four-free-wordpress-plugins-essential-for-small-business-bloggersThe sheer popularity and power of WordPress is impossible to deny, especially for newbie publishers looking to get their feet wet with blogging.

WordPress accounts for approximately 25% of all sites across the web, signaling the platform’s dominance within the blogosphere. From breath-taking designs to single-click publishing, WordPress offers a simple yet robust solution for those looking to start a blog and make their voices heard online.

Regardless of your blog’s scope and audience, WordPress offers a number of free plugins which can help grow your audience, protect your site from spam and increase your site’s search engine potential. As all small businesses today are looking to cut costs and stay lean, consider the following plugins as a starting point for your business’ next blog.

Yoast (for SEO)

The modern small business can’t hope to compete in today’s cutthroat marketing world without some sort of search engine strategy. Unfortunately, many businesses let SEO fall to the wayside as they see it as too “technical” and remain wary of such practices.

Fortunately, the ever-popular Yoast SEO plugin does most of the technical legwork for you without having to delve into editing your site’s HTML or PHP. Yoast analyzes the in’s and out’s of SEO in regard to each of your posts, including a preview of what your post will look like when it’s live on Google’s search results. For starters, Yoast examines…

  • The readability of each post, including keyword density, word count and text complexity, ensuring that your content is suitable for both readers and search engines
  • Titles, headers, alt-tags, URLs and meta descriptions to ensure that you’re implementing your targeted keywords correctly
  • The links within your posts to ensure they’re improving your site architecture

In short, Yoast provides an all-in-one solution for those who perhaps aren’t particularly tech-savvy when it comes to SEO.

Akismet (for Comment Spam)

Spam comments run rampant in the blogosphere. However, the dangers comment spam on your blog are twofold; they not only make your site look like spam itself if left unchecked, but also may have a negative impact on your site’s SEO efforts.

Fortunately, Akismet offers a free solution (with premium and donation options) which works to combat comment spam. By enabling Akismet on your blog, you may filter out spam, approve legitimate comments and ultimately keep your site safe.

AddThis (for Social Sharing)

Social sharing has become an integral aspect of the modern blogosphere. Between expanding our audience to encouraging discussion amongst our readership, social engagement is crucial to making it as a blogger today.

Plugins such as AddThis allow for free social buttons which are enticing, non-intrusive and allow for one-click sharing to sites such as Facebook, Twitter and beyond. AddThis allows your visitors to share your content with ease, all without having to leave your site.

Contact Form 7 (for Direct Communication)

While social media is a fantastic way to communicate with your audience, don’t neglect the need to allow your users to contact you directly. Free plugins such as Contact Form 7 allow bloggers to build simple, customized contact forms which link directly to your email address.

Although such forms may seem somewhat antiquated, keep in mind the desire of users to contact you directly with sensitive information or business inquiries that may not be suitable for a comment or Facebook post.

Millions of bloggers are harnessing the power of free, so why don’t you? Through its incredible free plugins and functionalities, WordPress reminds us that building your audience doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

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