These are the essential plugins that will make WordPress just run better no matter what kind of blogger you are – and they are all free. So there’s absolutely no reason to not go out and get these super useful plugins.

Updraft Plus

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You are backing up your blog, right? If not, take a minute to install Updraft Plus the most popular and easiest to use backup and restoration plugin. It does complete backups, manual or scheduled, with options to connect to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace and more.

W3 Total Cache

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Fast sites get more traffic, so do yourself a favor and speed up the caching on yours. W3 Total Cache is the industry standard when it comes to Search Engine (SEO) & Performance Optimization (WPO) via caching. Includes a whole bunch of techie stuff that you don’t need to understand to use: includes CDN, Minify, Page, Object, Fragment, and Database support.

Akismet

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Basically, a requirement these days if you have comments open, Akismet fights those crazy comment bots that try to post fake comments about prescription drugs, weight loss pills and work-at-home schemes.

Page Builder

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This plugin does a lovely job of filling the gap in an area that wordpress doesn’t handle very well– how do you make a beautiful page? How do you create columns or tables and align images and text in a format other than straight paragraphs? This plugin lets you control the layout of any page on your site (or choose not to use it on any page too). Create better design!

YOAST SEO

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Listen, SEO is complicated and time consuming. Yoast makes it easier and does much of the heavy lifting for you. Plus, they are constantly studying and improving this free plugin as Google changes their indexing rules. If you’re going to do one thing to improve your SEO, do this.

Google Analytics

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Even if you’re not super serious about tracking your traffic, it’s a good idea to install Google Analytics as early as possible to give yourself a healthy baseline to measure against.

Jetpack

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Jetpack is written by the same people who do WordPress, so it’s really an extension of the WordPress functionality from social sharing to spell check to traffic stats to image optimization to protection against brute force attacks. It does a little bit of everything. You’ll definitely want it for the spelling and grammar check alone!

Wordfence

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Security is one of those things you don’t think about until it’s too late. There’s nothing worse than getting hacked and with so many big web hosting companies getting compromised over the years, the chances are good that if you blog long enough eventually it will happen to you. Secure your blog with these features: firewall, malware scan, blocking, live traffic, login security & more.

Wait, you don’t have your blog set up yet? We can help with that! Check out our $149 blog theme and logo package and get all eight of these plugins installed for free!