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What if you could start a WordPress blog with only 5 plugins and have the most important features you need? Well, these 5 best WordPress plugins do just that.
It begins with a feeling – creating a blog is daunting. You feel like there are a million different tasks you need to complete. And that’s before you can even begin to start writing content. You wonder if you’ll ever get it all done!
The feeling is paralyzing and can often lead to nothing ever getting done. But what if it doesn’t have to be like this?
These 5 Best WordPress Plugins Are The Answer
With these 5 best WordPress plugins, you’ll have the essential tools that every new blog needs. I simply can’t imagine my blog without these. So you can be confident that you have the basics covered to build your own epic blog!
And just 5 plugins sounds manageable and not to mention quick, right? You’ll be up and running in no time.
Oh, and did I mention? All of these tools are free, so you can dive right in with zero worries about cost. Afterall, if you are just starting out you probably have enough to worry about as it is.
Every plugin listed here are the ones I use on this blog, right now. And if I ever manage to find anything better you can bet I’ll update this post. So you know you are using the best plugins available that I can find. That have been tried and tested by myself.
#5 Social Warfare
Let’s start off with the Social Warfare plugin. This is the best WordPress plugin for social media sharing buttons. I always thought it was a paid plugin only. Oh boy, was I wrong! And gladly so!
Whilst the free version has it’s limits, it has everything you need to get started.
Including share buttons for Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.
You can pick and choose which buttons to use and in what order to show them.
There are options to add share counts to each button, a total for all buttons or both if you prefer.
Share Buttons Positioning
You can add share buttons to content depending on it’s type. There are options to control Page, Post, Home, and Archive & categories.
For each type you can set the social share buttons to appear Below the Content, Above the Content, Both Above and Below the Content or None/Manual Placement.
You can even add Floating Buttons so your sharing buttons are always easily clickable.
Here’s how this blog is setup:
Sadly, there aren’t many options to customize how it looks. As these are locked behind their Pro version at $29/year along with additional social network sharing buttons. The free version is all you need if you are just starting out and the default colours look professional on any website. Don’t you think?
#4 Genesis Simple Hooks
The Genesis Simple Hooks plugin is an amazing addon for those using the Genesis Framework. If you’re not familar with the Genesis Framework then you should really check it out as it’s robust with excellent support and a huge variety of themes to choose from.
Although it might not look like it at first. This plugin can be used for a variety of handy features such as adding a post date to WordPress or creating affiliate disclosures on certain posts depending on its tags. You can even use it to edit your WordPress header so you can connect services such as Google Ads, Google Analytics or verify your website with places like Pinterest or BlogLovin’.
Next up is Jetpack. This plugin is like a mother hen – it has so many eggs in its basket! Which isn’t surprising when you consider the fact that Jetpack has 42 modules tucked inside it.
It’s feature rich and made by WordPress.com so you can be sure it’s well-coded. This is one of the best WordPress plugins to start with since it will save you having to install many other plugins, to essentially do the same thing.
To name some of the best features, there is:
- Related Posts
- CDN to speed up image loads
- Contact forms
- Like buttons
- Auto-share new posts to social networks
- Basic Site Stats
- Downtime monitor
- Brute Force Attack Protection
- Comment extension to allow visitors to comment with their WordPress.com, Twitter, Facebook or Google+ accounts
#2 Yoast SEO
One of the most important parts of a successful blog is to get your SEO right. You might be suprised to know that there are plugins to help with this. And Yoast SEO is one of the best wordpress plugins to get started with.
All the requirements to achieve an excellent SEO score that will positively boost your blog. Can be complex when first getting into it, but Yoast SEO really helps make it a breeze!
At the bottom of every post or page, Yoast will give you options for editing how your blog will appear in the search engines.
Yoast SEO Keyword Analysis
You can set a keyword and Yoast will analyze your page with it in mind. It will provide you comprehensive guidelines for what’s good, where improvements can be made and anything that is likely to cause you problems. Here’s an example of what you might see:
Getting your SEO correct can be tricky and Yoast SEO will only tackle a portion of it. But by using this plugin your SEO will improve. And best of all you can focus on writing your blog post without having to worry too much about the SEO. You can then let Yoast SEO tell you were to improve and edit as required.
Think of it as a proof-reading assistant. And the more you use it, the better you will get as you will instinctively start doing some of the suggestions automatically.
If you find yourself unsure about anything then Yoast’s help and documentation is extensive and written plainly so everyone can understand it. You can easily access it by clicking the Need help? button at the top left of the Yoast SEO box underneath your post in the WordPress editor.
Extra Useful Features – Readability, Facebook & Twitter Tools
What’s also amazing about Yoast SEO is that it has a few other features that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without.
One of these is the Readability tab that sits next to your Keyword tab. This tab analyzes your post’s readability and gives you feedback to help improve your writing. Handy right?
Another useful feature outside of SEO, is that you can set the image Facebook and Twitter use when your blog post is shared. As well as their title and description, so you have control how your blog post looks when people share it.
But wait there’s more! Yet another vital task you should do with your blog is to create a Sitemap, to help speed up and improve how Search Engines index your blog.
With Yoast SEO you can easily create a XML Sitemap automatically by simply toggling it on in the Settings.
Let Me Sum That All Up For You
Yoast SEO can boost your blog with these features:
- Make on-page SEO a breeze.
- Improve your writing by giving you actionable feedback.
- Gives you control on how your content looks on Facebook and Twitter.
- Creates XML Sitemaps automatically, which you can use to boost your indexing in search engines like Google, Yandex, Bing and more.
All of these valuable features make Yoast SEO one of the best WordPress plugins to boost your blog. Especially if you are just starting out!
Lastly, what I consider to be one of the most important and best WordPress plugins for your blog, and any website for that matter, is UpdraftPlus.
The one tool you must sort out for your blog from day one is a backup tool. I cannot stress this enough!
No matter how much you bubble wrap your blog with layer upon layer of protection from malware, hacks and anything else. You absolutely need a backup.
With UpdraftPlus there is simply no excuse for not having a backup.
- It’s free
- Quick & easy to setup
- Automatic & manual backups
- Backup to Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3 and more
- Email notifications for each backup
Use Dropbox Or Google Drive For Free External Storage
For this to work all you need is a Dropbox or Google Drive account.
Dropbox starts with 2GB of space, you can get an extra 500MB if you sign up using this link. Plus a further 250MB if you complete their Getting Started tasks.
Google Drive has significantly more space with 15GB. So I suggest using this over Dropbox.
Either way, you can set up automatic backups for 2 weeks or more based on how much free online storage space you have. And it won’t cost you anything! (My backups are around 180MB currently, so you can use this as a guideline for how long your space will last).
This method of using UpdraftPlus is great for just starting out. The main disadvantage is that once you run out of space you’ll need to delete some backups to make space. So, eventually, you’ll want to consider a better solution!
But for the mean time just setup the email notifications and keep an eye out for any failed backups. As these are usually a sign that you are out of storage space.
Use Gmail? Here’s How I Can Spot Backup Errors Instantly
Those email notifications can easily get lost or ignored. But if any of them fail it’s important to fix it asap!
So here’s a quick bonus tip to set up filters in Gmail to highlight those unsuccessful backups.
To start with, go to the Settings in your googlemail account.
Select Filters and blocked addresses.
Scroll to the bottom and click Create a new filter and fill in the fields like this:
Now click Create filter with this search.
On the next screen tick the options like this:
Note: You can create your own label to apply to by clicking the dropdown list and scrolling to the top to New label…
Once done click Create filter.
This will start filtering any new emails into the label you specified and mark them as read, so you don’t have to deal with them each day. Feel free to change the settings to however you prefer. This is just an example.
Gmail Filter For Failed Backups
I would then suggest setting a filter for any backups that fail.
Click Create a new filter again. But this time enter these details.
Continue by clicking Create filter with this search and then tick these options:
Once you click Create filter your unsuccessful backups should get flagged in your main email inbox. This means you should only have an email to deal with when you have a problem, like running out of storage space.
So, what are you waiting for? Get UpdraftPlus installed today with just a few minutes of effort and relax knowing that you are using one of the best WordPress plugins. Which will keep your blog and all the hard work you put into it safe!
Do You See Why These Are The Best WordPress Plugins You Can Use For Your Blog? Especially When Just Starting Out!
These top 5 best WordPress Plugins are the absolute basics you need to get started with a blog. Even if you’ve had a blog for awhile there are features here you won’t find a better alternative for – unless you pay for fancy Pro stuff.
Here’s a recap of what these 5 plugins will contribute together:
- Light-weight professional social sharing buttons
- Easy access to your WordPress header to verify your website for services like Google Analytics
- Add code snippets to customize your WordPress theme with a custom post date
- Related posts that are calculated on external servers so not to upset your host provider or impact your blog’s resources
- CDN to speed up load times and page speeds
- Contact forms to make it effortless for visitors to get in touch
- Like buttons
- Automatically share new posts to social media
- Basic site stats that are much easier to understand than Google Analytics
- A downtime monitor
- Brute Force attack protection
- More login options for comments
- On-page SEO analysis
- Readability suggestions
- Control of how your content is displayed when shared to Facebook & Twitter
- XML sitemaps to improve search engine indexing
- Free automatic & manual backups with email notifications
- Plus much more if you check out the extra modules and settings in Jetpack!