The best free WordPress plugins + how to optimize them

Title image for best free wordpress plugins

Those of you who know me or have worked with me in the past know that I LOVE WordPress. I build all my client sites on WordPress and believe it is the most sustainable and customizable website platform out there. Part of what makes WordPress so customizable is the ability to optimize and use WordPress plugins.

A WordPress plugin is an extension to your site that allows you to add a specific functionality. This could be anything from a quiz to an integrated social media feed to a program that keeps track of your website traffic. Whatever alterations or additions your website needs, there is most likely a plugin for it.

Today, I’ll be sharing with you a few of the best free WordPress plugins for any WordPress website or blog.

Let’s get started!

1. Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar is an amazing plugin that allows you schedule your blog posts in a viewable live calendar.

A screenshot of one of the best WordPress plugins, Editorial Calendar.

You can drag drafted blog posts from the left-hand column into a calendar date. I am such a visual person and this is a great way to see exactly when I want to publish what blog post. You can also click a date to start a new post that will automatically save as a draft post in your posts list. The visual functionality of this plugin makes it one of the best free WordPress plugins I have installed on my site.

2. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is a great, free starter contact form to use on your website or blog.

This is an image of one of the best free WordPress plugins, Contact Form 7

Many WordPress themes do not include a built in contact form function. Therefore, you may need to install a contact form plugin to meet your needs, and Contact Form 7 is a great one! It allows for many form functions such multiple choice, short text and long answer fields. The abilities of this contact form make it one of the best free WordPress plugins to have installed on your website or blog.

3. Captcha by BestWebSoft

When I first started my blog, I racked up 75,000 spam comments in my WordPress dashboard. 75,000!! To this day, I am still working on deleting them all. That’s when I found Captcha by BestWebSoft. This is a free captcha plugin that requires users to complete a math equation or retype a word before submitting their comment.

I tried variously other captcha plugins, however, none had as straight-forward and user-friendly functions as Captcha by BestWebSoft. Since installing this plugin, I’ve had ZERO spam comments come through (yayy!). I am forever in debt to this plugin and would definitely consider it one of the best free WordPress plugins and a necessity for your website or blog.

4. Instagram Feed by Smash Balloon

A fun way to incorporate a more personal touch on your blog or website is to integrate your Instagram feed! And guess what? There’s a plugin for that. I decided to add an Instagram feed to the Sidebar of my first blog and tried probably 10 different Instagram feed plugins before finally landing on Instagram Feed by Smash Balloon.

A screenshot of one of the best free WordPress plugins, Instagram Feed by Smash Balloon

I currently use this plugin for the footer of my blog. It can also be used in a sidebar or page on your site or blog. This plugin is great because it’s not limited to a “widgeted” area. The plugin simply generates a text code that can be placed anywhere text is allowed on your website or blog. There is also a premium version of this plugin if you are looking for more advanced features. Instagram Feed by Smash Balloon’s user-friendly set-up and easy to integrate framework makes it one of the best free WordPress plugins for your website or blog.

5. Insert Headers and Footers

Sometimes, it is necessary to add some coding to the header or footer of your WordPress theme. Finding the header and footer of your theme code can be complicated and unless you’re a web developer, there’s an easier way!

A screenshot of one of the best free WordPress plugins, Insert headers and footers

I use this plugin primarily for things like adding Facebook pixels to my website pages for Facebook ads that I’m running. You’ll be surprised how often you may need to add or edit your site’s header or footer code. And Insert Headers and Footers is the best free WordPress plugin to do so!

6. Yoast SEO

This should absolutely be the first plugin that you install to your website or blog! Yoast is the best SEO (search engine optimization) plugin for WordPress. Once installed, it allows you to target keywords in your post or page and keeps track of your post’s readability and search engine optimization.

A screenshot of one of the best free WordPress plugins, Yoast SEO

You’ll see in the screenshot above, that Yoast has tracked my keywords for this post and has notified me of where there might be SEO holes that I can improve. This is important information to know if you want your website or blog posts to show up highly ranked in Google searches. Yoast has so many amazing SEO functions and is by far one of the best free WordPress plugins for your website or blog.

7. Jetpack

Jetpack is an amazing plugin for keeping track of all your site’s statistics. The plugin display’s helpful information in the homepage of your WordPress dashboard. This information will help you keep track of your site’s traffic and where your visitors are coming from.

A screenshot of one of the best free WordPress plugins, Jetpack

Jetpack is also a central place to control updates on all your new plugins and view which pages are performing the best. In my opinion, Jetpack is one of the best free WordPress plugins you could download for your website or blog.

The above plugins are BY FAR some of the best free WordPress plugins and have made my website so much better for both my visitors and me. If you have any questions or need assistance with your WordPress site, please leave a comment below, I’d love to chat!

Ya, you’ll definitely want to pin this for later!

Best free WordPress plugins, free WordPress plugins, WordPress, blogging, free plugins, WordPress


Leave a Reply

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