12 Free WordPress Plugins That Could Make You A Better Blogger

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People say, “The choice is in your hands” … and that is so true when it comes to WordPress.

Welcome to the world of WordPress that consists of 26,000+ plugins as we speak.

I bet we are spoilt with choice right?

With the above being said, plugins have their down side as well such as:

  • Increasing website loading speed
  • Malicious codes and creating security loop holes
  • Creating multiple issues with your website due to incompatibility issues

I am sure you can think of a dozen more reasons right?

The right plugins play a huge role in a website especially helping users like us to solve task, scheduling actions and even to enrich our visitor’s experience.

With everything from URL mirroring to social share button to caching plugin and more covered, you’d be crazy not to take a look. Enjoy!

1. Thirsty Affiliate

This used to be a premium plugin but thanks to the recent changes in the company, Josh Kohlbach (founder) decided to make this a free plugin for all.

This plugin does a great job mirroring an ugly and unreadable URL to a pretty and clean one. Here’s an example:

http://yourdomain.com/aff=123@#=867479

http://yourdomain.com/recommends/affiliate

Now tell me, which looks more compelling to you?

*p/s The core plugin is free but any additional add-ons requires a small fee. Devesh had written a great review on the plugin here.

Download Thirsty Affiliate

2. Floating Sharing Bar

Honestly, I stumbled upon this plugin by accident. It was developed by the guys behind WPBeginner and this is one hell of a plugin.

It is easy to configure and it gets the job done … fast!

It doesn’t take long for you to configure the above and within minutes, the plugin is ready to use.

Download Floating Social Bar

3. Digg Digg

Let’s assume you dislike the above plugin for some reasons. Don’t fuss! Here comes Digg Digg to the rescue!

This plugin offers huge varieties when it comes to setting and customization features.

Basically, you just need to set the following:

  • Types of social share icons
  • Floating or static icons
  • Enable or disable lazy load features
  • Floating positing to fit on your website

Do I need to tell you that this plugin is created by the guys behind Buffer?

Download Digg Digg

4. Simple social icons

Are you envy of Brian Gardner’s cool looking social share icons? I certainly do!

He is using a plugin developed by a fellow Genesis user. Yup, it is called simple social icons.

All you need to do are:

  • Key in your social media’s username or URL
  • Choose the icon colours
  • Choose the background colour

Once that is done, just head over to the widget area, hook it up at the right spot and you are all good to go.

Oh yes, this plugin also had an update recently that enables retina display looks on all the icons.

Pretty impressive right?

Download Simple Social Icons

5. Contact Form 7

For those of you who are looking for some extra customization but doesn’t want to spend money on premium plugins like Gravity Forms, then Contact Form 7 is definitely a good choice.

It is easy to setup and users are able to create multiple forms. You can easily place the forms using the designated shortcodes on nearly anywhere on your website.

Download Contact Form 7

6. Yoast SEO

When it comes to SEO, Yoast SEO plugin is already a household brand. This plugin offers great mobility and customizations especially with on-page SEO.

This is one SEO plugin used by nearly every novice and professional bloggers around the world.

Download WordPress SEO

7. nRelate Content

This is one tool you need to use if you want to have those related articles showing up at the end of your post.

It offers great customization and end user controls such as the number of related content to show and the size of the thumbnails.

Download nRelate

8. W3 Total Cache

If you are finding ways to reduce your website loading speed, then this is one plugin you can’t miss. With this plugin, you can easily minify and optimize your website without touching a single line of code.

Download W3 Total Cache

9. Google XML Sitemap

Sitemap is important when it comes to SEO and you need to submit your latest sitemap to search engines as soon as possible.

With this plugin, a sitemap will automatically be created and all you need to do is to submit to Google and Bing Webmaster Tool.

Download Google XML Sitemap

10. Wysija Newsletters

Need a plugin to help you build an email list?

This plugin will make your life easier. You can setup various newsletters, signup forms and even multiple subscribers’ lists with it.

Even though this plugin doesn’t offer as much as flexibilities unlike the famous MailChimp and AWeber, it is still a very good plugin to use for beginners.

With more than 500,000 downloads on WordPress plugin store, you probably won’t go any wrong with this.

Download Wysija Newsletters

11. WP-DBManager

When it comes to doing a full database backup, there is no other plugins that come close to what this plugin. Of course, I’m comparing with among free plugins only.

This plugin doesn’t only allow you to perform scheduled backups but it also helps to optimize and repair your database in case of any issue.

There is also option for you to send those backups to your email or cloud storage for further safe keeping.

Download WP-DBManager

12. Plugin Performance Profiler (P3)

This is an excellent tool developed by GoDaddy to help users like us to determine the various plugins that could affect the site speed.

The plugin will give you a detail report which consists of total load times taken (on average) by going through several pages and all the plugins on your site.

You can then decide which plugins are affecting you dearly and how you can improve your website load speed.

Download P3

Over to you

Do you have any other favorite plugins that you would like to share with us all? Hit the Reply button and tell us what you think.

8 comments… add one
  1. Viktoria Michaelis says

    When I see something which claims to make people better bloggers through additional software, I automatically move on. Why? Because no one can make someone else a better blogger with a few plug ins or anything which claims to check what they write and improve it.

    What is on offer here doesn’t make anyone a better blogger, sorry, but it’s true. What these plug ins might do – just might – is make a web site more attractive for visitors, more accessible, more user or social media friendly. But in order to do that they also need good descriptions, so that potential users know exactly what they are letting themselves in for before they download and begin experimenting, before they spend time on a plug in which might not do what they want or need.

    Practice makes for a better blogger, learning from mistakes makes a better blogger, discussion makes a better blogger. Not plug ins.

    • Reginald says

      Hi Viktoria,

      First of all, thank you for your honest comment. Thinking back, I would need to do some ‘tune up’ (in the future) for the title :)

      Secondly, i couldn’t agree more that plugin doesn’t help a blogger to be better (in your point of view). However, good plugins could make a blogger better not through writing but in terms of blog managements, website security etc.

      Nonetheless, appreciate your time for replying this and points taken!

      Have a great day ahead and take care.

      Reginald

    • Reginald says

      Hi Dan,

      Thank you for your reply.

      Yoast SEO (sitemap feature) doesn’t work for me or any of my websites since the first day I started my self hosted domain. Trust me when I tell you that I had done tons of customization and amendment and it just won’t work. Therefore, I had no choice but to use Google XML sitemap.

      I also know many bloggers uses Google XML sitemap over Yoast due to self preference etc. Therefore, with personal experience with Google XML, I know you couldn’t go wrong with any one of these.

      Nonetheless, understood what you are trying to say here and thanks for that mate!

      Reginald

  2. Tom Jamieson says

    Hey Reginald –
    All good plugins here. P3 has been a lifesaver for sure. Many of the others on this list I use as well. However, on my blog, DiggDigg was beast and was sucking up way too much load time, so I deleted it altogether and went with a much lighter social sharing plugin. I also had problems with W3 Cache plugin, so I switched over to WP Super Cache instead. I wasn’t familiar with Thirsty Affiliate, but will definitely check it out. It sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reginald says

      Hi Tom,

      How are you? Thanks for dropping by! Digg Digg is okay but like you, I noticed it took a lot of my loading speed. Even my web hosting company informed me on that.

      W3TC was okay and worked well for me. So comment on that :D

      Thirsty Affiliate is a free plugin but the addons like stat counter etc had become premium. It works exactly like pretty URL (if my memory serves me right).

      Have a great weekend!

  3. Gurpreet singh says

    This is a very good Site i like that and i am really want to say you Thank u For this information. because i was find the plugin for sitemap and you give me the list of all the plugins again thank u

    • Reginald says

      Hi Gurpreet,

      Thanks for commenting. Hope the list works out well for you and do come back for more. If you like more WordPress tips, do remember to signup for the newsletter too!

      Have a great day ahead.

      Reginald

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