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Top 10 WordPress Plugins for Food Bloggers in 2019

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WordPress is one of the best content management systems for the web.  Although the basic WordPress software has some limitations, you can extend its functionality with plugins.  It’s kind of like getting an upgraded stereo in your car or a new gadget for your kitchen–it helps you do things you couldn’t do before.

Scroll down to see the top 10 most essential WordPress plugins for food bloggers in 2019.  I’ve included both free, premium, and freemium plugins to fit a variety of budgets.  I’ve personally used all of these plugins for our mother daughter food blog, Savor the Flavour, and highly recommend them for beginner, intermediate or seasoned bloggers.

old fashioned phone, pencils, and notepaper with flowers

How do I know that a plugin is good?

There are a few ways to tell if a plugin is good quality.  First, search for the plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.  Check the plugin and see how it lines up with the questions below.

  • How many active installations has the plugin received?  Active installs means that the people who’ve downloaded the plugin are actually using it.  The more active installs, the better.  A plugin with 5+ million installs has more credibility than a plugin with a lower number. 
  • How many stars does it have?  Obviously, the more stars a plugin has, the better it is.
  • What are the reviews like?  Read some of the reviews to see if people liked, or disliked the plugin, or had specific complaints about it.
  • When was it last updated? Ideally, plugins should be updated frequently, or they can be a security hazard to your Word Press food blog.  The web is constantly changing, and a frequently updated plugin indicates that the plugin creators are trying to keep the plugin up to date.
  • Is it compatible with your version of WordPress?  If the plugin is really old and doesn’t support the version of WordPress running on your blog, it can break things on your site.  This doesn’t happen all the time, but it is a possibility.

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How do I install a plugin?

To install a plugin, go to the “Add New” tab in the Plugins menu in your WordPress dashboard and search for a plugin.  Once you find the plugin you want, select the download button, wait for it to download, then press activate.

For premium plugins, you’ll need to buy the plugin from the developer’s website and upload it to your site in a ZIP file.  You’ll see an “upload plugin” button in the plugin menu in your WordPress dashboard.

Want a more detailed look at installing plugins?  Check out this article from Shout Me Loud.

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What are “freemium” plugins?

Freemium plugins are plugins that offer a free plan (or at least a free trial) in addition to having paid plans.  Social Pug, a plugin that adds social sharing buttons to your food blog, is a good example.  For example, a Pinterest share button will let you know what pin has gone viral on your site.  You can download and use Social Pug for free, but with somewhat limited functionality.  If you want additional features, you can upgrade to a paid plan.  Freemium plugins are a good thing; they usually indicate that the plugin is high quality.

How many plugins should I have?

The good news is there’s no specific number of plugins you should have, but you need to always try to keep your plugins to a minimum.  Too many plugins can slow down your site, and a slow site is not what you want.  Right now, there’s 16 plugins running on our cooking from scratch food blog, Savor the Flavour.

Let’s start learning about the top 10 WordPress plugins for food bloggers in 2019!

1. Yoast SEO

  • Rating on WordPress.org: 5 stars
  • Active Installations: 5 million+
  • Price: Freemium
  • Developer: Yoast BV (based in the Netherlands)

Yoast SEO plugin header

Almost every blogger recommends Yoast SEO to help you optimize your website for search engines.  I love how it reminds me to add a meta description to each blog post, and helps me optimize each post for a target keyword/keyphrase.  It generates a sitemap for your blog, checks the alt text of your images, how often you have the target keyword in your post, the length of your post title, and a whole bunch of other qualities that can help your post rank higher in Google search.

screenshot of Yoast post analysis

Although Yoast is a helpful plugin every blogger should have, it isn’t a foolproof guarantee that your food blog will rank high in Google.  Yoast doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about SEO; you need to do research on your own to find out what’s best for your niche.  It’s a reminder that guides you towards greater heights of SEO optimization.

Read Yoast’s fantastic SEO blog on their website or download the plugin for free from WordPress.org.

2. WP Rocket

  • Active Users: 97,000+
  • Active Installations: data not available
  • Price: $49 per year
  • Developer: WP Media (based in France)

Want to have a faster food blog?  You need a caching plugin.

WP Rocket website

What is caching?  Caching is saving data from your website on a visitor’s computer or device.  The next time the visitor comes to your website, his computer/device will preload the saved data from your blog.  That way, the visitor doesn’t have to wait for every piece of data to be loaded directly from your web server.

Why is caching important?  Caching speeds up the page load speed of your blog, improving user experience.   A faster site means that your rank in search results could increase.  As of July 2018, Google uses mobile page speed as a ranking factor.

WP Rocket settings in WordPress dashboard

Why use WP Rocket as my caching plugin?  WP Rocket is much easier to set up than other options, like W3 Total Cache.  They have a bunch of valuable features, like lazy loading for images and CDN integration.  The customer support is helpful if you run into any problems!

Learn more about WP Rocket and purchase the plugin from their website.

3. Jetpack

  • Rating on WordPress.org: 4 stars
  • Active Installations: 5 million+
  • Price: Freemium
  • Developer: Automattic, Inc. (based in the US)

Jetpack website header

Want to connect your WordPress.org account with your WordPress.com account?  Want to easily integrate Akismet and VaultPress to your website and easily tweak the CSS of your theme?  Jetpack can do this, and so much more for your blog.  (Note that some features are only available with paid plans.)

screenshot of Jetpack settings in the WordPress dashboard

For our food blog, Savor the Flavour, we have the Premium plan, which is currently $99 per year.  This plan includes spam filtering, daily backups of our entire website plus a 30-day catalog of those backups, brute force attack protection, downtime monitoring, and automatic malware scanning and security fixes.  The Premium plan also has a number of other features that are beneficial to small-to-medium sized blogs.

Curious about Jetpack plans for your blog?  Visit their website for free and paid plan comparisons and download the plugin.

4. VaultPress

  • Rating on WordPress.org: 4 stars
  • Active Installations: 80,000+
  • Price: $39 per year or free with Jetpack Premium
  • Developer: Automattic, Inc. (based in the US)

VaultPress website header

Backing up your website is an absolutely critical step.  If your food blog is your business, you can’t afford to lose it all because of a faulty plugin update or coding error.  Fortunately, VaultPress makes it super simple to set up automated daily backups of your entire blog (posts, pages, comments, plugins, etc.).  The program keeps a log of backups from the last 30 days.

catalog of VaultPress website backups

It’s a breeze to restore backups when you run into an issue with your blog.  Simply log in to your VaultPress dashboard using your WordPress.com account.  Navigate to the backups log and press restore to push the backup live onto your site.  You’ll love the peace of mind that comes with having your entire site safely backed up!

Want to learn more about VaultPress?  Visit their website or download the plugin.

5. Akismet

  • Rating on WordPress.org: 4.5 stars
  • Active Installations: 5 million+
  • Price: Freemium
  • Developer: Automattic, Inc. (based in the US)

Akismet website

Block spam comments and feedback forms with this powerful plugin.  Akismet is built and run by Automattic, the team that made WordPress, so you know it’s made well.  Set it up quickly with an API key, and enjoy a spam-free life!

Akismet dashboard in WordPress

Akismet will block all the worst spam comments so you’ll never see them.  It collects the other spam comments in the comments section of the WordPress dashboard, where you can delete them all with one click.  This feature is set up like this so you can catch legitimate comments that occasionally get marked as spam.

Check out Akismet’s website, or download the plugin from WordPress.org.

6. Social Pug

  • Rating on WordPress.org: 5 stars
  • Active Installations: 70,000+
  • Price: Freemium
  • Developer: DevPups

Social Pug website

Social Warfare used to be everyone’s favorite social sharing plugin for a few years, but after it got hacked in March 2019, people were on the lookout for a new plugin.  Many online marketers recommended Social Pug, so I decided to give it a try.

Social Pug settings in WordPress dashboard

I’ve been pleased with how Social Pug works.  Fortunately, it’s easy to set up, and doesn’t slow down the site.  The free version of the plugin comes with social share buttons for Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, along with a some settings to change the appearance and location of the buttons.  I love how the plugin also shows the share counts for social proof.

Read more about Social Pug, or download the plugin to try on your blog.

7. Tasty Pins

  • Rating on WordPress.org: data not available
  • Active Installations: data not available
  • Price: $29 per year
  • Developer: WP Tasty (based in the US)

Tasty Pins website

Did you know that you need a keyworded description for each pinnable image in your blog post?  For years, bloggers were pasting this description in the “alt text” field of their images, but this actually isn’t best practice.  The alt text field is actually crawled by Google bots and is supposed to be used to describe what’s in the image.  Screenreaders for disabled people also read the alt text so the person can “see” the image.

Tasty Pins screenshot with angel food cake photo

If we can’t use the alt text field for the Pinterest description, then where can we put it?  Fortunately, Tasty Pins solves this problem quickly and easily!  Tasty Pins adds a new field for each image called “Pinterest text,” which is where you can paste your Pinterest description.  It keeps the alt text field open for you to add alt text for each image.

Another thing I love about Tasty Pins is that you can hide pinnable images in your post without coding and force visitors to pin that hidden image.  You can also disable pinning on certain images in your post if desired.  Tasty Pins not only optimizes your blog post for SEO and Pinterest, but it also makes your life easier!

Visit WP Tasty’s website, based in the U.S., to learn more about Tasty Pins.

8. Tasty Recipes

  • Rating on WordPress.org: data not available
  • Active Installations: data not available
  • Price: $79 per year
  • Developer: WP Tasty (based in the US)

Tasty Recipes website

I literally cannot say enough good stuff about Tasty Recipes.  We’ve been using this amazing recipe plugin ever since we started our food blog in 2017, and have loved it every step of the way.  The WP Tasty team goes the extra mile to make a lightweight, SEO-optimized plugin that is gorgeous to look at and easy to use!

And have I mentioned WP Tasty’s fantastic U. S. based support?  Every time I’ve emailed them, I’ve always received a prompt, courteous response that has fixed any issues I’ve encountered.

screenshot of recipe card for Non Alcoholic Irish Coffee

Why do I need a recipe plugin for my food blog?  Google wants every recipe to be formatted a certain way (called schema markup), and if you want to rank high in Google search results, you need to do what Google requires.  In order to properly and easily format your recipes, you’ll need a recipe plugin.

If you have used another recipe plugin in the past, and want to switch to Tasty Recipes, it’s actually really easy.  They have built-in recipe plugin converters that will convert all your old recipes over to Tasty Recipes.  You can do this all at once or individually, whichever you prefer.

Tasty Recipes settings in WordPress dashboard

Visit WP Tasty’s website to learn more about Tasty Recipes.

9. Imagify

  • Rating on WordPress.org: 4.5 stars
  • Active Installations: 200,000+
  • Price: optimize 25MB of images for free per month, get a one-time plan, or subscribe to a monthly plan
  • Developer: WP Media (based in France)

Imagify website header

Images are one of the biggest culprits of a slow-loading website, especially for food bloggers.  It’s important to keep the file sizes of your images as small as possible to speed up your page load times.  On the other hand, you want to keep the visual quality of the images good–no blurriness or pixelation.

screenshot of Imagify settings in the WordPress dashboard

How do you shrink the sizes of your images without re-sizing them all in Lightroom or Photoshop?  Get Imagify, an image optimization plugin.  It’s super quick to set up, and effectively cuts the bloat out of your image file sizes without degrading the visual quality of the photos.

Check out Imagify’s website, or download the free plugin to try on your blog.

10. Broken Link Checker

  • Rating on WordPress.org: 4 stars
  • Active Installations: 700,000+
  • Price: free
  • Developer: ManageWP (based in Serbia and the US)

Broken Link Checker header

Broken links are detrimental to your website’s SEO.  Besides, it’s not good for user experience; nobody likes to click on a link and find out that it leads to a 404 page.  This broken link checking plugin avoids a lot of these issues by crawling your site and checking each one of your links to see if it’s broken.

broken links in WordPress dashboard

If the plugin detects a broken link, it will send you an email notification.  It’s quick and easy to delete the broken link, re-check it, dismiss the notification, or mark it as “not broken.”  Just log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings>Link Checker to care for the broken links.

To download this great plugin, click here.

Loved this post about Word Press plugins for food bloggers?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Did you learn something new about WordPress plugins or website optimization in this article?  Do you have experience using any of the plugins we discussed on your own blog?  Are you a food blogger that would recommend another plug in for your top 10 list?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.  It makes my day when a reader leaves me a note: shouts of praise and positive constructive criticism are equally appreciated.

Happy blogging!

Emma

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