In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about WordPress plugins and you will get the list of the best plugins to install on your blog.
Plugins are like software that extends your WordPress blog. You can use a plugin to improve the look and feel of your blog design or to add new features or functionality to your blog. There's a plugin for everything.
Activating a handful of essential plugins is one of the first things I do after starting a new blog. Over the years I have tested many of the plugins and this post is my beginner guide to the world of plugins.
Mo plugins mo problems?
A word of warning first:
- Make sure you only use plugins that are necessary to achieve a better user experience. Don't go overboard installing too many. It's a bit of a jungle out there with many bloated, buggy and spammy plugins.
- Adding too many plugins can make your blog heavy and slow to load. Keep your blog simple, light and fast. Keep an eye on your blog's speed and performance.
- Some plugins can also add security vulnerabilities to your blog. It's not uncommon to hear about thousands of blogs being exposed to different attacks due to a bad plugin.
- You could introduce code conflicts between plugins and any custom work you have done on your theme design. You don't want your plugins to break your blog or the latest WordPress update to break your plugins.
- If a plugin is not what you expected or you no longer use it, just delete it.
Take a look at my guide for more ways to speed up your WordPress blog.
Discover the best plugins in the official directory
There are more than 53,000 free WordPress plugins in the official plugin directory. There have been more than a billion and a half plugin downloads in total.
Every plugin features a page with the plugin description, number of active installs, the user rating and last updated date. To learn more about a particular plugin you can also view screenshots, FAQ and the reviews. These are some of the signs to look out for to find a good WordPress plugin:
- High number of "Active Installations".
- A recent "Last Updated" date.
- Five star user rating.
- Click also on the "Reviews" tab and see what people say.
- Click also on the "Support" tab and see what issues users have.
- It's a good sign if the developer is accessible and answers questions in there.
- Compatible with your WordPress blog version.
How to install a WordPress plugin on your blog
Most plugins can be implemented to your blog with little hassle. You don't need to know how to code. Just install a plugin, activate it, and job done. This is how you install a new plugin to your blog:
- Go to Plugins in the left-hand navigation of your dashboard and click "Add New".
- Find a plugin that you want to try and click on the name.
- Then click on the "Install Now" button.
- When the installation is complete, click on "Activate".
- The new plugin is now live.
If you wish to delete a particular plugin, go to the "Plugins" section, click on "Deactivate", then click on "Delete" to completely remove it.
60+ best WordPress plugins for 2018
Here's a list of the best WordPress plugins for the year 2018. They are hand picked by me after a lot of research. They are actively used by many bloggers, well coded, well reviewed, regularly updated and help you solve real problems. They are versatile and can be used by personal blogs but also by brands and businesses too.
I don't advise you to activate all of these on your blog. Review the list and see if some of these are relevant to your needs. They are all great and recommended plugins but not all of them are useful for every blog. You may only need to add a handful of plugins from the list below and have all your needs covered.
Now let's get started with a list of the best free WordPress plugins that you should explore.