In my previous post I discussed how you can setup a wordpress blog in few simple steps. In this article, I’ll take things forward and list down top 6 essential wordpress plugins that will help your blog rank in Google and other search engines, simplify lots of tedious jobs and make blog convenient to the readers.
For example if you have started a wordpress blog, you’ll work on On-Page SEO stuff so that the blog could do well in search results OR if you want to create a contact us form but have no idea about coding OR you want to make blog load faster OR want to make your blog mobile friendly, all these tedious jobs will become super duper easy by using the plugins that I’m going to share today in this article.
I recommend wordpress platform for a blog because of the flexibility which other blog platforms don’t offer. You can find plugin for every minor thing, be it a contact us form, subscription light box, SEO or anything else. You need not to understand coding language, drag and drop will do the job. As on November 2015, wordpress powers 25% of the websites says Venturebeats followed by Joomla and Drupal. Google’s free blogging platform Blogger stands at 1.2% of websites as on Nov 8, 2015.
Why should I chose Wordpress for my blog?
There are tons of reasons why anyone should chose WordPress platform for its blog. Some of the major reasons are listed down below.
- Free – WordPress is free to use for whole life. A big thanks to the developers for empowering people by offering this tremendous platform for free.
- Easy Installation – You can install wordpress for your blog with just a single click through hosting control panel.
- Free Themes – There are tons of free wordpress themes available in different categories. You can find themes for any blog be it a news, medical, technology, education, law or just any other. More than 3000 free themes are available at wordpress.org however the premium wordpress theme seller themeforest have about 23,000 themes to select from. Browse free wordpress theme directory.
- Free Plugins – There is tons of free and paid available plugins to customise blog without any coding knowledge. You can find plugin for everything such as contact us form, to create a slider, to make your blog SEO friendly and much more. See free wordpress plugin directory.
- Open Source -It is an open source software with tons of tutorials available on different websites.
- Stay Updated with latest version – WordPress developers whenever release a new version send notification all the website/blog owners to upgrade to latest version in case they want to. Updating to latest version is super easy and requires just a single click. AWESOME !
- Clean Coding – Designed to make it search engine friendly with clean coding.
- Permalinks -Set easy SEO friendly permalinks.
- Import blogger blog -Import blogger blog to wordpress with a single click.
- Join huge population– 25% of the web use wordpress.
- Customisation – Easy to customise. Lots of freelancers offer wordpress customisation service at a good cost
- 73 Languages – WordPress is available in many different languages such as German, French, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, Indonesian, Dutch, Romanian, Swedish, Polish, Spanish, Macedonian and lots more.
- Audience- More than 30,000,000 searches per month related to wordpress.
6 Essential plugins for a WordPress blog
I’m associated with wordpress and lots of other blogging platforms such as Blogger, Joomla, Tumblr, Typepad, Livejournal etc for about 8 years but haven’t found any of these more convenient, flexible and easier than wordpress. The new comers often contact me asking what all plugins they should install to their wordpress blog so that the basic need such as SEO, Contact us form etc are fulfilled.
Over the years, I experimented with lots of plug-ins, themes and by now I’ve compiled a list of some really good plugins that I recommend for every wordpress blog. With these plugins your blog will satisfy bare minimum requirements to run a successful blog. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
All in One SEO Pack | Download–
The business is useless if you don’t have the customers so the first priority of a business is to bring the customers. Same thing happens here, whenever anyone starts a blog/website, driving traffic to the blog is important for its monetisation. No visitors means No money ! Although there are several ways of bringing visitors to a blog such as social media, PPC etc but the most preferred method is to drive traffic through search engine.
The quality of traffic received through search engine (preferable Google, Bing) is pretty higher and converts well. Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps blog rank higher in search results for targeted keyword and drive quality traffic to your blog via search engines.
SEO is sub-divided into two categories, On-page SEO & Off-page SEO and All in One SEO plugin takes care of on-page SEO aspects. It helps you target different keywords for each page, set canonical URL, set protocol for canonical URL, re-write title, description, enter keywords and much more. To install this plugin, login to wp-admin, go to plugins, search for “All in One SEO Pack” and install it. Once installed, you can configure it based on the keywords you are targeting and other preferences. Take a look at some stats of this plugin.
The above graph indicates how more and more number of people are installing this plugin. As of today (April 18, 2016, 11:44 AM), the plugin is installed 27,163,041 times and great number of people downloading it every single day. It has 1+ million active installs with number of people rating it 5 stars. We have another great option of Yoast SEO but “All in one seo pack” is much easier to configure and user friendly. Get in touch with me if you need free assistance in configuring this plugin for your blog.
Contact form 7 | Download
Every blog or a website which is put on the internet must have contact us form by which people could get in touch with the website owner. If you are into offering some sort of service or consultancy, Contact us form will be used frequently. With this plugin, you can create a very beautiful contact us form without writing even a single line of code.
It simplifies your task of getting contact us form created for your wordpress blog and that too without spending any money ! Contact form 7 plugin can again be installed through wp-admin and placed anywhere on the blog with the help of simple short code. In General we place it on contact us page of the blog however with shortcode you can place on the right side bar or in the footer as well.
According to the statistics, the plugin is downloaded 36,983,549 times till date (April 18, 2016 13:12 PM). It is being downloaded several thousand times per day and have 1+ million active installs. About thousands people have rated this plugin and more than 70% people given it 5 stars !
Google XML sitemap | Download
The another great plugin in my list of recommended plugins is Google XML sitemap. It is very important from SEO point of view that your blog has a sitemap. Sitemap allows search engine crawler to find all the pages and posts (including the ones which you will post in future) on the blog and crawl each of them. Google XML sitemap is pretty awesome plugin which creates sitemap of your blog within seconds. You can submit created sitemap via webmaster tools. There are several other advantages of submitting the sitemap but that’s beyond the scope of this article. However, you can search through this blog to find detailed article on this topic.
You can see how important it is for the webmaster as the plugin has been downloaded 18,181,974 times till date (as on April 18, 2016, 13:33 PM). With about 1400 total reviews, 95% (1334) people give 5 stars rating to this amazing plugin. It has over 1+ million active installs that show massive population believes its a great plugin. Go head and install Google XML sitemap through wp-admin and configure it (its pretty straight forward, just follow the directions).
Share Buttons by AddThis | Download
If you are ignoring social media and focusing completely on SEO, you are committing a big mistake. In today’s time when majority of the traffic on the websites are coming from smartphones and massive population accessing their social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Linkedin on their phone, it make sense to have a channel by which people who come to your blog read the article and share it on their social media profiles in case they like it.
Share Buttons by AddThis offers this channel and allows to share the post on more than 100 social sites. The number of social shares which we call SOCIAL SIGNALS help with SEO. The posts or the pages with large number of social shares are more likely to be placed above in search results.
The plugin has some really good stats as we see in above image. It is downloaded 3,055,897 times till now (April 18, 2016, 13:46 PM) and have 2,00,000+ active installs. Majority of people show their love by rating this plugin 5 stars. Download the plugin through the link given above or wp-admin. It pretty straight forward to configure. After installation, go to settings and turn options to display social share buttons at your preferred location. I recommend at the bottom of the articles and left side.
WPtouch Mobile Plugin| Download
As I said in my previous post, the mobile friendliness of a website/blog is really important from SEO point of view as well as from reader’s point of view. Google said via official webmaster blog that it ranks a mobile friendly website higher in search results to offer better experience to the users. About half of online population uses smartphone for accessing different website and it doesn’t make sense to not have a mobile friendly website.
Nowdays the wordpress theme programmer make responsive themes which adjust itself with any screen size however this is not the case with all the themes available at wordpress.org. WPtouch Mobile Plugin can make your blog mobile friendly so that if anyone accesses your blog through mobile phone, it doesn’t look awful !
Did you notice the power of plugins? how a unfriendly website gets a mobile friendly version in seconds !
The plugin became more popular since last year when Google announced that it will rank mobile friendly websites higher in search results. As of today (April 18, 2016, 14:37 PM), the plugin has been downloaded 8,722,290 times and rated 5 star by majority of the users. It has 3,00,000 active installs as of now.
Ninja Forms | Download
List building should be placed among the top priorities as these people are the highly targeted that make purchase over and again. Every blogger must start collecting email of the visitors visiting their blog since day 1 ! The people in your email list become repeated customers and contribute majorly to the total revenue. It is being said that 80% of the business comes from 20% of existing clients. The experts at Campaign Monitor explains why collecting email is important for any business in detail.
Ninja Form is one of the best free plugin that allows you to collect email of the visitors. It works pretty well with all major list building tools such as mailchimp, getresponse, aweber etc. Install the plugin from wp-admin and configure it with list building tool of your choice.
The plugin is downloaded 2.249.925 times since first day and currently have 4,00,000+ active installs. Majority of the user base finds plugin helpful and rates it 5 stars.
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