One of the highlights of using WordPress is the ability to install plugins to add extra features & functionality to your theme. From spam protection to newsletter forms to SEO, plugins offer a wealth of helpful ways to customize your theme and blogging experience!

Below, we’ve documented 10 of our favorite free WordPress plugins and how to install them.

TOP 10 WORDPRESS PLUGINS

 

1. Jetpack for WordPress

Jetpack is a hugely popular plugin created by Automattic, the makers of WP.com. It offers an impressive suite of features for your blog ranging from image optimization to login security. Our favorite Jetpack module must be “Subscribe” which provides a form where visitors can sign-up to receive notification emails every time you post new blog content. This is an excellent way to keep visitors returning to your blog time and time again. Explore Jetpack for WordPress

2. Akismet

Tired of logging in to see loads of spammy comments? Akismet, also created by Automattic, is a straight-forward, powerful plugin that will dramatically reduce your spam comments. It checks comments against their constantly-updated database of spam to filter out the fake stuff. This can increase site speed and save you headaches! Explore Akismet

3. Backup Guard

Your WP content (images, posts, comments, etc.) will be saved to your WP Database. Protecting your WP Database is critical and one of the best ways to do so is to make backups. Backup Guard operates quietly in the background, making occasional WP database backups. If the unthinkable were to occur and you lose your content, fear not! Simply access a backup of your database and restore it. Explore Backup Guard

4. Meta Slider

Meta Slider is a simple to use plugin that allows you to add responsive custom gallery or image sliders to your theme. Create as many as you’d like! Simply insert your slider creations into posts, pages, or widgets via an easy shortcode. Explore Meta Slider

5. MailChimp for WP

MailChimp is a newsletter service which allows you to create mailing lists and send out email newsletters to your followers. Using the MailChimp for WP plugin, visitors can signup to receive your newsletter via a widgetized form or a form inserted into your post/pages. When you’re ready to send out your newsletter to the masses, you can use MailChimp’s clean & stylish email templates to keep your followers in the loop! Explore MailChimp for WP

6. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a straight-forward plugin that allows you to create a “Contact Me” form. Visitors can use this form to send inquiries or messages directly to your preferred email account while keeping your personal contact information totally private. Explore Contact Form 7

7. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache is a popular plugin which will create cached versions of your site to “serve up” to visitors. This often leads to increased loading speed and happier visitors! Just remember to clear your cache if you don’t immediately notice changes to settings taking place. Explore WP Super Cache

8. EWWW Image Optimizer

Is your site very image-heavy? Images, especially large ones, can cause strain on your server if numerous image files need to be loaded at the same time. EWWW Image Optimizer will create alternative, less-weighty versions of your images to decrease load time for your visitors and reduce bandwidth usage. Explore EWWW Image Optimizer

9. WPide

WPide is a code editor plugin that allows you to easily customize theme files directly from your WordPress Dashboard. WPide not only makes all of your theme’s files accessible to modify (even the ones outside your main root folder), but it also adds lovely line numbers to make editing much more manageable. Explore WPide

10. Yoast SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) seems to be on most bloggers’ minds these days, and for good reason! While the WP platform itself is quite SEO-friendly right out of the box, it never hurts to give your site’s SEO an extra boost. Yoast SEO is perhaps the leading free plugin that will further optimize your site’s SEO and even provide guides to write more SEO-friendly content. Explore Yoast SEO

 

*Please note that not all of the thousands of plugins out there may be 100% compatible with your particular WordPress theme.


 

 INSTALLING A PLUGIN

Installing a plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory is simple!

  • Navigate to your WP Dashboard and select the menu item titled “Plugins”
  • In the top-left, select the button titled “Add New”
  • In the top-right, search for your plugin or a keyword
  • Click the plugin’s title to read more about it, or, click “Install Now” to begin installation.
  • After the plugin is installed, click “Activate Plugin” to turn it on.

 


 

 GET STARTED WITH WORDPRESS

Interested in creating a WordPress blog? Great!
To learn all the steps needed to begin blogging, check out this article: How to start a blog.