I’ve spoken before in an earlier post about using WordPress as my blogging platform. As far as I can tell, there is just no comparison to the other blogging platforms and when I took the plunge to go self-hosted (more of this to come in another post) I loved using it even more. One of the brilliant things about having a self-hosted blog is the ability to construct and design your site as you want it to be and my favourite tools for doing this are plugins. If you are new to blogging and like me are bamboozled by the technicalities of it all, then a plugin is basically just a modular piece of software that acts as an add-on to your blog site which can give you various different functionalities.
WordPress has a Plugin directory with literally thousands of plugins to choose from. This in itself can be confusing – how are you supposed to know which ones to use or which ones are any good? Well, I’m going to share with you my favourite Plugins for newbie bloggers. You can then simply type in what you are looking for in the ‘search’ bar, choose the plugin, click activate and all the hard techy stuff is done for you.
My Top WordPress Plugins:
- Akismet – This clever little Plugin will save your site from spammers and is an essential bit of kit. It basically filters through all of the comments on your blog and holds the ones it thinks are spam in a spam folder for you to empty. This will keep your site clear and running smoothly.
- Wordfence Security – Provides a high level of site security to stop hackers breaking in to your site – an absolute essential in my opinion.
- Jetpack by WordPress.com – This is another essential when using WordPress and is just a really good all-round, behind the scenes plugin. Some of it’s functionality includes displaying your site statistics, protecting your site from hackers and speeding up your images.
- CommentLuv – I’m sure you will have seen this one if you have been reading and commenting on other blogs. CommentLuv will visit the blog site of the author of the comment and retrieve their latest blog post for them to include at the end of their comment. It makes commenting easy and means visitors are more likely to leave you a message. You may also find some new and interesting blogs to read this way.
- Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebar – You want to encourage visitors to your site to share your content on their social networks and this really simple plugin allows them to do just that with a quick and user-friendly sidebar. Easy to set-up and it runs across nine different social networks. You can even choose which buttons you want to display.
- Free Stock Photos Foter – Readers love to see large, good quality images in your posts but you have to be careful about which photos you are using and having the correct permission if you use someone else’s. This plugin has a large library of free photographs to choose from and will enter the correct photo credit for you.
- Social Media Feather – allows you to quickly and painlessly add social sharing and following features to all your posts, pages and custom post types. There are loads of plugins that do this but this is plugin that works for me and it was really easy to set up.
- Pinterest Pin it Button – Pinterest can be a great source of traffic for your blog if you are using it correctly. If you are a new blogger then start by installing this plugin and pinning your images to your Pinterest profile. You never know who will see the image and click through to your blog as a result.
- MiloTree Popup – I don’t really like pop-ups in general, they just irritate me when I’m visiting blogs. However, this one I will make an exception for as it isn’t overly intrusive and will nicely advertise whichever of your social media profiles you choose. I have my Instagram profile on mine as I am trying to grow my following over there and I have noticed a difference since installing it.
- Yoast Comment Hacks – This makes the whole commenting process a little easier and applies some nice hacks that enable you to do things such as reject comments below a certain length and redirect first time commenters to a thank-you page.
- Yoast SEO – Search Engine Optimisation is one of those terms you are bound to have heard being bandied about by seasoned bloggers. It’s a complicated business but this plugin makes it easy for you by forcing you to choose a keyword for each post and then making you use it as much as possible to increase the SEO of your post. It guides you to choosing good words by rating each keyword with a traffic light system.
- Better Delete Revision – Every time you click ‘save draft’ on your posts, a copy will be stored. So if you do this say, ten times each time you write a post it can add up to an awful lot of drafts which will slow your site down considerably. This plugin will run through your site and delete all of the redundant drafts as well as associated data such as tags etc.
These are my current favourites for starting off. If you are newly self-hosted then I hope you have found this list useful. Why not leave me a comment and let me know which are your favourite plugins?