With literally thousands of different WordPress plugins out there to consider, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of choice. You now recognize the value that these plugins can add to your blog, but which ones should you use?
Just looking at the tip of the iceberg, we have narrowed down the list to ten of the best free WordPress plugins. They’re quite varied in what they have to offer, really demonstrating what is possible with just a simple installation or two.
One thing that you’ll quickly discover about running a blog is that the comment section can become very prone to spam. One of the most popular and most powerful tools to combat blog comment spam is Akismet. They maintain a database of spammers and keep those non-comments off your blog.
2. All in One SEO Pack
If you value search engine optimization but want to save a substantial amount of time to dedicate to it, the All in One SEO Pack is a great plugin for WordPress. Even if you consider yourself a search engine optimization expert, this plugin can help greatly with inserting the right meta keywords, defining your home description, adjusting the post title format, and so much more.
3. Contact Form 7
It’s important that you make yourself available to your readers. One way to do this is with the Contact Form 7 WordPress plugin. It creates a contact form on your blog, complete with a skill-testing, spam-preventing question. There are many other contact form plugins out there, most of which are free, so feel free to try another if you find that this version isn’t your cup of tea.
4. Datafeedr Random Ads V2
A common phenomenon on the Internet is something called “ad blindness.” If a visitor sees the same ad in the same spot every time, he will eventually become “blind” to it. You can minimize this effect with the Datafeedr Random Ads V2 plugin, which lets you randomize through a series of ads in the same slot on your site. This should help to increase clicks and revenue.
5. Show Top Commentators
Want to encourage more comments on your blog? The Show Top Commentators plugin allows you to show the people who have posted the most comments within a defined time period through a simple sidebar widget. This way, the people who are contributing most to your online community are rewarded for their efforts with “dofollow” links.
6. WP Super Cache
Speed has a lot to do with the user experience and that’s why WP Super Cache is so useful. It is able to convert the dynamic content of a WordPress blog into static HTML files. This helps to reduce the load on your webserver, but perhaps more importantly, it speeds up the page loading time. This means that people are able to access your blog content more quickly.
7. WordPress Database Backup
Just as you should be backing up your personal files on your computer, the same can be said about your WordPress blog. You never know when something can go wrong. With WordPress Database Backup, you can have a full backup of your database emailed to you on a regular basis. This way, should something go awry, you can “relaunch” your blog very easily.
More and more people are accessing the Internet from their smartphones. What WPtouch does is offer a more mobile-friendly version of your blog when it detects that someone is reading from an iPhone (or other supported mobile devices). This is a very important moving forward, as mobile users might not want to wait for the “full” site to load.
9. Flickr Photo Album
There are at least two reasons why you may want to consider the Flickr Photo Album plugin. First, it allows you to store all of your blog’s images on Flickr. This lessens the load on your own web host and saves you a great deal of storage space. Second, it allows you to access all of your Flickr-stored images from directly inside WordPress. No need to copy-and-paste that messy HTML code.
10. Share and Follow
Social media is becoming increasingly important in today’s Internet. The Share and Follow plugin is very robust and easy to use, connecting to Facebook, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and more, making it easy for readers to share your blog content with their friends and followers.