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  Lesson 4: Recommended Plugins

Welcome to the lesson on plugins I recommend. In this lesson, I'll discuss what plugins are and the plugins I recommend you install on your WordPress blog.

A plugin is a piece of software that further extends the functionality of WordPress. With so many plugins to choose from, there are only a few plugins that I consider must-have plugins.

Part 1: 7 Must-Have Plugins

Below is a list of 7 plugins that I recommend you install on your WordPress blog.

1. Antispam Bee

Comment spam is a big problem on the internet. Antispam Bee is a free comment spam plugin that blocks spam comments. I use this plugin on my website, and I love it.

2. W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache

W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are both caching plugins. Having a caching plugin is important because it will help keep your blog running fast. I use W3 Total Cache, and it works well for me. WP Super Cache is another great option.

If you're not sure which plugin to choose, contact your web host and ask them which plugin they recommend. Most web hosts provide a tutorial for configuring either plugin.

3. Google XML Sitemaps

A sitemap is a file that contains a list of web pages on your blog. Having a sitemap for your blog is important because it helps search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing index your blog easier.

*If you install this plugin along with the Yoast SEO plugin, you must disable the Yoast XML sitemap. I show you how to do this in Module 3: Lesson 2 - Yoast SEO Settings in step #7.

4. Yoast SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO involves creating your content in a way that gives it a better chance of being found in search engines. The Yoast SEO plugin helps you improve your SEO by showing you how to write search engine friendly content.

I'll be going to over how to configure the Yoast SEO plugin in Module 3: Yoast SEO Settings.

5. Social Warfare or AddToAny

Social Warfare is a social sharing plugin. I use Social Warfare on my website. I recommend Social Warfare because unlike other social sharing plugins, it doesn't slow down your site, and it includes additional features that help increase your social shares.

AddToAny is a popular social sharing plugin. I've used AddToAny in the past and had no issues with the plugin. If you don't want to use Social Warfare, I recommend going with AddToAny.

6. Simple Social Icons

Having social media icons that link to your social media accounts is important. Social media icons allow your readers to quickly find and follow you throughout your social media accounts. I use and recommend the Simple Social Icons plugin.

7. Google Analytics by MonsterInsights

When you run a blog, it’s important that you know who your readers are, and what they like. When it comes to website traffic analytics, Google Analytics is one of the best web analytics tools. In my "How to Start a Blog" guide, I have a tutorial that shows you How to Install Google Analytics on your WordPress blog.

In Conclusion:

Plugins are an excellent way to extend the functionality of your blog. When installing plugins, keep in mind that it is possible to have too many plugins. Plugins can conflict with one another and even your theme. They can also increase the CPU load time on your server, which can get you into trouble with your host.

There isn't a set number of what's considered too many plugins. I recommend putting some thought into each plugin you install on your blog. If it's not something you need, consider not installing it.