10 Most Popular and FREE WordPress Plugins for Blogging

When it comes to blogging, WordPress is the premier platform of choice. There are literally thousands of blogging plugins that can meet any objective. Best of all, in most cases you won’t have to pay a penny! Most plugins are available to install and use free of charge. This makes covering your needs as simple as finding and installing the correct plugin.
But be aware, not all plugins are created equal and there are plenty of under-developed and low quality plugins as well. In some cases, plugins are released without proper testing and the developers has little resources to spend on delivering quality support for their customers.
The good news is that , we have taken the guess-work out of the equation by presenting the top 10 most popular and useful plugins for blogging. Listed below are the most trusted and respected options by users. These options were chosen for their high customer satisfaction ratings, large fan-base, and usefulness for supporting and enhancing your blog’s functionality.

Please note, the objective of this article is to discuss plugins that are specifically for blogging. It doesn’t include general plugins that enhance your site’s security, assist with SEO, boost performance and provide backup management. If that’s what you’re looking for have a look at this awesome list of must have plugins.

Post Slider WD

Post Slider WD allows you to display posts as a slider on your site. You can either choose which posts to display, or let the plugin display posts automatically as they are added to your site (based on a set of filtering rules which you specify).

Features include:

  • Display images, titles, and other content specific to the post
  • Advanced slide sorting and filtering options
  • Impressive visual display that is 100% responsive, and includes carousel and parallax views
  • Text overlays allow you to show any text or images as an overlay
  • Navigation buttons/bullets/images
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Ability to display custom posts from third-party plugins (eg. products from e-commerce plugins)
  • Create multiple sliders

Form Maker

The advantages of having a contact form on a blog can be long listed. WordPress Form Maker plugin is one of the most popular form generating plugins in the WordPress directory and is the most functional as well. It allows you to create unlimited responsive and fully customizable forms for just any purpose- registration, application, survey, questionnaire, etc. The plugin comes with a number of form field options, 41 editable form themes, and a number of add-ons which will further enhance your forms.

Other of its features include:

  • 11 sample form templates
  • 41 customizable themes
  • Submissions Management
  • Conditional logic / formatting
  • Customizable Emails
  • PayPal Integration
  • Front-End Submissions

Smush Image Compression and Optimization

Optimizing and compressing your blog images can drastically speed up your page loading times, improve your SEO ranking, and save your users bandwidth in the process! Smush is the most popular WordPress image compression plugin, with advanced features including:

  • Reduces file size without losing quality
  • Compress any image in any directory
  • Also supports image resizing
  • 100% free plugin

Regenerate Thumbnails

When you upload photos to appear on your posts, WordPress automatically resizes each photo to create multiple thumbnail image sizes. However, if you have changed your thumbnail dimensions (via Settings -> Media) then you will need your existing images to be updated to the new size.
This plugin is also useful if you have changed your theme and the new theme uses different thumbnail dimensions (eg. featured post image dimensions). Now you can regenerate your thumbnails to the correct width and height requirements in a flash!

Disable Comments

This plugin allows you to disable comments for particular post types (posts, pages, attachments, etc.) or disable comments on your entire site including the comment-related information on the admin screens. It’s a popular method for disabling comments elegantly on multi-site installations.

Duplicate Post

Duplicate Post lets you clone posts and pages of your site. If you have this need, there is no better plugin to use. You can quickly and easily make a copy of any post, edit it, and re-publish it as a new article. For example, you may have a standard post layout which you need to keep consistent throughout the site. Keep in mind that Google penalizes content that is too similar to content found elsewhere (even on your own site) so you don’t want to go crazy with it.
One of the stand-out features of this plugin is being able to allow/deny particular user roles from being able to copy articles. You can also select the elements of the page (post title, slug, content, attachments etc. ) you wish to copy.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Is your marketing team always harping on about the importance of having a related posts plugin? They’re so right! Typically shown at the bottom of each post (after the main article section), showing related posts on your site is a great way to introduce visitors to similar articles they might also be interested in. It makes sense to retain users on your site for longer by providing a viable avenue for them to continue browsing your site, instead of leaving after they’ve finished reading the first article.

Do not be fooled by the name. Although the name ‘Yet Another…’ makes it look like just another forgettable plugin, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Used by thousands of high-profile clients worldwide, this plugin is sure to impress your marketing team. YARPP finds related content from across your site by taking into account post titles, content, tags, categories, and custom taxonomies.

TinyMCE Advanced

Have you ever wished the WordPress Visual Editor could be more intuitive and easy to use? The aim of this plugin is to extend the native WordPress text editor, making it easier for you to write and edit blogs on your site. In other words, you can now have a more Word-like experience, giving you enhanced ability to:

  • Create and edit tables
  • Have more options when inserting lists
  • Search-and-replace inside the editor
  • Ability to set font family and font sizes
  • And much more…

WordPress Popular Posts

This is a very simple plugin that displays the most popular posts. It is useful for displaying on the homepage of your site, directing visitors to click through to the most-loved posts on your blog. As a marketing tool, you can use Popular Posts to continue to attract visitors to content they will find of interest, including the most popular posts of all time. Some attractive features include:

  • Display a thumbnail image of your posts
  • Use a custom layout
  • Time range – Only show posts that were the most popular during a specific time period (eg. Last 7 days, Last month, Most Popular of All Time, etc)
  • View statistics of the most popular posts (shown on the dashboard).

Akismet

Are you getting a lot of spam posted on the comments section of your site? Is your inbox exploding with spam emails? Do you wish you could have some way to automatically filter out the unsolicited emails? Then look no further! Akismet is the most popular anti-spam solution for WordPress comments. It has over 3 million active users.
Akismet works silently in the background, checking each comment that passes through your site against an advanced database. When it finds something suspicious it will block/quarantine it, thereby protecting your site from publishing malicious or inappropriate content. You can review the comment spam it has quarantined before it is permanently deleted. Askismet is free for personal use.

Daniel Thurlow is an expert web technology analyst and technical commentator. He has over 10 years experience developing smart web solutions for high-profile clients including Tourism Queensland and The Liberal Party of Australia. He is available to write about any technical or web development related topics for your company or project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *