Hello everyone! One of my goals for my blog is to help other people with their own blogs, even though I myself haven’t been blogging all that long yet. I had done a lot of research before diving in. I already knew I wanted to self-host and use WordPress so I could get what’s called “plugins.” But when I started digging in and trying to start adding plugins to my blog, I got confused. There are a lot of plugins to choose from, and I had no idea what they even did! Looking back, the problem was that I didn’t really understand what plugins were, and I definitely had no idea what the best free plugins for new bloggers were!
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Plugins are pieces of code that change the functionality of your WordPress site. They allow you to modify your theme without requiring you to go in and edit the code yourself. Some of them are just simple cosmetic changes, but some of them are a lot more complex than that and can literally give a theme brand new options. I am not the best at coding, so plugins are great because it’s so easy to add cool new features with just a few clicks. Some plugins are totally free (yay!!), but some of them are rather pricey. A lot of the free ones offer more features if you pay for a subscription, but function perfectly fine without spending the extra money.
I mentioned self-hosting just a moment ago. In order to use these plugins, you will need to purchase website hosting services. Website hosting makes your blog 100% YOUR OWN, because there’s no yourname.wordpress.com attached to it… it’s just yourname.com! I was serious about starting my blog and I knew I wanted to self-host from the beginning, but it took me a while to decide on a hosting service to use… there are SO MANY! There is a lot of debate among bloggers about the best website host to use, but I have used SiteGround since day one and I LOVE their services. They’re one of the more affordable web hosting services for beginning bloggers. If you’re a new customer, you can get hosting for as little as $3.95/mo (billed annually). I’ve messed up my blog a couple of times, at really random times of the night, and I’ve never had any trouble getting someone to help me quickly fix the issue because they have 24/7 support! And they didn’t judge me for my silly decisions that led to me messing up my blog at 1am… haha.
Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the best free plugins for new bloggers! These plugins will help you get your blog started off strong. All of the plugins below are free to use, though some do offer additional content with a subscription. However, you can get a lot of functionality from these plugins for free!
9 Free Plugins for New Bloggers
Jetpack is a plugin that helps you with site analytics. Jetpack will show you what links people click on to find your blog, what links people click on when they’re on your blog, what pages people are viewing, how many website viewers you got in a day, and keeps track of lifetime comments and pageviews, making it easier to track your blogging growth. Jetpack also offers widgets for your blog, so you can display things like your blog’s followers, a list of your top posts, a countdown to a specific date, and more. Jetpack will also detect if your site is down and can contact you if it detects downtime!
#2: GDPR Cookie Consent
#3: Wordfence Security
Wordfence is a security plugin that helps protects your blog from malicious attacks and can blacklist harmful IP addresses from trying to access your site. There is a paid version that offers more security, but for a new blogger just starting out the free version is okay while your blog is still young.
#4: Google Analytics for WordPress
This plugin allows Google Analytics to integrate with your WordPress dashboard, so you can see Google Analytics stats when you log in to your site! This does require you having set up Google Analytics to use, but that is also totally free. It is similar to Jetpack, but provides more detailed analytics such as what country your viewers are visiting from, what time they accessed your site, how long they stayed, how long it took your site to load, etc.
#5: Yoast SEO
Yoast helps you best optimize your blog’s search engine optimization (SEO) which can help you rank higher on Google searches! Yoast analyzes each blog post and offers suggestions on what you can do to help improve your SEO right below the post editor. The plugin will also analyze your post to determine its readability score, to ensure it’s easy for your viewers to read!
#6: Contact Form 7
This plugin allows you to create customized contact forms for your blog, to make it easier for your readers to contact you! While I only use this plugin for one specific contact form, you could make multiple different forms if you needed to gather certain information in different circumstances. You also don’t have to know a THING about coding to add different fields to your contact form, you just select options from the menu!
#7: Pinterest Pin It
This plugin simply adds a “Save” button over your images, so readers can easily pin your blog post to their own Pinterest boards! You can also exclude images you don’t want pinned in the plugin’s settings.
#8: Social Warfare
Social Warfare adds social sharing buttons to your blog posts for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Reddit. You can customize where in the post to put the buttons as well.
#9: MailChimp for WordPress
This integrates with your MailChimp account to allow you to display a customizable signup form as a widget on your blog. You can customize exactly what the sign-up form says before and after someone subscribes, or you can choose to have the form redirect to a new page after a successful signup. You can also check to see how many subscribers you have in the plugin settings as well. If you prefer MailerLite, there is a plugin for that as well, but I have never used it!
I hope you enjoyed this list, and I hope some of these free plugins can help you. What are some of your favorite free plugins for new bloggers? Let me know!
Don’t forget to pin this post to Pinterest if it helped you out!