I love WordPress for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons I love it is because of the number of free and affordable plugins that exist!
In this post, I compiled a list of 18 best free WordPress plugins plus 2 plugins that are super affordable and well worth the purchase.
I’ve used these plugins to build a profitable blog and can attest to their effectiveness.
Ready to learn about them?
Let’s delve into it.
20 free (or affordable) WordPress plugins for your blog
Gutenberg is annoying.
If you don’t know what Gutenberg is, it is a new type of editor that WordPress came up with.
It is supposed to help us create interactive websites and acts more like a “page builder” than the classic plain WordPress editor we have used for years to create content.
The problem with Gutenberg? It is not user-friendly. It is not intuitive and the first time I tried to use it, I couldn’t figure out how to add a hyperlink to a piece of text.
For that reason, I waged war on Gutenberg and apparently, I wasn’t the only blogger who felt this way.
Thankfully, someone came up with the idea that if you don’t like to use Gutenberg, you could install the original WordPress Classic Editor-which is so much more intuitive-and get back to the good old days.
So, my friend, torturing yourself with the Gutenberg editor is unnecessary.
Just install this plugin and be done with it.
Akismet blocks spam and malicious comments on WordPress and does a mighty good job of it.
Disqus is a plugin that allows people to leave comments on your blog.
It is also kind of like a social networking site for people to find blogs they are interested in although I have never used it for that purpose.
Another thing that Disqus does that I enjoy is that it suggests related posts for your readers to consume once they’re done.
And the longer you can keep someone on your blog, the better!
A significant percentage of my blog traffic retention is because of Disqus.
Pretty Links Lite
I enjoy Pretty Links because you can use it for a myriad of things!
Personally, I use Pretty Links to cloak my affiliate marketing links.
This is helpful because most affiliate links are long, cumbersome and if I wanted to give it to people on one of my YouTube videos for instance, it would be near impossible.
If I were referring people to Udemy using my affiliate link for instance, it would look something like this: https://www.udemy.com/?pmtag=UDEMYQ330&utm_source=growth-affiliate&utm_medium=linkshare&utm_term=&utm_content=textlink&utm_campaignSiteID=A_TrXSi7ZG4-C1QrJgCEvan7CuG0BAjYDQ&LSNPUBID=A%2FTrXSi7ZG4.
NOBODY can say this.
Therefore, I turn to Pretty Links and I can shorten that to MyOnlineBizJourney.com/udemy.
It’s also helpful when I’m inserting links into blog posts to remember this shorter and cleaner link.
Cost: FREE with an upgrade to PRO if you need it.
Yoast SEO helps me optimize my blog posts for search engines (on-page SEO) by suggesting best SEO practices for me to follow as I write.
When you follow most of the rules, Yoast gives you a green light to indicate that you are following their suggestions. This can increase your chances of showing up in search engines.
This tool works! Once I started paying attention to it, my traffic from search engines increased substantially.
Cost: FREE with an upgrade to PRO if you need it.
Shortcodes Ultimates adds extra functionality to your blog.
If you want to put a box around a piece of content like you see below so it is highlighted, you can do so.
I can add clickable buttons to my content that leads to a product like this one:
All of this with a few clicks of a mouse.
Wordfence catches security threats to your website.
If someone tries to login to your site, Wordfence can pick up on their malicious intent and block them.
Wordfence will also give you recommendations on plugins or themes on your website which need to be updated so they don’t become a security loophole for hackers.
I once had my website hacked. It was annoying and frustrating but in hindsight a plugin like Wordfence could have helped me.
Cost: FREE with upgrade if you need it.
Click to Tweet
Get more people to tweet your content from your page by using Click to Tweet.
Here’s an example of a tweet I created with Click to Tweet.
Building an e-mail list is how you will make money as a blogger-period.
One of the most effective ways I have found to build an e-mail list is to use a pop-up form.
Many people hate popup forms and yes, they can be annoying if you’re not even allowing people to read your content before showing it to them.
On my blog, I have two pop-ups.
One shows up when someone is ready to click off the website and the other one shows up 90 seconds after someone has been on the blog.
PopupAlly , makes it easy for you to create pop-up forms that are non-invasive and which get the work done.
Cost: FREE with an upgrade if you need it.
Contact Form 7
You MUST have a way for people to contact you. Contact Form 7 is a simple contact form plugin that connects to your e-mail and helps you achieve just that.
Headers and Footers
Even though I know quite a bit when it comes to blogging and websites, I’m not entirely tech-savvy.
When I have a piece of code I have to insert into my website, I find that using Headers and Footers is a much better way for me to do than trying to play with the code on my website and breaking my site!
We never think it will happen and we hope it will never happen, but if your site ever crashes and you don’t have a back-up of your content, it will be terrible.
Backup allows you to back up your website to your host or to Dropbox (if you pay for it).
Cost: FREE. Paid if you want to backup your site to Dropbox.
Images take up a ton of your storage space on your blog.
This could slow down your blog and mar the user experience for readers.
WP Smush is a helpful plugin that reduces the size of images you upload to your WordPress blog so they don’t take up that much space.
Mailchimp for WordPress
I no longer use Mailchimp on my blog but if you currently use Mailchimp and would like some extra functionality for it on your blog, the Mailchimp plugin is helpful if you want to build sign-up forms to collect e-mail addresses.
How do you find other bloggers to connect with? You can use a tool like Triberr.
Triberr is a social networking website for bloggers and the great thing about it is that if you create valuable content and are regular with connecting with other bloggers on the platform, this could be a way to grow your blog. Plus, you can never under-estimate the power of building a network of like-minded people.
Whenever, I publish a blog post, the Triberr plugin immediately exports my post to Triberr. This way I never have to manually post my blog there and other bloggers who love what I’ve written can interact with me on there and then share my content out if they enjoy it.
Pixel Cat Lite
If you ever plan on using Facebook ads to promote your blog and business, I highly recommend getting Pixel Cat Lite.
Remember when I said I am not entirely tech-savvy? This tool creates a space beneath the Class Editor where you can simply copy and paste a Facebook Pixel.
Pixels can give you information on who your blog audience is. This is helpful if you ever want to retarget those people or you want to create a Lookalike audience to promote your blog to.
Cost: FREE. Upgrade if you need to.
Google XML Sitemap
This plugin will improve SEO to your website by allowing search engines to index your website using sitemaps.
Just because you have published a few blog posts doesn’t mean Google’s robots can find your website. Improve the chances of your website being found by using Google XML.
W3 Total Cache
Caching your website increases the speed at which your website loads. This improves the overall user experience for readers coming to your blog.
If your blog is loading slowly, people will click off quickly. When more people do this, it communicates to Google that perhaps your blog doesn’t contain quality content. This is an important factor when it comes to ranking in search engines. Thus, something to care about and take care of.
W3 Total Cache is helpful with this aspect.
Thrive Architect is not a free plugin but it is an affordable landing page building software that I highly recommend.
I’ve been using Thrive Architect (it was called Thrive Landing Pages then) since 2016 and it has helped me tremendously when it comes to building an e-mail list.
If you’re serious about turning your blog into a business and know that you will have to build landing pages for e-mails subscriptions and sales, Thrive Architect is a phenomenal plugin to get.
Cost: $67 for a license on ONE website for Thrive Architect alone. Or $19 per month (billed yearly) to get access to ALL Thrive Products.
Social Warfare is another plugin that is not free but which is affordable enough that I wanted to include here.
Yes, there are definitely free ways to put social share buttons on your website.
However, in 2017, when I had to move my blog from an http to https protocol, Social Warfare was the ONLY plugin that allowed me to keep my social share counts on all my blog posts.
Why are social share counts important? Well, psychology teaches us that social proof is important.
When you can show a new reader that 200 people shared your blog post on social media platforms, it is proof that your content was valuable enough that other people didn’t want to keep it to themselves.
This builds authority in the eyes of that new reader and they are more likely to become a subscriber, a loyal fan and eventually a customer of your blog-business.
You honestly don’t need a ton of plugins on your blog to succeed.
You need a handful of useful ones that will take your blog to the next level.
I shared 18 best free WordPress plugins plus 2 affordable ones that will help you get there.
Any plugins that you use that I didn’t mention here?
I would love to hear about them in the comments below.