Need some advice when it comes to important plugins?
I remember sitting at my desk researching plugins. It was one of those late-night research sessions that resulted from not being able to fall asleep because I was excited about all. things. blog.
Only I was met with discouragement because it seems…
- All plugins are important.
- There are lots of choices.
- I had no idea where I should start.
When that happens, I either dive in and do all the things or I step back and choose defeat. In the moment of “overwhelmed by plugins,” I chose to dive in.
And ended up with a *few* too many plugins on my blog.
I’m here to save you the headache of the overwhelming research. Start simple. Really simple. Grab 4-5 of the following plugins and build from there.
Here are 6 Important Plugins for New Bloggers:
1. Akismet by Automattic
This plugin has saved my site from an incredible amount of spam in the past year – nearly 1200 comments, y’all!
Because of this plugin, I don’t feel the need to manually approve comments on my blog. This means that when someone comments it shows up right away, rather than offering a “pending approval” message. It seems more personal & offers immediate gratification – two important things for your blog readers.
2. Better Click to Tweet by Ben Meredith
This is the best plugin I’ve found for including a tweetable quote in the middle of a blog post. It’s simple to set up and use.
After installation, you’ll find a little blue bird icon in your text editor. Click the bird to add a tweet.
Hint: Don’t include quotation marks in your tweet, or your quote will disappear and a blank box will show up in your post.
3. jQuery Pin It Button for Images by Marcin Skrzypiec
This plugin allows you to add a custom ‘Pin It’ button to all of the images on your blog.
Open the plugin after installing and click on the ‘Visual’ tab. All of settings on this page influence how the button appears on your image.
I recommend switching ‘Show button’ to ‘On Hover’, adding a custom image that matches your brand colors, and including some margins – mine is set to be 3px on all sides.
Important: Change your Description Source to be ‘Image alt attribute’ so that your alt description for your image will be automatically added to all pins. Otherwise it will be blank or the title of the image. (Shown in first image)
4. W3 Total Cache by Frederick Townes
The W3 Total Cache plugin is a preventative plugin that will help keep your blog clean and running fast.
It’s like an oil change for your blog in that it functions as maintenance. While it will not re-write incorrect code or fix every error on your blog, it will reduce the time it takes for your blog to load and increase your server performance.
Read this article for more information & installation instructions.
5. Yoast SEO by Team Yoast
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is basically the process of getting traffic from search engine results.
Say someone searches for “best chocolate cake recipe” using Google. All of the blog posts, videos, and images that come up on the first page of Google’s search results are highly optimized with keywords for the “best chocolate cake recipe”.
Yoast SEO is the plugin that helps you optimize your blog posts and pages for Google.
A box will show up at the bottom of all posts and pages, allowing you to enter a focus keyword and optimize your post. Click on the title to gain access to more optimization options.
Hint: Never leave the SEO Title blank. Use your focus keyword in this title for best optimization results.
6. WordPress Related Posts by Zemanta
If your readers are finishing your blog posts, you want to give them an option to continue reading.
I like to use the WordPress Related Posts plugin for this, because it is super simple to set up and use. After the original set-up, you won’t have to touch the plugin. It automatically adds related content after every post – and you can customize the posts if you want.
After installing the plugin, find ‘Wordpress Related Posts’ under Settings. Open the Advanced Settings options and play with the settings until your posts appear the way you’d like them to look.
It seems there are an infinite number of plugins for bloggers these days. If you’re not careful, you could quickly become bogged down by the amount that you find yourself uploading everything.
I’m here to tell you…
You don’t need every plugin.
You don’t even need all of the plugins your online research recommends. Stick with a few to start, and before long you’ll have a feel for what else you may need to add.
Grab 4 or 5 of the plugins above, install them over the next few days, and then slowly begin adding the fancier, fun plugins.
Be patient, friend. You’re doing this.
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