7 Must Have Free WordPress Plugins

I’m a huge fan of wordpress and have been using it to create content sites and blogs for about 10 years. While the ‘out the box’ functionality is great, there are certain key plugins that I automatically install when creating a new site to help with the site’s search engine optimisation, social media sharing, subscribers etc.

Here are 7 ‘go to’ plugins that I would recommend installing on any new site, and best of all they are all completely free!

WordPress SEO


This is the very first plugin I install on any new wordpress site. The plugin, developed by Joost De Valk (YOAST), is an all in one solution for onsite SEO.

It gives you complete control over basic SEO (i.e. your site’s title tags, meta tags etc) and sorts out the biggest problem with the default wordpress installation – duplicate content – through proper use of canonical urls, noindex etc.

Don’t even look at any other wordpress SEO plugins, this is the Daddy!

Get the plugin here.

Contact Form Plugin


There’s no point having an awesome website if no one can get in touch is there? This plugin makes it a doddle to create a basic contact form, which can be embeded in a new page with one simple shortcode.

Get the plugin here.



A great little plugin that will automatically add social sharing buttons (facebook like, google+, tweet etc) to the bottom of your posts.

Social proof is so important in a website’s rankings these days, so providing your readers with an easy way to share your content is absolutely essential.

Get the plugin here.

Better Author Bio


If you are not using google authorship for your blog, then stop what you are doing (well after reading this post!) and install this plugin now! It’s not just for the vanity of seeing your picture in the search results, going forward positioning yourself as a trusted author is going to be so important to ranking your content in the search results.

This plugin will create a bio box at the bottom of your posts, which will link to your google+ account. If you are not sure how to set up google authorship, have a read at this post.

Get the plugin here.

WP Email Capture


Building your subscribers is one of the keys to running a successful blog, so you want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up to receive your updates. WP Email Capture is a neat little plugin that makes it easy to add a subscription box to your site. The plugin also has the option for sending a confirmation email (so subscribers are doubly opted in) which is useful if you want to give away a free product (such as an ebook) to new subscribers.

Get the plugin here.

Facebook Like Box


Does exactly what it says on the tin! This plugin allows you to quickly add a facebook like box to your blog through the wordpress widget interface with options for showing faces, stream etc.

Get the plugin here…. oh and give our facebook page a like too 🙂

Related Posts Thumbnails


Once you have people on your blog you want to keep them there, so install this great little plugin to automatically add links to related articles at the bottom of your posts. The links include thumbnails, which attract attention and encourage clicks.

Get the plugin here.

Any More?

So, that’ my list of 7 essential free wordpress plugins that you should install on any new wordpress site. You’ve probably guessed it already, but they are all up and running on this very site!

Do you have any other favourite free wordpress plugins that you would like to share? Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to use the WP Email Capture plugin to subscribe to this blog 😉

About the Author

I'm a web developer, programmer, blogger and SEO expert from Glasgow, Scotland, with over 15 years experience in the industry. When I'm not writing about marketing and SEO you'll find me strumming the guitar in my band or listening to Revolver on repeat. Follow me on twitter, connect with me on google+ and add us on facebook to keep up with all the latest trends in SEO and online marketing.

Eric - July 2, 2013

Fantastic article David! I just found a plugin called wordpress jetpack. Personally I love it but I’d like to know what your thoughts are. Thanks again for the great info!

    David McSweeney - July 2, 2013

    Thanks again Eric. I’ve not seen it before, but having a look just now. Looks pretty smart!

Barry Wells - July 31, 2013

Hi David,

I am using some of the plugins you mention here. WP SEO by Yoast is a fantastic plugin and one that really helps me get my SEO formatted correctly.

I think it’s interesting that you say about using share this as I am now using Share Juice Pro, which has enabled me to lose additional plugins.

Author box: Now included in Share Juice Pro
Facebook Like box: Now included in Share Juice Pro

I do use a contact form and YARP for related posts.

Thanks David,

    David McSweeney - August 3, 2013

    Hi Barry, thanks for dropping by and I’ll check out share juice. I’m actually now using simple share buttons adder, which is nice and lightweight with decent looking icons.

Ganesh - August 7, 2013

Thank you for this information I just plugged in all you suggested hopefully for my blog.

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