I've decided to start a blog. It'll be more like a public journal than an author's platform, so I'm sticking with the free tier of Wordpress. From what I've read, plugins are the name of the game for WordPress. The only one I've found is Wordfence, but I'm wondering if there's anything else.
Do you mean wordpress.com or wordpress.org? Because ALL of wordpress.org is free. It's a package you download and install onto your own network drive (GoDaddy or whatever). Wordpress.com, meanwhile, is the thing with tiers of payment. You're not setting up your own "instance" of Wordpress, it's something run/managed by Wordpress. And, because of that, you are NOT able to use plugins. Since plugins are the real security risk.
So, depending on what you "built," your plugin question is kind of a moot point, because you might have set yourself up to not ever be able to use them.
I know how to write the back-end of websites, but haven't done the pretty front-end stuff. I'm not afraid of writing something custom, but I'd strongly prefer something drag-n-drop.
The beauty of Wordpres is you don't need to do ANY of the backend lol. It's all frontend. I mean, you could fuck around with the php yourself if you have a Wordpress.org thing set up, but then you'd have to deal with php, and who wants to do that?
Look at the themes page and pick something that's the shape that you want. You can change all the pictures/colors/menus on your own website. It's all managed through Wordpress's menus, so you never have to write a single line of CSS.
Also your actual post has nothing about security OR privacy, which are two entirely different animals lmao. But I'm gonna give you that info, anyways, because I imagine you want it.
To keep your security good: use a unique, long password for your Wordpress. Don't download any plugins UNLESS it has a ton (like, hundreds of thousands, if not millions) of positive reviews. Same deal with themes. Turn on auto-updates and remove anything you don't use regularly. Turn on auto-updates for Wordpress, for WP itself and the php stuff and everything else. Don't be an idiot and download/install/run random programs on the internet (people are idiots and do this and lose access to their discords all the time). Do all the other "don't be an idiot" security things like I've said elsewhere.
I have no idea what you mean by "privacy." So here's some generals: Don't post anything online you don't want your mother to see. Or your kids. Or your boss. But if you must
, ensure that you are using completely different aliases/emails/phone numbers/etc from your main/"professional" info/handles. But do be aware that Immigration/TSA/the feds/etc can and will look every possible thing up, and probably find it. If you want something to be actually private, then don't post it online.