Hey there! Today we’re going to talk plugins! Plugins are one of the reasons that I was so excited to join WordPress. Plugins allow you to add extra functionality to your site, without having to hand-code what you need. Plugins can also provide extra security to your site.

The plugins I’m sharing today are going to be free plugins. Free plugins are a great way to get good functionality without spending an arm and a leg, especially when you’re just starting out.

1 // Yoast SEO

Yoast is the best, and easiest for beginners, free SEO plugin. They do have a premium version of the plugin, but if you’re just starting out, you don’t need it. The free version is still a great plugin. Besides SEO, Yoast also has a sitemap feature so it’s all in one.

2 // Pretty Links

Pretty Links does just what it says, it makes your links pretty! Pretty Links allows you to mask your ugly affiliate links and make them look pretty! Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to disclose your affiliate links, because you do! This just makes them look nicer. For example, this is my Siteground affiliate link: https://www.siteground.com/index.htm?afcode=3e43490c59890e1769bbbfba3fa83b2e. This is my Siteground affiliate link masked by Pretty Links: https://www.creativelylauren.com/Siteground.

3 // Social Warfare

Social Warfare is a content sharing plugin. You want your blog posts to be easily shareable, that’s how you get more readers to your blog. Social Warfare adds social sharing buttons to your blog posts so your readers can easily share your blog posts.

4 // WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache is a caching plugin. This plugin creates a cache of your site, which then allows your site to load faster. You definitely want to make sure you have a caching plugin on your site to boost site speed.

Related // How to Start a Blog in 2019

5 // Askimet Anti-Spam

One downside of blogging is getting a lot of spam comments. Askimet prevents spam comments and allows you to easily see which comments were caught and filtered as spam. They also have a feature that just deletes the worst spam, so you don’t even see it.

6 // Wordfence

Wordfence is a WordPress security plugin. Wordfence prevents and blocks certain IP’s from accessing and trying to get into your site. They do have a premium version, but the free version has been working well for me. Wordfence is built with WordPress, not on the cloud, so it helps prevent data leakage. It also scans yyoour files, themes, and plugins vs the WordPress.org repository, making sure your finles are legit. This is definitely the best security plugin.

7 // Final Tiles Gallery

Do you want to add a gallery of images to your site? Or, want to add pinnable images for your users to see and be able to pin without having giant images on your site, like me? This is the plugin I use to achieve that! It’s easy to use and set up your galleries. For me, every post has their own gallery with my pin images for that post. I love how easy this plugin is to use to add my pin images.

8 // UpdraftsPlus Backups

UpdraftsPlus is a plugin that easily allows you to backup your WordPress site and database. Why do I need to do that? Great question! Anytime you do a major update to your site, especially a core WordPress update, you want your site backed up. That way, if something goes wrong during the update, you have a previous backup with the previous version of whatever you updated to restore.

9 // Imsanity

Imsanity helps to prevent large image uploads on to your site. Large image files can drastically slow down your site speed, which is not good. So, you want to upload smaller image sizes to your site, that’s where Imsanity comes in!

10 // WP Recipe Maker

If you’re a food blogger, or want to share recipes on your blog, then this plugin is perfect. If you’ve seen my recipe posts, then you’ll see exactly which plugin I’m talking about.

Related // Pretty WordPress Themes for Bloggers

I hope you found this post helpful! What are some of your favorite free WordPress plugins? Let me know in the comments!

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Lauren