During the commencement of my entrance into the blogosphere, I thought WordPress.com was the only ‘WordPress’ in existence. I soon found out that WordPress.org existed, and was a way better option for the blog growth I desired. The main reason I wanted to make the switch from .com to .org was one thing: plugins.
Plugins allow for the customization of your website and provides for additional functionality that it was not originally designed for. You know that phrase, “there’s an app for that”? The same goes for plugins, too. More often than not, if you’re yearning to change something about your blog, whether it be a recipe platform, subscription form, even analytics, a plugin is the answer.
I use a plethora of plugins to make TBB function to my liking, but today I rounded up eight of my favorites to share with you all!
If you are new to WordPress or have just started blogging, I’m sure you have seen the number of spam comments that come through to your dashboard. You get all excited when you notice a high number of comments, then you realize it’s a robot trying to sell you Air Jordan’s and Louis Vuitton. There’s a plugin for that. Akismet is the anti-spam plugin I use for my blog. I downloaded it immediately upon switching to WordPress.org, and haven’t seen a spam comment since.
Something I’ve learned over the last two years is that social media buttons are not enough. People need cues that essentially tell them to share something, or else they probably won’t share it. And we all want our hard work to be shared, right? These are my favorite plugins for social sharing optimization:
Click to Tweet: One way to optimize social sharing on your blog is to give people the option to immediately tweet something from your blog to their Twitter followers. Click to Tweet is my favorite plugin for this – it’s simple to use and I’ve never had a problem with it. Exhibit A:
Revive Old Post: Unless you are a robot, you probably don’t have the time or attention span to be tweeting out recipes and blog posts all day on a continuous loop. That’s when the Revive Old Post plugin comes in. Before finding this plugin, I used Hootsuite every morning to schedule tweets of my blog posts on Twitter, customizing each one. Don’t get me wrong, I still use Hootsuite for social media scheduling all the time, but for Twitter, one of the only social media platforms with a stream of consciousness concept, well…
You can customize your settings by changing how often tweets are posted, what categories are shared, which hash tags to include, and if you are feeling fancy and want to purchase the PRO version, you have the option to share photos, too.
SumoMe: Like I said, in order for people to share your content, they more often than not have to be told to. Whether it’s subconscious, or you outright say “share this”, there has to be something. That’s why I use SumoMe. It presents buttons over the images in my blog posts, upon hovering, that prompt users to share the post on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Yummly. I try to make everything as easy as possible for those reading my blog, so I really like this plugin as it’s simply a click-to-share design. This is also the plugin I use to display the social sharing buttons on the left sidebar of my page. Those buttons are great, and all, but it’s what SumoMe provides me on the backend of my website that really makes me a loyal customer. It offers options for Google Analytics (including real-time metrics), e-mail subscription pop-ups, and more.
The king of all plugins would have to be Yoast SEO. For a complete SEO amateur like me, this is the perfect plugin. It prompts you to enter information into each blog post in order to improve your search engine optimization (SEO); it basically forces you to choose a focus keyword, and use that keyword everywhere in your post, which will ensure your blog will be optimized by search engines.
Before the world of plugins, I was manually writing each recipe into my blog posts, like this one. *the horror* … The recipe plugin I now use is ZipList Recipe. You simply enter in the information, line by line, and the plugin adds step-by-step numbers for you. Another plugin I’ve heard good things about is Easy Recipe.
As a blogger, I love reading and commenting on fellow bloggers’ posts. Additionally, I love, love, love hearing from my readers! CommentLuv is a plugin that allows your readers’ most recent post to be displayed beneath their comment, so you and your other readers can visit their blog immediately after commenting, replying or simply viewing your post. It’s the simplest idea but a great solution to giving back to those who leave sweet comments!
Join the conversation:
What’s your favorite plugin?
Are there any plugins you feel are worth paying for?