This is part 4 of 4 of the Blogging For Beginners series.
Part 1: How to Start a Blog – Blogging For Beginners
Part 2: Can’t Decide What’s The Best Blogging Platform to Use? Answers here.
Part 3: 11 Things To Do Immediately After You Start a New Blog
Part 4: 11 Blogging Plugins You Need to Rock Your Blog
I have a love-hate relationship with WordPress plugins. When they work awesomely, I love them as they make my life sooo much easier. Otherwise, I generally dislike them, for reasons that I’ll touch on in a moment.
Today I’ll be going through some of the plugins that I have installed on my blog. I’m confident that you’ll find at least one of them awesomely useful.
If you’re just starting out, you probably do not know which plugins you may need or would find really useful.
Keep WordPress Plugins to a Minimum on Your Blog
I remember when I was just starting out, my blog was loaded with plugins because I always wanted this fancy functionality or that awesome add-on.
While it may be tempting to download a gazillion plugins, limit the number of plugins you install to as little as possible.
Too many plugins slow down your website, and crappy plugins may introduce errors that may cause your blog to become vulnerable to attacks.
With that being said, plugins are a great way to have awesome functionality without having to pay someone inordinate amounts of money to custom code it. Here are the best blogging plugins that’ll absolutely rock your blog.
As you’ve probably noticed,
I’ve disabled comments for this blog because I view it as extra grunt work for me to do. (Update: I’ve opened comments!)
From past experience, for every post I publish I get lots of spam and crap with every actual comment I receive.
I love decluttering and I believe in minimalism – hence the choice. Readers who want to get in touch can always email me, fill in a form on my blog or find me on social media.
Akismet will help you greatly with identifying which comments are spam so that you can get to the real comments quickly.
2. Clean and Simple Contact Form
A contact form???! I know what you’re secretly thinking. How old-fashioned! Who uses them anymore?
I’ll be quite honest with you – my contact form doesn’t get utilized much. Haha. However, I want to give my readers additional avenues for them to reach me.
I’ve come to realize that those that do use the contact form send me very well thought-out, sincere messages and that is something that I appreciate.
3. Click To Tweet
This plugin gives you a fancy tweet box featuring a tweetable quote to prompt your blog readers to tweet your blog post.
Bonus: It looks professional and is 100% free. I have a tutorial on how to use this plugin to create tweet boxes.
4. Contextual Related Posts
One great way to do that is to recommend similar blog posts that your reader will likely enjoy at the end of every blog post.
This is what this plugin does by the way:
There’s also the option for it to display thumbnails – I just prefer seeing all the blog titles together. It’s really up to you and the design of your blog.
5. Popup Ally
The best popup plugin, hands down!
The best part of this awesome plugin? It’s free.
Yep, you heard me right.
6. Pretty Link Lite
However, most affiliate links look really ugly. For example, one of my Amazon affiliate link may look like:
“http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004K8WPUQ?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B004K8WPUQ&linkCode=xm2&tag=raetan-20”, and I can shorten it to “raelyntan.com/product.”
Your readers will be more receptive to clicking on your affiliate links as they look shorter!
Another situation where this plugin is useful is when you want to shorten certain links, for instance, to post on Twitter. You can do so with this plugin too.
7. Scroll Triggered Box
What do you think about pop-ups? Spammy? As more people get increasingly blind to popups, scroll triggered boxes become a less obtrusive alternative to prompt someone to subscribe to your email list.
As your reader scrolls down your blog post, an unobtrusive slider slides up or down at the side of their screen, asking them if they want to subscribe.
Sounds much better, right?
Shareaholic is a social media plugin. You can see it at work if you scroll to the end of this blog post. I’ve also included a little screenshot so that you can see how it looks like.
I love it and use it because it comes with a cute “sharing is caring” prompt that I personally like – friendly and cute! Update: I now use Social Warfare, which is much easier to use without slowing down my site.
9. Social Warfare (Updated and replaced Sumome with Social Warfare)
I have used my fair share of social sharing plugins. Social Warfare is by far the fastest, most efficient social sharing plugin that gets the job done.
Also, if you were previously at http and shifted to https, Social Warfare has a great function that allows you to port over all the old share counts to your new https URL – which is a feature that I think is a huge bonus as many sites shift to https due to Google’s preferences for sites with a SSL certificate.
Update: If you visited this blog post previously, you would have noticed that #9 was Sumome. I no longer use Sumome, it was slowing down my site (which is not good for SEO) and kept showing the wrong number of social shares. I then shifted to Shareholic, before leaving that too for similar reasons. I now use Social Warfare for all my social share bars, which I highly recommend because it is lightning fast. If you want a free option, you can use Shareholic. However, Social Warfare is a lot faster and more accurate by a long shot.
I love Upprev so much. It reduces my bounce rate like crazy. What it does is to recommend good posts for my reader and feeds them more value. It appears on the bottom right hand of my blog.
11. Yoast SEO
This helps me to optimize my blog post for search engines. It provides a handy checklist for every blog post I have and tells me exactly what needs to be changed for Google to like my post that much more 🙂
Yoast SEO is hands down the best and most reliable WordPress plugin for search optimization purposes.
The Yoast SEO plugin does a whole lot of other things that helps with SEO. Just download it and play around with it, it’s pretty intuitive to use.
I recommend that you start with Akismet, Yoast SEO, and a social media sharing plugin of your choice if you’ve just installed WordPress on your blog.
In the grand scheme of things, plugins are really a matter of personal preference. The good ones enhance your reader’s user experience and help you to get more reader engagement.
So what’s your favorite plugin that is featured here? Will you be downloading any plugins in this list? Join me at my FB group community and let me know. 🙂
xx Raelyn 🙂
This is part 4 of 4 of the Blogging For Beginners series.
1. How to Start a Blog in 20 Minutes – Blogging For Beginners
2. Can’t Decide What’s The Best Blogging Platform to Use? Answers here.
3. 11 Things To Do Immediately After You Start a New Blog
4. 11 Blogging Plugins You Need to Rock Your Blog