12 Most Useful Free WordPress Plugins - Make Money Online


Saturday, 13 July 2019

12 Most Useful Free WordPress Plugins

For a WordPress blog to function efficiently, a variety of plugins are required to be installed. Plugins are of two types- premium and free. Here, I’m putting together a list of some very useful plugins. These plugins are very essential for maintaining a WordPress blog. All these plugins are free ones!

There is a notion that premium plugins are what makes a blog successful. I disagree with this concept. I believe that with a set of some very essential free plugins, one can build a successful blog. I’ve tested these set of plugins on my own blogs.

The set of most useful free WordPress plugins

1 Async Social Sharing buttons

I use the above mentioned plugin for inserting Social sharing buttons on my blog posts. This plugin has got a set of 4 Sharing buttons- Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Hacker News. I use the buttons of the first three sites.

The good thing about this plugin is that it loads asynchronously. Thus, it won’t affect the page loading speed of my blog negatively. They’ll load asynchronously after my blog content loads first. And my visitors don’t have to wait for content to appear.

I place the sharing buttons at the end of each post. By the time a visitor reads a post and reaches the end, the buttons get loaded completely!

I must agree than this plugin is not very stylish. The buttons are simple. The number of sharing buttons (4) is also very less compared to other social sharing plugins. If you want a bit more stylish plugin that offers more sharing buttons, try AddThis Smart Layers plugin.

2 WP Mash Social Widget

This is the plugin I use on my blog to fulfill my ‘Social Following’ needs. This plugin allows my visitors to find my blog’s Facebook page and my Google+ profile.

You’ll find its widget on the right sidebar. It has a simple design, but it does a good job. You may even use follow option for sites like Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. All you need to do is install the plugin, activate it and drag the widget to sidebar. Insert the urls of your various social site accounts wherever you are asked to do. The plugin will take care of the rest.

I’ve been using this plugin on my blogs for a while now. So far, I’ve never had any trouble with it. It loads up pretty fast.

3 Autoptimize

Optimizes and compresses the CSS and JavaScript files on my blog. Usually, many blogs load slowly due to huge, badly coded CSS and JavaScript files. This plugin grabs all these huge files, compresses them, optimizes them and delivers a minified ‘single’ file! Thus, it saves lots of loading time!

Setting up this plugin is very easy. After installing and activating it, you have to set it up. It consists of selecting which files to compress. If you want to compress CSS files, check the box next to that option. Don’t mess with the ‘Advanced’ setting if you are not sure about it. The default setting will work fine.

4 CloudFlare’s Plugin

I use CloudFlare CDN (Content Delivery Network) on all of my blogs. I recommend it to my readers too. It is a free service. If you want, you can upgrade to a pro-service later on. It’ll really speed up your blog.

If you’ve made up your mind and want to make use of this CDN, you must also use this plugin. This plugin makes sure that the CDN works well on your blog.

5 Akismet

I hate spam comments. Akismet keeps spammers at bay. Without this plugin, you’ll have to devote hours to manually delete spam comments from your blog post. I’ve experienced it myself. And I must admit it that deleting spam comments is a tedious task. Particularly if there are thousands of them!

Akismet is a very useful plugin that smartly identifies spam comments. It moves such comments to the ‘spam’ folder. This spam folder gets automatically cleaned periodically.

6 WordPress SEO by Yoast

SEO is here to stay. It can’t be ignored. This plugin sees to it that my blog posts are search engine optimized. To be honest, I don’t care much about SEO. But this plugin makes sure that my blog posts satisfies the basic SEO requirements.

This plugin also offers useful features like submitting XML sitemaps, displaying keyword density etc. A good alternative to this plugin is All in One SEO.

7 Google XML sitemap plugin

Unless you are using WordPress SEO by Yoast, you have to find other ways to submit your blog’s sitemap to Google. The XML sitemap plugin makes this job easy!

After installing this plugin, a user has to submit sitemap just once. This plugin will automatically add new posts to the sitemap as soon as they are published.

8 WP Super Cache

Each WordPress blog must have a caching plugin installed on it. Caching plugins improves the performance and loading speed of a blog.

They also reduces the strain put on the servers hosting the blog. I use WP Super Cache on my blogs. It is relatively easy to set up and works well with my CDN service and Autoptimize plugin.

A good alternative to this plugin is W3 Total Cache. It is more customizable that Super Cache. It also offers added features like minifying CSS and JavaScript files etc. But I’ve noticed that it is relatively difficult to set up this plugin. Further, I’ve noticed that it conflicts with some other plugins I use on my blog.

9 Broken Link Checker

This plugin, once installed and activated, scans the whole blog. It goes through all the URLs and searches for broken links.

Once the scanning is over, it bring up a list of broken links. The broken links can be fixed, removed, unlinked or marked as not broken.

Sometimes, it may happen that this plugin marks working links as broken ones. This happens rarely. The ‘scans’ can be scheduled. Scans can be scheduled once every 24 hours/48 hours etc.

10 P3 Plugin Profiler

This plugin helps me find the slow loading plugins I use on my blog. Usually, slow loading plugins make a blog load very slowly.

It is better to remove such bad plugins and try some other alternatives. P3 Plugin Profiler analyzes the loading time and the performance of plugins used in a blog.

11 WP Smush.it

My favorite image optimizing plugin. This plugin compresses the images used in a blog, without affecting its quality.
Images can be compressed manually or automatically. Such compressed images load faster and are low in size.

12 Jetpack

Jetpack by WordPress is a treasure chest of useful functions. It offers exciting services like- Mail Subscription, Site stats, Photon image CDN, Contact form etc.
Jetpack offers many more useful services. Its major drawback is that it slows down blogs.

A reason why bloggers should use just useful/required plugins

The presence of a huge number of plugins is what makes WordPress the most preferred blogging platform. Sometimes, it may happen that we find some unnecessary plugins to be irresistible. But going around, installing all the plugins you lay your hands upon, on your blog is a bad idea.

The more plugins you install, the slower your blog will become. You see, plugins are codes and scripts. Each time your blog loads, these scripts gets loaded too. So, the more the scripts, the longer the time it takes to load. Only use plugins, which are very useful.

Your turn to say

These, according to me are the free WordPress plugins each blog must have. These plugins are very useful for the functioning of a blog. I’m not asking you guys to stick to these plugins only. The plugins I mentioned above have good alternatives also. Feel free to mention alternative plugins in comment section.

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