There are a ton of free WordPress plugins available for bloggers to choose from. This is great because you can find a plugin for just about anything that you could need for your blog, but it can also become overwhelming…especially for newer bloggers. I have put this post together to help you avoid the overwhelm and streamline your free WordPress plugin download list.
The Best Free WordPress Plugins for Your Blog
Most of these options on this list are totally free WordPress plugins or have free versions, but I have added a few paid plugin options that are well worth their money.
Products & Freebie Plugins
If your website offers products and/or a member resource page, then I highly recommend these three plugins:
1. Essential Grid
Essential Grid is a paid plugin, but it is worth its salt…I promise 🙂 This plugin allows you to display your posts, products, free resources, etc. in a clean grid format. It comes with a ton of different options and skins so that you can customize your grid to fit your branding. You can take a look at my Shop and Member Resource Page to see this plugin in action. You can also take a look at the shops & resources pages on my more established blogs since they have larger grids.
WooCommerce is the plugin that I use to sell my e-commerce products. This free plugin provides product pages and a shop page (I use Essential Grid instead of the WC shop). It tracks all of your sales and makes sure that money makes it from the customer to your banking or Paypal account.
This plugin is excellent for pages that are exclusive for your subscribers. These pages (like the Member Resource Library) typically require a password that only your members have access to. Setting a page to be password protected is simple enough. The issue falls in the lack of direction that a default password protected message gives. The default message that potential subscribers are met with simply states that 00the page requires a password and it doesn’t tell them how to obtain said password.
The Change Password Protected Message plugin allows you to change the default message to say whatever you need it to say. You can let people know that your page is protected by a password to keep it exclusive to members and then let them know how they can become members themselves.
Promotion & Sharing Plugins
The Content Views plugin is my favorite way to display related posts at the bottom of each of my blog posts. This plugin allows you to set up a different short code for each of your blog post categories. You simply copy and paste the appropriate code to the bottom of your post and thumbnails from that category will appear to your readers. You can see how this looks by scrolling to the bottom of this post.
Jetpack is a huge plugin with a ton of capabilities. Not every blogger needs the same options from Jetpack, but I recommend sifting through and finding out how it can work for you. Just turn off any options that you don’t need so that the plugin isn’t taking up more space than needed. I currently use Jetpack for its Publisher option that automatically publishes each new blog post to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
This free plugin allows you to share your social media platforms with your readers in your sidebar, header, footer, and anywhere else you can place a widget on your blog. Simple Social Icons lets you choose from a wide range of social media outlets and it lets you customize and resize the icons to match your branding as needed.
SumoMe is a great tool for social sharing, email collection, and increasing sales. It offers an opt-in form builder, a discount creator, an automated cart abandonment email to bring back potential customers, an upsell option, and more. I currently use this plugin solely for its Image Sharer application (although I might switch my opt-in forms from MailMunch soon). Image Sharer places social icons over images within your posts as a reader hovers over the image. This makes it super simple for a reader to share your images & blog posts to Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
If you have your own products or affiliate products to promote, then AdRotate is an excellent plugin for you to utilize! This plugin allows you to create groups of ads based on the blog post category that you want them to appear on. For example–> On my original blog, Faithful Farmwife, I have banner ads for herbal goat treats. I only want those ads to show up on my homesteading posts because my homeschooling and homemaking readers might not be interested. The plugin automatically rotates between multiple ads for you so that your readers are exposed to multiple products as they browse your blog.
CommentLuv is a comment plugin that incentivizes your readers to comment on your blog posts. It allows readers to share one of their own relevant blog posts within their comment. This gives them exposure and increases your comment rate.
10. Yoast SEO
Great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential to running a profitable blog. The Yoast SEO plugin makes this easy peasy. This plugin allows you to set a focus keyword and a description snippet that will show up in Google searches. It also shows you where you can improve your readability rating and your keyword/phrase usage so that every single post is optimized to its fullest.
If you ever decide to change a URL of a post, you will need a way to redirect the original URL to the new one or you will end up with broken links and disappointed readers. The Redirection plugin allows you to quickly redirect to new URLs without any breaks.
Google Analytics is the go-to stat tracker for bloggers. The Google Analytics Dashboard plugin allows you to see your most important stats within your WordPress Dashboard instead of needing to log into your Google Analytics account.
The Google XML Sitemaps plugin creates special XML sitemaps for your website. These sitemaps help search engines index your site more easily and this can greatly improve your SEO.
The Broken Link Checker plugin gives you a notification anytime a broken link is listed on your site. This helps keep your usability and reader satisfaction high.
Email & Opt-in Plugins
15. Mail Munch
The Mail Munch plugin allows you to create & manage opt-in forms for your blog quickly & easily. These forms can be integrated with your mailing service with the click of a button.
I mentioned SumoMe in the Promotion Plugins sections because of the Image Sharer application offered by the plugin. I felt the need to mention it again here because SumoMe is known for its email subscriber growth tools. This plugin offers opt-in forms as well as email automations for customers who have left items in their carts.
LeadPages is the only plugin on the list that I haven’t personally used. If I ever offer e-courses or online services, then I will definitely utilize this plugin. I know of many bloggers who use LeadPages for their landing pages and they cannot sing high enough praises. If you are looking for a quality lead page builder, I recommend looking into this one.
18. Image Widget
Image Widget is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to insert an image with a caption and a link (if desired) anywhere in your blog. This plugin is used frequently on all of my blogs’ home pages as well as the side bars.
Soliloquy is the plugin that I use for the sliders on each of my websites. These sliders can be customized to fit your blog’s theme, you can choose to use a single or multiple images, and you can add an overlay with text and links.