Are you looking for the Best WordPress Plugins to start your Blogging Journey in 2020? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Below is a detailed list of Plugins that are an absolute must for Beginners.Plugins are an extra piece of code that you add to your WordPress installation to extend your blog's capabilities. Think of it like this, WordPress = Your Smartphone and Plugins = Apps. Click To Tweet
As and when you need more things on your phone, you install apps! Just like apps, plugins are made and maintained by someone. Similarly, take up space on your hosting and also (in rare cases) pose security risks for your blog. This is the reason why you shouldn’t blindly add a plugin. Make sure you read reviews, like the one you are currently on before you decide to go for a free plugin!
This is Old Content, we do not publish Digital Marketing Content anymore. We have kept this intact, as it is beneficial for the users.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin
Alright, you now know what Plugins are and what they can do for you. It is time to understand how you can add them to your site.
WordPress Admin Dashboard – Search and Select
The WordPress admin dashboard is your main working area of a WordPress website and/or blog.
Simply click on Plugins. It will take you to the screen below.
By Default, Akismet and Hello Dolly plugins come pre-installed in every WordPress installation. Akismet is the most useful plugin for a Blogger! Why? (discussed later below)
Next, click on the Add New Button.
You will be taken to the below screen.
From here, you search for the Plugins that you need. Click on the Install Now button (seen in the above image). The installation will begin in the backend. The Install button will turn into a blue Activate button. Click on ‘Activate,’ and it will take you to the settings page of that plugin. You can let the default settings be, or choose advanced settings yourself for added functionalities configured in the plugin.
With that, your plugin will now be ready to use! Likewise, you can easily add the plugins discussed in this Blog below.
WordPress Admin Dashboard – Upload
Another way to add your plugin is to download it from its source, i.e., on its developer’s website and then upload it directly to WordPress. This option also comes in handy in case you bought your plugin from another source or if it came bundled with your premium theme. Most premium themes include premium plugins as part of their package. These have to be uploaded separately to WordPress.
The following screen will show up. Click on the Choose File to upload your Plugin Zip file and click on the Install Now button.
Once it installs, Click on Activate Plugin.
Note: Sometimes (if the plugin is not well coded or outdated, i.e., not compatible with WordPress), it can cause problems with the display of your site. So make sure to back up your data. If, in a rare case, things go out of hand, you can also contact your Hosting Company, and they can remove the recently uploaded plugin from the backend for you.
Alright, now that you know how to easily add the plugins, let’s get on to the Best WordPress plugins.
The number one requirement for a Blog on WordPress! Say Good-Bye to spam comments with this Plugin.
Current Stats – 5+ Million Active Installations; Rating – 4.7/5 (882 reviews)
As soon as you start writing Blog Posts, you will start getting spam comments. Spam comments are the ones that post a link along with their comment. Their only purpose is to get a link back to their website or blog (some backlink builders use this method).
As soon as you activate this plugin, head over to the Settings page.
The settings are already chosen for you by default, but you can also change them, basis your requirement. Also, the settings are pretty self-explanatory, but if you need any help, do let me know in the comments below, and I’ll assist you.
By default, you start with their Free plan and an API key. You can choose to upgrade your plan to a $5/month (Rs. 380) (commercial website/blog) or a $50/month (Rs. 3800) (vast network or multi-site installations).
You only need their free account for your Blog! Later, when you grow huge, you can consider their commercial plans.
This plugin is a Swiss-knife amongst plugins. It can do so many things for you – Site Security, Page and Image performance and optimization, Contact form, and also free CDN (Content Delivery Network)!
Current Stats – 5+ Million Active Installations; Rating – 3.9/5 (1518 reviews)
Here’s a complete list of features that come with its free plan:
Free starter themes (basic functionalities)
- Subscription form for website visitors (the one in the footer section of this website)
- Gallery and Slideshow tools for showcasing images
- Add Custom Sidebars
- A Sidebar is a space on the right/left of the web page that houses additional features like widgets for sharing, ads, subscription forms, etc. For example, mine is visible on the right side of this post.
- Note: not all WordPress themes support a sidebar. Be sure to check that when selecting a theme. I will upload a blog soon on How to choose the perfect theme for your niche.
- Embed content directly in your post/page from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and video platforms without requiring coding knowledge.
- Activate Infinite Scroll
- It loads the next blog post once a visitor scrolls to the bottom of your current post. This makes it easier for your visitor to stick around longer and hence giving you fewer bounce rates
- Enable custom comments section underneath your Blog post (I prefer using another plugin for comments as I have different goals)
- Contact Forms (For subscription or your Contact me/us pages)
- Page and Image caching
- Makes a static copy and then displays that to the visitors. It does not reduce the functionalities of your page at all; It speeds up your load time
- Image Lazy loading
- Lazy loading means images will start to load as a visitor scrolls down on the page. Since your Image doesn’t load in advance, the text is prioritized making your site load faster. This comes in handy for image optimization.
- Site Traffic stats (use google analytics for more advanced stats)
- Automatic Social Sharing (Best feature for free! Integrate your social media platforms to your blog. When you create a new post it automatically shares it across your social media platforms saving you time and effort)
- Creates XML Sitemaps and provides site verification tools with search engines (Use Yoast SEO instead as explained ahead)
- Creates a Related Posts Section, below your Blog Post, so that you keep your visitors longer on your site and offer them more content
- Adds Social Media sharing icons for your content visitors
- Brute-force attack protection (stops hackers and bots)
- Downtime monitoring (emails you, if your website server is down or if the website isn’t showing to visitors)
- Secure Authentication for your login details (you can enable Two-Factor Login Authentication)
- Automatically updates your Plugins.
- Provides you with the last 20 days of Site Activity (all actions that you did on your website including, any changes to plugin, theme, content, customization)
- Standard support from Jetpack’s Support team
It can do a lot more with its premium plans:
- Premium themes to choose from
- Similar to Image and Page caching you now get Video optimization too
- Also, you get enrolled in the WordAds program
- Can instantly start showing WordAds on your Blog (no pre-approval required)
- Get additional analytics from your Ads and can integrate Google Analytics too
- Social Media channel posts can be scheduled using this plugin!
- SEO tools like Custom Titles and Custom Metadata get included
- You can also add Payment buttons, i.e., can start selling directly from your web pages.
- You get automatic Daily site backups along with Malware Scanning
The Premium plans start at $3.50/month (Rs. 200). Do you need the premium plans? Well No! WordPress has no shortage of professional-looking, free themes. You can also purchase more themes from premium vendors like ThemeForest, which will give you a better bang for the buck! The only significant factors that you are missing on is the site backups and malware scanning that keeps your site protected.
This brings us to our next Plugin!
3. All in One WP Security
Their description reads – “All round best WordPress security plugin!”
Current Stats – 800,000+ Active Installations; Rating – 4.8/5 (974 reviews)
This plugin deserves a whole blog post dedicated to explaining its features. You don’t need any premium plugin for your WordPress security, as this is an excellent alternative to Jetpack’s premium plans!
Let me give an exhaustive list of what it can do for you!
- You can change your Login Username (making it difficult for hackers to log in to your account since your changed name will only be known to you!)
- It stops user enumeration i.e., other users and bots cannot discover user info via the author permalink.
- Protects against Brute Force Login Attack
- Block specific IP addresses if you see some attempts made from a particular address (if you offer membership area to your Blog)
- View failed login attempts which show the user’s IP address, the User ID or Username and Date and Time of the failed login attempt (if you offer membership area to your Blog)
- Add Google Recaptcha or plain maths captcha to WordPress Login form (if you provide membership area in your Blog)
- Ability to add Honeypot to the WordPress’s user registration form to reduce registration attempts by robots (if you offer membership area to your Blog)
- Schedule automatic backups and email notifications or make an instant DB backup with one click.
- Prevent people from accessing the readme.html, license.txt, and wp-config-sample.php files of your WordPress site. Also, protect your PHP code by disabling file editing from the WordPress admin dashboard
- Backup your original .htaccess and wp-config.php files with a simple click
- It enables the “6G Blacklist” Firewall rules courtesy of Perishable Press.
- Forbids proxy comment posting
- Disables Track and Trace as well as bad or malicious query strings
- Protects Cross-Site Scripting
- WordPress PingBack Vulnerability Protection feature
- Ability to block fake Google bots from crawling your site
- Ability to prevent image hotlinking
- Rename your WordPress login page URL so that bots and hackers cannot access your actual one. This feature allows you to change the default login page (wp-login.php) to something you configure (just like changing the login username)
- The file change detection scanner can alert you if any files have changed in your WordPress system that was probably not authorized by you.
- Adds a captcha to your WordPress comment form to add security against comment spam.
- Protects front-end copying of your text, i.e., no one will be able to right-click nor copy and paste from your website.
- Removes the WordPress Version information from the JS and CSS file includes of your site (this comes in handy not to let hackers know the WordPress version you are using on your site)
- Prevent other sites from displaying your content via iframe (some hackers use your content on their website by using iframe which mirrors your site thereby stealing your traffic and your bandwidth)
The above points were just the basics! There are still a lot of functionalities built in this Plugin.
A must-have for every Blogger. I will write a Post on this Plugin separately explaining how most things work. As I understand from personal experience, some of the functionalities are a little hard to implement, especially the ones termed as Intermediate or Advanced.
4. Contact Form 7
This Contact Form plugin is the easiest to use, edit forms, and deploy on your Website. All of this with a Price Tag = Free.
Current Stats – 5+ Million Active Installations; Rating – 4.1/5 (1761 reviews)
- You can create and manage multiple contact forms
- Embed contact forms anywhere on your site using shortcodes generated for each form
- You can add a Captcha for added security and preventing bots
- Also works with Akismet spam filtering
- Block messages with specific keywords
- You can also modify the email that reaches you when someone fills an entry on the form for each form separately.
There are many contact form plugins out there, that can give you beautiful forms or better analytics right from the dashboard, but they are all usually a bit expensive. But when you are starting, this plugin should be more than enough for you!
5. Easy Table of Contents
The name says it all. No introductions needed here.
Current Stats – 100,000+ Active Installations; Rating – 4.7/5 (89 reviews)
I know the above stats don’t look impressive. I was a little hesitant, too, at first. But as you can see, the table of contents on my Blog posts, I am pleased to use this plugin.
As its name suggests, it is really simple to use.
- Simply select the heading levels you want to include, i.e., H1, H2…H6. You can also choose the levels of headings to exclude on every post separately.
- You can also activate it on regular pages as well.
- It will auto-insert itself at the position that you specify in settings, thereby saving you time.
- You can completely personalize it by selecting colors for background, border, title, link (hover and visited)
- You can also select the Font size and box width
Having a Table of Contents also helps search engines understand the structure of your page and thereby helping you rank better. Hence this plugin can be considered a part of SEO plugins.
6. Simple Author Box
This is the bread and butter for every Blogger (unless you are an introvert).
Current Stats – 50,000+ Active Installations; Rating – 4.4/5 (74 reviews)
Once again, don’t be fooled by the above stats. It does what it says, that is, give you a simple yet beautiful and fully customizable Author Box for Blog Posts. I am currently using this myself! So if you needed an example of how well it looks, you now have it.
It does have a Pro version that starts at $29/Year (Rs. 2200). But you don’t need it unless you want absolute control over its position, styling, etc. The two things for which you will require the paid version are – Multi-Author Support and Guest Author Support. Although, you will need these features at a later stage when you’re growing with an established subscriber base.
The free plan includes the following features:
- Show your Gravatar image, name, website, your description, and social icons.
- You can choose social icons from over 40 social platforms (some I had no idea even existed)
- Automatically inserts the author box at the end of every post.
- You can customize the Font style, Color, size (it takes the default theme style if you do not modify any options)
- You can choose to show social icons with their official buttons or styled versions in sync with your Blog theme.
- The best part is the ability to see the changes live on the screen when you choose an option
You can go Pro the minute somebody asks you if they can Guest Post on your site! Till then, enjoy the free version.
7. Site Kit by Google
This is an official tool by Google that helps you link all the necessary Google tools to your Blog from one central dashboard area.
Current Stats – 400,000+ Active Installations; Rating – 3.9/5 (137 reviews)
This tool links all the useful tools that everybody uses (and you will too) into one simple, good-looking dashboard.
- Links your site to Google Search Console, Google Analytics, PageSpeed Insights (give you your blog’s mobile and desktop speed score within the dashboard), Google Tag Manager, and even Google AdSense platform.
- It will only need your google account details and will then provide you step-by-step instructions, to set up all the above.
- You can set up these tools easily without the need to fumble around to find how to add the verification codes to your core files.
- You can see your blog’s visitor analysis without needing to go to Google Analytics (unless you need filters and further customization)
There are a lot of tools that offer Google tools integration, but why go for something else when Google can do it faster and easier for you!
8. WP Super Cache
I know Jetpack does this too, but this tool beats it in terms of Speed!
Current Stats – 2+ Million Active Installations; Rating – 4.3/5 (1248 reviews)
- It generates static HTML files of your blog, thereby increasing the speed of displaying content.
- Uses G-Zip compression tool to compress your pages
- Also, Provides CDN support for further speed increase (Note: if you have Jetpack enabled, this plugin will not allow the CDN feature as it uses Jetpack to provide its CDN network)
- You can set the time to cache and dispose of the cached version of your pages (control is totally in your hands)
- Enables 304 Browser caching (checks if cached or original version should be shown; depending on if there have been any changes since the last time a cached version was made)
There are a host of advanced features that can be enabled to enhance the speed further, but I will recommend only advanced users to use those options.
This is a great tool to reduce the clutter and free up space from your hosting space. This helps in speeding up the site.
Current Stats – 900,000+ Active Installations; Rating – 4.8/5 (1155 reviews)
Only one caching tool can be active at a time on your blog, hence use the caching from WP Super Cache only. On the other hand, this plugin can give you a speed boost through other methods.
- It can remove all the old, deleted, unused data like page revisions, trashed pages, spam comments that usually take up unnecessary space, causing a load on your host.
- Compacts the MySQL database tables (this is the default CMS WordPress uses)
- It Automatically cleans all the above weekly (you can set the frequency)
- It can cache and compress pages as well as images (up to 64 MB which is quite high for a free plan)
Although they offer a premium plan starting $39/Year (Rs. 2950), which provides a bit more flexibility and features, you will mostly not need for it. Stick to the free plan and enjoy the speed!
10. Yoast SEO
The one tool everyone needs for their blog. SEO is the most crucial aspect of content creation unless you have deep pockets and are ready to run campaigns to bring people to your blog!
Current Stats – 5+ Million Active Installations; Rating – 4.9/5 (27181 reviews)
This is your free-forever tool for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It will give you all the necessary checks in terms of content, placement, search engine visibility, etc. that help you rank better on Search engines.
- Helps you write the title and meta description for your page/post and provides you the below snippet preview which makes editing easier for you
- Helps you implement Schema (Schema helps the search engines understand what your website is all about and enables the use of rich results)
- Automatically generates XML sitemaps for your site.
- You can control your site’s breadcrumbs.
- You can set canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content.
- It gives you a score and insight as you type your content (a green smiley face indicates the best content as per SEO)
- It also provides a readability score (is your content easy to read i.e., not too wordy, has proper headings, etc.)
- Gives you the ability to add a Focus Keyword (target keyword for ranking) (this is the keyword Yoast uses to determine the SEO score to you)
- You can also set a post/page as the Cornerstone content (Cornerstone is the most valuable/relevant content of your site i.e., the place where the maximum of your other posts are linked to, and you expect the maximum visitors)
- It also gives you bulk editing features to update meta descriptions and titles using variable snippets
Well, if this SEO plugin is so important, do you need their Premium version that starts at $89 (Rs. 6730) for one site? No!
No matter how needy you feel, this is still an analysis tool only. It will not automatically make your content and SEO better! All it does is provide you analysis of your content, and hence you should invest money in learning SEO instead of using a tool that will only give you guides on how to do things! Those guides are freely available everywhere!
This is what the Premium version provides you:
- Helps you manage and redirect deleted and changed URLs to your new content (this is helpful when you have a massive number of posts and manually keeping a track can be a problem, but there are free plugins available for this)
- Just like Search Engine previews, provides you Social media previews (how your page/post will look if shared on a social platform)
- Automatically suggests internal linking between posts (based on keywords used) (if you write the content yourself this one is not a need, but yes it does save you time)
- Gives you suggestions bases on additional focus keywords and synonyms of that word (in the free version, it provides analysis for only one keyword) (point to note here: it includes analysis basis the keywords but doesn’t actually limit the keywords you can use! so if you know your keywords, you can add them in your content, but Yoast won’t give you suggestions related to them)
If you still want the premium go ahead!
These were the Top 10 WordPress Plugins that will be useful for Blog Beginners. They cover all the bases i.e., speed, security, SEO, spam, design, and flexibility.
Want the review for a specific plugin i.e., whether or not it is worth using or buying? Facing trouble in setting up a plugin on WordPress? Do let me know, and I will show you a step by step guide and or review for all your queries.
Do you know any plugins that can replace the above recommendations for the better? Do let me know in the comments below.
A Passionate Blogger, Digital Marketer, Dancer, Astrologer, and a bit of an Audiophile. A complete Family man, supported by Friends and a sincere heart! Suits are my armor and Sarcasm, my weapon; I write with my heart, and that’s a confession.