When I moved my blog to self-hosted recently, I was totally agog at the number of wordpress plugins available. Seriously, I didn’t know where to start. What plugins does wordpress even need??
After much muddling along, I’ve picked out my five favourites to get you started…
The very first thing I needed was a wordpress plugin to protect me from all the comments I was suddenly getting from kindly sex toy salespeople.
“I thanks a lot for sharing this excellent information. I always want as well as love reading quality items. Keep sharing. Best wishes for your own further efforts.”
Well that’s very kind of you Cash-for-Gold man, but no thank you.
To save your site from spam, get Askimet on the case.
Share and share alike
You’ve written an amazing post. Seriously, it’s the best thing you’ve ever written. It’s sure to be viral within minutes. If not seconds.
In that case you definitely need some sharing buttons to make it easy peasy for your readers to tell every single person they know right away.
Shareaholic is a great wordpress plugin for sharing, giving you easy to customise buttons from literally dozens of networks. Just pick the ones you want and it will do the rest. Shareaholic also helps to increase engagement by showing readers other related comment from across your blog.
You’d be amazed at how many blogs I visit who don’t link to their social media accounts. It is one of my top PR-friendly-blog fails.
There’s really no excuse when you can use something as simple as Tipsy Social Icons. Just pick the ones you want to feature, link them to your profiles, choose a style and bam, job done.
Now it might not be the cool thing to say, but one of the reasons a lot of people leave comments on other blogs is to attract new readers. This is fine. Get over yourself. If you are blogging because you want to build up a following and earn money from it there is no shame at all in putting yourself out there.
You can make it even easier for your fellow bloggers to share their content, and encourage comments, with Comment Luv, a plugin that allows bloggers to link to one of their recent posts as part of their comment. It’s interesting as a blogger too to get a little nudge from my readers about the kinds of things they are writing about.
Pimp my blog
I have to confess I’m not that hot on SEO. I remember to alt-tag my photos, but that is about it, so I recently downloaded Yoast (I liked it because it rhymes with toast) to try and give my SEO a bit of a kickstart.
Initially I was terrified by all the options, but at its most basic level it can help you write a meta-description and keywords, show you what your post will look like in a search engine and give you the option to customise social sharing descriptions. It also scores your post against your chosen keywords so you can easily see areas for improvement.
Ultimately a WordPress site without plugins is not running to its full potential, however getting the basics right first is crucial and that starts with a great design. I found designhill.com really useful for this. You can send a brief to them and you get a bunch of designs back from different designers that you can choose from!
If you install any of these I would love to know how you get on! What are your favourite wordpress plugins?