How do you get the most out of your WordPress.org site? By making sure you’ve got all the free WordPress plugins you need, that’s how. A good plugin will revolutionise your blogging either for you or your readers but there are hundreds out there that won’t add value and could potentially cause you issues. Here are some of our must have plugins for new and established bloggers alike.
1. Yoast SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is key for getting your posts out to a wider audience. If you want to rank highly on Google then SEO is what’s required. Companies spend thousands on tweaking their SEO in order to rise up the rankings, whilst Yoast SEO isn’t the be all and end all, it does make SEO simple. Just type in your key word (the word you imagine your readers will type into Google) and it’ll give you feedback based on a traffic light system with steps on how to improve it. This plugin also offers a readability check that runs in real-time as you type, allowing you to tweak your writing style and sentence structure to make your posts as reader friendly as possible.
2. Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack brings all the best functionality you’d be used to from your old WordPress.com site to your self-hosted WordPress.org site. From easy commenting set-up for your readers, through social media sharing and contact us forms, Jetpack really offers a lot of bang for its (free) buck. Jetpack offers simple site stats that give a good guide to visitation and post success albeit in a simple format. Not convinced? There’s even a spell check function.
3. WordPress Editorial Calendar
One of the hardest things about blogging is keeping track of your draft and scheduled posts. The WordPress functionality for this is unclear and tends to just provide you with one huge list, no dates attached. We also found there were issues with scheduled posts not posting, less than ideal! WordPress Editorial Calendar gives you a visual guide to what you’ve posted, what’s planned and what drafts are still unscheduled. The plugin is set up as a month view calendar and allows you to drag and drop posts on to the days you want them in for. You can leave posts as drafts, mark them for review or change them to scheduled. Since using this, we’ve not had a single scheduling failure. Finally, down the side of the calendar is a list of unscheduled drafts so you can quickly see what posts you’ve got underway.
4. Ultimate NoFollow
Ultimate NoFollow allows you to simply amend your links in a post to be nofollow links. What does that mean? Normally your links default to be follow links, allowing search engines to crawl the links beyond your site and onto those sites listed. This helps rise the ranking of those linked sites as, in SEO terms, backlinks are valuable. Google has the ability to penalise sites who it feels are providing follow links unnecessarily and as such nofollow links are increasingly popular, especially when you’re being paid for the post, thus preventing people ‘buying’ good rankings. This plugin allows you to check a box and automatically change your links to nofollow status without having to go into the coding.
5. Revive Old Post
Most of us promote our posts when we write them but then forget them after. Revive Old Post allows you to set automatic tweets to be sent out with your old blog posts on them. You can set how often you want them to run, what you want the tweets to say and even select categories you don’t want covered (although some of this requires upgrading to the paid version). As a first step in to recycling your work and making the most of evergreen blog content this is an easy to use method.
Imsanity will resize your images automatically, preventing you from uploading huge photo files. Whilst this may not have previously been an issue, advances in camera phones means you’re undoubtedly uploading files that are far bigger than your readers will ever require. Imsanity allows you to set a maximum pixel size and do bulk resizing if required on your old posts. Not sure why you’d need it? Huge image files take up space and can slow down the responsiveness of your site. When you’re loading a webpage, seconds feel like a lifetime so keep the file size to a minimum and improve reader experience without losing image quality.
7. WP Drafts For Friends
If you’re working with brands or you’re collaborating on a post, this plugin allows you to share the post with them prior to publication. Simply select a post and choose how long you want them to have visibility for and it’ll create a link for you to share. As far as they’re concerned, they’ll see the post as it would look when published on your site – great for checking content prior to sign off.
And there we have it… seven free WordPress plugins you need to download today! Do you think there are any we’ve missed?
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