16 Best WordPress Plugins for Blogs to Be Successful in 2023

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Finding the best WordPress plugins for blogs is a really important step on your path to success. There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins for blogs on the market and they can be a huge help when it comes to the customization and optimization of your blog.

Plugins can help to improve all kinds of different elements of your blog, including design, site speed, traffic, monetization, and more. But it’s important to have only the essential plugins installed on your blog.

Before I dive into the list of best WordPress plugins for blogs, I want to issue a small warning.

Having too many plugins or poorly designed plugins installed on your website can negatively impact your site speed.

You should avoid downloading plugins for easy and quick fixes and instead only utilize the ones that provide major changes or improvements that otherwise wouldn’t be possible without the plugin. If you come across a problem and you find a solution via a WordPress plugin, make sure you have thoroughly searched for alternative solutions before deciding that downloading the plugin is the way to go.

That being said… All of the WordPress plugins for blogs on the list below are absolutely essential, helpful, and pro-blogger verified as we’ve used almost all of them here at Create and Go at some point or another!

Many of them were actually recommended to us by web developers that have helped us design our website and improve our site speed and performance.

At the end of this article, there is also a section on how to add and upload plugins to WordPress!

The best WordPress plugins for blogs in this article have been organized by function, and include design, site performance and optimization, blog traffic, and monetization.

What are the Best WordPress Plugins for Blogs?

This first set of WordPress plugins for blogs relate specifically to the design of your blog and improving the look of some of the standard WordPress features. These plugins include customizations for accessibility, comments, author box, contact forms, and widget areas of your blog.

1. UserWay (Accessibility)

userway accessibility plugin

I’ve added an accessibility plugin to the top of our list of best WordPress plugins for blogs in my latest article update. That’s because it’s becoming increasingly important and a lot of other articles haven’t been updated to include this important plugin.

Using an accessibility plugin like UserWay will help you make sure that your website is accessible to people with certain disabilities. This is often very overlooked on most blogs and it’s important for two reasons:

  1. Everyone deserves to be able to benefit from the information on your blog.
  2. It’s legally required (to some extent).

There have been waves and waves of lawsuits slapped on small bloggers (and large companies) in the past few years. Unfortunately, in many of these cases, these lawsuits are filed by a handful of firms trying to exploit small bloggers who don’t have the knowledge or resources to prepare themselves.

This is where UserWay comes in. It provides a widget that you can display on your blog that provides an extra layer of customizations for certain disabilities, should anyone need it. For example, it allows someone to change the colors of hard-to-read buttons or pause images with flashing lights that could cause strokes or other complications.

You can also test your website’s accessibility with a free accessibility tool like WAVE.

Key Features:

  • Accessibility widget pop-up
  • No changes to your website files necessary
  • Supports for a wide range of disabilities
  • Free and paid plans (free is sufficient for most)

To Do:

  1. Install UserWay (another alternative is Accessibe).
  2. Consider creating an accessibility statement for your website.

2. wpDiscuz (Comments)

wpDiscuz is a simple plugin that gives you more customization over the comment section of your blog. It has a much cleaner and more professional design than the bare-bones comment area that comes with WordPress, and it also has all kinds of settings that you can customize.

wpdiscuz comment plugin

Comments are an incredibly useful feedback tool on your blog. You can ask questions and have your readers provide answers and feedback in the comment section below your posts.

This feedback can help in a variety of ways, including…

  • Getting ideas for new articles
  • Learning what people think of your current articles and how they are written
  • Helping you figure out what types of products your audience is interested

Not only that, but comments are a sign of engagement and popularity and can help you rank better for Google SEO. They can also serve as positive social proof when people say nice things about your article and/or your products:

wpdiscuz blogger comment

Because of all of that, it’s important to make your blog as comment-friendly as possible. This is why you want a professional-looking and easy-to-use comment form.

With wpDiscuz, you can customize your comment forms a lot more than you can with the native WordPress comment form.

Key Features:

  • You can require a login to leave a comment.
  • Customize information fields
  • Change profile picture
  • Edit colors and other display features

To Do:

  1. Download the wpDiscuz plugin.
  2. Post at least one question at the bottom of each one of your articles to start the conversation!

Now, the one scenario in which you don’t need an additional plugin for comments is when your theme already has a nice and professional design. Take a look before downloading this plugin.

3. Fancier Author Box (Author Box)

Similar to the comment form above, the native author box that comes with WordPress looks a little clunky and has very few customizations. Fancier Author Box allows for additional customizations to your author box.

custom author box plugin

If you have trouble getting the author box to show up after you’ve installed the plugin, make sure to check that you’ve filled in your bio on your WordPress admin profile.

To do this, navigate to Users from your WordPress dashboard and scroll down to the “Biographical Information” section of your profile.

Key Features:

  • More customizable author box
  • Change the colors of your box and buttons
  • Add social buttons

To Do:

  1. Download Fancier Author Box for free.
  2. Add a bio to your profile and consider adding a link to your About Me page for anyone that wants to learn more about you!

Now, the one scenario in which you don’t need an additional plugin for your author bio is when your theme already has a nice and professional design. Take a look before downloading this plugin.

4. WPForms (Contact Forms)

The biggest benefit of having a contact form plugin on your website is that it will keep your email address private. Some of the better contact form plugins, like WPForms, also have more and better ways to combat spam:

 comment form plugin for WordPress

Having a contact form on your site also allows you to specify exactly what email address you want these messages forwarded to. You can also create multiple forms, so you can create one for your contact page, affiliate applications, etc.

WPForms has both free and paid plans.

Key Features:

  • Create multiple contact forms
  • Choose where to forward emails to
  • Customize information fields
  • CAPTCHA and spam protection

To Do:

  1. Create a “Contact” page on your blog if you don’t have one already.
  2. Download WPForms and create your first contact form.
  3. Make sure to include mandatory fields for name, email, and message.

launch your blog biz banner

The next set of best WordPress plugins for blogs relates to site speed and optimization. We’ll try not to get too technical here.

When you start looking into site speed, you’ll start reading a lot about hosting, databases, servers PHP files, HTML, MYSQL tables, and a whole lot of other tech language. The only thing you really need to know is that all of these blogging plugins help manage these files and can help improve your site speed.

5. WP Rocket (All-In-One Optimization)

wp rocket WordPress plugin for optimization

WP Rocket is pretty well-known for being the best all-in-one speed and performance plugin. It helps you optimize your cache, images, and other core vitals of your site.

This is really one of the best WordPress plugins for blog optimization out there and for this reason, this is a paid plugin. For those of you that are okay with investing in a premium plugin for something so important as site speed and performance, WP rocket is for you.

Downloading WP Rocket means that you won’t likely need any other image optimization or site performance plugins. This one should do it all for you.

If it’s not in your budget, keep reading for some additional free WordPress plugins that will help you take care of your site speed and performance. We’ll go into more detail about the specifics of these plugins next.

Key Features:

  • Page caching and preloading
  • Browser caching
  • GZIP compression
  • Image and file optimization
  • Lazy loading
  • Cloudflare integration

6. Cache Enabler (Site Speed)

Without getting too technical, caching is a way of storing frequently accessed files in a cache so that they take less time to load. When you land on a website, that page has to request the web host to download all of the files and coding on the website from the database.

The longer it takes your pages to load, the higher the likelihood that your readers will bounce (called bounce rate).

In a nutshell, you need a good cache plugin for site speed. There are a ton of cache plugins out there, but Cache Enabler was recommended to us by a web developer.

Some of the settings for the plugin are a little technical, so if you need some help with the recommended settings, check out this article:

cache plugin settings

W3 Total Cache and WP Fastest Cache are also great, but they have both caused conflicts with other plugins in the past. Make sure to check on this if you decide to use these (or any plugins, really).

Key Features:

  • Cache optimization

To Do:

  1. Download Cache Enabler to improve your site speed!
  2. Check out this article for the recommended settings.

7. WP-Optimize (Image Optimization)

As your ­blog grows, you will constantly be creating new files and editing and deleting old files. This can be related to posts, images, comments, plugins, or anything else on your blog. All of these files, even the ones that are deleted, are stored (and take up space) somewhere on your database.

A good optimization plugin will help you clean out these old files so that your database (and your blog) will run more efficiently – and faster.

WP-Optimize is yet another that was recommended by a web developer. It helps you optimize your database by showing you what can be cleared out and then performing the optimization process to clear out the old files:

WP-Optimize plugin

It’s probably a good idea to run these optimizations every few months (at least) or so depending on how active your blog is.

Key Features:

  • Optimize image database
  • Clear old post revisions
  • Delete trash files
  • Delete spam files and unapproved comments

To Do:

  1. Before downloading this plugin, make sure to also look into a good plugin for generating backups of your site (discussed later in this article).
  2. Download WP-Optimize and start clearing out those old files!

8. Resize Image After Upload (Image Optimization)

Did you know that one of the biggest drags on site speed is not properly optimizing your images? You can use all the blogging tools you can think of to resize and compress your images before uploading, but they often STILL bring down your page speed.

If you run a couple of your blog pages through a page speed test, you’ll likely see some notifications like this:

page speed results

This means that you have some images on your page that aren’t optimized as much as they could be for maximum site speed and performance.

Generally, images shouldn’t be sized any larger than the size that they display on your blog. In other words, it’s not good practice to upload a really large image and then resize it a lot smaller for a post or other purpose. 

But this can be a difficult feat because you don’t always know exactly what size you need for a certain post or other use of every image on your blog.

Resize Image After Upload does literally what its name describes: it resizes images after they are uploaded to WordPress. You can specify a maximum width and height so that no images are displayed at more than that (making your pages load faster).

resize image after upload settings

You can also adjust the other settings for compression to further reduce file sizes and improve page speed.

Key Features:

  • Automatic re-sizing of images in your media library
  • Set maximum image dimensions
  • Automatic image compression

To Do:

  1. Use a tool like BeFunky to resize images to the smallest possible size before uploading to WordPress.
  2. Use Resize Image After Upload to resize images after uploading to WordPress.

9. Optimus (Image Optimization)

Let’s talk a little more about image compression. Resizing changes the actual size of an image but compression reduces the quality of a photo, which also reduces the file size of an image.

The key is to balance quality with file size. The goal is to get the lowest file size possible without sacrificing too much quality.

You can use tools like Optimizilla to compress images before you upload them to WordPress, but they can often be compressed even further after uploading.

This is where a plugin like Optimus comes in because you can use it to compress images AFTER they have been uploaded to WordPress. This is yet another plugin that was recommended by a web developer when he was performing page speed tests.

You can adjust the various settings on specific images:

optimus wordpress plugin for blogs

And you can also use the ‘bulk optimizer’ to optimize all of your images at once:

optimus bulk optimizer

Make sure to run the bulk optimizer at least once every month or two to optimize all new images you have uploaded.

Key Features:

  • Enhanced image optimization and compression

To Do:

  1. Make sure to use a tool like Optimizilla or TinyPNG before uploading to WordPress.
  2. Optimize images further with Optimus after uploading to WordPress.

The next few WordPress plugins for blogs relate to your blog traffic: increasing it, monitoring it, and improving it.

These are the best WordPress plugins we’ve found that will help you improve your search engine optimization, monitor your traffic stats, set up redirects, and help boost your social media presence.

10. Rank Math (SEO)

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it basically just means optimizing your content to make it more visible in search engines like Google. Here’s the thing…

Google traffic is VERY difficult to get, depending on what your blog is about, and it takes a lot of time before it starts paying off.

Mastering SEO can be difficult, especially at first, and it can be months or more before you see a return on your efforts. But one of the best things that you can do is to take even the basic steps to optimize your content for Google search.

I call this “passively” going after Google traffic. Because over time, if you’re doing some of the main things right, you will gradually get more and more Google traffic over time.

Rank Math scores your blog writing on how well you have it optimized for Google search, including your use of…

  • target keywords
  • internal and external links
  • image tags
  • meta descriptions
  • readability 

…and other factors that affect your page ranking with Google.

It has a red/yellow/green light system that tells you what you’re doing right and what you need to work on:

Screenshot of WordPress blog post using Rank Math

For this post above, I have an overall green light, but I have a few red error messages on my “Additional” and “Title Readability” sections, which lets me know what I have more to work on in that area.

As you can see from the example above, it’s possible to have a green light on your total SEO score, but still have “errors” of red x’s for certain metrics of those measures.

You don’t have to stress about getting a green light or checkmark on everything, but you should try to get an overall green light on all of your posts. Even if you don’t plan on paying much attention to Google SEO, the Rank Math plugin is a great way to make sure your content is optimized in a fairly passive way.

There is a free version and a paid version, but you shouldn’t need any more than the free version!

P.S. Yoast SEO is another great, free alternative. We used to use them for years but we now prefer and use RankMath.

Key Features:

  • Overall article SEO score
  • Checklist of recommended SEO improvements
  • Keyword usage and density
  • Title and readability recommendations
  • Redirection checker and setup

To Do:

  1. Download the Rank Math plugin.
  2. Make sure to add a target keyword and meta description for every post on your blog.
  3. Try to make some edits to get green lights on all of your posts.

11. Google Analytics (Traffic and Analytics)

You’ve probably heard of Google Analytics before, but if you’re unfamiliar with the features, here is a 30,000-foot overview of what kind of information it can show you:

  • How many views your blog is getting per day
  • What social media platforms or search engines those visitors are coming from
  • Where in the world they are viewing your website from
  • What time they are accessing your website as well
  • How long they are spending on your pages
  • And more!

This is what the Google Analytics dashboard looks like:

Google Analytics dashboard

You can access it anytime by going to their website, but there is also a WordPress plugin by MonsterInsights that lets you view the data right in your WordPress dashboard:

google analytics plugin for WordPress

And there are even more details if you scroll down:

monsterinsights plugin

Google Analytics is the most accurate way to track your blog traffic and it should be the ONLY metric you are using.

Other plugins like JetPack are bloated and can slow down your site. Some bloggers also pay too much attention to Pinterest Analytics, and these are often not as accurate as GA.

Key Features:

  • Google Analytics dashboard accessed directly in WordPress
  • Real-time analytics
  • SEO reporting
  • User behavior report
  • GDPR-friendly
  • Over 100 data points

To Do:

  1. Sign up for Google Analytics, if you haven’t already.
  2. During the process of setting it up with your blog, save your Tracking ID. You’ll need it in the next step.
  3. Install the MonsterInsights plugin and connect your GA account (insert the Tracking ID when prompted).
  4. You can now view your traffic stats anytime you log in to WordPress!

seo blueprint banner

12. ConvertKit (Email Collection)

Okay, so this one is only necessary if you have and use ConvertKit, which is our #1 recommendation to collect and send emails on your blog. The ConvertKit plugin for WordPress allows you to embed simple opt-in forms that capture leads with a simple shortcode.

What does this mean?

Here’s an example of a form for our free blogging bootcamp course:

These forms are created within the ConvertKit software, and then you use the plugin to easily add them to your website. If you use a different email marketing service, you might want to check if they have a similar plugin.

ConvertKit, like most email marketing services, does cost a fee, but the plugin is free. You just need an active ConvertKit subscription to use it. If you don’t have ConvertKit and want to try them out, you can start with the free plan.

Key Features:

  • Display ConvertKit forms in your posts automatically
  • Add forms to the end of your posts

To Do:

  1. Sign up for your first free month of ConvertKit and create an account (they also have tools for importing subscribers from other platforms).
  2. Create your first form in ConvertKit.
  3. Install the ConvertKit plugin and add the form to the bottom of your posts as well as within the content of your posts where relevant.

If you have affiliate links anywhere on your blog, you need this plugin.

Before I downloaded this plugin, I would have to look up my affiliate links in a spreadsheet every time I needed one of them. Most affiliate links have random strings of letters and numbers behind them that make it impossible to remember.

Now, I remember 99% of my affiliate links because I use a plugin to create links that look “prettier” and are easier to remember.

The Pretty Links plugin allows you to create clean domain links to redirect or cloak other links (like affiliate links) rather than using TinyURL or bitly, which look spammy and are sometimes not allowed.

Here’s an example:

pretty links plugin

My pretty links are generally pretty simple and easy to remember, like these:

There are also advanced options to add “No follow” tags to your pretty links.

no follow affiliate links

Using “No follow” tells Google to essentially ignore your affiliate links.

This is important because too many affiliate links can come off as spammy and signal to Google that your content may not be authentic and trustworthy. It also gives your other internal links to your site more “link juice,” which helps with SEO.

Pretty Links is essential if affiliate marketing is a big part of your monetization strategy!

Key Features:

  • Cloak affiliate links
  • Choose type of redirect
  • Automatically add “no follow” or “sponsored” tags to links
  • Change all affiliate links in one place

To Do:

  1. Download the Pretty Links
  2. Create unique, customized links for all of your affiliate links.
  3. You can also use it to create customized and easy-to-remember links for other links like social media, sales pages, etc.

Running an online business has a LOT of upsides compared to traditional brick-and-mortar start-ups:

  • A lot less upfront capital investment required
  • No inventory required (if you sell digital products)
  • A lot less risk

But there are still some risks, and some of those include your exposure to spammers, hackers, and other people looking to steal your information (and your money).

14. Titan Anti-Spam (Anti-Spam)

titan anti spam security plugin

If spam is a problem on your blog, congratulations! Your blog is popular enough that people are targeting it for spam.

Okay yeah, that sucks. The worst part is that spammers use bots to automatically send comments and login attacks to your website. No one has time for this.

Titan Anti-Spam fights spam, obviously. But it does a lot more than just filter spam comments and block bad login attempts. It also contains a security scanner that will help detect vulnerabilities in your site:

titan security scanner

This is a must-have plugin for spam and security and the best part is, it’s free!

Key Features:

  • Security audit
  • Malware scan
  • Firewall to block malicious traffic
  • IP blacklist
  • Site checker
  • 2-Factor Authentication
  • Site Backups

To Do:

  1. Download Titan Anti-Spam and activate it on your blog to start blocking spam comments.

15. UpdraftPlus (Content Backups)

As I explained above regarding the cache plugin, websites are FULL of files and coding. That coding can also break.

When you update plugins, theme files, or other software, it can cause conflicts in the coding of your website that can cause it to shut down.

Poof. Gone.

That’s IF you don’t have a backup of your files. Some hosting companies perform backups for you but you are generally limited for space and can’t rely 100% on these ‘routine’ backups.

UpdraftPlus is a plugin that automatically performs backups of your website, so you can go to sleep at night with the peace of mind that your business won’t implode overnight.

You can set the backups to occur as frequently or as infrequently as you want and where you want to store the backups:

updraftplus backup plugin

I am personally partial to Google Drive because I already pay for their email service anyway, which includes Drive space. But Dropbox and Amazon S3 are also great options.

UpdraftPlus has both a free version and a premium version, so you can decide what you need for your blog, but this plugin is absolutely essential!

Key Features:

  • Multiple site backups
  • Set up automatic scheduling
  • Integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon, and more

To Do:

  1. Download UpdraftPlus and decide on a storage option.
  2. Make sure your settings are set to store 2-3 backups of your website and database at a time.
  3. Run your first backup now so you know that you have at least one backup in place!

16. Wordfence Security (Security)

Steering the conversation back to spammers… The bigger your blog becomes, the bigger the target on your back for spammers, hackers, you name it.

Your blog is a business, which makes it valuable, and makes people want to steal from you. You’ve worked hard for it but some others [sadly] don’t want to.

If someone gains access to your blog, they can steal your information, delete it, and wreak havoc on your hard-earned success.

Wordfence Security is a security plugin that includes a firewall and malware scanner to protect your WordPress blog from external threats.

 wordfence blog security plugin

It will block malicious attempts to log in to your site, and even show you where the IP addresses are coming from and what credentials people are using to try to log in.

The security of your blog is something you should never take too lightly. Make sure that you are also using a secure password to log in to your WordPress site. Using a password manager like LastPass can also help to keep your passwords more secure.

Key Features:

  • Firewall and malware scanner
  • Block malicious attempts on your site
  • Block IP addresses

To Do:

  1. Download Wordfence Security to start protecting your blog from malicious login attempts!

How to Install WordPress Plugins

Okay, now that we’ve finished our best WordPress plugins for blogs, let’s quickly talk about how to install a WordPress plugin:

  1. Using the search feature
  2. Uploading the plugin directly

Both methods only take a minute but note that not all plugins are found and able to be installed via search.

Installing Plugins Using the Search Feature

You can use the search feature in the WordPress plugin area to search for popular plugins or specific plugins based on keywords.

To get to the plugins area, simply click on the “Plugins” link on the left menu of the WordPress dashboard. Then click the “Add New” button.

You can type in the name of one of these best WordPress plugins for blogs (i.e. Fancier Author Box) or something generic like “author box.”

search wordpress plugins

To install a plugin, click the “Install Now” button next to the plugin. Make sure to activate the plugin after installing it.

If the WordPress plugin you are looking for isn’t turning up in your search results, you’ll probably have to upload it manually.

Uploading Plugins to WordPress

Some plugins must be manually uploaded to WordPress. This is more common with paid plugins.

Before uploading a plugin to WordPress, you must first download it from the website (after purchasing, if it’s a paid plugin). The download should be in a zip file.

Make sure to leave the downloaded plugin file as a zip file because that is the required format for uploading it to WordPress.

upload plugin to wordpress

After uploading, click to install and activate the plugin.

Did We Forget Any Important WordPress Plugins for Blogs?

We endeavor to keep this list of WordPress plugins for blogs as updated as possible, but it’s also possible that we missed some.

Are you using any great WordPress plugins that weren’t on this list? Let us know and we’ll check it out!

What plugins do you feel were the most helpful on this list? Which ones are you going to install right away and why?

Please let us know your thoughts on this WordPress plugins for blogs article in the comment section below! We’d love to hear from you!