Working with brand new bloggers or small business owners often means tight budgets and making every dollar do it’s job and then some. I get that starting a business or blog is hard and it sure is nice when someone offers a little free advice, right? Almost every new web design client I have seems to ask me at some point what my favorite plugins are for a WordPress blog/site. There are so many out there – how do you know which ones to choose, and when, or if, you’re better off paying for one rather than taking a risk with a free one? Well, today I want to share my favorite and FREE plugins on WordPress with you; and why I wouldn’t run my own site, or my client’s, without them.
Akismet – one of the best spam blockers I’ve found. Simply signup for a free account to start and plugin your API key. Akismet sets to work checking comments on your site against their web service to see if it looks like spam or not. You can even see how many spammers attempted to hit your site right there in your dashboard. I highly recommend this for every blogger, whether they’re on a budget or not. Spam is the last thing you want to worry about.
SEO by Yoast – If you know nothing about SEO, get this plugin. It’s one of the best options and it’s FREE! So if you’re just getting started blogging and don’t have a huge budget to purchase a SEO framework (like the Genesis Framework) then you’ll have a jumpstart on getting your content noticed by the search engines. There are also plenty of tutorials covering how to use this beauty so you won’t have to rely on trial and error.
Delightful Downloads– If you run an online shop and provide digital downloads to your customers, this plugin is a great way to get started. It’s simple to maneuver, provides you some flexibility with buttons and links so you’ll be able to have your download option standout but blend in with the look of your site.
Contact Form 7 – A good looking and customizable contact form is harder to find than it may appear. With Contact Form 7 you’ll be able to customize the required fields on your forms and make them blend in with your site’s current look.
Mail Munch – Getting people to subscribe to your site is a great way to build your following. But adding a Mail Chimp subscription box is often harder than it looks and rather unappealing once it’s there. Mail Munch provides a beautiful covering for that MailChimp list. You’ll have some customization options with the free account level and additional options if you decide to pay a small fee for their services.
Tweetily – Ever felt overwhelmed by the fact that you have to continually promote your site on a variety of social media platforms? What if I told you that there was a way to promote your old posts on Twitter and all you had to do was set it and forget it. With Tweetily, you’ll be able to customize what type of content to tweet about – so you’ll promote content from your site while you spend your time writing and creating new stuff to talk about.
Hootsuite – The best social media secretary you ever did see. The free account lets you connect with a few social media platforms and schedule posts and tweets in advance. Sharing about new content becomes simple when you can schedule in advance and sync it with the time the new content will publish.
To install your plugins simply visit your WordPress dashboard. Click on Plugins>Add New and search for the plugin title. You’ll hit Install after you’ve found the one that you’re looking for and voila! You’re up and running.
What are your favorite plugins for your WordPress site?
If you’re looking to start a blog or need a website for your small business I’d love to work with you. Check out my services for initial pricing or reach out to tell me about your project. I’d love to chat and hear about your plans and see if we can’t get started on making them happen together.
Looking for more ideas for your brand new blog or website? Check back soon for other DIY Branding & Site Building tips for your blog or small business.