Okay, blogging buddies, let’s talk about the best plugins for bloggers! While I’m a travel blogger, I also do a lot of posts on fashion and lifestyle, so this is not just for travel bloggers, but any kind of blogger. There are some must have WordPress plugins that nearly everyone has to optimize their sites, then there are some plugins that you pay for, and some that are really unique for earning money. Over the last four years, I’ve tried many – some I love, some I didn’t – and am summing up some favorites that I’ve kept.
My Must Have WordPress Plugins
This is not a list of ALL the best plugins for bloggers but really a list of what I use to keep Hippie in Heels running – these are my must-have WordPress plugins that have lasted four years on my blog.
I’ve had 3 different hosts over the last four years, dealt with CPU issues with shared hosting, had three different developers over the years, and these are the plugins that have managed to stay on the blog and not get nixed for taking too many resources. I am a minimalist at heart and if there’s a plugin I can delete, I DO. I hate unnecessary plugins, plus they slow your site down.
If you are planning on adding plugins from this list, try to do one at a time, waiting a day or two in between as plugins can “conflict” with each other and if an error happens on your site, you’ll not know what caused it if you add them all at once. If you’re new to blogging and this all sounds kind of confusing, I recommend taking Nomadic Matt’s blogging course so you can ease into all this!
Best Plugins For Bloggers who are a bit minimalist, want to earn money on their blog, and want to keep things running fast!
Okay, let’s take a look behind the scenes of Hippie in Heels. I get a lot of questions about my website design. These plugins DON’T make your website pretty; a designer does along with a web developer. The key to a pretty looking site is starting with a HIGHLY customizable theme. I use Avada and love it!
These plugins also don’t make your site run faster, although some do help; a good host is what makes your site run fast plus a developer helping you optimize your site. My host is Performance Foundry now because I outgrew Siteground, but if you’re between 100,000 – 200,000 page views a month, I suggest Siteground. Their Go Geek is so affordable and it was the best customer service ever. If you are just starting your blog and want something cheap or are under 100,000 page views, Bluehost is the way to go and this link will give you their lowest rate of 2.95/month.
Let’s start with ones that are must have WordPress plugins that nearly ever blogger has added to their site. These are kind of the base and some of these I’ve gotten rid of as my new host takes care of these big things.
1. Wordfence Security
This is what keeps your site safe! There are more out there, but most bloggers I know use this one and as long as it doesn’t cause conflicts on your site or slow it down, it’s a good one to use. It is “anti-virus, firewall, and malware scan”. My new host actually recently got rid of this as they have their own system and are also my developer, doing monthly maintenance.
2. JetPack by WordPress.com
There are 101 reasons to use Jetpack and it’s a whopper of a plugin that kind of gives you a handful of things that if you didn’t have it, you’d have to download 10 different plugins. For example, a small bonus, it adds a grammar and spelling checker to your dashboard when you write posts. It has stats, security, image performance, showing related content after a blog post, sharing, commenting, and more.
3. Google Analytics
While Jetpack does collect stats, brands and well basically everyone will only take Google Analytics as a true source of what your stats are. This plugin is how Google Analytics can track your readers: the number of them, where they are from, their age and interests, and so many other cool things to find out.
With this plugin, you can back your whole site up to Dropbox, Google Drive, or straight to your PC. Backup plugins are notorious for slowing down sites. You have to make sure you get one that works with your host and other plugins. My host backs my site up, and I used to run this weekly, but my new host is someone I trust a lot so I’ve recently disabled this.
5. EWWW Image Optimizer
While you should export your images at a smaller size and resolution before uploading them to WP, you can also have this plugin to make them even smaller (in terms of kb). This will help your page speed. My new host also got rid of this plugin and replaced with their specific Foundry one, but this is great for other hosts.
6. Really Simple SSL
When you do the dreaded switch from http to https (which Google is pretty much forcing us all to do), this plugin makes it much easier. Most hosts will make the switch for you, but the plugin makes sure all old URL’s are redirected to new URL’s and more. When I switched to my new host, this is another that they got rid off and they coded the SSL switch so I didn’t need this.
Now, let’s talk about the plugins you might want to add if you want to earn money from your blog. These are the ones I use.
If you want to do email marketing, you need to sign up for a program to do so. Mailchimp is not the only option, and if you plan to grow fast, it’s not the best for you. I got it ages ago because it is free up until I think 3,000 subscribers. Once I hit that it was too expensive to stay with Mailchimp. Mailerlite is easier to use, makes cuter emails, and they have an actually “Mailchimp to Mailerlite” system to help you shift everything over. It was really easy and I love it. I’m paying 1/4 of the price! You can sign up to Mailerlite with my link and get $20 off.
this is the image on my home page which links to Mailchimp
2. Yoast SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is SO important if you want earn money as this is what makes you show up on Google. Yoast makes it easier to understand and make sure you don’t forget something. To learn more about SEO and ranking on Google, check out the Digital Nomad Wannabe blog.
3. Mediavine Control Panel
If you are going to have ads on your blog, you might need a plugin to make them run. I use Mediavine which is an ad network you have to apply to and they recommend using their plugin to enter my code the easiest way, so I have done so. I can make changes directly here instead of going into my dashboard on their website.
Ever seen those “shop the post” widgets? You can input them via HTML or you can make shortcodes with this plugin. I always make mine on rewardStyle’s website, but since hiring a VA, she said this makes things a lot easier and more organized.
5. EasyAzon Pro
You can sign up to Amazon Associates and create all your product links there, or you can do it on your blog with the EasyAzon plugin. I use the “Pro” one, which I did have to pay for, but it can cloak a link to make sure it goes to the landing page of the correct country (which means you need to see where your traffic is and sign up to the Amazon affiliate program of those countries). This means you aren’t missing out on non-USA sales (or UK, wherever you are from).
Okay, now for some plugins that are unnecessary for some people, but that I have found really useful and love to have on my site.
1. Instagram Feed
I have this plugin so that I can have my Instagram embedded into my homepage at the bottom.
you can see the IG posts across the bottom, although I now have fixed that they weren’t the same size at first.
2. Revive Old Post
This plugin lets you tweet out old posts so that they get recycled. You can exclude categories you don’t want to be tweeted out and you can set up how often, like every 8 hours. You can even have the WP tags or categories show up as hashtags on Twitter.
When I reply to a blog post comment, an email automatically goes to the person who left the comment. This way they know I replied to them and they get an answer to their travel question.
4. jQuery Pin It Button For Images
This plugin is so that when someone hovers over an image on your blog post, a Pinterest logo pops up and they can easily click that to add it to any of their Pinterest boards.
5. Under Construction
This just makes your site look pretty while you are working on it and it’s “down” rather than someone just getting a 404 error or whatever other error it would be.
For me, these are the best plugins that I have used for years and help me blog faster and easier! The fewer plugins you have the better because once you have too many they start to conflict. You should definitely take a look at yours to see if there are some you don’t really need. The first section were must have WordPress plugins, the second section were good ones if you want to monetize your blog, and the last were some fun ones that are really helpful. What plugin do you use and love that I might like? Tell me in the comments!
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