Looking for the best WordPress plugins for your Blog? In this post, I share 7 of the top WordPress plugins that I have used successfully to grow my blog. Use these plugins to optimize your content so that it gets it discovered – and drives traffic and shares.
BY DONNA MORITZ | PUBLISHED JULY 17, 2019
Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through a link.
WordPress is a great platform for blogging and in my opinion, it's the best. I've been blogging since 2011 and I know countless top bloggers who all agree with me – so I wanted to share some of the best WordPress Plugins that I can't blog without.
The beauty of WordPress is that you can customize it to suit your goals. From spam protection to share plugins, image optimization plugins and more… there's a plugin for that.
But it takes a lot of time and effort to play with and test all the plugins, so I have always relied on the recommendations of friends to find the best ones to use on my blog.
Hopefully, this post will be that for you – a shortcut to some of the best WordPress plugins. Let's jump in and check them out.
7 Best WordPress Plugins I can't Blog Without
Your website speed is important, and large images slow it down. Enter ShortPixel. It's my secret weapon for reducing image size and reducing lag-time on websites.
ShortPixel improves your website performance by reducing image size. The images that it produces are no different in quality to the original but one thing does differ – the size of the images and load on your website.
ShortPixel gives you:
- Compression with both lossy and lossless optimization available
- Up to 90% compression rate
- Supported formats: JPG, PNG, GIF, PDF, and WebP.
It's a breeze to do your first compression. After that, it ticks away nicely on your site. Just install the ShortPixel plugin directly into your WordPress Dashboard and from there you can easily manage the image reduction process. It's also one-click to back up and restore your images.
The best part is that all of your images are automatically processed. When you configure ShortPixel's plugin, it will compress past images as well.
Batch processing takes just seconds with ShortPixel, and it's fast for old or new images. And, an added bonus is that your files remain private.
You can choose between one-time plans to do all the images on your website (starting at $9.99 USD for 10,000 images) and then monthly plans for a set number of images per month (100 images per month is free, with paid plans starting at $4.99 USD per month for 5,000 images). I did my entire website and barely made a dent in my allowance.
Oh boy. I've just discovered Notifia and I'm loving it so much, there's no doubt in my mind that it deserves to be on my list of Best WordPress Plugins.*
Adding Notifia to your site is easy if you have WordPress. You simply add the Notifia plugin then set it all up via their desktop dashboard. If you don't have WordPress, you can still use Notifia by adding a pixel to your website.
*Strictly, it's probably a tool more than a stand-alone plugin, but I had to share it. And because it has a plug-in option for adding it to your website I'm using some creative licence hehe.
If you've noticed some of the following cool optimization features on websites before, then pay attention (hint: you're going to LOVE this plugin):
- Social Proof – these are the little pop-up notices that say things like “Lisa from Kilkenny just purchased or software” or “Bill from Sydney just signed up to our email list”. These tools are costly, as stand-alone software, just sayin'.
- Exit intent opt-in boxes – these pop up when you are leaving a website, to entice you to sign up for something.
- Churn-buster pop-ups – that show when someone is about to cancel their subscription.
- Tools to keep your site visitors ON your site – by directing them to more relevant content based on their actions so far.
- Surveys and Reviews – to ask your audience to give feedback about something.
- Upsell offers – for when someone purchases your product.
- Lead-magnet offers – for people to subscribe.
Now normally, you'd require more than one tool to do all of this – a tool for lead-captures, a tool for social proof, a tool for surveys, and so on. Not with Notifia. It's all-in-one and SO affordable, that I'm grinning.
Here's a snapshot of just a FEW of the things that Notifia does:
You can easily control the conditions and timing of features, so they only pop up on certain pages based on certain behaviours (ie leaving the website, scrolling for a certain percentage of the page).
Here's an example of the survey and social proof features:
I won't go into every key feature in this post, because there are literally 30+. As Notifia says:
We built 30+ features to cover your entire customer lifecycle including Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention & Referrals. These are the 5 key metrics that lead to Growth. Whilst most Companies just focus on acquisition (SEO, PPC, Email Marketing, Social Media etc) the only way to unlock your true Growth potential is to optimise all 5 metrics, simultaneously.
But to give you a snapshot, with Notifia you can choose from 15+ tools to achieve the following features and more:
- Increase Conversion Rates
- Deliver Real-Time Social Proof
- Reduce Checkout Abandonment
- Optimise User On-Boarding
- Collect Visitor Feedback
- Upsell Existing Customers
- Reduce Subscription Cancellations
- Schedule Sales Calls
- Increase Website Traffic
- Earn Customer Referrals
- Welcome New Visitors
- and much, much more…
Notifia works with your existing email provider and fits seamlessly with your other marketing efforts. Here's one example of how to easily (and quickly) set up a campaign with Notifia:
Setting up Campaigns in Notifia (is EASY)
Notifia is easy to use and you can set up a campaign in minutes. I set up this quick demo-campaign in just 5 minutes, to direct readers to a recent blog post.
Simply start a New Campaign and choose from one of 15 tools:
I chose the Blog Promotion Card feature to promote my latest content to website visitors. Then all I had to do was name the Campaign, add the URL for my website and then edit the campaign as follows:
As you can see, it's easy to set it up. You can get very granular with how you want the promotion to show up on your site. You can even specify particular URLs for the pop-up to appear on, based on behaviours of the blog visitor, as follows:
Here's how the test promotion looks when it pops up on my website. As soon as somebody goes to leave the site, after reading another article, they will see this:
There are endless ways to use this plugin. I can easily take this one step further and add a lead magnet with an email opt-in for a free download. It's great for growing your list.
As you can see, Notifia is an arsenal of growth tools for your website – all powered through a single plugin added to your site. Then it's all controlled in the Notifia dashboard on desktop.
You can use Notifia for free or upgrade to a paid plan for as little as $9 USD per month, in order to add customisation and remove branding. There are also $39 USD per month and $79 USD per month plans, depending on what features you want to use and how many notifications per month. This means that new bloggers can get started with Notifia and grow as their blog grows.
Notice the insanely cool 110% money back offer, if you are not satisfied? Who does that? Notifia does. Money back with interest! But so far, I'm thinking you won't need it.
3. Tasty Pins by WP Tasty
This is one of the most recent WordPress Plugins I've added to my blog, so let's start here. Tasty Pins is one of my favorites, and is top of my list of best WordPress plugins. Socially Sorted is a blog about visual content, and this plugin ensures that my images get shared just the way I want them to be shared.
Tasty Pins Plugin is a part of the WP Tasty family of plugins. Tasty Pins lets you take control of the Pinterest shares that happen from your website. In short, it lets you maximise the results you get from your Pinterest-sized images on your site.
Previously we had to optimize our pins by adding content to the Alt-text for your images. Why? Because, this is what would be taken as the default Pin description for Pinterest when images were shared. The problem was that alt-text should be for describing the actual image. It's not ideal for you to use it to add the Pinterest description. This is especially the case if you want to add Pinterest hashtags – as hashtags aren't ideal for alt-text. Or, put simply:
Google: wants a description of the actual image, so it can “crawl” an image without “seeing” it.
Pinterest: wants a description about the content Pinterest users will find when they click on the image (it's less about the image and more about the content behind it).
Tasty Pins lets you do both so that alt-text and Pinterest Description are optimized separately. Now you can:
- Set the description for every image so it's ideal for Pinterest search. You can add hashtags, the best keywords for Pinterest search. Tailor your content to be found on Pinterest, including a call to action.
- Keep your alt-text separate to the Pin description, allowing you to focus on the description of the image itself. You can tailor the alt-text just for Google!
Tasty Pins from WP Tasty has as a number of other features, including:
- Hiding Pinterest Images – with Tasty Pins you can add a Pinterest-specific image from your website without having to actually show it on your blog or web-page.
Here's an example. I have added two Pinterest images to this post via the plugin:
- Ability to Disable the Pinning of certain images – as you know, not every Pin is “ideal” for pinning. They might be the wrong shape or size or just not Pin-worthy and beautiful. You can use Tasty Pins to disable Pinning for those images so visitors to your site can't physically share or save them to Pinterest.
- Force-Pinning Images – if there is a particular image you want to be “the” image that is Pinned or saved from your site, use this feature. Tasty Pins allows you to select an image that will be “forced” as the image that gets shared when someone saves your content to Pinterest.
- Adding Hover Images – Pinterest has tools to allow you to add Pin and Save buttons to Pinterest, but if you wish. You can also use Tasty Pins to do this. They have a feature where you can add a hover button to your images. It's ideal for reminding readers to Pin your content.
In short, if you are remotely interested in having your content shared to Pinterest by your blog or website visitors, then Tasty Pins WordPress Plugin is a no-brainer. Find more Pinterest tools in this post.
At $29 USD annually (and with awesome customer support) it's one of the best value “paid” plug-ins you will add to your site.
4. Monster Insights
If you're someone that gets confused or overwhelmed by Google Analytics, then this WordPress Plugin is for you! It's called Monster Insights!
I have this plugin hooked up to my blog/website and it's been great. The best part is that you can get a lot of data and helpful information from this plugin… for free! Or you can choose to upgrade for more features.
Monster Insights has saved me a lot of time checking my website traffic, and finding out where my most popular content is on my site – my most popular posts!
Here's a video about Monster Insights to get you started:
The FREE version lets you see:
- page views
- best performing posts and pages
- your top referral sources
- the top countries for views by region for your site.
It firmly deserves a position on my best WordPress plugins post! Loading up the free version of Monster Insights on to your blog is really a no-brainer.
The Pro version:
- gives you access to a more detailed version of Google Analytics, pulled straight into your WordPress dashboard. This includes more detailed stats. Monster Insights breaks down Google Analytics into the most important parts that you need to see.
- shows who is visiting your site, how long they stay on the site and more.
- adds the ability to see where your visitors are coming from and where they are going – ie what posts they are moving between.
- provides enhanced link attribution, which allows you to add “call to action” buttons on your site and see how they are best performing in terms of clicks to a destination page. It's all about breaking it down so you can see how people are behaving on your site.
- adds lots more features in the various levels of the paid Plugin. If you are an e-commerce site, $199 version of this plugin has extra features like woo-commerce and e-commerce addons, digital download tracking, and more. d
New Monster Insights Feature – Scroll Depth Tracking
There is a new feature on Monster Insights that lets you track engagement on your website content. It's called Scroll Depth Tracking. It's also a “Plus or above” feature. This feature will actually (using some sort of clever tech) trigger events in Google Analytics as your site visitors actually scroll down the page.
In short, it allows you to see when your site visitors scroll down your page and what percentage – ie 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. You'll see how much of your page they are scrolling through. Cool, right? So if you want to see which of your pages are the most engaging for your site visitors and which pages could use some improvement – check out Monster Insights and Scroll Depth Tracking.
Read this guide to see how to view your scroll tracking stats in =Google Analytics.
Pricing starts at $99.50 USD per year, if you upgrade to a paid version of the Monster Insights. As I said, the paid versions give you a lot more information (depending on the level of subscription).
But generally, I find that most of my community members and clients can get started with the basic free Plugin – then upgrade as you need to. The Free version certainly starts to take the pain out of Google Analytics!
I don't think I could blog without Yoast. It's seriously like having a writer in my pocket when it comes to optimizing my blog posts to be found on Google search.
If you can check off a checklist, you can use Yoast. It's that simple. Why do I say this? Because Yoast literally gives you a list of things to check off for every blog post. It uses a green light system to let you know if you've optimized your blog ready to publish. If it's red or orange, you have some more work to do and Yoast tells you exactly what to do to fix it.
Here are a few of the things I use Yoast every time I write a new article (I pay for the Yoast Premium Plugin because it's like having an SEO expert in your back pocket)
- It optimize for keywords – including keyphrases, synonyms, and related keywords and any combinations or word forms of those.
- Yoast tells Google, Pinterest and other platforms what your page is about – Yoast does this by adding something called schema.org data. It helps your content get indexed by search engines, faster.
- Gives you alerts about Outdated content that needs updating – Yoast watches your most important pages and warns you if they haven't been updated for more than six months.
- Gives an analysis of the readability of your content – including a Flesch Reading Ease score.
- Helps you set primary categories for your posts – to tell readers (and Google) how your site works and how posts are categorized.
- Reduces duplicate content – with Yoast you can set canonical URLs to avoid confusing Google with duplicate content.
- Does other technical stuff in the background that you don't need to know about – you can rest up, while Yoast does things on your site like handling robots.txt, .htaccess files, and cleaning up permalink URLs or sitemaps. Bascially, Yoast gets your site ready for search engines.
If you upgrade to Yoast SEO Premium you also get these features:
- Internal link suggestions – Yoast finds relevant posts on your site and suggests them for internal linking.
- Content insights – Yoast shows you the 5 words or phrases you use the most on your page and checks to see if they are a match with your keywords.
- Redirect Manager – this allows you to easily redirect old URLs to new ones. Then you won't lose visitors stuck on a “404 Not Foun”d error page.
- Focus Keyword Export – You can export your Focus keywords and SEO scores (CSV export) to find posts that need updating.
- 1 year of free access to 24/7 support – Access to extra support from Yoast's savvy team.
Yoast is free or you can pay to upgrade. Pricing starts at $89 for 1 site on Yoast SEO Premium. I pay for the Yoast Premium Plugin because it's like having an SEO expert in your back pocket with a few extra features. But you can definitely get started with the free features. Quite frankly, it's a no-brainer for any blogger to use Yoast, even the free version.
6. Social Snap
If you're looking for a solid sharing plugin I have not one, but two of my picks for best wordpress plugins for social sharing… to share with you.
I have two sharing options for you – this first one I have experienced on client sites that I am loving, and will soon be running it on at least one of my own sites. It's called Social Snap.
Most of the features I mention below are paid features, as these are primarily paid plugins based on a small annual subscription. You'll find that Social Snap has more functionality overall and is better for serious bloggers (but is paid only) and Social Pug (which I will share below) is the best choice for new bloggers that are looking for a plugin that has a free version as well.
First, let's take a look at Social Snap:
Social Snap has a slick user interface and the share buttons are modern and nice. It also has a lot of cool features like allowing some buttons to only show on some devices. For example, the WhatsApp share button will only show on mobile.
Multiple Social Networks and Formats
At a basic level, Social Snap is great for social sharing. You can choose from over 30+ social networks to share to. You can also choose between a number of formats for your share buttons, placed in a variety of places on your website or blog.
Styles of Share Buttons
Sharing styles include floating sidebar, inline buttons, share hub and sticky bar options – and more. You can also share via widgets, shortcodes, and Social Snap offers other share options like the Pinterest Pin It Button.
I like how Social Snap has some cool button shapes, sizes, colors, alignment options and animations (both entrance and hover animations) to choose from – and more. Basically there is a style to fit your branding, no matter what it is.
Tracking of Share Counts
This plugin has the ability to show either individual or total share counts. You can also recover old share counts if you have recently moved to HTTPS or switched domains for your site.
One advantage of Social Snap is that you can track share counts via click tracking. This is important where a lot of the share tools are relying on API and sites like Twitter and LinkedIn have removed that functionality. So it's hard to recover those shares without using a 3rd party tool. And some of the 3rd party tools I've used for this for Twitter, have been less than reliable.
I should note that many bloggers, including myself, have chosen to switch off shares altogether (despite having blog posts with thousands of shares). But if shares is something you want to show, this plugin might be your best option.
Control How Your Posts Look on Social Media
Social Snap lets you easil control how your posts look on social media when they are shared. This helps boost your engagement and click-through rates. You can customize your images, titles, descriptions, and access Twitter Card and Open Graph support. This contributes to better SEO.
Bonus Functions I like:
- Analytics and Best Performing Content – you can view in-dashboard analytics which shows you how your content is being shared and highlights your best performing content.
- Support for Pinterest-Ready Vertical Images – If you are a Pinterest user and you don't use Tasty Pins, this is a great feature to allow you to edit your Pinterest description and share pins easily to Pinterest.
- Click to Tweet – you can easily add Click to Tweet quotes to your posts.
- Boosting of Posts – Social Snap has a social media auto-poster tool that automatically shares new (or old) posts to your social profiles.
- Social Login – if you need visitors to log in to your site (say, for a membership site), you can use social networks to do this.
Given some of the additional features on Social Snap (including click tracking) I think this is probably the most robust sharing plugin available right now. Especially when you consider that they are adding more features soon.
Social Snap doesn't offer a free version or trial but they do have a 30 day money-back guarantee, so that gives you a way to try it risk-free.
The paid version starts at $39 USD per month and if you want some extra add-ons (like adding it to 3 sites, and early access to functions coming soon, like Content Locker and Facebook Messaging) then there is a $99 USD per month version. There's also an Agency version for $299 per year (15 sites).
Free Sharing Plugin with Social Pug
As I said, Social Pug is another sharing tool you might like to try and if you are looking for a share plugin that has a free version, then this is a good option. The free (and paid) tool includes basic sharing with floating share buttons and inline share buttons with basic social share counts. Most of the features below are on the paid tool. I've used the paid tool on my site and it works really well.
- Mobile Sticky Social Share buttons – that “stick” to the bottom of mobile screens as you scroll.
- Popup Social Share Buttons – that follow users as they scroll.
- Shortcode social share buttons – to allow you to add share buttons anywhere you like on your site, with the help of shortcodes.
- Minimum Share Counts – so that shares only show when you have reached a minimum level (useful for posts with low-share count numbers).
- Share Count Recovery – if you've upgraded from HTTP to HTTPS and lost all your social shares, they can be recovered.
- Custom Open Graph Metadata – so you can customize share boxes shown on your site. This includes a custom title, description and image for each post. Control what is shared to social media.
- Analytics Integration – add UTM parameters to your links to track where your visitors come from.
- Click to Tweet – add custom tweetable boxes in your posts so people can share a custom tweet.
- and more.
Social Pug is free to start with and gives you basic sharing functions. The paid version starts at $34 USD per month for 1 site, or $69 USD per month for up to 5 sites. There is an Agency level too at $159 USD per month for Unlimited Sites.
7. Pretty Links
If you have traffic to your blog, then you might be at the stage of considering affiliate income. Pretty Links is a tool that I have used for years to track affiliate links (and gain affiliate revenue) from existing content on my blog.
You can do it too, and as Pretty Links says … it’s like a surprise inheritance!
It helps me track my links and cloak them under a URLs that are easier to remember, so I can always give someone a link, even if I am away from my website. It's also handy if you are being interviewed on a podcast or speaking from stage.
You can also see how many clicks your links have had, at a glance. Pretty Links also includes:
- Advanced redirects of your links.
- Auto creation of Pretty Links
- Auto-link keywords
Here is how Pretty Links describe some of their automation for links:
Pretty Links will also help you add relevant links to your blog posts automatically. When you create your links, you can specify as many keywords (or key phrases) that you’d like the link to appear with.
Then, Pretty Links will automatically analyze all of the content on your website and replace these keywords with links… this keyword replacement will work on new content as well as all of your existing pages and posts. You’ll have complete control over what links show up for what keywords, how many can be replaced per post, how these links will appear and where they are replaced.
I've earned thousands of dollars, year in and year out using Pretty Links, much of it even using the free version, but you can save yourself a lot of time with the paid features. It's worth adding to your best WordPress plugins list and adding it to your site!
Pretty Links is a premium WordPress plugin. They also have a free version and I used that for many years and found it super useful. There are 3 pricing plans: Beginner – $59 USD per year, Marketer – $99 USD per year, and Super Affiliate ($199 for up to 25 sites).
Note, that if you are new to Pretty Links you will usually see an offer for 50% off at the top of the pricing page, so that will give you a significant reduction in cost. Or reach out to their team and ask if they will offer that deal if you don't see it!
Wrapping up these Best WordPress Plugins
Are you inspired to give your plugins an overhaul? You don't have to add all of these plugins but you might find that just one of these is enough to move the needle on your blog performance.
I hope you find at least 1 or 2 Plugins from this list to boost your blog.
Over to You
Do you have a WordPress Site? What is your top 5 list of best WordPress Plugins? Share it in the comments below.
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