I believe there is no point repeating why WordPress is the best blogging platform and what the benefits are of using WordPress.
Harsh has already shared a handy guide to installing WordPress, and you can follow his extensive WordPress guide for more information about WordPress.
Instead, I’m going to list out some of the basic WordPress plugins which you should consider installing on your blog.
Most of these are free basic WP plugins, and a couple of them at the bottom are bonuses which will take your blog to the next level of optimization.
So you want to start blogging on a new WordPress blog and you still don’t know which plugins to get. I’ll show you which ones are the most popular out there and which ones every WP blog is using.
- Read: Essential Settings After Installing WordPress
You can start a new WordPress blog very easily and try to figure out everything on your own. Or, you can use this handy list of plugins for your new installation and start working on promotion.
Free & Basic WordPress Plugins For Every WordPress Blog
Note: Some hosts have issues with certain plugins. For example, W3 Total Cache is a very useful plugin, but it performs better with VPS hosting, whereas WP super cache works well with shared hosting.
- Learn: How to Install a WordPress Plugin
Without wasting any more time, here are the essential WordPress plugins for your new blog.
WordPress comment spam is something that you will face from day one.
When you start a WordPress blog and you get some cheesy line in the comments, you should not get excited. It is likely a spam comment saying something like the following:
- “I love your blog and you’ve got excellent writing style.”
- “Your writing style is excellent and I have subscribed to your blog.”
- “Wow! This is so informative!”
Check the URL and you will realize that it’s leading to some spammy affiliate site.
Akismet is an official WordPress plugin from Automattic to prevent spam comments in WordPress.
It is the first plugin that you should install on any new blog. Your new blog will have the WordPress commenting feature, and if you don’t use this plugin, your blog will be filled up by spammers. The spammers only want to throw their links on your articlesand don’t want to join the discussion.
This plugin will automatically move those comments that it considers spam into the trash can (deleting them after a select amount of time).
You need to grab a WordPress.com API, which you can get by creating a free profile on WordPress.com.
Jetpack is another official plugin by WordPress.
It allows you to monitor your site and have access to many more WordPress.com features.
To activate this plugin, go to WordPress.com and create a WordPress.com ID (which you should have gotten when you installed Akismet).
The Jetpack plugin brings all of the services that you might have enjoyed on WordPress.com to your self-hosted blog.
- Site stats
- …and some other exciting widgets.
Jetpack also gives you the feature to make your blog social by adding social share buttons and recent tweets in the sidebar.
The best thing about Jetpack is the WordPress.com stats plugin. It offers great analytics and insight into your blog’s traffic.
And if you’re looking to include a forum, you won’t want to miss BuddyPress.
- Learn more about Jetpack.
Social bookmarking has become a major ranking factor for SEO.
(In particular, having a Google+1 button is very important for any website looking to rank higher in Google.)
One rule of thumb for getting more shares is placing your social sharing buttons in prominent places. When readers see these options at the right time, they’re more likely to share your article.
Social Warfare is by far the best social media sharing plugin. It lets you add sharing buttons on both your desktop and mobile sites.
It supports all modern platforms like:
- Pinterest (direct on the image)
- …and many more
<Download Social Warfare>
WP Super Cache
This is one of the best cache plugins for WordPress.
It has tons of caching features like:
- G-Zip compression
- Site cache
- Preloading files for faster loading
- Server load reduction
WP Super Cache is very popular and for good reasons.
One cool thing you can do is create a cache of your homepage which will allow it to load faster. Since Google has started ranking websites based on site speed, this is definitely a must-have plugin.
A good alternative to this plugin is W3 Total Cache, but the best cache solution is WP-Rocket (which is a paid plugin.)
<Download WP Super Cache>
Contact Form 7
When you search for contact form plugins, you will be bombarded with many options.
There are many premium ones (like Gravity), but Contact Form 7 is the simplest plugin to configure.
It’s also useful because it shows things like referral source which is very useful for knowing how your vistitor navigated through your site before using the contact form.
(An alternative plugin is Contact Form by Yoast, which also shows the referral source.)
One great thing about Contact Form 7 is the ability to customize it according to your needs. The form can be created, and every entry from it will be sent to your email.
You can also create multiple forms with multiple tables.
<Download Contact Form 7>
Note: If you are using the Jetpack plugin, you need not use this plugin. You can add a contact form using Jetpack.
Google XML Sitemaps
Sitemap submission is an important part of letting Google find all your pages.
In fact, it’s so important that you should be doing this immediately after setting up your blog.
Simply, install the Google XML Sitemap plugin, generate your sitemap, and submit the sitemap manually to Google’s Webmaster Tool and Bing’s Webmaster Tool.
This plugin auto updates when you publish a new post and notifies all major search engines.
Even if you are not using this plugin, make sure you have some alternate plugins to generate your sitemap.
<Download Google XML Sitemaps>
- Also read: Which is the best sitemap plugin for your WordPress blog?
This plugin is better than the All In One SEO plugin and offers way more features than any other free SEO plugin on WordPress.
Yoast SEO inherits all of the features of All In One SEO and offers features from many other Yoast plugins.
- Meta robots plugin
- RSS footer by Yoast
- XML sitemap
- …and so on.
This plugin also allows you to noindex your non-useful pages (to make your site ranks higher and is more valuable).
It can also be used as an alternative to Google XML Sitemaps.
Here is a nice guide on setting up WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- Check out: Best WordPress Plugins for SEO
<Download Yoast SEO>
This plugin allows you to tell Google that you are the original author of an article that you just wrote.
It keeps the scrapers and spammers away!
Moreover, if you are complaining about slow indexing of your blog, this plugin will make a huge difference. It is one of the must-have WordPress plugins.
This plugin doesn’t require any configuration. All you need to do is install and activate.
Talking about must-have WordPress plugins, we need to include a backup taking plugin on this list.
ManageWP is a popular service which lets you do various tasks including taking a free backup of your WordPress database.
This is something every WordPress blogger should be doing from day one.
At the time of backup, your server load might increase, but a normal shared hosting package can usually hold this load.
- Also read: WordPress Backup Tricks For Automatic Back-Ups
Bonus Plugin For New WordPress Blog
W3 Total Cache
The plugin is a neck and neck competitor of WP Super Cache.
This plugin caches a lot and allows your site to fly. While WP Super Cache asks you to use other plugins like WP Minify along with it, W3 Total Cache needs nothing else.
But, too much power can be harmful. This plugin crashed my whole blog once due to over-caching.
Important: Don’t use this plugin and another cache plugin (WP Super Cache) at the same time.
- How To Configure W3 Total Cache Plugin
<Download W3 Total Cache>
The WordPress plugin directory is full of useful plugins and you can find and download unlimited plugins for free.
But for a faster experience, I would recommend you to install only those which are essential and important.
If you would like to suggest any more basic WordPress plugins which should be included in this list, do let us know via the comments.