You have bought hosting, a beautiful theme, and a domain for your freelance writer website. Your site looks good, and you are now thinking to yourself: “I have a freelance writer website - let those clients roll-in!”
Not so fast, my friend!
You still need to install specific WordPress plugins to make your site complete. And this post shows you exactly the ones you need.
This post may contain affiliate links. Clicking them is free for you, but I get a small commission if you buy the product or service through my link.
When I talk about WordPress plugins, I like to divide them into two categories:
- Core plugins
- Freelance Writer Website-specific plugins
So, what are these core plugins?
Well, they are the ones you’ll have to install on your WordPress, no matter what type of site you are running. They make your website secure and efficient.
1. Site Maintenance: Easy Updates Manager (free)
Very often, once people have installed WordPress or a bunch of plugins, they don’t update them at all. Doing this poses a huge security risk and can also slow down your site.
Keeping all the plugins and WordPress is easy. And with a little help from Easy Updates Manager, this task becomes even easier.
I have used this free tool on this blog, and I love it. It helps me to keep my plugins and my WordPress up-to-date with little effort.
There is also a premium version of the tool. But like me, you’ll most likely do well with the free version.
2. Backups: Updraft (Free)
You are probably thinking the same way I did before: “My web host already takes backups for me. So why should I bother with a backup plugin?”
Well, the level of backups and the user experience of working with backups depends on your web host.
For instance, do they only backup your database but not files? Or, how easy or difficult is it to restore data from your backups?
Picture this scenario:
If your site crashes, and it takes 45-minutes to get a hold of the customer support, you could be losing money.
Can you afford that?
With a backup plugin, you could define your backup schedules and where to store the backups. Restoring the files (or even a website) would happen much faster than with the help of a web host.
The backup plugin I’m currently using is the free version of UpdraftPlus. There is also the premium version of the tool, but I haven't invested in it (at least yet).
3. Caching & Performance: WP Rocket (Premium)
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You don’t want your website to slow down in front of potential clients because, in that case, you are driving them away.
But there are some ways to tackle this issue.
Once you have the necessary infrastructure in place, it’s time to look at your website and what you can fix there.
One great way to improve the performance of your website is to use a caching plugin like WP Rocket.
Yes, this plugin costs money. But then, how much would it cost you if a customer runs away because of your website's poor performance?
Think about that.
4. Image Optimizer: ShortPixel (Premium)
You may also want to consider installing an image optimization plugin. This application may help with website performance, especially if you have a lot of images on your site.
After testing a few image optimizers, I chose the premium version of ShortPixel. Although I wasn’t keen on subscribing to yet another service, I’m happy that I did so.
With the help of WP Rocket, I was already able to improve the performance of my site:
But after installing ShortPixel, my website performed even better:
Yes, I still had some image optimization to do (like scaling my image at the front page). Yet I was happy with the performance boost that ShortPixel gave me.
5. Security: WordFence (Free)
Website security comes at many levels.
The first thing is to invest in a web host <aff link> that provides a secure environment for your website. That’s a great starting point, but it’s not enough.
You also need to secure your website, too. This task is easy to do with this simple yet useful plugin: WordFence.
It’s a tool that sets a firewall and malware protection to your WordPress site. With this level of protection alone, you keep intruders out of your online property.
The plugin comes with the free version and the premium version. Although the paid version gives you more security features, I'm happy so far with the free version.
6. Spam: Anti-Spam by CleanTalk (Premium)
If you have enabled comments on your blog, you need a plugin to prevent comment spam. And the best tool that does this is Anti-Spam by CleanTalk.
I noticed that as soon as I started my blog, the number of comment spam exploded. And let’s be honest; I have better things to do than managing spam comments.
Although this Anti-Spam plugin is a premium one, it’s very inexpensive. For one website, this plugin costs $8 per year. With this small investment, you get robust protection against the comment spam.
Freelancer Website Specific Plugins
These website specific plugins add unique features to your freelance writer website. They help you to show your work and make it more findable.
7. Portfolio: WordPress Portfolio Plugin (WP Portfolio) (Free)
A portfolio page is one of the most important pages you can have on your freelance writer website. It helps you to showcase the best work you have done, and it improves your credibility in front of potential clients.
There is no one stopping you from creating a portfolio page without any plugins, with HTML and CSS. But why make things harder for yourself?
Instead, why not display your stellar content pieces with a plugin instead? You can do this, for instance, with WP Portfolio.
WP Portfolio enables you to show the websites you have published blog posts on.
The plugin also supports the Shrink The Web integration. With this feature, it can generate the thumbnail of a website based on the URL you have defined in the settings.
Please note that this plugin hasn't been updated (at the time of writing) for over two years. I’m hoping that the author would develop it further because it’s already a great plugin.
8. Testimonials: Strong Testimonials (Free)
On top of a portfolio page, what’s another high selling point of your freelance writing services? The raving testimonials from your clients.
One way to add testimonials to your website is by using a plugin called Strong Testimonials.
With this plugin, adding and managing testimonials is easy.
9. SEO: RankMath (Free)
Writing high-quality content on your freelancer blog may come easily for you, but great content is not enough.
Because if no one can find the content your content, it’s almost the same as if it didn’t exist. That’s why you need to optimize your content for search engines.
I have used a couple of SEO plugins before, but the one I like is RankMath. It’s an application that makes your SEO efforts simpler.
For instance, it shows all the different points you have to address with your posts with red icons. The items that are Ok are shown in green:
Finally, the plugin gives you an SEO score. The closer the 100 points you get, the better.
This plugin is 100% free to use.
10. Contact Forms: WP Forms (Free)
You need a contact form on your website so that potential clients can get a hold of you. And there is no better way to set up a contact form than by installing WP Forms.
It’s a simple plugin to install and configure. And the best part? It’s free! There is a premium version of the application, but I have been happy with the free version alone.
11. Grow by MediaVine (formerly known as Social Pug) (Free)
If your freelance writer website has a blog, you want to install a social sharing plugin. This tool helps you to spread the word about your content, with the help of your readers.
The social sharing tool that I’m currently using is Grow.
It’s a lightweight plugin, and you can add beautiful sharing images on your website easily. You can also decide where to place those sharing images.
Grow supports all the popular social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn. And if you upgrade to the Pro version, you get even more features and better social network support.
11 Must-Have Plugins for Your Freelance Writer Website: The Conclusion
The plugins that I listed on this post form the backbone of your freelance writer website.
While some of the plugins I recommended are premium ones, you can also find free alternatives to them, too.
But now over to you: What are WordPress plugins you can’t live without? Please share your tips in the comment area.
- Free vs. Premium WordPress Themes: Which One Should You Pick for Your Writer Website? - April 2, 2020
- Self-Hosted WordPress vs. WordPress.com – 9 Key Differences (+ My Pick!) - February 15, 2020
- 11 Must-Have Plugins for Your Freelance Writer Website - January 20, 2020