Last updated on August 1st, 2018 at 06:24 pm
Who doesn’t want a successful blog? Every blogger works hard to grow their blog, I’ve taken the time to track down the 7 best free plugins that I think will help you with your blogging journey.
As you know, I am currently working as a WordPress freelancer. I’ve started this blog to help me move away from trading my hours for dollars. My goal is to start earning passive income so I can walk away from my freelancing gig.
Articles in 11-day series:
- 25 Free Tools and Resources for Bloggers
- 11 Sites With Free Images for Your Blog or Social Media Posts
- 11 Amazing Pinterest Group Boards to Grow Your Blog
- 3000 Sites That Accept Guest Posts and How To Get Started
- Top 20 YouTubers That Will Make You A Smarter Blogger
- 11 Facebook Groups to Join That Will Help New Bloggers
- 6 Best Podcasts of All Times That Will Help You Become A Better Blogger
- 5 Best Blogging Courses That Will Help You Overcome Writers Block
- 7 Bloggers That Will Show You How to Build A Website You’ll Love
- 5 Blogging Courses That Will Help You Overcome Writers Block
- 200 Tailwind Tribes That Will Help You Skyrocket Your Blog Growth
Yes, I know that I’ll still need to work hard. I’m not a fool and understand that I need to work hard on my blog.
If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that this isn’t my first blog. Nope, I’ve started several blogs in the past.
All of them failed because I was chasing the easy money. Now don’t get me wrong, I am still wanting to monetize this blog and get it to a full-time income.
However, the difference this time is that I have chosen a niche I love and am sharing what I am doing to grow this blog.
I want us to grow together. After all, I know how bad you want to grow your blog too …right?
I’ve discovered 7 plugins that are responsible for my blog’s growth. The best part is that all these plugins are free. If you’re looking for some of the best free plugins, then feel free to check out the ones I am using.
Personally, I realize that there are so many different WordPress plugins available. What works for some people, may not necessarily work for you.
7 Best Free Plugins I Use On My Blog
Remember, all these plugins are available for free. There’s absolutely no reason for you not to use these plugins on your blog.
Of course, feel free to find alternative plugins if you choose. These are just the plugins I use and have found extremely helpful in running my blog.
One of the most important plugins that every blogger needs a great SEO plugin. I personally use Yoast SEO.
I love it because the plugin helps me make sure that my blog posts are properly optimized. As you know, I don’t stress over SEO.
If you want Google traffic, it’s important to make sure that your blog posts are properly optimized. I’ve recently started noticing more organic traffic from Google.
It does take time for your blog to start getting organic traffic.
It’s nice knowing that if you take the time to optimize your blog posts when you’re writing them. You will eventually start to get more traffic from Google as your blog continues to grow.
Get the Yoast SEO plugin here.
A cache plugin will make your site load faster. Many people use the W3 Cache Plugin, personally, I use the SG Cache plugin. It’s the cache plugin that SiteGround offers their customers.
While I can’t say which cache plugin is the best. Again, everyone is different and some people will prefer one over the other.
Don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Test out the different cache plugins and see which ones you prefer. Here is a list of great cache plugins you can start with.
WPS Hide Login
I am a huge fan of securing your WordPress blog so you can sleep at night. When you start your blog, you’re going to work your butt off.
The last thing you want to do is not take the proper WordPress security measures to tighten up your WordPress blog. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your site will never be hacked.
However, you can take the necessary steps to protect your blog as much as you can. One of the plugins that I install on my blogs and my client’s blogs is the WPS Hide Login plugin.
This plugin will allow you to rename your login page. This means that when someone tries to access your default wp-admin login page, they’ll get an error message.
I’m sure that someone smart enough can get around it. But this plugin makes me feel better knowing that the average person won’t be able to access my login page.
Get your copy of WPS Hide Login here
Simple 301 Redirects
Unless you’re using the premium Yoast SEO plugin, you’ll need to add the Simple 301 Redirects plugin. This plugin will make it easy for you to set up redirects for links that no longer work.
I woke up one day and checked my Cyfe dashboard only to realize that I had a bunch of Google errors. In order to fix those errors I used the 301 Redirect plugin to fix those broken links.
As my blog started to grow, some of my permalinks changed. I deleted some categories that I no longer use on this blog and made other changes that caused all kinds of errors.. For some reason, I had forgotten to set up redirects.
They were coming up as errors in my Google Search Console. The great thing is that it was easy to set up redirects using this plugin.
Yes, you can set up redirects using your .htaccess file. I prefer to use this plugin as I won’t have to worry about getting my code wrong and bringing down my site.
Get the 301 Redirect Plugin here
Image Optimizer Plugin
When I first started this blog, I was using the WP Smush plugin. I’ve since made the switch to ShortPixel.
I am totally blown away at how much better ShortPixel is at compressing my images. Alex the creator of ShortPixel plugin reached out to me and asked me if I’d give the plugin a try.
He gave me 10,000 free credits, so I figured I had nothing to lose. I was totally blown away at how much the ShortPixel compressed the images compared to WP Smush.
Take a look at one of the images that I recently compressed using the plugin.
Blackhole for Bad Bots
One of the downsides of using SiteGround or other shared hosting accounts is the CPU usage. I know that hosting companies say that you have unlimited everything.
The truth is that you don’t. Once you start getting traffic and your blog starts growing, you’re going to run into CPU usage errors. At least I did on my GrowBig account.
I was getting CPU usage emails and one time my blog even came down. Luckily I was able to get on support with SiteGround and they got my site back online.
However, I was told that my site was being hit by bad bots. So I did some research and I found this plugin.
I am personally paying for the premium version, but it does have a free version. Since I’ve installed the plugin, I haven’t had anymore of those CPU overage emails.
This plugin blocks the bad bots and the best part is they get taken to a black hole.
If you’re using shared hosting and have received those CPU usage emails, I suggest this plugin. Most new bloggers start their blogs on shared hosting because their blog doesn’t justify paying for a hosting account like WP Engine.
There’s no reason why you should switch if your blog isn’t making the money to pay for itself.
Install the Blackhole for Bad Bots plugin and hopefully this will get rid of those CPU errors. If not then read this post which will help you out.
I was fortunate enough that once I installed the plugins the notifications went away.
Get your copy of the Blackhole for Bad Bots here
Revive Old Posts
This plugin is great for helping you promote your old blog posts. One thing that you’re going to notice is that when you publish a new blog post, it’s going to get tons of shares and likes, especially if you’re using the right social sharing plugin.
I personally prefer to use a WordPress social share plugin with counter because it allows me to actually see the share counts.
Once that post starts to get buried in your blog archives, it loses the momentum. It may have gotten a lot of love when it was new.
However, as you continue publishing new content your blog archives get bigger and bigger. The Revive Old Posts makes it easy for you to continue promoting your old posts without you having to do anything.
You just have to set the plugin up once and the plugin will promote your old posts for you on your social media channels.
I love it and I personally use the paid version. It allows you to publish an image with the post instead of just the text.
Get your copy of the Revive Old Posts here.
Final Take Away
One of the great things about using a self-hosted blog is that there are so many different plugins that we can use to help us accomplish something.
What works for one blogger may not necessarily be right for you.
Have a question or comment? Want to share a tip or plugin for new bloggers? Please leave it in the comment below! You can also email me at susan(at)susanvelez(dot)com and I’ll do my best to help.
Recommended Blogging Resources:
- Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp
- Article about using Yoast SEO for optimizing your blog posts and how to do it.
- SEMRush Free Trial to Gather Low Competitive Keywords
- Quiz: Which theme is best for your blog?
- If you want to build an email list and send newsletters, I recommend ConvertKit (starts at $29)