I was going to call this 10 WordPress plugins I couldn’t live without, but that just sounds to dramatic to me. I mean, it’s not like I’m going to drop dead of a heart attack if one of those plugins cease to exist. However, they do make my life a lot easier when it comes to managing my site, and I would be a little lost without them. Since today is “Thank a Plugin Developer Day,” it seemed like a good time to talk about these very useful WordPress plugins. I’ve been using most of them for more than a year without a single issue on my Thesis theme, but if you used a designer for your blog, you may want to check with them first to make sure everything is compatible with your theme.
10 Very Useful WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
1. WordPress Editorial Calender – Of all the WordPress Plugins, this is the number one plugin that I quite possibly actually can’t live without, at least when it comes to blogging. I schedule posts ahead of time. Sometimes way ahead of time. The Editorial Calender lets me see everything I have planned in a nice calendar format. It’s a lot easier than trying to sort through a long list of drafts and published posts.
2. Comment Luv. While this doesn’t necessarily make life easier in any real way, it does make it more beneficial for readers to leave comments. If you have a blog, you can leave your website address and it will pull up recent posts. That way, when others comment, they can see your site. I also go through my comments and visit my readers on a regular basis! I use the free version of the plugin. They have a pro version, but I haven’t tried it yet.
3. Akismet – I don’t have any sort of comment moderation on. I can’t stand captcha (and beg of anyone still using it to get rid of it), and I don’t really have time to sort through messages looking for the spam versus the real ones and approving them manually. Akismet does a pretty good job of filtering out the junk. Sometimes weird spammy stuff still slips through, but for every one that comes through, it catches at least 100 junk messages. There are other WordPress plugins out there to combat spam, but this is the one that just about everyone uses the most.
4. Broken Link Checker- Broken links are very bad for your site in the eyes of the Google Gods, and it can be really, really time-consuming to check every single link on your site every day. Actually, if you have a lot of links, it’s pretty much impossible! Broken link checker lets you know when your links are broken so you can either fix them or unlink them. It’s not 100% accurate and does miss links in comments occasionally, but it’s pretty useful!
5. Google XML Site Maps- You could write the most amazing content on the planet, but if the search engines don’t index it, hardly anyone will see it (except those who subscribe to or follow your site in some way, but again, they have to find you first!). While the search engines bots do crawl around on their own looking for pages to index, this plugin simply makes sure it happens faster. Faster indexing means people can come read your beautiful content sooner!
6. Social Sharing Plugins- There are dozens of different types of social media sharing WordPress plugins, and everyone has different preferences. Right now, I’m using Flare because I think it’s very user-friendly and it looks nice. . Basically, you need some way for your readers to share your content on at least Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. Other places are optional, but those are pretty much a must!
7. No Follow Link – Not all links should be followed, especially if you want Google to love you. If you want to read a really good post on why you need to be no_following certain links, check out Getting it Right: DoFollow vs. NoFollow. Then get the No Follow Link plugin, or something similar, that lets you choose individual links to no_follow in a post. This one is great because it puts an icon on your writing dashboard. One click and the link is no_followed.
8. Social Media Widget- See that little section up there in my upper side bar that says “Follow Me On” and has all the nice little buttons that you can click to follow me on various social media networks. I use Social Media Widget to do that, because I have zero design talent when it comes to creating buttons, and zero patience with coding even the basic buttons. It takes like two minutes to set up all my social media accounts and make it easy for readers to follow me. Hey, while you’re up there….
9. Yoast WordPress SEO- Honestly, I really don’t care to write every article to certain SEO specifications. Half the time it results in bad writing, in my opinion. Writers should focus on awesome content, not stuffing certain words into the copy at least five to ten times. Sadly, if you want to rank, you have to use the right keywords the right number of times. You also have to make sure your title, headers, images, and so on contain those key words. There are like a zillion WordPress plugins for search engine optimization, but I like Yoast the best because it really lays out what you need to do to improve the article’s SEO.
10. Social Media Metrics- I love this plugin because it adds a little tab to my dashboard that gives me a nice list of all my posts and how often they’ve been shared via the most popular social media networks. Plus, it makes it easy to tweet or +1 my own posts right there on the dashboard.
So there you have it, my favorite WordPress plugins that make my life as a blogger so much easier. I’m sure there are more out there that other bloggers swear by. If you have a great plugin, let me know so I can check it out. Since it is Thank a Plugin Developer day, I’d like to say thanks to each and every developer of these must-have WordPress Plugins. I greatly appreciate all you do to make the lives of others easier, especially since many of you offer your plugins free of charge.