Discover smart basic plugin tips and tools to make your blogging life easier and more productive
When you start a blog, or even when you’ve been blogging for a while, there will come a day when you think about speeding up your productivity and success.
WordPress already offers a ton of useful features and flexibility. However, there are still some functions you might be missing, or you’ve never even thought about yet. There are several basic WordPress plugins that may help to improve your blogs’ performance and success. There is everything from SEO to sharing your posts on social media, email marketing, and analytics.
Basic features include optimizing the speed and performance of your blog, backups, SEO, marketing and reporting. These include:
- Technical optimization of your blog by cleaning up trash and unnecessary data.
- Cache for faster loading times and a better user experience.
- Anti-Spam functions to prevent spam comments and trackbacks.
- Backups of your data.
- Search engine optimization for pages and posts with kewords, meta tags and descriptions.
- Search engine options for your images.
- Image optimization for a faster loading.
- Broken links checker for a better user experience.
- Redirection of broken or outdated links.
- Related posts to keep your readers on your site.
- Contact forms for your website visitors.
- Blog, email and newsletter subscriptions for listbuilding, lead generation and customer loyalty.
- Social media buttons, social login and social comments to connect your blog to your social networks.
- Social media automation to schedule, share and cross-promote your blog posts on social media.
- Reporting and analysis of your actions and performance.
Having tried hundreds of WordPress plugins ever since we ‘ve been using WordPress, we’ve shortlisted the ones we really use on our blogs an put them into a concise basic “15 Best of WordPress Plugins” list. So here is a compact selection of essential plugins, that may help you to kickstart your blog and boost your productivity. All of them are free, some offer premium options for more features and flexibility worth looking at.
15 Basic WordPress Plugins to Kickstart your Blog and Boost Productivity
Quality content is the most important success factor for a blog. But, you also need to understand the importance of streamlining your blog for speed and performance for a better user experience, and to improve your content with SEO-friendly features. You will need to connect your blog to your social media channels to share your posts for more reach and to engage with your readers. And you will also need to stay in touch with your readers by offering contact forms, social comments and follow-up with email lists and blog subscriptions. More importantly, you will have to analyze your activities to see what works best in order to improve your efforts and success.
The following selection of plugins will help you to streamline your blog performance, getting rid of unnecessary manual workload and thus leave you with more time for creating awesome content for your blog.
1. Autooptimize (free) to keep your blog running smoothly
2. WP Super Cache (free) to improve site performance and speed
3. Antispam Bee (free) to keeping your blog spam free
Once you have launched your blog, you can be sure to get spam comments and this will become pretty annoying. And, you will also get in touch with trackback spam. A trackback is also a kind of comment to notify that someone has linked your post on their site. Trackbacks are great for networking with other bloggers, but unfortunately, they are also very attractive for spammers.
One solution to defend spammers is to deactivate the comment and trackback functions on your blog. But this will deprive you of the opportunity to engage with your readers and connect with other bloggers. The plugin Antispam Bee blocks spammy comments and trackbacks effectively, without using captchas.
The plugin detects spam based on checking incoming comments and trackbacks against public databases and typical spam comment structures as well as a local database for comments previously marked as spam. Thus, it eliminates spam comments by automatically reviewing and filtering your comments but lets you keep control of which comments are displayed and which comments are caught and cleared under your blog’s “Comments” tab. Cleaning out spam regularly speeds up your site and saves space in your blog’s database.
Thus, Antispam Bee is a very useful plugin, doing all the dirty work for you and saves your time for getting rid of annoying spammers.
4. Updraft Plus WordPress Backup Plugin (free & premium from $70/ year) to backup and restore your data
5. Yoast SEO (free & premium from $69/year) to optimize your blog and content for the search engines
6. PB SEO friendly images (free) to optimize your images for a better indexing in the search engines
The search engines need specific attributes (»alt« and also »title«) to index your images. And images can have a huge impact on the ranking of your blog. These attributes are also required to get a W3C valid website.
7. EWWW image optimizer (free & premium) to compress your images for more page load and a better ranking
Large images can reduce your page speed and this is extremely harmful to your ranking and conversion and it will cost storage and bandwidth.
8. Broken Link Checker (free) to monitor and fix broken links in posts, pages, and images
Broken links lead to a poor user experience for your readers and can impact your ranking. The search engines dislike bad user experience caused by broken links.
9. Redirection (free) to fix 404 errors by 301 redirection
10. Related Posts Thumbnails Plugins for WordPress (free) to keep your website visitors reading on
When visitors land on your site, you want to make them stay as long as possible and browse your content and keep on reading. Related links with thumbnail images of related posts improve CTR.
11. Contact Form 7 (free) to let your website visitors contact you
A contact form is an essential and basic feature of your blog to stay in touch with your website visitors.
12. Email Subscribers and Newsletters (free & premium from $97/year) to build email list from your website visitors
Once you managed to get visitors to your blog, you will want to make them come back. An email list is an essential element of any marketing strategy and a good way to build leads, loyalty, and conversion. The easiest way to grab your visitor’s email address is by offering them to subscribe to your blog. A blog subscription or newsletter will hook your visitors to your blog and encourage them to return, whenever you publish a new update or news on your blog.
This Email Subscribers and Newsletters plugin lets you easily collect subscribers. It automatically sends updates to your subscriber list, whenever you publish a new post.
Email Subscribers and Newsletters is a fully featured subscription plugin that helps you achieve all the things you need to build a subscriber list from your website visitors and keep them engaged.
It provides you with a set of tools to collect email addresses, send automated new blog post notification emails, create & send newsletters, and also to manage them all in one single place.
13. Super Socializer- WordPress Social Share, Social Login and Social Comments Plugin – (free) to place share and follow buttons on your site
14. Blog2Social Smart Social Media Automation (free & premium from $79/year) to schedule and share your blog posts on social media automatically
Don’t wait for others to share your posts. In order to get more outreach for your blog posts, you need to share every post you publish by yourself.
15. Google Analytics Dashboard (free & premium) to get a better grasp of your stats
Keeping track of your stats is crucial to get a better grasp of your audiences’ preferences and makes it easier to create content that performs best for your blog.
This plugin is certainly not necessary since you can open Google Analytics to look at your blog stats. But it is definitely convenient since the plugin puts those stats right on your WordPress dashboard. If you’re regularly checking your stats on page views and performance of your posts, the plugin helps you keeping track of your stats more quickly and conveniently.
I hope the list of basic plugins will help you to kickstart and improve your blog. You may also take a look at our collection of The 7 Very Best Social Media Plugins for WordPress Blogs and Websites + 55 Alternatives and 25 Best WordPress Marketing Plugins You Must Have.
Now over to you. Please let me know what works for you by adding a comment to this post.
Melanie Tamblé is co-founder and co-CEO of Adenion GmbH. She is an experienced expert in content marketing and social media.
Adenion GmbH specializes in online services and tools for bloggers, businesses and agencies of any size to support their online marketing and content seeding tasks on the web.
Blog2Social as WordPress Plugin and WebApp enable fast and easy auto-posting, scheduling and cross-promotion of blog posts, articles, links, images, videos and documents across multiple social media sites.
Social media posts will be automatically turned into a customized format for each social platform and auto-scheduled for the best time. Social media post can be previewed and tailored with individual post formats, images or personal comments – all in one easy step.