Ever since I decided to blog it alone and self-host, I have become a little bit addicted to plugins. For those not in the know, plugins are these clever little apps you can upload to your WordPress dashboard and they do all sorts of things – filter out spam comments, make your site run faster, re-tweet old posts, all the way to blocking out those evil hackers who seem to be everywhere at the moment. Searching for plugins has become the blog equivalent for googling every little question that pops into my head. I have a little thought about my blog, and wonder if there might be a plugin to help with that. Invariably there is, as someone somewhere has thought exactly the same and even created a magical little techy thing to help me out!
I’m by no means an expert on this kind of thing, and if anything I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to blogging. But I’ve found a few plugins along the way that really helped in some way or another…at first I thought everyone knew about these so didn’t think I’d mention it. But recently I’ve shared them with my blogger pals and they suggested I extend the love. So here I am, hope you enjoy.
This one filters out masses of spam comments and gets rid of them right away, saving you time sifting through comments and having to delete them one by one.
This is a commenting add-on so your readers can link their latest post to their comment. Although I believe sometimes this plugin can clash with other plugins, I am a big fan and think it also helps other bloggers’ DA!
Google Analytics Counter Tracker
Believe it or not, I went months before adding a Google Analytics tracking device onto my blog…my advice is do this from day one. You might not think your blog will hit big figures but it’s just so useful for analysing what posts did better than others.
Lazy Load & W3 Total Cache
The one downside to WordPress, as you may know, is that it naturally runs quite slow. When you first start blogging this isn’t an issue so much, but the more you write and add to your site in general, the more sluggish it gets. I actually had a big problem with this, where my site was taking up to 20 seconds to load just one page, so I made it my mission to find a solution for it. These two plugins have been great for giving your blog that boost to run faster and also clearing the cache (which still is a little bit of a mystery as to what that is but hey ho).
I’m not a big fan of pop-ups but this one is used quite often and I think it’s not a bad one to have. It’s only pops up when the reader is scrolling down your page and is very easy to click away. I also like the look of Mailmunch, which I’ve seen on other blogs but I think one pop up is enough. I have my Facebook account on mine and have seen an increase in my followers since setting this up.
Shortpixel Image Optimizer/ WP Smush / WP-Optimize / Resize Image After Upload
I’ve bundled these plugins together as they all helped me find a solution to the large images on my blog that take up a lot of space. This all contributed to it running slow as well! These are easy to use plugins to compress the images by up to 50%, without changing the look of them at all. A real must if you ask me, as the large images can take up so much room.
So let’s talk sharing buttons! I love these ones from SumoMe, there are several different options for layout and style and it’s very easy to set up. They are also the most mobile-friendly ones I’ve seen and don’t block any of the text in the post when they appear on screen. The plugin comes with lots of features, where you can track the use of the sharing buttons.
Recently I’m hearing of more people who are having their WordPress hacked into, which is so scary. It’s something that I don’t think about too much, until it happens to someone you know and you realise that you could lose all your work in an instant. Wordfence is a must and comes with a high level of protection for your site, as well as an email update if something goes wrong, or if you need to update your plugins.
WP Hide Post
This is a really small app but I absolutely love it! Especially for those with linkies, you can use this to hide a post that is featured on your home page. You also have the option to hide posts on your category and archive pages too. I find this really useful as sometimes I only want certain posts to show on the front page of my blog.
So this goes without saying, right? SEO is actually something that makes me want to scream into a pillow as I don’t understand a lot of it, but this app makes everything very easy. Once installed, the plugin updates to tell you if the readability and SEO of the post are doing okay. Usually I ignore the readability one, but make sure the SEO one is green…hoping I’m not making a fatal mistake doing that!
That rounds it up, my top 10 WordPress plugins…hope it was useful 🙂 Are there any you use that I haven’t featured? Let me know in the comments below…