22 Best Free WordPress Plugins For Blogs

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I’ve been doing a lot of website design lately for my blog coaching clients and noticed that there are several plugins that I use for every client.  That got me thinking, what are the best free WordPress plugins for blogs? 

There are so many different plugins to choose from and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  If you’re a new blogger, choosing the right plugins for your WordPress blog can be confusing and frustrating.

That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to create this post and take some of the confusion out which plugins to use for your new blog.  I’ve included a description and a link to the plugin’s download page so that you can add them to your own website easily.

Here is a list of my recommendations for the best free WordPress plugins for blogs:

  1. MonsterInsights
  2. Akismet
  3. Yoast SEO
  4. Elementor
  5. Classic Editor
  6. Tiny MCE Advanced
  7. Social Warfare
  8. Updraft Plus
  9. Optimole
  10. WPForms
  11.  CommentLuv
  12. WordFence
  13. Easy Google Fonts
  14. PrintFriendly
  15. GDPR Cookie Consent
  16. Simple Author Box
  17. Redirection
  18. MailerLite Signup Forms
  19. WP Super Cache
  20. Pretty Links
  21. Insert Headers and Footers
  22. Broken Link Checker

I’ve tested a lot of WordPress plugins and the plugins featured in this blog post are those that I use on Next Level Blogging.  I also use most of these plugins when building websites for my blogger clients.  I hope you find all of these plugins as valuable as I do.

22 Best Free WordPress Plugins For Blogs

1. MonsterInsights Lite

Building a successful blog takes a lot of time, most of which is spent using social media and other online tools for marketing our blog posts.

MonsterInsights Lite gives you important data, so you know what’s working to grow your blog and what isn’t, with Google Analytics.

With this easy-to-use Google Analytics tool, within minutes you’ll be able to see:

  • Number of page views
  • Unique visitors
  • Bounce rates
  • Traffic sources

As far as Google Analytics tools go, MonsterInsights Lite is the easiest to set up and the most user-friendly for obtaining the important stats that most bloggers are interested in tracking.

Download MonsterInsights Lite Now

2. Akismet Anti-Spam

Block spam with the #1 spam-blocker for WordPress websites.  This is an absolute necessity and works great for filtering spam comments.  Free version does necessary tasks.

Use of Askimet requires an API code which you can get by signing up for a free account once you activate the plugin.  You will be prompted to “donate” to the plugin to use the free version but just change the amount to zero if you want to use the plugin for free.  If you have an extra buck or two, these plugin developers definitely deserve it.

Download Akismet Anti-Spam Plugin Now

3. Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the most recommended SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plugin available.

This plugin automatically gives recommendations and feedback about your use of SEO for each page and post, based on the keyword phrase you are trying to rank for.  You can even update your meta description that’s shown in search results.

Recommended Post: 25 Powerful SEO Tips For New Bloggers

Yoast also lets you know how readable your content is, which will help you keep readers on your page longer.

One of my biggest flaws as a newbie blogger was writing super long sentences – well over 20 words!  Yoast pointed that out to me.  I was able to get out of that habit rather quickly with the help of Yoast SEO plugin.

Download Yoast SEO now

4. Elementor

Are you wondering how other websites have beautifully designed pages, yet you’re stuck with the standard WordPress style offered by your theme?  You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for a website design pro.

Elementor is a complete page-builder plugin that allows you to fully customize any page or post to the exact design you want.  Choose from one of their free page templates or use the easy drag-and-drop functionality – no coding knowledge required!

Their Pro version is totally worth the $49 a year and gives you access to even more templates, widgets and theme builder options for global settings.

Install Elementor plugin now

5. Classic Editor

Maybe I’m just old-school, but I am not a fan of the new Gutenburg-style post editor for WordPress.  With over 5 million active installations already, it’s obvious I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Classic Editor plugin reverts your post editor back to the classic WordPress editor.  Install the plugin and activate – it’s as simple as that.

Install Classic Editor plugin now

6. Tiny MCE Advanced

If you want more control over editing your content, Tiny MCE Advanced gives you dozens of additional options.

Once installed, go to the plugin settings and simply drag-and-drop the tools you want available in your content editor screen.  This is a must-have plugin for any blogger.

Install TinyMCE Advanced plugin now

7. Social Warfare

Social Warfare is a lightweight plugin that offers attractive social media share buttons for your blog posts and pages.

Of course there’s a plethora of options for social share buttons, but most of them are very basic unless you upgrade to the premium versions.  None of them have the Pinterest capability offered by this plugin.

Recommended Post: How To Grow Your Blog With Pinterest

I highly recommend upgrading to the Pro version of Social Warfare for just $29 – you’ll get advanced features for Pinterest, additional sharing options, and more! Totally worth the cost for this awesome plugin.

Install Social Warfare plugin now

Warfare Plugins

8. UpdraftPlus

Backing up your blog and website is something you should be doing on a regular basis, especially before making any major changes.

Although there are a number of options for WordPress backups, UpdraftPlus is the best choice.

Not only can you easily create and restore backups of your website and database, but you can save your backups to your favorite cloud storage.  That way your backup files aren’t slowing down your website.

You can schedule regular backups or do them manually.  If your website gets hacked or you have a problem, you can easily install the most recent backup file made with UpdraftPlus with a click of a button.

Install UpdraftPlus plugin now

9. Optimole

This image optimization plugin is my new go-to for my own websites and for my clients.  Optimole automatically optimizes your image sizes to save space and enhance your website’s loading speed.

What makes Optimole better than other options like Smush?

  • Lazy-loading of images is optional and available in the free version
  • Images are saved to the cloud instead of slowing down your website
  • Choose the level of optimization that works best for your images
  • No conflicts with images uploaded from IPhone

Image optimization with Optimole does not reduce the quality of the images on your website.  You really can’t tell the difference.  If you aren’t optimizing your blog’s images, you’re slowing down your website unnecessarily.

Install Optimole plugin now

1o. WPForms Lite

WPForms is a lightweight form building plugin that allows you to create all types of forms for your website.  Their drag-and-drop builder is easy to use and let’s you build beautiful forms in minutes.

This one plugin allows you to create free contact forms, signup forms, registration forms, payment forms – any type of form you can think of.  Absolutely no coding required and a much better option for forms than the standard Contact Form 7 plugin.

Install WPForms plugin now

11. CommentLuv

Backlinks play a huge role in your Google ranking.

Commentluv helps with your blog’s SEO by encouraging comments from other bloggers.  This plugin allows those leaving a comment to receive a backlink to their most recent blog post!  This plugin is a perfect example of how sharing the love can help grow your own blog.

Bonus Tip:  If you happen to come across other blogs using CommentLuv (like this one), you should leave a valuable comment so that you’ll receive a backlink to your own blog.

Install CommentLuv plugin now

12. WordFence

As I already mentioned, unprotected blogs and websites are hacked often, and sometimes you don’t even know it’s happened.

Protect your website from hackers and malware by adding an extra layer of security.  WordFence is known as the best free security plugin for WordPress.

Once installed, you’ll have a dashboard showing all of the options for securing your website.  You can block certain common vulnerabilities, see the attempted attacks blocked, choose to block certain IP addresses and countries, and so much more.

Plus, WordFence sends out email alerts anytime a plugin is compromised so you can take further steps to secure your website.  Be sure to sign up for notifications.

Install WordFence plugin now 

13. Easy Google Fonts

If your WordPress theme doesn’t give you access to your favorite Google fonts, install the Easy Google Fonts plugin.  You’ll get access to all Google fonts so that you can customize your website to your liking.

Install Easy Google Fonts plugin now

14. PrintFriendly

If you write a lot of long-form posts like how-to guides, readers like the option of printing out the blog post to refer back to later.

PrintFriendly gives you customizable options for print, PDF and Email of your blog’s content.  You can choose the colors, the icon and placement for the icon so that it matches your website’s branding.

When a reader uses your PrintFriendly button to print your content, it automatically removes junk and leaves clickable links in the PDF version.

Install PrintFriendly plugin now

example of print button on webpage from print friendly plugin

15. GDPR Cookie Consent

It’s easy to make your blog compliant with GDPR regulations.  Add a Cookie Policy banner to your website with the GDPR Cookie Consent plugin.

I like this one because it’s easy to change the colors to match your website branding and create a custom cookies message for website visitors.  Plus, you have the option to allow the plugin to create a Cookie Policy page for your website.

Install GDPR Cookie Consent plugin now

16. Simple Author Box

If you have multiple authors on your website, Simple Author Box allows you to add a customized widget within your blog post with the author’s information.  No sidebar areas or widget necessary.

If you don’t have multiple authors but you accept guest bloggers, this plugin makes providing an author bio section easy.  Just add a new user to your WordPress website, then update the information from their user profile.  You can also add a backlink to their blog and links to their social media profiles right from the profile edit screen.

Install Simple Author Box plugin now

simple author box plugin for WordPress

17. Redirection

At some point in time, you will probably neec to change the URL of at least one of your blog posts.  With the Redirection plugin, you can make that process simple.

Redirection is also perfect if move your website from http to https so that all of your links will automatically redirect to the new permalink structure.

Install Redirection plugin now

18. MailerLite Signup Forms

It’s imperative that you start and build an email list if you want to build a successful blog and make money blogging.  MailerLite is the perfect choice for beginners.

You will need to create a free MailerLite account to use the MailerLite Signup Forms plugin.  You’ll get access to a complete email marketing tool and it’s free up to 1,000 subscribers.

Recommended Post: How To Write Your Own Welcome Email Sequence (Free Email Templates Included)

I use MailerLite myself for my email marketing.  You can create beautiful customized landing pages, pop-up forms and embeddable forms for growing your email list.  Their drag-and-drop functionality makes building forms a breeze, plus you can set up email automations and sales funnels for free.

Don’t waste time with Mailchimp – use MailerLite instead.

Install MailerLite Signup Forms plugin now

MailerLite Email Marketing for Small Business

19. WP Super Cache

Improving site speed is easy with WP Super Cache.  This plugin serves static html files to the majority of your website visitors, which takes a lot less time than showing the heavy PHP scripts.

If that sounds confusing, it’s okay – you don’t have to understand the plugin to reap the benefits.  Basically, it reduces the amount of time it takes to load pages from your website whenever possible.  With over 2 million active installs, this plugin is a must for bloggers.

Install WP Super Cache plugin now

20. Pretty Links

One of my favorite free plugins for WordPress is Pretty Links.

Create your own shortlinks for your content, your own products and your affiliate links!  That means, instead of using those long links generated by your affiliate merchants, you can use your own link instead.

For example, I participate in the IPage affiliate program.  My assigned affiliate link is https://www.ipage.com/join/index.bml?bannerID=1179&AffID=860510.  With Pretty Links, I created a custom link which is now NextLevelBlogging.com/webhosting-ipage.  That looks much better for readers and potential customers, right?

You can also use Pretty Links to shorten your page and post links.  It works for any link that you want to cloak or shorten.  You can also track all of the clicks for your Pretty Links.

Install Pretty Links now

21. Insert Headers and Footers

If you want to add code to your websites header or footer, Insert Headers and Footers allows you to do that easily.  Here are a few common things you will need to add code for:

  • Facebook pixel
  • Enabling Pinterest rich pins
  • Custom CSS
  • Code for Google Analytics

With the plugin, you simply click on the plugin Settings, choose header or footer, then paste the necessary code and save your changes.  Voila!  No coding experience needed.

Install Headers and Footers plugin now

22. Broken Link Checker

Over time, you will accumulate a lot of links to other websites as references in your blog content.  Those links may become broken at some point and your readers that click them will not be taken to the expected content.

Broken Link Checker will monitor all of the links on your website and alert you when there are broken links.  This will help you keep your content up-to-date and continuously provide value for your audience.

Install Broken Link Checker plugin now


Conclusion

These are the absolute best free WordPress plugins for blogs.

Of course, depending on your niche, there may be additional functionality that you’d like to add to your website.  In general, these free plugins will help all bloggers, no matter what niche you’re in.

If you think I’ve missed an important free WordPress plugin that should be added to this list, please let me know in the comments section below.

Helping other bloggers is key to your own success, and I know there a ton of new bloggers that would love to read this post.  If you found this post helpful, please take a few seconds to share this post on your favorite social media platform.

Do you want to join a community of like-minded bloggers where you can share your content, ask questions, find exclusive opportunities and get to know me better, too?  Join the Next Level Bloggers Facebook group now.  It’s free and it’s a great place for you to start building your blogger tribe, especially if you’re new to blogging.  

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