Raelyn Tan: Blogging & Digital Marketing Strategist

11 WordPress Plugins That Will Rock Your Blog

blogging-plugins-hori (1)

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.

The best WordPress blogging plugins that you'll need for your blog. Must-read if you're a blogger, business owner or entrepreneur! Includes social media plugins, plugins to grow your email list and more.

Pin me, my dear friend!

1. Akismet

best-blogging-plugins

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

wordpress-plugin-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

click-to-tweet-wordpress

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

contextual-related-posts

Interlinking your blog posts helps you to reduce your blog’s bounce rate, increase engagement and ultimately get more subscribers and build your email list.

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: Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.09.25 am

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

pop-up-ally-blogging-plugin

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

pretty-link-plugin

As I mentioned in this post about online business ideas you can adopt, many people make money with affiliate marketing by inserting affiliate links into their content.

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.

bloggging-business-resource

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?

8. Shareholic

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.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 8.01.13 pm

This is what it looks like

9. SumoMe

I use this for two functions: Firstly as a social media sharing plugin which you can see on the left.

Second, I use SumoMe’s highlighter function. If you highlight a certain phrase in any of my blog posts, you’re given the option to tweet it. Try it and at the same time, tweet this blog post! 😛

Update: 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 now use Shareaholic for all my social share bars.

10. Upprev

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.

reduce-blog-bounce-rate

It looks like this

11. Yoast SEO

seo-blog-tips-newbies-final

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.

Most importantly..

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 – 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 

bloggging-business-resource

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Yay! I’ve just switched comments on. Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:

Hi! I just love this post. I currently have blogger for my blog, but I know I need to switch over to WordPress. This post kind of convinced me of that. There’s seriously so many cool things you can do on it that I can’t do now. Running a blog is a huge learning process, but I’m learning so much. Thank you a ton for this post! 🙂

Raelyn Tan

Thanks Amanda 🙂 Make sure you check out https://raelyntan.com/how-to-start-a-blog – if you use my affiliate link for hosting you get some amazing juicy bonuses about SEO and website security.

I like this list of plug-ins! I love SumoMe, it’s one of my favorites. Another one I love is called “What Would Seth Godin Do” – it adds a little text box to the top of my posts and welcomes new readers while inviting them to subscribe to my list. I like that it’s a little personal touch, recognizing people the first couple of times they stop by 🙂

Raelyn Tan

Hey Kelly, thanks! That’s an interesting plugin – would definitely check it out 🙂

My blog is fairly new and I am clueless when it comes to Wordpress (my husband helped a great deal getting mine up and running). This is super helpful to know which plugins are worth it, because there are so many!

Hi Diana, I’m so happy to hear that!

Great job, now I know the right core plugins to have since I am just setting up my wordpress.org site. Thank you Raelyn. I am subscriber to your newsletter for life. This is Good Content!

Yes, knowing the right plugins to download will help you a lot! You’re welcome. 🙂

Great post, Raelyn! Thanks for all the information!

I’m in the process of setting up my first blog right now (SO MUCH TO DOOOOO!) and have been trying to get a decent bit of content and the look just right before I go live. I’d seen Shareaholic and Contextual Related Posts (or something like it) used on other blogs, but I didn’t know what they were called. I’ve installed both plugins now and am LOVING them.

Thank you, thank you!

Hey Megan, awesome!!! Glad that you found this post useful. All the best for your first blog! I look forward to hearing about your progress 🙂

Denise

You’re awesome! So glad I found you?

Yay! 🙂

Hello. Thanks for sharing this post.

I want to know which plugin is used to highlight a post and make it appear in content boxes

What do you mean? You mean tweet boxes?

Hi,
Thank you for your helpful article. I am brand new to blogging and your suggested plugins have been very useful to add.

Cheers,
Mik

You’re welcome, Mikayla!

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