multiple terms and related searches.
Schema.org is a great way to tell Google and other platforms what your article or page is about. This ensures that your content will rank better and get indexed a lot faster. I have been using this feature for a while, and I can tell you that I have seen some great results.
Other great features
The Readability score is another great built-in tool that will help you write better articles. I noticed that if you follow the guidelines and focus on the important factors from the readability panel, your Time on site average will increase. What the Readability feature does is that it helps you make your article a lot more reader-friendly. It helps you write easier to read paragraphs so that your visitors can read them easily. It uses the Flesch Reading Ease Score, which grades your text from 0–100, with 100 being considered very easy to read (an 11-year-old can read your article with ease).
Last but not least, I like that Yoast SEO takes care of the robots and .htaccess files. If you don’t have any experience, working with .htaccess and robots files can be a little tricky. For example, one line of code in your robots.txt file can make your site un-indexable by search engines.
Next on my list of best WordPress plugins for blogs is Elementor. If you are looking for the best page builder that you can use, give Elementor a try. I have been using VisualComposer for years now, but once I tried Elementor, I was hooked.
I think that Elementor has great features and allows you to customize everything in seconds. If you have some CSS knowledge, you can create almost anything with the basic blocks.
A nice feature is that you can create separate sections and use them wherever you like. This way, you can create templates for different types of pages such as blogs, product pages, blog posts, single products, etc.
Other great features
You can also animate the elements giving your website or blog a dynamic look and feel. If you like parallax sections, then Elementor is the best tool to choose from. You can easily replace sliders and use the parallax feature in your hero section to create great and interactive headers.
Elementor is also great for marketing purposes allowing you to create great-looking forms. Once you have the form, you can integrate it with your favorite marketing tools. Some of the supported integrations are MailChimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, Zapier, ConvertKit, and others.
The best part is that this awesome page builder is free and compatible with most WordPress themes. However, if you want to get even more out of it, you can get the PRO version. The PRO version comes with 50+ Pro Widgets, 300+ Pro Templates, WooCommerce Builder, and a great Popup Builder.
You can check out all the features that Elementor has to offer on their official website.
4. Ninja Forms
I have been using Contact Form 7, but after running into some issues, I have decided to look for a different plugin. This is how I stumbled upon Ninja Forms.
The first thing that catches your eye is the contact form drag-and-drop builder. With over 27 input types, you can create virtually any form you can think of. Your forms will also stay safe with the help of reCaptcha and Akismet.
The plugin also has many add-ons like conditional logic, file uploads, PDF submissions, Webhooks, and more.
Ninja Forms also allows you to get payments via the contact form via PayPal, Stripe, and other payment processors. This is especially helpful if you are creating quote request forms or calculators based on user input.
If you are looking for a good contact plugin for WordPress, I recommend giving Ninja Forms a try. You won’t be disappointed.
5. MonsterInsights Plus
MonsterInsights Plus is one of the best WordPress plugins for Google Analytics. I do not recommend the free version as it is too limited in my opinion. If you want to experience the full power of the MonsterInsights plugin, go for the paid version. If you are looking for a free analytics plugin, I highly recommend Lara’s Google Analytics (you can check it out below).
So, the Plus plan, which I recommend for smaller websites, is a great value for money. There are many features included in the Plus plan, but I am going to talk about the ones I think are the best.
In my opinion, most of the bloggers are missing a crucial feature in their analytics, and that is the scroll tracking feature. You could set this up using Google Tags too, but it isn't easy, and you have to know what you are doing. With MonsterInsights, you can easily see how many readers read your entire article. This way, you know if you have to tweak your articles to get people to spend more time reading.
With MonsterInsights Plus, you can also get real-time reports right inside your WordPress dashboard. This way, you can see how people engage with your blog and what pages and articles they spend more time on. It can help you improve your articles and content with the information you receive in real-time.
You can also integrate MonsterInsights with other plugins such as Woocommerce, Ninja Forms, Member Press, ThirstyAffiliates, Facebook Instant Articles, and more.
6. Lara’s Google Analytics
Another great entry in my list of the best WordPress plugins for blogs is Lara’s Goole Analytics. If you want a free analytics plugin, then I highly recommend Lara’s Google Analytics. It has a lot more features available than the MonsterInsights free version. A great thing that I like about this plugin is that it does not impact your site’s load speed. According to WP Hive, the average load time increases by 0.02s, and the average memory usage is 40.71KB.
With the free version, you get access to statistics about sessions, pages, browsers, languages, operating systems, screen resolutions, and device types. The only downside with the free version is that you do not have access to real-time statistics inside your WordPress dashboard.
There are a few great features that the PRO version offers. You can check the features out on their official website.
7. Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress
Social signals are starting to be an important factor when it comes to search engine rankings. This is why you need a great tool for social sharing.
Easy Social Share Buttons are one of the best plugins to do the job. It is very flexible and allows you to customize and place the buttons in the perfect spot.
It has over 50 social networks integrated, more than 30 automatic positions, 50+ templates for buttons and counters, and various shortcodes and widgets.
All the templates and buttons are responsive, so they will look great on any device your visitors may use.
Besides the design, social share buttons are important for blogs and also eCommerce websites such as WooCommerce. You can’t have a product page without share buttons. If you do, then you’re missing out and probably losing customers.
So, give Easy Social Share Buttons plugin a try if you are looking for a social sharing plugin. I wasn’t able to find one that is better.
8. Cookie Notice
The list of the best WordPress plugins for blogs is not complete without a cookie notification plugin. So, if you are looking for a lightweight and customizable plugin, I highly recommend Cookie Notice. It is a great plugin that will help you with the EU GDPR cookie law and CCPA regulations.
Another great thing is that you can set the cookie expiry option based on multiple criteria and customize the notification message. The plugin is fully translatable, so you can add messages in any language that you want.
Unlike other cookie notice plugins, you can set the scripts that you want to block if the user rejects the cookies. Some plugins display the notification, but the cookies are already set when they access the website.
I highly recommend checking out this free cookie notice plugin.
If you want to keep your blog protected and increase its security, then the WordFence plugin is your best bet.
WordPress is an established script, and it is well maintained. Unfortunately, with all the themes, plugins, and updates, security can suffer. This is why you definitely need a security plugin.
WordFence provides a great WordPress firewall that can identify and instantly block any potential malicious traffic. It is so efficient because it runs at the endpoint, allowing it to integrate deeply with WordPress.
A great feature is that the WordFence scanner will constantly verify your core files, plugins, and even theme for malicious code and malware. It will also check for backdoors, redirects, or code injection.
One of the best things is that it verifies and compares your WordPress files with the WordPress repository. If changes are found, then you get a full report. WordFence also has the power to overwrite files that have been changed and revert them to their original version, removing files that should not be there.
Overall, even if it is a paid option, I think WordFence deserves its spot on the list of the best WordPress plugins for blogs. It helps you stay safe and keeps you protected in the long run.
Spam is a serious issue, so this next entry on my list of the best WordPress plugins for blogs will solve it. If people can post comments on your blog, this is the best spam protection solution. You probably know this plugin as it comes pre-installed with WordPress. Most people deactivate it, but a time comes when you will want to use it.
As soon as your blog or site gains some traction and your domain authority increases, you become a bot target. Basically, bots will try to get some “juice” from your blog in the form of links in the comments. You can set the links to be no-follow, but that does not mean that bots will not spam the comments section.
So, to avoid that, you should always set your comments to “manually approve” and use a plugin like Akismet.
It is a great way to keep your readers up-to-date with your latest content by using push notifications. In some cases, push notifications might not be the best option. For news and blog sites, it is a great way to notify subscribers about the new content you posted.
PushEngage has a free plan that you can use to test and get started. It is limited to 2,500 subscribers and 120 notifications per month, but that is more than enough for a small blog or website.
If you choose a paid plan, then there are plenty of useful features that you can use. A great feature is the auto-responder. This feature allows you to create drip campaigns and increase your conversions and subscriber count.
A great feature is that you can send the notifications using the subscriber’s timezone. This is useful as you wouldn’t want your subscribers to get notified at 4 A.M.
If you are running an eCommerce website, you can easily set auto-notifications based on price drops and product promos. This way, your subscribers get notified once a sale or promo starts and prices drop. This feature is a great incentive to get visitors to subscribe to your push notification list.
There are many other features available, but I highlighted the ones that I thought were the most important. You can check them out on PushEngage’s features page.
Are you looking to increase your conversion rate or subscriber count? If you do, this entry from my list of the best WordPress plugins for blogs will certainly help you.
You can create beautiful and high converting pop-ups with the drag-and-drop builder. You can do this with minimal design knowledge thanks to the intuitive UI. Once you are satisfied with the design, you can add sounds and animation to your pop-up to make it even better.
There are many campaign types such as Lightbox Pop-ups, Floating Bars, Countdown Timers, Coupon Wheels, and more. Each campaign type is specifically designed to attract more customers or subscribers. There are several triggers for your pop-ups. You can trigger your pop-up when a user scrolls, after a certain amount of time, if the visitor is inactive or tries to exit your site (exit-intent).
Another great feature is the geo-targeting, which allows you to personalize your campaign based on your visitor’s location. This is great if you want to run multiple campaigns for different regions.
Last but not least, on my list of the best WordPress plugins for blogs is UpdraftPlus. You don’t actually need it until something goes wrong. When you are a blogger or webmaster, you know that things might not go as planned from time to time. When these types of things happen, you better have a backup prepared.
This is where UpdraftPlus comes in. You can easily create backups for your files and database with the click of a button. You can save the backups on your server locally or add FTP details to store them on another server.
If you want, you can even schedule automatic backups, so you don’t have to worry about anything. I usually set 2–4 daily backups. If something happens, the data loss is minimal, and I can easily restore the website in minutes.
You are also safe if an update for your theme or plugins goes wrong. UpdraftPlus creates a backup of your site before the updating process begins. This way, if something is not right with the update, you can easily restore it to the previous version.
There is also a clone and migrate option that you can use. This feature is great if you want to move your site easily to a different hosting provider or if you want to set up a staging environment.
All in all, UpdraftPlus is a great plugin to keep your site up and to run when things go sideways.
Conclusions about the best WordPress plugins for blogs
This is the list of my 13 best WordPress plugins for blogs. I tried to cover as many categories of plugins as I could while creating this list. I hope this will help you decide on what plugins to choose when setting up your blog.
If you need some guidelines about what hosting to choose, check out my article on how to choose the best hosting for WordPress.
Do you know someone that can’t decide on what plugins to use? Please share this article with them. It might help them get the ball rolling.
Disclaimer: links in this article may contain my affiliate id. This allows me to make articles free for everyone.