9 of my Top Must-Have WordPress Plugins

If you have a blog on WordPress then you need to install these 9 wordpress plugins right now.

Recently, I was chatting with a blogging friend of mine and I casually mentioned a great WordPress plugin I’ve been using for a while. She had never heard of it, which shocked me. In the days that followed I reached out to a few different blogging friends and found that a lot of them didn’t know of or use any of the plugins that I rely on to keep my blogging running. It made me realize it was time to share all of my favorite plugins here with you. I hope you check them out because they are awesome and I’m sure you’ll see benefit to your blog by using them.

Shareadraft

Ok, so the Shareadraft plugin hasn’t been updated in about 5 years and to most people that’s reason enough not to use it. If you fall into that category, I completely understand. I, on the other hand, tried it out anyway and it’s fabulous. It’s just a simple plugin but it allows you to generate a special link which allows people without access to view the draft of a blog post.

I use that plugin constantly when I’m working with brands. I’ve frequently been accessed to share the draft of a post before it goes live and without this plugin I’m either sending the brand a .doc file or I’m granting them access to view my dashboard, neither one are ideas I particularly love. This plugin lets me generate a link that allows anyone with the link to view the post as it would appear on my blog once published. You can also set a time limit for the link so I usually only make it live for between 4 – 8 hours.

Yoast SEO

The Yoast SEO plugin is easily one of the more popular Wordpress plugins and almost everyone I know uses it. It is so robust! It offers content analysis which reviews your post for SEO optimization and if there is room for improvement it tells you what you should change. It may tell you that you need to use the keyword or phrase more often in your blog post content or remove a stop word from your url. It will even notify that you should optimize your images for the keyword as well. I’ve gained a lot more search traffic since I installed and setup this plugin.

One of my favorite features, even though I don’t always use it, is the ability to create different featured images for Facebook. When you add a featured image to your blog post it’s the image that shows up on your blog as the thumbnail image. That’s great for maintaining a certain aesthetic on your blog but that image isn’t always the best option for Facebook. Yoast SEO lets you choose a different blog post title, description, and image for Facebook which can help you boost your social marketing there. 

WP Super Cache

There isn’t a lot to say about the WP Super Cache plugin other than it helps to increase the speed of your blog and a fast blog is important especially with the growing emphasis on mobile optimization. Once you have it installed and activated there isn’t a lot you need to do with it, it just does its thing behind the scenes.

WP Smush

I never used to pay much attention to the size of the images I was uploading to WordPress but when the media library started to bog down my blog I got seriously about images very quickly. That’s where the WP Smush plugin comes in. Once you install and activate this plugin, it resizes, optimizes, and compresses all of your images.  It scans your images, cuts all the unnecessary data ,and scales it for you before adding it to your media library. It’s fabulous for maintaining image quality without slowing down your blog.

Rel NoFollow Checkbox

The Rel NoFollow Checkbox plugin adds a check box to the Insert/Edit Link dialog on the WordPress dashboard so that you can quickly and easily create a nofollow link. If you’re working with brands or a link is sponsored or paid in any way, you have to make the links in the sponsored content nofollow links in order to be FTC compliant. I used to always be so forgetful about that but this plugin makes it stupid easy. All you have to do is select the check box.

Rel Nofollow checkbox is just one of my favorite wordpress plugins.

WordPress SEO Comments Plugin

I love the WordPress SEO Comments plugin! WordPress doesn’t automatically index your blog comments for search engine queries which means that keywords in the visitor talk back doesn’t do a damn thing to help you or your blog. I don’t know about you but I work hard to generate comments on my blog. It sucked to know that other than showing engagement, they didn’t do anything to help grow my blog. This plugin helps with that.

After this plugin is installed and activated, Google is able to access the comments on your blog and index them which generates even more search engine traffic for you. Total win, right?

Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin

The Ultimate Book Blogger plugin is only paid plugin in this list but it is absolutely worth it if you share book reviews on your blog. I was really skeptical of making the investment in the plugin at first but my friend Allison from The Book Wheel swore to me that it was worth it and since I trust her opinion, I bought it. It took me a while to set it up because there are just so many configuration options and settings but dang it if it isn’t worth every single dollar I spent on it.

Anyone who shares book reviews knows what a pain it can be to collect the book cover and format the cover with the book information, synopsis, and purchase links as well as sharing the author information (if you choose to). Add in trying to manage archives and it’s just a pain-in-the-butt. This plugin automates all of that and automatically generates book archives so people can find reviews by rating, by author, by genre, etc. It’s simply powerful.

jQuery Pin It Button for Images

Ever wonder how bloggers get those custom branded “Pin It” buttons to appear over their images when you hover your mouse there? It’s done with the jQuery Pin It Button for Images plugin. You can create your own Pin It image using either PicMonkey or Canva, then upload it to the jQuery settings so that it appears over your images.

If you use this plugin I recommend setting a minimum height and width for an image before the Pin It button appears. Before I set the minimum height and width, the Pin It button was appearing over the thumbnail for the related content at the bottom of my posts which was just ridiculous because it then prevented a visitor from actually clicking over to the related content. Annoying! 

Broken Link Checker

The Broken Link Checker plugin is a plugin you don’t realize you need until you use it. You just don’t realize how many broken links you could have on your blog until you use a plugin like this one. When I first set it up I had over 108 broken links! OMG. The broken links were:

  • Linked names in the comment sections that went to blogs that were closed
  • Social media links in old posts that linked to an old social media url
  • Links to other blogs or other blogger’s posts that had been closed or deleted
  • Affiliate links to products that were no longer active

The Broken Link Checker creates a list of broken links that you can review. While reviewing the links you can either modify the url, dismiss the message, or unlink the text. It’s amazing and helps me make sure that Google isn’t punishing me for a lot of 404 errors and broken links.

Are you using the top 9 WordPress plugins recommended by @ashleyfromfbl? Check them out! Click To Tweet

Do you use the WordPress plugins recommend in my list here? Did I miss your favorite plugin?

Ashley LaMar
Ashley lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two small dogs. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. She also loves horror movies.

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