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It doesn’t cost a lot of money to start a blog and get it quickly set up. In fact, all you need is a host, a domain name, a theme, and a handful of WordPress plugins to start your very own blog and side hustle.
Plugins can help you stay organized and efficient, improve your social shares, protect your site from hackers and data loss, as well as keep your overall site running smoothly.
10 Best Free Plugins For WordPress
If you’re not sure which basic plugins you need to help you build a profitable blog, I highly recommend checking out the following 10 best free plugins for WordPress.
Best of all, they don’t cost a thing to use so if you’re not making any income from your blog yet, these are great options for you!
Before we start, if you’re currently hosting your site on a free platform, I recommend that you become self-hosted so you can freely customize your site, use plugins, and monetize your site. You can read my easy to follow tutorial on how you can start your own self-hosted WordPress blog for just $3.95/month here.
1. UpdraftPlus Backup
UpdraftPlus Backup is the first plugin I recommend getting is for back-up purposes because the worst thing that can happen as a blogger is that you lose your content that you’ve worked so hard on.
Things can happen out of our control, such as if someone hacks into your site or you make a mistake when you are updating your site and you need to restore a previous version.
I recommend UpdraftPlus Backup to back up your site regularly. It’s a great plugin that can automate how often your site is backed up at an exact time you want the backup to start running.
You can even set the place you want the backups to be saved, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, so they’re easily accessible when you need them.
All you need to do is just set it up once and forget about it!
2. Yoast SEO
If you want to improve on your SEO game and gain organic traffic from Google, you’re going to need to have a SEO-optimized site.
Yoast SEO is a great plugin to help you improve your SEO rankings by giving you a list of guidelines that you need to follow in order to rank higher on search engines.
You don’t have to follow all of their guidelines to rank highly, but it’s a great starting place for your posts as a beginner.
3. Pretty Links
If you’re monetizing your blog with affiliate links, I recommend that you use a plugin that will cloak your links.
You know how sometimes when you hover across a link, it shows a long url that looks spammy? You don’t want your viewers to see that long url.
Instead, use Pretty Links which will allow you to set a shortened link name of your choice. All you have to do is set it up once in the Pretty Links dashboard and then you only have to edit the long url once without having to update the links on all of your posts. It’s such a time saver!
It even includes a detailed analytics section so you can see how many clicks you get with each link and on which posts.
Pretty Links also has a paid version of their plugin but I truly believe you don’t really need it when you first start out. The free version is just fine and works well!
4. Grow Social By Mediavine
Looking to increase your social shares and show social proof on your blog? You’ll need a good social sharing plugin.
I use and recommend Grow Social by Mediavine (formally known as Social Pug). The free version of this plugin is lightweight but very customizable which is great for a speedy site.
If you’re looking for even more features, I highly recommend checking out Grow Social Pro by Mediavine, which is the paid version of this plugin.
5. Wordfence Security
Wordfence Security is one of the best free security plugins to give you peace of mind that your site hasn’t been compromised.
When you activate this plugin, it protects your blog by a firewall, malware scans, and login block-ins. They also send you updates if your site has been attacked.
All of this is included in the free version which is totally awesome.
MonsterInsight helps you install your Google Analytics tracking code on WordPress and also shows you stats on your traffic right on your dashboard. It’s an awesome way to be able to see some quick stats without having to even leave your site.
7. Akismet Anti-Spam
Akismet Anti-Spam is a must-have plugin to help filter out the spam comments in your posts.
How it works is each comment is automatically screened through Akismet. If it’s spam, it’s put in a folder where you can delete them. It’s a great little plugin that can help you save time and energy.
Page speed is important to retain your audience and will help you rank higher in search engines so the faster your site is, the better.
If you’re looking for a great form plugin to add to your contact me page, which you should have by the way if you want others to be able to contact you, you’ll want to check out WP Forms.
The WPForms is straightforward, easy to set up, and comes with a lot of basic features that does the job if you’re just looking for a basic no-frills form plugin.
10. Broken Link Checker
Lastly, you’ll want to have a broken link checker to ensure that all of your links within your site are working properly while staying efficient and productive.
Imagine you didn’t have a plugin that checked each one of your links.
If you had hundreds or thousands of posts, you couldn’t possibly check all of these external links regularly because it’d be way too much work! In fact, it’d probably be pretty much impossible unless you checked your links as a full-time job.
Broken Link Checker is a must in my books especially if you have a lot of affiliate links that are monetized because you want to make sure they’re working properly all the time.
I do recommend only installing this and activating it when you need to check your links because it can be a resource hog and slow down your site. Just make sure you remember to check every so often.
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