10 Essential WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

  1. Akismet: Industry standard anti-spam service. It blocks comment spam, period.
  2. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: It allows you to view Google Analytics reports right from your WordPress dashboard. You just have to enter you Google Analytics tracking code one time.
  3. Yoast SEO: This plug-in works hard. It works with you to optimize your site. It helps you with SEO by analyzing your content before you post it, giving you a chance to write more optimized site titles & meta descriptions. It also automatically generates an XML Sitemap.
  4. BackWPup: Backs up your entire site. You can then e-mail it to yourself or download it to your computer or to an external source like Dropbox or FTP.
  5. WP Super Cache: This speeds up your website. I’m not techy enough to explain how, so I recommend clicking the link to read about it.
  6. Simple Social Icons: It allows you to insert social icons into any widget area. I particularly like this plug-in because of it’s customization capabilities. It’s easy to use too.
  7. Related Posts by Taxonomy: This plug-in is easy to use & it’s aesthetically pleasing! It’s crucial that every blog have a visual related post area {usually below blog posts}.
  8. CommentLuv: It’s just wise to install this plug-in. You’re likely to get more comments because if the reader has their own website, then they’re getting something out of commenting. A link to their latest piece of work will automatically populate. A win for everyone!
  9. SumoMe: There are so many things you can do with this plug-in! Set-up different types of forms to capture Newsletter Subscribers {subscribe to mine HERE!}, which connects to popular e-mail services like MailChimp & AWeber. You can customize your social sharing buttons. You can even set up heat maps to see where readers are clicking on your pages. And my personal favorite, see how many people are reading your posts & exactly how much of it they are reading.
  10. WordPress Editorial Calendar: This plug-in is very simple & basic but it’s free & it’s all you need. You can open it in your WP Dashboard. It’s great to be able to look at your post schedule in a calendar month. It also helps looking back at your posting schedule.



  1. Essential Grid: If you’re a subscriber to The Sunny Shadow Weekly Newsletter, then you already know that this plugin creates a beautiful grid layout to display just about anything. I use it to house my Free Download Library. But you can create a digital store too! It’s highly customizable. I believe it’s the first plugin I’ve ever paid for, and it was well worth the one time fee of $26. Plus, Envato offers an affiliate program. That’s an affiliate link up there! Which means if you purchase the plugin by clicking that link, I’ll receive a small commission. As far as aesthetics go, this is hands down my favorite plugin so far. And remember, I’m an interior designer. So I know a thing or two about aesthetics. They also offer support and lots of YouTube tutorials! If you get it, drop me a comment. I want to hear how much you love it too!
  2. Revive Old Post: This plugin is great because you can kind of set it and forget it. At least for a while. It will send out blog posts according to the schedule you set up. This way, your old blog posts continue to be seen. A Pro Version is available, but the Lite Version works just fine for me.
  3. Enjoy Instagram: Installs shortcodes & widgets to produce images in either a grid or carousel view of your Instagram profile & hashtags. You can place this anywhere on your blog; sidebar, footer, or insert it into posts &/or pages. See it in action in my sidebar →
  4. Data Tables Generator by Supsystic: It allows you to create & customize data tables without knowing HTML. There’s an example of this table in this post.
  5. Pinterest Widget: Okay, not a plugin. But Pinterest generates a lot of traffic for many bloggers, including myself. To create your own simply go to your settings in Pinterest & you will see the option. It’s self-explanatory because they walk you through it step-by-step.


So what do you think about this list? Do you agree? What WordPress Plugins do you consider essential?

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Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of TheSunnyShadow.com


  1. Krista-lee,
    This is a great list of WordPress plugins. We are using some of these on our Genesis themed site. My question is, are you still using the WordPress Editorial Calendar or have you found a plugin that you like better or that works better with the latest release of WordPress? Thanks!

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