Top 5: Free WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

Now days there are many, many different platforms you can chose to create your blog on, from SquareSpace, to Blogger or Weeebly, but one of the most used, and my personal favourite is WordPress. WordPress comes as a blank installation, and from there you can really customise how you want it to look, with the use of plugins. WordPress plugins are additional programs or functions that you add to your site, in order to add some more features to your site or backend. There are over a million plugins available to WordPress users, both free and paid, but today I’ve rounded up my personal top 5 free plugins for bloggers.

Top 5 WordPress Plugins For Bloggers emilyloula SEO Security

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Wordfence
Top 5 WordPress Plugins For Bloggers emilyloula Wordfence Security

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If you only download one plugin from this list it should definitely be this one. I used to work for a hosting company, and on a daily basis whilst there, I would come across WordPress sites that had been hacked and the poor owner was left with a huge mess which can take weeks to sort out, if at all. Sometimes the hacks can lay dormant for a long time, and by the time the websites owner has noticed, all of their backups also contain the malicious code and there’s not much that can be done except hire a web developer to sort out the mess or start their website again from scratch. This obviously is costly, both in terms of money and time, and is very stressful so it is definitely best avoided! I used to hear a lot of ‘why would someone want to hack my site?’, or people being naive to the situation, but honestly it can happen to everyone, and I would actually bet that every someone has tried to access every single WordPress site at one time or another maliciously. I chose to get a monthly email from Wordfence which shows me the amount of people that have tried to access the admin area of my site, and honestly it still shocks me every month. Wordfence is a security plugin that I recommend to everyone with a WordPress site – not just bloggers, as it can really help to save you from all of these problems in the long run. The plugin has some really great features such as blocking IP addresses that try to login incorrectly too many times, letting you know when your core files change and scanning your site for malicious content. You can pay for their pro version which includes more features, but I’ve found that the free version is more than good enough for me.

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WordPress SEO
Top 5 WordPress Plugins For Bloggers emilyloula SEO Security

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If you’re getting very little views or none at all from Google, you need this plugin. I get over 50% of my views coming from Google and I’m no SEO (search engine optimisation) expert by any means, I just use a few SEO plugins, this one being my absolute favourite. It adds this little box to the bottom of your page editor within WordPress, so you can easily add a focus keyword, SEO title and meta description to all of your posts. It will also tell you where you are going wrong, and areas you could improve in, e.g. you aren’t using your keywords enough in your post, or you don’t have a lot of outbound links. This plugin has really, really helped me with my SEO, it’s just a couple of extra bits you have to add into your post each time, that make all the difference where Google is concerned.

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Ultimate No Follow

Top 5 WordPress Plugins For Bloggers emilyloula No Follow

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If you’re a blogger and are lucky enough to receive PR samples or payments for sponsored posts, you should be using no follow links on these posts. When you link sites in your posts, Google see’s it as you saying ‘yes here’s a good, trustworthy site’, and this will then help towards that sites Google ranking. If you use a ‘no-follow’ link, then Google doesn’t follow the link and this doesn’t help with their ranking. Google doesn’t like the idea of companies paying people, whether in products or payment, to increase their own Google ranking by links. Obviously, Google isn’t the law, so if you chose to continue using follow links for paid content, that’s up to you, but personally I wouldn’t recommend it. I would say it is quite unlikely (although definitely possible) that you could get ‘caught’, if you do this can wipe out your Google ranking altogether, which you may have worked very hard to reach – I definitely don’t want this to happen!

I believe that Blogger already has an inbuilt feature allowing you to add no-follow links, but this isn’t the case with WordPress. This simple plugin just add’s the option to the ‘Insert Link’ button, making it super easy to add a no follow link, or turn any existing links into no-follow.

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Disqus Comment System
Top 5 WordPress Plugins For Bloggers emilyloula Disqus Commenting

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I personally think that Disqus is the best commenting system out there, and is definitely one of my favourite plugins I have installed on my blog. It makes it so easy for my readers to comment on my posts, and it notifies them when I’ve replied, which is not the case with many other commenting systems. Once you’ve originally created a Disqus account (which is super easy) you can comment away on thousands, if not millions of blogs that use it with so much ease. If you don’t fancy signing up, you can also log in with Facebook, Twitter or Google +, making it available for the masses. It’s also works great on mobile devices,  and with html coding (unlike Google+ comments) so you can leave your embedded blog links & anchor texts as desired. I love commenting on other blogs, and will honestly often be put off if Disqus isn’t installed and they’re using a really complicated commenting system that asks you for 4 different verification methods. It’s easy to install, and once it’s done, you haven’t got to worry about a thing – perfect!

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Posts in sidebar
Top 5 WordPress Plugins For Bloggers emilyloula SEO Security

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If you’re viewing this post on a computer or laptop you should be able to see my ‘popular posts’ section on my sidebar, which has been created by this plugin. I absolutely love this as there are so many options you can configure. Want to show the first couple of lines of your post? Sure. Don’t want the thumbnail image?  No problem. Want to chose which posts are shown or re-order them?  Easy. I’ve seen my traffic increase a lot since adding these to my sidebar, and my bounce rate (when people leave after only viewing one post) has dropped significantly. I haven’t got a bad thing to say about this plugin, it does everything I wanted and more, in such a simple format.

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So that’s my top 5 free plugins for WordPress. What are your favourite plugins/addons you use for your site – I’d love to hear in the comments!

emily x

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  • These are really awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing

    CANDICE | BEAUTY CANDY LOVES

    • Very welcome – thank you very much for reading! x

  • I have just moved over to wordpress and I am loving it, but I love reading all the tips out there so many thanks for a great and helpful post 🙂

    Pams Stuff and Things

    • WordPress is so great isn’t it! Very welcome Pam, thank you for reading, glad to hear it was helpful! xx

  • Disqus is without a doubt the best commenting system! I love having everything in one place. I actually downloaded that SEO plugin a couple of weeks ago and I really like it.

    xx Izzy | Qthee

    • Yes I definitely agree – Disqus is the best!! The SEO plugin is fab too isn’t it! xx

  • Pam Scalfi

    i really like disqus too, I definitely want to have it on my blog instead of the usual blogspot comment tool.

    Pam Scalfi?

    • Disqus is great isn’t it! You can install it on blogger if you did want to, it looks fairly easy from the instructions I’ve seen online! x

  • Some really great advice, that I will defo be taking!

    Sach x

    • Aw that’s great to hear! Thanks for reading Sach x

  • I use blogspot but it was still really interesting to read, so thank you. I love Disqus too (:
    Nati xx
    http://www.simplyartdicted.com

    • I’m glad you’ve found this post interesting – thank you for reading it! Disqus is great isn’t it! x

  • Just loved these plugins!! I’ve just installed the nofollow and wordfence <3 thanks for sharing xx

    http://www.krystelcouture.com ?

    • That’s great to hear you’ve downloaded some of these, I hope they’re as helpful to you as they are to me! Thanks for reading x

  • Oh my god, thanks for recommending wordfence! Looks great and I’d never even thought about that. Do you know of any plugins that can stop views/referrals from spammy sites?

    Harriet Rosie | http://www.harrietrosie.com

  • Shannon

    This is a really great post. I never know which ones are good or not so thank you so much my lovely.

    http://www.sixthskyline.com x

    • Aww thank you Shannon! Hope it was useful to you x

  • Great post! I love finding new plugins. Another good one is Edit Flow 🙂

    Sarah | More Than Adored

    • Thanks Sarah! I’ve never actually heard of Edit Flow, so I’m going to look that up now! Thanks for the recommendation x

  • The only reason I wish I had wordpress is for the plugins!

    Tegan xx – Permanent Procrastination

    • WordPress is really great for that, you can customise it so many different ways! Thanks for reading Tegan xx

  • This is probably a really daft question but can you only get plugins when you have wordpress.org? Plugins and SEO things are so confusing haha.

    Ax
    http://www.alicerosieallsop.com

    • Hi Alice! No that’s not a daft question at all! Yes, you can only get plugins when you have a wordpress.org site that is self hosted. The free version of wordpress (wordpress.com) doesn’t allow you to customise it as much, and won’t let you add plugins unfortunately xx

  • This is such a fab post! I absolutely love the SEO plugin, it’s helped me so much, so I’ll definitely be checking out your other suggestions – especially Wordfence! I love finding a great new plugin 🙂 Some of my favourites are ‘Instagram Slider Widget’ and ‘Top 10’ x

    Peppermint and Panda Eyes

    • Thank you very much, I’m glad it has helped! I haven’t heard of Top 10 before so will definitely be having a look into that later! Thanks for reading xx

  • Niamh Corrigan

    I find this extremely helpful. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 x

    http://littlemissmexo.com

    • Glad you found it helpful Niamh! Thank you for reading! x

  • This is a very well thought out, helpful post! I agree with number 5! I love the Posts in Sidebar plugin!
    xx, Emily // http://www.shrewdandchic.com
    P.S. I love your name 😉

  • what a great post! I love the disqus plug-in… I am so glad I installed this comment system on my blog – it’s my favorite!

    Jessica
    Pyreflies.org

  • Carolanne K Minter

    This is so helpful! Thank you 🙂

    http://www.aliterarycocktail.com xx

  • This is beyond helpful, thanks hun!

  • A really helpful post, thank you for sharing! I’ve installed the Posts In Sidebar Plugin, as I wasn’t happy with the lack of customisation with the one I had. The only problem with it is that I can’t seem to work out how to get it to pull my most popular posts. Any ideas? Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

  • lolaandbehold

    I completely agree with you on Disqus – I barely ever comment on blogs that don’t have Disqus – it really put me off! Thanks for sharing this post – am going to go widget crazy today! x