WordPress plugins for food blogs are often installed on whim, when they shouldn’t be.
Site speed improvements, image compression and recipe SEO which are all powered by WordPress plugins are only helpful if the right tool is configured in the right way.
To save you time, we’ve rounded-up up a list of the best, trusted WordPress plugins for food blogs. The plugin categories we cover in this post include:
- Security and spam
- Image optimization
- Recipe structured data
- Food blog SEO
- Affiliate marketing
- Social sharing
Remember, your WordPress web host plays a big part in plugin compatibility, which is why a plugin should always be inspected technically before it’s installed and configured.
Tips for picking WordPress food blog plugins
Not all WordPress plugins are created equal and some plugins don’t play nicely in the sandbox so it’s important to do your homework. The very best WordPress plugins for food blogs are widely used by the development community and frequently updated.
For each plugin you’re interested in, ask yourself these questions:
- Who developed the plugin? Are they credible?
- How frequently is the plugin updated? When was the last update?
- Is the plugin compatible with the latest version of Wordpress?
- Is the plugin compatible with the new block editor? (i.e., Gutenberg)
- How many active installations are there?
- Has the developer disclosed any known conflicts with other plugins?
- How well received is the plugin? What’s the star rating? How are the reviews?
- How many unresolved support tickets are outstanding for the plugin?
- Does the plugin’s solution apply to existing posts or new posts only?
- Is the solution too big, too small, or just the right size for my site?
- If I remove the plugin, will I lose all of my work?
The majority of the answers to these questions can be found on wordpress.org/plugins. Just search by plugin name.
For security and spam
Activity Log (free)
Activity Log helps you monitor and track your site’s back-end activity. You can keep tabs on if/when a plugin was activated or deactivated, log suspicious admin activity and more. It’s also a huge help for WordPress tech support companies like Foodie Digital to be able to see a history of what has been done, when and by whom.
Akismet Anti Spam (free + paid plans)
With more than 5 million active installations, Akismet is a leader in comment and contact spam detection and prevention. With commenting encouraged on food blogs to boost post engagement and recipe star ratings, it’s endlessly helpful that Akismet automatically checks all comments and filters out those that look like spam. It’s a sanity saver.
Spam protection, AntiSpam, FireWall by CleanTalk (paid)
Clean Talk is an affordable anti-spam plugin with no CAPTCHA and many different integration capabilities, including supports for Gravity Forms, Mail Chimp, WooCommerce and more. It's a solid alternative to Akismet.
Sucuri Security (free + paid plans)
Sucuri is the authority in WordPress security. The free version of the plugin is available to all WordPress users and is designed to complement your web hosts security protocol. Remote malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, activity monitoring (similar to Activity Log), file monitoring and email notifications are all features of the free version of the plugin. An upgrade to premium gets you an enterprise grade Website Firewall.
WordFence (free + paid plans)
Robust, user-friendly and all-about real-time updates, Wordfence’s free plugin is an excellent choice with a lot of the same features as Sucuri. With more than 3 million active installations, it’s tried and tested and a favorite at Foodie Digital.
For image optimization
ShortPixel Image Optimizer (free + paid plans)
ShortPixel is a popular WordPress plugin for good reason. It boosts site speed and performance by reducing the size of each image in a post or on a page, while still delivering high-quality images. Images are automatically compressed on upload which saves time. If you have a large library of uncompressed images, you can also use the bulk processor and optimize them all at once. The recommended settings for ShortPixel are already checked on installation, but you can configure them to meet your needs. Lazy loading of images, however, isn’t available in ShortPixel. In the case of ShortPixel the images are progressive.
Smush Image Compression and Optimization (free + paid plans)
Image optimization isn’t just about making files smaller, it’s also about site speed and image quality and Smush Pro is an industry leader. With its well thought through features, including lazy loading, Smush Pro is a great choice—just be sure to configure it correctly.
For recipe structured data
Create by Mediavine (free)
Create is the SEO-friendly WordPress recipe card plugin from Mediavine. Create is 100% free, and you don’t have to be a Mediavine publisher to use it, though exclusive features for Mediavine publishers are likely in development. It's a solid option for structured data mark-up for Google and Pinterest, including rich pins. The plugin also supports HowTo and ItemList schema in addition to recipe schema, and it has many well thought through features, including the ability to hide or display a video in a recipe card, plus easy affiliate ingredient and equipment promotion.
Tasty Recipes (paid)
Tasty Recipes is a good option for recipe SEO and structured data mark-up for Google and Pinterest, including rich pins. There's a handful of nice-looking, contemporary themes to choose from and the recipe input interface is really easy to use and intuitive. It’s a lightweight plugin, with no extra bells and whistles that'll slow you down unnecessarily.
WP Recipe Maker (free + paid plans)
Like most plugins that follow the freemium model, the free version of WP Recipe Maker is very good while the paid versions (premium, pro and elite) each offer more sophisticated features. It’s a good option for recipe SEO and structured data mark-up for Google and Pinterest, including rich pins. It supports HowTo and ItemList metadata in addition to recipe schema. It's a robust, flexible WordPress recipe card plugin with an excellent, well thought through feature base.
For food blog SEO
Yoast SEO (free + paid plans)
Gold-standard, must-have, incredibly powerful—that’s the best way to describe Yoast SEO. The feature base goes well beyond the preview snippet that you use in the back-end of a post. Pay special attention to configuration on install and let Yoast work its magic.
Classic Editor (free)
A must-have WordPress plugin for food bloggers who aren’t quite ready to make the switch to WordPress' block editor. The Classic Editor plugin disables the block editor, which means you can put-off making the change, for now at least.
Without having to get into the code, you can easily manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors and a whole host of other redirect situations. With more than 1 million active installation it’s the WordPress redirect plugin of choice.
Cloudflare (free + paid plans)
A powerful player in performance, Cloudflare is often used in conjunction with WP Rocket and other WordPress performance plugins. Cloudflare does a lot of things, but one of the biggest benefits for food blogs is that it brings content closer to your users by caching static web content on its network—a performance win.
WP Rocket (paid)
For affiliate marketing
Easy Affiliate Links (free)
Developed and maintained by the same team behind WP Recipe Maker, Easy Affiliate Links is a great free tool that allows you to easily manage a variety of affiliate links (Amazon, brand partnerships, rewardStyle and more). Tagging outbound links nofollow for compliance is easy, and the plugin is compatible with WordPress’ block editor.
Pretty Links (paid)
A favorite among Foodie Digital members invested in affiliate marketing. With Pretty Links you can create link redirects from your website's domain. You have complete control over how your links look and where they redirect. It also allows you to cloak, track, organize and share a wide range of affiliate links (Amazon, brand partnerships, rewardStyle and more). The plugin is compatible with WordPress' block editor and makes nofollow compliance incredibly easy.
Yoast SEO (free)
Yoast SEO version 14.4 (released June 23, 2020) allows you to easily add rel=“nofollow” and rel=“sponsored” to specific external links for WordPress versions 5.4 and above. Nofollow compliance made easy.
Shop Page WP (free)
A favorite tool of the Foodie Digital team for quickly and easily spinning up an affiliate shop. Block editor compatible, with nofollow functionality baked-in, and a wide range of customizations available. Shop Page WP is a solid affiliate shop option.
Grow by Mediavine (free + paid)
Previously Social Pug, Grow by Mediavine is one of the easiest and best-looking social sharing plugins available. The free version of the plugin comes with four of the biggest social media platforms for food blogs: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. The social share buttons are also customizable and integrate nicely with a wide range of site designs.
WP Affiliate Disclosure (free)
Most food bloggers are aware that when they share affiliate links they’re required to disclose the nature of the affiliate relationship according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations. The WP Affiliate Disclosure plugin makes easy work of this task, allowing food bloggers to automatically insert disclosure statements inside all blog posts by category or tag. You can tag all sponsored content with ‘sponsored’, for example, and the affiliate disclosure automatically displays without the need to edit each post.
For backing up
With more than 600,000 active installations, the plugin BackWPup is a proven solution for safely and securely backing up your whole site, including uploads. BackWPup pushes records to be stored at offsite services, such as Dropbox, FTP, RackSpace Cloud and more, and the process for restoring is as simple as it gets. BackWPup Pro has an even more robust feature set, including multi-site and premium support.
Updraft performs manual or scheduled incremental backups of all of your WordPress files, databases, plugins and themes. Incremental backups allow you to only backup changes to files (such as adding a new image) that have taken place since your last backup. The benefit of this approach is that the backup process isn’t wildly onerous or heavy. Another bonus is that you can restore back-ups directly in WordPress.
Note: Foodie Digital participates in affiliate programs for select recipe card plugins and hosting providers. The opinions we share are based on our own in-depth research, and the ongoing need for our members to use SEO tools that are future-proofed, credible, professional and well supported.
3 thoughts on “The best WordPress plugins for food blogs”
This is a very nice blog post thanks for sharing with us.
Thanks for this list. I’m starting up a food blog soon and a lot of the information on your site is invaluable.
Do you have any thoughts on the Feast plugin (https://feastdesignco.com/feast-plugin/)? According to their documentation it seems to be compatible with many of the plugins you listed, plus it comes with 5 food blog themes to choose from.
Alternatively, are there any other themes you would recommend food bloggers use (or stay away from)?
Hi Matthew, the choice of theme or to invest and have a custom-designed site developed really boils down to budget, timeline and branding. Many Foodie Digital member use a Feast theme and the Feast plugin. It’s a reliable, affordable option. Note though that in our experience, advanced performance tuning is still required with Feast to pass Core Web Vitals. This is the case with pretty much every theme and custom-designed site in the FD community. I hope this information helps you determine the best next steps for your food blog.