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If you're following my series on How to Start a Blog, after you get setup you'll want to install the essential blog plugins. When I first started blogging in 1999, there were no plugins and the word blog wasn't even a thing back then. Fast forward today, and blogs are read by over 500 million people and those people view more than 22 billion blog posts per month. AND that number will skyrocket. That puts you in a great spot to start a blog around your passion & your interests & just have fun it while your audience & income grows.
What Factors will Increase Search Engine Rankings
Before you write one piece of content, you want to make sure the blog foundation is setup to scale (in case something goes viral right out the gate). This is the blog foundation that will increase search engine rankings & blog audience retention.
- Loading Times
- Template Builder
We'll increase loading times & help your readers get a fast experience while helping your readers find you with their search terms right out the gate. These are the essential blog plugins that will deliver that experience.
The Essential WordPress Plugin for SEO
I use and recommend Yoast SEO (which I upgraded and bought the premium version). Yoast has saved me an enormous amount of time when it comes to SEO because I appreciate the color coded red-light, green-light system. If the site needs improvement with any area of SEO, then, below each post in your WordPress dashboard, Yoast will give you a red-light or a green-light. Let me show you a picture of what THIS blog post looks like after the initial 1st and 2nd run through.
Yoast's Recommendation to Improve Blog SEO
Okay so everything is green except for “Keyphrase distribution”. I need to add my focus keyword which would be “essential blog plugins” throughout the site. It even tells you to distribute the keyphrase throughout the site.
If you look to the right of the warning message, you will see an EYE. When you click on the eye, it will highlight that phrase within your blog post so you can see where your focused keyword is. Once this turns green, this blog post will be ready to publish out.
UPDATE: 30-minutes later, it's green and ready for final walkthrough.
The Plugins to Speed Up Your Site
And it's free. Download the Free SG Optimizer Plugin to Speed Up Your Site
How to Analyze Your Blog for Free
If you want to know how your site is doing, then you can easily use a site called GT Metrix.
GTMetrix will tell you what areas you need to improve upon (even though just with these essential blog plugins, we took our site from a D- to a C+).
The Blog Plugin to Create Your Blog Template
I use a free plugin to create the look / feel of the site. Elementor is the best page builder I have used in the past 15 years. The trick to using Elementor is to create templates and drop them in where you want them to go. That way – let's say you have the same header and footer on every page. You create the one header/one footer template and assign to every page or post. That way, if you want to make changes to the header, you just pull up the template and it auto-updates throughout the site.
You can use this template process for almost everything in your blog. Create a blog post template and assign it to the single post. Want to change the look of the blog, just edit the template and it auto-updates on the single post. Freakin lifesaver.
We Recommend The Free Page Builder Elementor
Elementor now has over 3.3 million users and because it has built-in everything (forms, pages, sections, lists, call to actions), I felt it belongs in the essential blog plugin list.
Click Here to Download the Free Page Builder Called Elementor
The Plugin that Will Give You Free SSL.
If you're looking to get the free ssl for your blog. All Siteground blogs come with free SSL. First, you would login to your cpanel through the Siteground Control Center. There's an icon called Let's Encrypt. Click on that icon and it will walk you through how to install SSL on your domain name.
Download the Really Simple SSL Plugin
In addition, once you get that installed, install an essential WordPress plugin called Really Simple SSL. This is the lightest, easiest way to force all your images and posts to have the “lock” all secure message for every post later on.
The Blog Plugin that will Give You Free Security.
Back in 2007, our site got hit with malware and deleted over 200 posts. Plus, there were very few WordPress tutorials like this in the mid 2000's. I really needed these essential blog plugins back then. I felt I had to wipe the site clean and start over. Now, they have free blog security plugins that protect your site against malware and viruses. We've come along way since manually having to create folders and upload plugins like this: How to Install WordPress Plugins
Download Wordfence Security Plugin
One of the essential blog plugins that will protect you from malware attacks and virus is Wordfence Security. We use it for all of our sites, and they send you a daily report if any files were uploaded or any changes were made to your existing files.
Once you get the essential blog plugins installed and activated, you're ready to start planning your content. On the next training, we'll talk about how to create the best content that engages your audience.