6 WordPress Plugins Your Blog Needs

6 WordPress Plugins Your Blog Needs

One of my favourite things about being self-hosted is the WordPress plugins I can use. Plugins allow you more control over your site – both how it looks, and how it runs. They can save a lot of time, effort and stress.

Below you will find 6 WordPress plugins I couldn’t blog without!

1. Yoast SEO

Starting off strong because no list of WordPress plugins would be complete without this one.

Using a traffic light system, it marks you on your readability and your SEO. Readability covers sentence length, paragraph length, use of headings and more. SEO assesses various things you need to do to keep Google happy. This includes key word usage throughout your post, meta description and use of both internal and external links.

I often see people asking how much readability matters. In my opinion, it’s worth aiming for green for this as much as you do for SEO. The only things I don’t necessarily stress over are the use of the passive voice and, occasionally, sentence length. Otherwise, I work until all points are complete. It’s likely to make the post much more enjoyable for your audience, which is what matters.

In terms of SEO, always push for green. I would also advise learning about SEO in general, and not just relying on this plugin. It will help you A LOT, but it doesn’t cater to things like choosing a keyword in the first place. It relies on you having prior knowledge on that. So, having an understanding of keyword research and to implement it so you know what you’re doing is just as crucial.

Free or premium?

Another question I’ve seen a lot is “is it worth paying for the premium version?”. In my opinion, the answer is no. I’ve always found the free version to be more than adequate for my needs, so I’ve never upgraded. From discussions I’ve seen with others who have tried it, they feel the same way. At £79, it’s not an expense I would consider justified.

2. Social Warfare

If you want your posts to get shared, you need to make it as easy as possible. This is exactly the role that Social Warfare takes.

Set up is very easy, too. You can select the social networks you want, as well as where you’d like the buttons to appear. My favourite feature in Social Warfare is “floating buttons”. This means the share buttons are present throughout the post – not just at the end. I just like knowing a reader has the choice to share it whenever they want to!

Free or premium?

Again, Social Warfare has a premium version, which costs $29 a year for a single site. Once again, there are no features in this which push me to want to purchase it. All basic needs are covered in the free version! I don’t know of anyone who has tried premium so, if you have and you think it’s worth it, please let me know.

3. Smush

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but if you have a lot of images on your blog, this is a must! There are other similar plugins which do the same thing, but this is my personal favourite.

It reduces the sizes of your image files without harming their quality. This means your site will load faster, but your pictures will still look fabulous! Win win, right? In fact, I have mine set to automatically smush when I upload them, so I don’t even have to think about it.

Free or premium?

I don’t really understand why there’s a premium version of this, so I guess that answers that one…

In all seriousness, I imagine some of the pro features could come in handy if you have a photoblog, perhaps? For most bloggers, however, the free version is definitely sufficient.

Keyboard roses candle and notebook

4. GDPR Framework

When there was all the fret and fuss about GDPR, this saved my frazzled brain. Though it doesn’t guarantee complete compliance, it will take you several steps closer. Key features include:

  • An installation wizard to help you get started.
  • Configure the plugin to delete or anonymize personal data automatically or send a notification and allow admins to do it manually.
  • Track, manage and withdraw consent.
  • Generate a GDPR-compatible Privacy Policy template for your site.

I have a separate post about GDPR compliance to help you get on the right track if it’s something you haven’t thought about!

Free or premium?

As far as I can see, there’s only a free version so yay!

5. UpdraftPlus

One of the many perks of being in a relationship with an IT nerd is that he thinks of things I’d never consider. That’s why I have UpdraftPlus.

The purpose of this plugin is to backup your site. Having backups means that, if the worst was to happen, you’d be able to restore it. If it wasn’t for Neal’s guidance, I probably would have realised I needed this after it was too late.

My backups are set up to occur once a day, and go directly into my Google Drive. I did, in fact, have to perform a restoration in the summer because I’d fiddled with some settings. There was no major damage done, but I wanted my blog exactly how it had been previously. Thankfully, restoring was quick and easy!

Free or premium?

Looking at the information, the premium version seems very “next level.” By that, I mean it’s beyond my understanding so getting it would be a waste of my time. I feel like premium is aimed at developers who are setting it up for clients. With that in mind, the free version does plenty in regards to my needs.

6. WordFence Security

It may not be the most interesting of WordPress plugins, but it is an essential. It keeps everything nice and secure to protect your site from malicious attacks.

What I particularly like about this plugin is that it sends me emails when various events occur. For example, when someone logs into the admin panel of my site. So far, it’s thankfully only ever been myself, but I like having the knowledge I’d be notified in any case. It also tells me when updates need to be performed, which helps me keep the behind-the-scenes stuff running smoothly.

Free or premium?

I have the free version and it’s served me well so far! The premium version would be suitable for business users, but it isn’t a necessary expense for most of us!

6 WordPress Plugins Your Blog Needs

6 Must Have Plugins
Essential WordPress Plugins

6 WordPress Plugins I Couldn't Blog Without

What are some of your favourite WordPress plugins? Let me know in the comments!

24 Comments

  1. 20th February 2019 / 1:34 pm

    NICE. Thank you for explaining these in a way that I actually understand – I do use some of them, but may expand my plugin library based on this!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:43 am

      Glad I could help! 😀

  2. 20th February 2019 / 7:39 pm

    Oooh I only have the GDPR and Yoast SEO .. the rest will have to be added today ASAP!! I can’t justify paying for premium as well. Thank you so much for sharing Ruth!

    Geraldine | https://geraldinetalks.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:44 am

      My pleasure! 🙂 I probably wouldn’t have some of the others myself if it wasn’t for Neal, haha!

  3. 20th February 2019 / 11:59 pm

    Love this post, Ruth! A blogger’s quick guide to WP plugins. Thanks!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:44 am

      You’re very welcome! 🙂

  4. 21st February 2019 / 2:13 am

    Ahhh this couldn’t come at a better time! I’m planning to move over to WordPress within the next couple of months as well as go self-hosted, and I’m definitely saving this post to refer to when the time comes. I’m so excited to learn about things like SEO & all that because being on Blogger has restricted me from having access to all of WordPress’s benefits (duh Mace :’)) Super helpful & informative, thank you for sharing Ruth!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:46 am

      Yay for good timing! Ooooh, I’m so excited for you about going self-hosted! I think you’ll love it and I’m sure those extra benefits will just make your blog even more amazing.

  5. 21st February 2019 / 12:21 pm

    This was really interesting to read. I use a few of these plugins too (Yoast, Smush). I used to use UpDraft as well before I changed my host, who now do daily back ups for free. I also use iThemes Security, Akismet Anti-Spam, and Email Address Encoder among many others. That’s the beauty of going self-hosted on WordPress.org, you can be sure there’s a plugin for everything, even things you haven’t thought of! Great tips, thank you for sharing 🙂 xx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:51 am

      It’s great that your new host do daily back ups! That’s an awesome feature to have. I agree about being self-hosted on WordPress – I love all the different options for plugins there are.

  6. 21st February 2019 / 1:23 pm

    This is really interesting and helpful to read, thanks for sharing Ruth! I only have Yoast SEO from this list, but it sounds like there are so many handy plugins out there! I especially like the idea of Smush, I do upload a lot of photos to my blog, so it’s good to know size can be reduced but the quality remains the same. UpdraftPlus and WordFence Security both sound like sensible plugins to install and great to have peace of mind that your blog is backed up, safe and secure. Thanks again for sharing, I’m off to check these out now 🙂 <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:54 am

      Smush is definitely a great one when you have lots of pictures. Most of mine tend to be optimised when I upload them so I don’t even need to think about it. Neal has to take the credit for the sensible plugins. I’m more concerned with it looking pretty and loading quickly 😉

  7. 21st February 2019 / 3:07 pm

    Omg thank you so much for this Ruth!! I had a few of them already, but Ive gone and downloaded the rest!! So helpful!! xx

    http://zoe-ware.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:55 am

      Happy to help! 😀

  8. 21st February 2019 / 5:46 pm

    This is so useful, thank you!! I have noted down the ones I think I need and will definitely be spending some time this evening sorting things out. Appalled at myself for not having any of them downloaded already!

    Holly | The Writing Finch

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:55 am

      No problem at all – I’m glad I could help! 🙂

  9. 21st February 2019 / 9:39 pm

    Oh dear–so I just realized that I had been commenting on your posts, but my mobile WP reader is not working right. You may eventually get 100 comments from me in your spam or none at all. If you do see some, that’s why. I think my Iceland wifi and then returning home made my phone go wild!

    I think this is a great list of plugins. I am glad to see that someone else uses Wordfence and Updraft too. I always questioned their validity, but I think they are great so far.

    I would add that I use the free version of Grammarly, which I love…although like Yoast, it does not always love me. lol. Grammarly doesn’t get my sarcasm ; )

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      22nd February 2019 / 9:56 am

      Oh, no! I’m sorry your comments didn’t come through, but I appreciate you for trying all the same! 🙂 Grammarly is definitely another great suggestion, with the exception of its inability to detect sarcasm. I mean, come on, it’s 2019! 😉

  10. 22nd February 2019 / 5:28 pm

    Oh, these seem like a lot of great plug-ins for a blog to have! I’ve been looking into transfering my blog to self-hosted, and when I do, I’ll definitely have to revisit this post for help! 🙂 I know I’ve definitely heard Yoast SEO mentioned many times.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      27th February 2019 / 9:48 am

      Yoast is definitely a must have! 🙂 Hope the switch goes smoothly if you decide to go ahead!

  11. 22nd February 2019 / 8:38 pm

    I found this post so interesting. I sometimes get confused with all the technological jargon. I want to change and upgrade my blog, so this post is so helpful. Thank you for sharing your opinion. Xx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      27th February 2019 / 9:49 am

      I’d be hopeless without Neal to translate all the technical talk! x

  12. 16th March 2019 / 8:49 pm

    These are some great suggestions Ruth. I swear by Yoast SEO but haven’t heard of the others so I’ll be checking them out. Especially Smush! One plugin I would recommend for security is ‘limit login attempts’, I used for my blog as well as our company website at work.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      19th March 2019 / 4:33 pm

      Ooh, I’ll need to look at that one – thanks for the suggestion!

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