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September 8, 2021

7 WordPress Plugins Every Blogger Needs (And 3 You Don’t)

I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and I’ve found the best WordPress plugins on the platform. I’ve also come into contact with dozens of popular WordPress plugins that you don’t need at all.

Let’s start with the 7 best WordPress plugins first.

1) UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore

This plugin will automatically backup your entire WordPress site and transfer it to your Google Drive.

What a relief! I’d be devastated if I lost this blog. Without regular backups (that I test regularly), all it would take is some hacker figuring out my password, and I could lose everything!!

2) W3 Total Cache

It’s shocking just how much faster a caching plugin can make your site.

W3 Total Cache is the one I go with, and it took multiple seconds off my blog’s load time. I’m sure other caching plugins do the job too, but this one’s my personal favorite.

How many internal links does each of your blog posts have pointed to them? Do any of your posts have zero internal links?

Without Link Whisper, you likely don’t know the answer to those questions. This is bad for SEO because these links are what Google uses to pass link juice around your site.

This plugin makes linking an effortless task. And you’d be surprised just how much that can raise your post in the search engine rankings.

4) Google Web Stories

I wrote an entire post about how to get traffic with Google Web Stories. And the Google web stories plugin is probably the easiest way to get started n a WordPress blog.

If you’re not into creating web stories content, you can safely pass on this plugin. But, if you’re going to host web stories on your blog, this is a must-have.

Skimlinks attempts to automatically turn your links into affiliate links (if an affiliate program exists for the URL). This way, you don’t have to manage 100 different affiliate programs.

In theory, this is an incredible idea!

In practice, it’s not quite that great. Many affiliate programs don’t exist in their database, so Skimlinks isn’t the one-stop shop I’d love for it to be. And they take a 25% cut of commissions. That said, the following advantages might make it worth it for you.

  • You can take your top earning affiliate programs and manage them manually (No need to share 25% with SkimLinks on your best affiliate deals).
  • Skimlinks negotiates higher rates, so you’re unlikely to feel the full 25% dip in commissions.
  • Skimlinks eliminates the work of managing 100 tiny affiliate programs. Oftentimes, I’m too lazy to sign up for a program if I’m only going to earn a few hundred dollars a year from it.
  • The centralized reporting features are beneficial.

Viglink offers a very similar service (though not as good).

6) ShortPixel

I run all of my images through Canva (which compresses them), making ShortPixel redundant for my blog. That said, if you’re not already doing that, then image compression is a must-have! And ShortPixel does a great job of it for a reasonable price.

Another benefit of ShortPixel is that it automatically generates a WebP version of your image. WebP images are typically 75% the size of JPG’s with no loss in quality.

7) WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a must-have if you’re running an online store from your WordPress site. Particularly if you want to offer one-click-upsells (which is also a must-have).

Bonus) WP Mail SMTP

This plugin is incredible if you want to send emails via your blog’s Gmail account. I use it to send myself emails from my contact form, and it works like a charm!

Plugins You Don’t Need

These plugins are mentioned an awful lot when you look up the best WordPress plugins. But, I don’t see much use for them for the following reasons.

  • Yoast SEO – When WordPress 5.5 started automatically generating sitemaps, you lost the main reason to use Yoast (go to yoursite.com/wp-sitemap.xml to see your sitemap).
  • JetPack – The only reason to use JetPack is if you want to use a WordPress iPad app. The other features it offers aren’t necessary.
  • Askimet Anti-Spam – I don’t believe in enabling comments on your blog in 2022. Anti-Spam plugins aren’t needed if you simply turn comments off.
  • Any Social Share Plugin – Only about 1 in 10,000 visitors click the social share buttons on my blog. That’s not enough to warrant caring about these buttons.

Shaun works as a professional software developer while blogging about the creator economy (With a focus on Blogging, YouTube, and Virtual Reality).

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