7 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Beginners

Looking for the best WordPress plugins for beginners? I will try to suggest to you which plugins to choose to start blogging and develop your dream website. 

Once you’ve chosen a domain and hosting for your blog and installed WordPress, it’s time to write and publish your first post.

However, for you to get the most out of this content management system (CMS), you should install some basic plugins.

They will allow you to not only make your website more beautiful but also improve its security and functionality.

The right set of plugins will also help you to increase your website traffic and further grow your online business.

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What is WordPress Plugin?

A WordPress plugin is some kind of software that extends the functionality of the theme you have chosen. 

The most important feature of plugins is the ability to add various features without advanced programming skills.

7 free WordPress plugins for beginners
7 free WordPress plugins for beginners

With plugins you can:

  • increase website traffic,
  • improve site security and protect it from malware attacks,
  • get a beautiful blog design,
  • turn an ordinary website into an online store,
  • create amazing photo galleries,
  • add a landing page to build an email base, and much more…

How to Use WordPress Plugin?

WordPress plugins are written in PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress.

However, do not be afraid. As a beginner blogger, you don’t need to know this programming language to enjoy all plugins possibilities.

To use the selected plugin, just follow the few steps outlined below:

  • select the plugin that interests you,
  • download and install it (you can do it using FTP client or directly from your dashboard),
  • activate the plugin,
  • configure the plugin according to your preferences,
  • remember to update the plugin regularly according to its latest version.

As you probably know, the number of available plugins is huge. New ones are appearing all the time, and the ones that already exist are constantly being improved and updated.

Some plugins are completely free, others offer only basic features in the free version, and the more advanced ones are provided in the PRO version.

Here are 7 free WordPress plugins for beginners that will give you a good start to the interesting adventure called blogging.

7 free WordPress plugins for beginners

Akismet Anti-Spam

Effective spam protection

The first plugin I want to introduce is a plugin called Akismet Anti-Spam.

This is one of my favorite WordPress plugins.

This is a very useful plugin that will protect you from unwanted comments and spam.

It is available in multiple languages.

Akismet plugin - best spam protection for beginners
Akismet plugin – best spam protection for beginners

The basic features of the plugin are:

  • automatically check and filter comments that look like spam,
  • showing and revealing URLs contained in comments,
  • function to automatically delete ordinarily spam comments, which will save you space, disk capacity and speed up your site.

The plugin is paid for commercial and business websites.

However, in case you use it on your blog – for personal use – you will be able to use it free of charge as a free non-commercial license.

The fee is voluntary in this case.

To activate the plugin, it is necessary to obtain an API key.

For this purpose, you have to register on aksimet.com and choose the option – for personal use. Otherwise, using the plugin involves a monthly fee.

3-step registration at www.akismet.com
3-step registration at www.akismet.com

Once you have the API code, you need to enter and validate it in your WordPress dashboard.

After this step, the plugin will be activated.

Classic Editor

A plugin is useful for people who want to keep the look of the old, classic editor in WordPress.

After upgrading to version 5.0, a new posts editor called Gutenberg was introduced in WordPress.

It is completely different from the previous version, which was sometimes a hindrance for people used to the classic editor.

WordPress Classic Editor plugin
WordPress Classic Editor plugin

However, to give users time to adapt and make a smooth switch to Gutenberg, it is still possible to use the older version by installing the Classic Editor plugin.

The biggest advantage of this plugin is that it works in two modes. So you can completely restore the classic WordPress editor or leave the new one as the default, with the ability to edit posts in the old editor on demand.

This is very convenient and gives you time to familiarize yourself with Gutenberg.

Smush

Optimize your images

To attract readers to your blog and rank high in search engine positions, you need to regularly post quality content.

However, as you know – even the best text you should enhance with good photos, which will be a great addition to any post.

But you must remember that images can slow down your blog significantly. Pages that take a long time to load are more likely to be rejected by users.

Also, Google doesn’t like it when the page load time is too long.

But for WordPress, you can find plugins that solve this problem.

I use the WP Smush plugin.

For me, this is one of the best WordPress plugins for blogs.

Smush - Image Optimizer WordPress plugin
Smush – Image Optimizer WordPress plugin

The WP Smush plugin allows you to automatically resize and optimize the images you upload to your site.

Its big advantage is that it optimizes images without losing their quality

The plugin is easy to use, and you can optimize your images at the same time they are uploaded to the server.

By compressing and optimizing the images you post, your blog will load faster.

WPForms

The contact form is a simple and proven way to communicate with blog users.

Users like to use this type of solution as it is a time saver for them. 

They can enter and send their message to you directly from the form on the site, without opening their mailbox.

One of the most popular plugins for creating beautiful forms is WPfroms.

WPForms - WordPress Contact Form Plugin
WPForms – WordPress Contact Form Plugin

Thanks to the fact that the plugin is beginner-friendly – you will create your first form without coding knowledge!

Creating a contact form is very simple and intuitive – you can add or remove individual fields using the drag & drop method.

You will do everything in just a few minutes.

WPForms Lite vs Pro

The plugin is available in two versions: WPFroms Lite and WPForms Pro.

In the free version the plugin offers:

  • Blank Form – you can create your version of the form using drag & drop functionality,
  • Simple Contact Form– this template offers you to use of a pre-made form. However, you will be able to add and remove individual fields as needed.
  • Newsletter Signup Form– in this template, you will create a newsletter subscription form. Here you can add and remove individual fields according to your preferences.
  • Suggestion From – you can use this form to ask your visitors for feedback or suggestions.
WPForms plugin - Simple Contact Form
WPForms plugin – Simple Contact Form

In the paid version of WPS Form Pro, you have many more templates and options.

So you can additionally:

  • create an unlimited number of forms,
  • build a multi-page form,
  • build a user registration form for member sites,
  • add advanced field types such as date and time,
  • save, view, and manage form responses directly in WordPress administration,
  • integrate the form with services like PayPal, Stripe, Mailchimp, AWeber, GetResponse, Constant Contact, Drip, Zapier,
  • create survey reports, purchase, order, and reservation forms online,
  • upload and download files through the form.

WPForms plugin is the most friendly plugin for beginner bloggers.

Its huge advantage is responsiveness. So your forms will always look great on all devices – mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops.

WPForms is also highly optimized for SEO and conversions. At the same time, it is one of the fastest plugins for creating blog forms.

Moreover, using this type of plugin will additionally protect you from spam attacks.

Yoast SEO

Most popular WordPress plugin

When creating blog posts, you need to know that they should not only be readable and valuable to users but should also be SEO friendly.

Several plugins will allow you to manage SEO yourself.

The most popular of these is the Yoast SEO plugin.

In the free edition, the plugin has some limitations and SEO management is reduced to only basic functions.

However, for most users, this will be completely sufficient.

Yoast SEO plugin - Improve your WordPress SEO
Yoast SEO plugin – Improve your WordPress SEO

What does the Yoast SEO plugin offer?

The plugin provides features such as:

  • completing SEO title and description, which allows translating to Google robots what the post is about,
  • setting templates for titles and descriptions,
  • page content analysis,
  • readability analysis,
  • evaluation text in regards to SEO and keyword phrases,
  • creation of XML site map and its management,
  • connection and integration with Google Search Console,
  • crumb management.

The plugin pays attention to most of the elements important for positioning. It will check such aspects as internal linking, external linking, the occurrence of keywords, headlines.

The text evaluation system for SEO is based on colors. A red smiley face means that the given element is to be improved, orange means smaller mistakes. When everything is fine, the element will be marked green.

Yoast SEO plugin - the perfect tool for beginner bloggers.
Yoast SEO plugin – the perfect tool for beginner bloggers.

It is worth mentioning that Yoast has its academy – a platform with SEO courses. Some of the materials are free of charge.

The Yoast SEO plugin is the perfect tool for both beginner bloggers and more advanced users.

 The SEO plugin monitors your activities, suggesting and pointing out what else you can do better to improve your search engine ranking.

AddToAny Share Buttons

You can promote your blog in many ways. One of them is integrating your site with Social Media. 

Social Media has a huge reach. 

Used skillfully, they can positively impact your brand, allowing you to reach new audiences and potential customers.

By contacting your audience, you can build a long-term relationship with them.

So if you want to reach your users as much as possible, then installing a share button will always be a good idea.

AddToAny Share Buttons plugin - share your post on over 200 social media channels
AddToAny Share Buttons plugin – share your post on over 200 social media channels

The most popular social platforms are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Many plugins and extensions, both free and paid, will help integrate your blog with these popular social networks.

The solution I use is a plugin called AddToAny Share Buttons.

It allows you to quickly and conveniently share your post on over 200 social media channels.

The button can be placed not only on the home page but also on subpages, category pages, and in other selected places. 

An additional advantage is the subscribers counter and the module collecting analytical data.

Pretty Links

Pretty Links is the last plugin I wanted to present. It is a very useful tool, also for people who actively promote affiliate links.

The basic functions that the Pretty Links plugin offers are:

The plugin is available in two versions: Premium and Lite.

The paid version offers many more features such as various types of redirects, conversion reports, and additional automation tools.

I use the free version.

Pretty Links Plugin - shortening and effective link management
Pretty Links Plugin – shortening and effective link management

Why is this plugin so useful?

Affiliate links generated by affiliate programs are usually long and often look strange. It is sometimes a series of incomprehensible characters. An example of such a link you can find in this article.

Such links are difficult to manage and our visitors are unlikely to click on them.

The Pretty Links plugin allows you to shorten and cloak links so they look much better and are also easier to remember.

Users will be more likely to click on the shortened link, and this is known to increase your conversion.

Besides shortening and redirecting links, we can also track and manage them.

For example, an interesting feature is the automatic conversion of keywords into links and their automated sharing on social media.

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