After making the switch over to WordPress I had to get readjusted to everything again. It’s been a couple years since I’ve used it and the plugins, themes, and widgets you use for fan sites are a bit different than those you’d want for your blog.
I found it surprising that none of the blogs I follow or any familiar ones have posted about what plugins they love the most. I had to figure it out along the way and by googling for great plugins and researching them on social media websites. There are so many versions of a particular plugin and most of them are for various types of websites, but I wanted ones that your average blogger would want to use so I thought I’d share with you the ones I had to get as soon as I made the switch:
1. All in One SEO Pack – SEO is the Big Dog you have to look out for if you want to get your blog noticed. This plugin handles Google Analytics, generates META tags automatically, optimizes your titles for search engines, and so much more. Everything is there for you and it’s fully customizable.
2. CommentLuv – I love this plugin. What a great way to show off a recent post whenever you comment on someone else’s blog. Not only does the blogger you commented on see it, but all who visit that blog post will take a peak at one of your blog posts and hopefully click over. Every blog should have this plugin activated. Give and receive, I say. Plus, I love the little heart icon it has, Too cute!
3. Tweet Old Post – A great way to bring traffic to some of those old posts you wrote way back when. You never know which blog post will strike someone’s fancy, you could’ve written it two years ago and it might still be relevant today, but if no one today sees it, then what’s the point, right?! You can customize the tweet with a message and set the time interval for when each tweet is sent. You can also select which categories are excluded. A must-have for all bloggers.
4. Twitterlink Comments – I love this little plugin and it goes so well with comments and CommentLuv. Just activate and anyone who comments on your blog can add their twitter name so people can see who they are on twitter, chat them up, follow, etc. A great way to give back to the people who comment and I, personally, love blogs with this plugin enabled.
5. Yet Another Related Posts – Back when I had Blogger I used Linked Within, a great way to show off related posts with cute thumbnails. I tried using it again for WordPress since that’s what I’m used to, but it didn’t fit right with my blog now. Not that it wasn’t working, it just didn’t integrate the way I wanted and having the thumbnails now didn’t really do anything for me, so I started looking around for another plugin. YARPP has excellent reviews and is considered the go-to ‘related posts” plugin. You can customize it to your liking it and it integrates seamlessly with your blog. Everything looks great so far!
6. WP Greetbox – I saw this little greeting box on almost all the WordPress blogs I went to and wondered like crazy what it was called. I definitely wanted it for my blog, especially to help promote my switch and in the future if I needed to keep a certain message on top. I love how everything is preset, it just needs some customization, and is easy to use. The default is set so people can subscribe to your RSS feed, but you can just add your own message.
7. WPtouch – Since most users views websites on their smart phones or mobile devices, you’re going to need a plugin that lets you customize how your blog appears on their devices. No one wants to wait more than a minute for a website to load, and you know how slow the internet on cell phones are, even though they claim to be super fast. This plugin lets you decide how your blog loads, preferably the mobile version, and how people can comment, view thumbnails, content, etc. It’s a great way tool to have so everyone and anyone can have the chance to read your blog conveniently.
8. Contact Form 7 – Arguably, the best contact form there is on WordPress. I’ve used it plenty of times when I worked for those fan sites and I had to get it now for the blog. Even to this day it’s still one of the most popular plugins. There are a lot of contact forms out there, but I find this one the easiest to use and customize, without all the frills and fluff. Having a way for readers to contact you is key to a successful blog and if you don’t want to publicize your email address, or simply want to provide another way for readers to contact you, then having a form like this is perfect. Oh, and please please please, don’t use CAPTCHA!
9. Facebook, Twitter, & Google + Social Widgets – There are a TON of social widgets plugins out there right now, but I’m trying to focus more on the simpler side of things and really, the main contenders of social media are Facebook, Twitter, & (maybe) Google +. I know StumbleUpon or Reddit is pretty big, too, but I’ve never used them and find that people I frequent rarely do anyways. A simple, no-hassle way for someone to “Like”, “Tweet”, or “+1” a blog post, seamlessly integrated at the bottom (or top, if you prefer) of your post. Nice & simple! Oh, and if you love Pinterest, I’d suggest adding a “Pin It” button to all your blog posts. I love it!
10. Google XML Sitemaps – This is a great tool to help search engines such as Google and Yahoo index your blog and it notifies them each time you create new content. Pretty cool!
Honorable Mentions: WordPress Backup & WordPress Database Backup – You HAVE TO back up your blog, it’s only natural. Shit happens. All your hard work could be gone in an instant and you need the peace of mind that your blog is secure and backed up. To get the best back up services, you’d need a paid service to handle everything for you, but since I’m frugal, I’d rather go the FREE, yet just as good, way instead. These two plugins work together to ensure not only your blog posts, but your whole, entire blog is backed up just in case you ever need it. Having just WordPress Database Backup isn’t enough, as it only stores your data, so it’s best to have both active and running.
So what are some of your favorite plugins?!