It’s the first Thursday of the New Year and it’s time to kick your blog in to gear full throttle! So we are going to start off by talking about ways to make it easier (weird right)! But I’ve always been a firm believer in working smarter not harder and these 10 best wordpress plugins for your blog are going to do just that. Before adding every WordPress plugin to your blog you want to make sure that your blog is set up properly, and prepared for this amount of plugins. Plugins can be a bit heavy when working with a machine like WordPress (yes I consistently refer to WordPress as a machine). So if you are on a shared hosting (details on that here) then you will want to make sure that you don’t add too many plugins to your site because it will slow it down drastically (this happened here on TNT last March). We have about 16 plugins which is the most we’ve had in about a year. I just recently added three more. However I like to stay between the 10-15 plugin mark as most of the basic necessary plugins will do much of what the other small ones can do individually.
1. Yoast SEO: SEO is crucial to Google and other search engines being able to find you via search. So it is super important to have your SEO set up properly so they can find you. Without Yoast SEO I’d be pretty lost and would probably have to hire someone to get my SEO in order. This plugin cuts out the middle man and helps you with the basic set up of proper SEO. It also helps create a Sitemap for you which I struggled with greatly. This sitemap can be submitted to your Google Webmaster which will also help in how prevalent you are on search engines.
2. Shortcodes: Shortcodes is one of the plugins I just recently added to our site. Shortcodes provides just that: a series of short codes to use because lets face it most of us bloggers out here in the blogosphere are not programmers or developers. This plugin makes it simple to have things look the way we want them to without having to type tons of code we don’t really fully understand. If you want something in a column, carousel, aligned a particular way… Shortcodes is your go to plugin.
3. Google Analytics by Yoast: Many people will not agree with having an actual Google Analytics plugin on your site because you can just install the code and check your stats on the Google website/ or an app on your phone. However with the several issues we’ve had with Google analytics the Google Analytics plugin by Yoast is the only plugin that has been able to place the code properly on each page of our site without creating doubles, tracking our events/clicks and skewing our stats. It doesn’t provide as much information as heading to the app, or the Analytics site, or even other tracking plugins, but it is the most reliable and stable one we’ve had thus far.
4. Ad Inserter: This plugin is going to crucial when you decide to monetize your blog. When we decided to start including ads on our site I had no idea how I was going to get the codes in the right spot and make it look the way I wanted it to. Ad Inserter allows you to just place the code into a widget and decide where exactly you want that particular ad to appear. It also allows you to decide if the ad shows on every page, every blog post…etc. I like the amount of control that this plugin provides and it is super simple to use as well.
5. Click to Tweet: I started using click to tweet a few weeks ago. This plugin helps with social media engagement and sharing quite a bit. If you write an amazingly earth shattering quote and you want to give your readers the opportunity to tweet it directly from your post, click to tweet gives you that option. All you do is add the quote that you want your readers to be able to tweet (as long as it fits the character limits). It’ll automatically @ you and spread your blog/ quotes all over twitter with just the click of a button.
6. Simple social Icons: This is another plugin I just added to the blog a few days ago. Simple Social icons is just what it is called. (I like when things are plain and simple). You place your social media icons wherever you want them to be and the icons will go along with the color scheme of your blog. This along with click to tweet are other methods to increase your social media engagement with your followers and their followers.
7. WordPress Editorial Calendar: I love this plugin and if you are just as organized as I am (or want to get more organized) then this plugin will be a dream come true. Why? Because it is free and allows you to organize your blogs in advance. I am able to draft my posts on a calendar and see what I have coming up, where I want posts to go, and change my mind in an organized manner. This plugin will be your lifesaver and you won’t have to spend any money on the paid editorial calendars that do similar things.
8. Akismet: Spam is out there and akismet will help keep it away from your blog. This isn’t a free plugin, at least not the version that helps the most. When I see the amounts of spam that Akismet has blocked from going into my comment box on the blog I am super thankful. It allows you to also approve or unapprove comments before they even get to go onto the blog.
9. Updraft Backup Restore: There are hundreds of back up plugins and programs to help keep your blog data safe but I find this one to be the best because it is easy to use and understand while providing you a ton of various options. As you can see that is the growing trend. You can save your blog’s content, themes, files…etc to external storage like Google Drive, Dropbox…etc. This backup plugin just saved my life a few days ago when I saved a code incorrectly. So backup your blog and do it with ease! You will thank me later!!
10. Mail Munch: I started using Mail munch in November through MailChimp. You can use MailMunch for various different mailing list providers and this plugin is going to single handedly help you grow your mailing list. Since installing this plugin we’ve increased our mailing list subscribers drastically and rapidly. We have the free version as well so it doesn’t mean you have to pay for the updated version to make use of it!
Are there any wordpress plugins that we missed that you think should be on the list? Share your thoughts/comments and recommendations in the comment section below!
If you’ve missed out on our previous blogger tips in this series check out our previous blogger tip Thursdays here!
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