Hey all you tech-savvy people! Ok, some of you may be “wanna be’s” but either way, you need to know this: plugins rock. What is a plugin? To quote our book, Intentional Blogger:
So, basically, this means you can add software to your site (a larger software application) to enable it to generate a feature or run an application. All you do is find the plugin on the Internet, plug it into your site (usually very intuitive through WordPress.org), and go! There can be more to this process depending on how code-heavy your plugin is, but for the most part, what we do as bloggers is plug and play. Intentional Blogger
We devote a whole, big huge chapter to this topic in our book, but here is the skinny: make sure the plugin adds value. A faulty plugin can crash your site or make it uber-glitchy. That is no bueno. Here are our tried and true’s. We have more that we use (we share about them in our book) but here are 10 that rock. These are all free so the links will take you to their site (or you can search in your WP dashboard for them). For complete installation instructions, more tips and more plugins, check out our book! (Ok, book plug over!).
10 Must-Have Plugins for WordPress:
- Akismet – This is to minimize and capture spammers visiting your site.
- Google XML Sitemap – Installing this plugin makes your site more appealing to web crawlers. This means you are making it easier for Google and other search engines to catalog your site. This will eventually result in more efficient and higher search results!
- Comment Luv – We view this as a way to encourage your readers to comment and interact on your site. You may have used this already when commenting on a blog post. When someone comments on your site, Comment Luv gives her the option to include a link to her most recent post. She gets to advertise her post on your site. This is great for niche involvement! (The easiest way to install this plugin is to type CommentLuv into the WordPress search bar).
- Comment Reply Notification – We believe this is 100% imperative for community involvement. People comment on your site. You should respond. But how do they know you have responded? Because, with this plugin, your site will send them an email!
- Feedburner Feedsmith Extend – This wraps all of your feeds into one pretty little package so Feedburner can send out one email to your subscribers per day, regardless of how many times you publish a post on a given day.
- Google Analytics for WordPress – Google Analytics is the premier stat tracker for WordPress. However, it can only track if you link your site to Google Analytics. This is how you link them together! (You will need to set up a Google Analytics account first).
- ShareThis – This plugin allows you to put those boxes at the bottom of your post. You know the ones. Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Email, Tweet; all the ways we can share a rockin’ post without having to actually leave the post. This is social networking at its best.
- WordPress Database backup – Don’t make the mistake of thinking, “It won’t happen to me.” It just might (especially if you go plugin crazy!). Backup your blog so, if something does happen and you need to restore your site, you won’t lose all of your hard work!
- WordPress Editorial Calendar – This is a great way to pre-schedule your drafts or get an overview of your upcoming post schedule. Drag and drop!
- WordPress SEO – If we had to rate our plugins in order of importance, this may be first on our list. If you don’t know a lot about SEO, don’t worry – you don’t necessarily need to with this plugin. Use it and be happy knowing that more people will find you as a result! You can also add custom files and documents to the footer of your post (this is where you could add a free eBook to email subscribers, for example). There are so many cool options with this plugin! We have a full tutorial and explanation of the plugin in our SEO series.
What are your favorite, must-have plugins?