Are you thinking of starting a WordPress based website or blog? Maybe you have recently started a blog, it could even be that you have had one for some time. Either way I would like to say congratulations because I love WordPress. It’s easy to use and customise even for beginners.
It’s super stable, has loads of extras and is well liked by search engines. In fact, WordPress is currently used by around 35% of all websites making it the world’s most popular website building platform.
Some of the most valuable extras offered by the WordPress platform are the host of Plugins that are available. These little bits of software are easily downloadable and add a range of functionality to your site.
Although there are premium plugins that you have to pay for many are free. Today I want to look at 10 of the best WordPress plugins for free that I recommend for new sites. So let’s jump on in and have a look.
1.All In One SEO
All In One SEO is one of the most popular SEO plugins available and is the one I use on all of my sites. It has a range of great features like easy Google and Bing site verification options plus an xml sitemap generator.
For those who are new to “web talk” these are tools that help you talk to Google and Bing. You can also amend and preview your search snippet so you can see what visitors will see in the search engine results. All In One SEO should without doubt be the first plugin you download for your new site.
One of most important thing to consider when building a new site or blog is will the search engines find me? There are a range of things that you must consider and right up at the top is the speed of your site. Images often make up the majority of your websites size and as such have a direct impact on its speed.
In fact if you don’t optimise them your website will without doubt suffer in terms of speed and search engine likeability. Smush is a great plugin because it automatically optimises images for you as you upload them to your media library. Smush resizes, optimises, and compresses all of your images keeping your load times quick and Google happy.
3.Lazy Load by WP Rocket
Next on our list and continuing to ensure that our site loads quickly and is liked by Google we have Lazy Load by WP Rocket. Lazy Load works on your sites images so that they only load as they become visible to visitors.
So any images “below the fold” in other words lower down the page are not loaded until the visitor scrolls down. This reduces the number of HTTP requests that are made and can really help your page loading time. If you intend on having any images on your site, which I recommend you do, then Lazy Load is a must.
This is an absolute must for me. Imagine working for hours, days or even weeks on a site only to have a major problem and find you have lost all of your work. Well Updraft Plus is a simple to use plugin that enables you to backup and restore your site.
You can use it manually to back up as and when you want or do what I do which is have a scheduled backup. I backup to Dropbox but you can choose to use Amazon S3, Google Drive or indeed pretty much any storage solution. Its free, takes only a few minutes to set up and I wouldn’t be without it.
Depending on the type of site you have you may want visitors to be able to view, save or print PDFs of your site’s content. Well if that’s the case there is a great free plugin that offers you this option. PrintFriendly allows users the option to view content in PDF form and then print in a user-friendly format.
You can set up Printfriendly so that the prints and PDFs are branded with copyright information. Users are able to preview content before they print hopefully encouraging them to only print if necessary and save paper and ink.
Shareaholic is a free plugin that gives you a range of great social media sharing options. It has some really powerful features that let you customise how your buttons look and where they are placed. For example you can choose to have the buttons in different locations depending on the type of post or page.
Another feature is multishare which allows readers to share to both Facebook and Twitter with just one click. And once a user has shared your content you can choose to display a window giving them the option to follow your social profiles. If your theme doesn’t have a quality social media option built in then I wholly recommend Shareaholic
If like me you have a blog that has affiliate links then you will know how ugly they can be. Great big long URL’s full of jumbled numbers and letters. Well Pretty Links is a great alternative to using the link shorteners like tinyurl.com or bit.ly and offers far more features.
It’s really easy to install and enables you to change your link address directly from your WordPress dashboard. Pretty Links also tracks the clicks on each link and gives you a detailed report. So why install it? Well if you have a blog with affiliate links then you can see what links get traffic and what don’t.
Just as importantly the nicer your links look the more likely they are to be clicked on and to be shared. Plus it really does look more professional. So If you are blogging or going to be involved in any form of affiliate marketing then Pretty Links is a must.
8.WP Forms Lite
If you are looking to add a contact form to your site then WP Forms Lite is without doubt one of the best free WordPress plugins available. It is really user friendly and has a drag & drop WordPress form builder enabling you to easily create contact forms.
It also has a range of standard templates with all of the form fields that you are likely to need so you can customise them as required. A proven high quality plugin that won’t slow your site and is mobile friendly. If you need to add contact form to your site then I recommend WP Forms Lite.
9.WP Product Review Lite
I’m adding WP Product Review Lite because it is a great little plug in for anyone who does reviews. I use it on most of my reviews and it has some great features when you consider it is a free plugin. It allows you to grade different details about each product or service.
You can add a list of pros and cons as well as a general description box and link section. Google also likes WP Product Review Lite because it produces a “rich snippet” and Google displays this overall product star rating in its searches. You can see what it looks like at the foot of my Wealthy Affiliate Overview.
10.Broken Link Checker
Ok so you may not need this from day one but I recommend you know about it and once you have your first few posts with any links in to activate it. Why? Well because having broken links on your website is not only bad for SEO, it also hurts the user experience.
Broken Link Checker actively checks your site for any broken links and lets you know so you can rectify them. I really like the fact that you don’t just get notifications in your WordPress dashboard but can also set the Broken Link Checker to notify you by email. Another essential free plugin to keep your site running efficiently.
WordPress Plugin Newbie Tips
Before we sum up I just want to mention a few things about plugins particularly for anyone new to WordPress. Any “extras” that you add to your site have a certain “size” and can affect performance therefore it is not good practice to add plugins randomly. Plugins should be kept to the minimum required for the functionality that you need.
DO NOT go adding a plugin just because you think something looks cool or funky. I always recommend having a test site and trying anything new out on this site before you add it to your live site. This holds true for plugins as well. Don’t forget if you host your sites with Wealthy Affiliate you can have up to 50 websites as a premium member.
All of the plugins I have listed have good support and are regularly updated and my tip is to avoid any plugins that aren’t. If you haven’t started your blog yet then I recommend you read my start blogging for beginners guide.
The Best WordPress Plugins For Free – Let’s Sum Up
There you go 10 of the best free WordPress plugins selected specifically for those just starting out on their WordPress journey. I have used all of them at some point and continue to do so across my sites.
Do you use any of the plugins on my list and have I missed one that should be there? Do let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget if you have a question I will always get back to.