I moved my blog to WordPress (after 5 years on Blogger) just a month ago, and I can already tell you this: I won’t go back to Blogger. The reason is simple. In one word: plugins.
Before I made the switch, I started polling everyone on WordPress who would listen – what plugins do I need? which ones are your favorites?
And then, I installed ALL THE PLUGINS.
A month later, I’ve got my plugins all dialed in. My traffic is increasing, my blog looks the way I want it to look, and most importantly, it is achieving the goals I had in mind when redesigning it – it’s easy to read, share, and connect.
With all that said, here are 10 WordPress Plugins I Am Convinced Every Blogger Needs.
1. Akismet (for spam control): Everybody and their mother told me to get this plugin, and they were right. I waited a few days before activating it and ended up sifting through a bunch of spam comments. I activated Akismet and haven’t had a single spammy comment since!
2. Google Analytics for WordPress (for stats): Did you know that you can check your real-time stats on Google Analytics (not that I obsessively stare at the screen waiting to see when people log on to my site or anything…). More importantly, though, Analytics will report your monthly visitors and all that good stuff. If you ever want to monetize, you really need this information.
3. Comment Reply Notification (so your commenters will know when you respond to their comments): I like to respond to all of my comments (when possible). I really, really appreciate it when someone takes the time to type a little something out for me, and with this plugin, they are notified when I respond. I have it set up so that when you leave a comment, you can choose to receive this notification – or opt out. You can also let commenters subscribe to all comments on the post.
4. nRelate Related Content (so you can entice readers to read more of your fabulous content): This plugin shows thumbnails for related content at the bottom of each post. Once your reader gets to the bottom of your post, you want something that grabs your attention and keeps them around. This plugin showcases content that readers can click through to find more awesomeness by you.
5. Pinterest Pin It Button for Images (so people can easily pin your content): This might be my favorite plugin. When a reader moves the cursor over an image, a “Pin It” button appears in the corner, and the reader can pin your stuff easily and quickly. No searching for a “Pin It” button hidden below your post, no having to pin it from their browser…just super-duper easy and accessible pinning power.
6. Shareaholic Share Buttons (so readers can easily share your content): I’ve tried four different social media sharing plugins, and this one is my favorite. It’s big and easy to see (don’t you hate it when you want to share something you love, but can’t find the share buttons?), but not obnoxious. It’s also cute. And, with this plugin you can also install share buttons (with counters) at the top of each post, too…so no matter where your readers are, they will be able to share, share, share! Hey, I have an idea…go use them and see how easy they are. ;)
7. WordPress Popular Posts (to show off your best stuff): This plugin allows you to showcase your most-read posts. You can change the settings (I have mine set to show my most popular posts for the last seven days, I believe). This way, even if your most recent posts are less than stellar, you’ll always have some quality content easily accessible.
8. WP Touch (so your readers can enjoy your site on their phones): I do a lot of blog reading from my phone, curled up in bed next to my baby. I really, really appreciate it – and often read more – when a blog is mobile-friendly (and, readers can switch it off to view your blog in all its glory if they so choose).
9. WordPress SEO (so you can make your posts SEO-friendly): I don’t know anything about SEO. I’m learning, but in a backwards sort of way. This plugin prompts you to create SEO-friendly content. For someone like me, this is very helpful, even if I don’t use it every time I write a post. When I *do* write a post that I am hoping will bring in some search traffic, I am sure to follow all the directions this plugin gives me – and I’ve found, in the two weeks or so that I’ve been using it – that I am, indeed, getting traffic from some of those posts!
10. CommentLuv (so people will want to leave you comments): CommentLuv links to a commenter’s most recent blog post when they leave a comment, so anyone who stumbles upon your comment section can see it…and possibly, click on it. I like CommentLuv for two reasons. One, it encourages other bloggers to leave comments because they want traffic back to their site (right?). Two, it lets me see what other bloggers are writing, and most of the time, I’ll click back to their site to check it out and leave a comment if I have something to say.
Those, my friends, are the plugins that, after experiencing them, in all their plugin glory, I don’t think I could blog without.
What are your favorite plugins? I know there are more I simply *must* have!
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