WordPress Plugins are independent programs that provide self-hosted WordPress users with a wide range of extra functions.
These functions can range from simple functions that beautify your fonts and increase the reach of your WordPress blog to complex functions that allow you to create independent landing pages or member area on your website.
With plugins, WordPress users can customise their website(s) according to their needs without any knowledge in coding or programming!
Some plugins come free with an option to upgrade, others require a payment up front.
Don’t go plugin crazy and install a whole bunch. Some may be buggy and others can slow down your blog speed too. (In the next post, I will write more about how you should choose plugins so stay tuned!)
With many so many plugins which provides a wide range of useful functions, it can be overwhelming for a new blogger.
Thus this post.
To help you siphon through the sea of plugins, here are:
5 plugins that every blogger should use
1.WordPress SEO by Yoast
The basic version of this plugin is free and it comes with an option to upgrade for advanced features.
The free version of this plugin comes with many functions and is one of the most useful free plugins available. Here are some of the useful features of this plugin.
Indexing with Google
WordPress SEO by Yoast will provide you with the XML file that you will need when you intend to index your WordPress blog on Google (this will be covered in a separate post in the future)
Individual Post SEO
WordPress SEO by Yoast is a handy tool for bloggers (like me) who do not know much about Search Engine Optimisation.
It comes with a panel that you will have to fill up after you are done creating your blog post.
After filling up the fields, this plugin will indicate if your blog post is optimised for the keyword that you have specified.
Increasing your reach
It also has additional functions that help you to publicise your blog posts. These functions have been have mentioned in my previous post – [LINK]
It is quite comprehensive for a free plugin. I am currently using the basic version.
2. Wordfence Security
This plugin has a free basic version. And a premium version available for upgrades. The paid version is a yearly subscription that includes complete security scans.
Wordfence helps to keep you update with how your WordPress blog is running.
Here’s a list of some useful features of the Wordfence Security Plugin:
- Tracks who has signed into the backend of your blog (very useful for detecting hackers)
- Notifies when your plugins or themes need to be updated
- Helps to scan comments on your blog and blocks them if they appear suspicious
- Comes with a basic security scan function
At the moment I am using the basic version.
An alternative is Akismet that may come pre-installed in your WordPress. Akismet is a great plugin that helps you blog spam comments. I find that Wordfence is slightly more complete.
3. BackWPup / BackupBuddy
These plugins allow you to backup your WordPress blog.
[Paid] BackupBuddy – One-time payment
As with all things technology, any glitch can happen anytime without a warning. A technical glitch at your hosting server, a bad plugin that you installed recently, or some random spammers could bring your blog or website down.
Always backup your blog!
Always! Always! Always!
Use any of the plugins mentioned above and schedule your backup so that you will not forget to do it. (and save your tears when shit happens…)
I have a backup scheduled weekly and will manually backup my blog whenever a new blog post is published or drafted.
I am currently using the free BackWPup plugin and thus cannot give a deeper insight to the advantage of using BackupBuddy.
However, it is one of the most highly recommended paid plugin for backing up your WordPress blog.
Jetpack is a versatile plugin that comes with a wide range of features that you can activate.
There are many useful features, for a start I would suggest activating these 5 features:
This allows you to publicise your new post on selected social media platforms everytime you publish a new post.
A real time saver.
More details mentioned in a previous post: http://www.thesubtlelessons.com/how-to-increase-your-blogs-readership-without-any-extra-effort/
Not to be confused with Publicise, the Sharing feature adds sharing buttons to your blog. You can choose where these sharing buttons appear – end of every page and post is a must.
This will allow your readers to share your blog post easily.
III. Related Posts
With this feature, Jetpack will automatically determine previous blog posts that are similar to the one that your reader is on.
It will then suggest 3 related posts to your readers at the end of your blog post.
This will increase the amount of time a reader stays on your blog.
Remember to use attractive featured images as these will appear on your ‘related posts’ tab and will encourage readers to continue reading the next article.
The subscriptions feature is a godsend for new bloggers who do not have their own autoresponder or list building tool yet.
Simply activate this feature and add a widget that encourages your readers to follow your blog.
Disadvantage of using this is that the list will not belong to you, thus you cannot communicate with your followers directly through email. They will merely receive any new blog post.
Start building your own list once you have your WordPress blog up and running. Mailchimp comes with a free account that new bloggers can use. With that free account, you can have up to 2000 subscribers and send up to 12000 emails per month. And you have access to all the details of your subscribers.
This feature provides you with statistics to the number of visitors to your blog, and where they come from.
Useful to determine which traffic source works better for you.
Literally what its name suggests, this plugin expands the number of fonts you can choose from.
There are many plugins for Fonts, choose one that is highly rated.
Have fun with it! (but try not to go too crazy)
Go ahead, install these plugins and power up your blog today.
Just a reminder…
Don’t go plugin crazy and install a whole bunch. Some may be buggy and others can slow down your blog speed too.
In the next post, I will write more about how you should choose plugins so stay tuned!
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