Blogging can be super rewarding but it can also be pretty confusing. Setting up your site can seem like a scary process, so much so that you may want to give up (definitely don’t let that happen though! Check out my post How to Start a Money Making Blog for an easy to follow step-by-step guide on exactly how to set up your blog using SiteGround!)
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In the world of blogging there are so many things to learn, and trying to navigate through the sea of information will most likely leave you a bit overwhelmed. There are a few things out there that will make your life much easier as a blogger, but with all the information there is to read it can be hard to find out exactly what those things are.
I want to make your life as easy as possible, and I want your blog to be as successful as possible. To save you some time, because we all know there are tons of other things related to blogging that your time can be spent on, I put together a list of 10 plugins that will literally save your life.
The best part about having a self-hosted site on WordPress.org is having access to all the plugins that come with it – plugins that take your site to the next level. Some plugins are absolutely necessary, some are just for fun, but either way, it’s definitely a good idea to download these bad boys.
P.S. I wasn’t kidding when I said I want to make your life as easy as possible. Check out some of my other blogging posts for some of the best tips, guides, and free goodies to make your blog as successful as possible.
- 10 Things To Do Before Launching Your Blog + Blog Launch Checklist
- The Ultimate List of Blogging Tools & Resources
- Set Up Rich Pins & Boost Your Pinterest Game
- Setting Up Your Blog For Success
- How To Write Quality Content
First Things First, What is a Plugin?
Simply put, a plugin is an easy way for you to add something to your blog that isn’t already there.
For example, let’s say you want an easy way for your audience to share your posts on Pinterest. Simply download a plugin that adds a “Pin It” button to your images and voila – all your readers have to do is click a button and your post will be pinned to their Pinterest account.
Plugins are a simple way to add things to your blog that either don’t come with your theme, or that your theme doesn’t allow, so in order to customize your blog exactly the way you want to plugins will be your best friend.
- To find out exactly how to choose a WordPress theme and what theme I recommend, check out my post Choosing a WordPress Theme (I even included a FREE workbook to make the process a bit easier!)
Disclaimer About Plugins
Right now you may be thinking, “okay, so plugins seem pretty awesome…I’m going to download thousands of them!” Well, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t do that.
Yes, plugins are great and they definitely make your life much easier, however it’s important that you use them sparingly. The more plugins you download, the more likely it is that your site could malfunction. With so much coding going on things can get a bit jumbled, and we wouldn’t want your site to crash after all the hard work you put into it.
It’s always a good idea to see what widgets your theme comes with before you go and download a ton of plugins. You may find that your theme already comes with a function that you’d like to have and you won’t have to worry about downloading it.
Plugins definitely make it super easy to customize your blog exactly the way you’d like to, but just make sure you don’t go too crazy when it comes to downloading them.
How Do You Install a Plugin?
Now it wouldn’t make much sense for me to go on and on about how great plugins are if you didn’t know how to install them in the first place, right? Well don’t worry. Installing plugins is super easy, and I take you through the process step-by-step in the pictures below.
First, hover over the word “Plugins” on the left side of your dashboard.
A menu will pop up once you hover, click on “Add New.”
Next you’ll see a search bar at the top of the screen where you can type in the name of the plugin you’re looking for.
The plugin you searched for will then pop up, and you’ll see a button that says “Install Now.”
Once the plugin installs that button will change to say “Activate.” Once you click activate that’s it! You’ve successfully downloaded the plugin.
For some plugins all you have to do is simply install and activate it and then you’re done. Others require a few more tweaks though. If you download a plugin that requires a few extra steps simply go to that plugin’s settings and it’ll tell you what you have to do to get it all set up.
The Best WordPress Plugins
- Askimet Anti-Spam
This plugin is definitely a must-have. The truth is when you have a blog you’re most likely going to get spam comments. In comes Askimet Anti-Spam. This plugin will prevent spam comments so you don’t have to worry about them.
- Contact Form 7
You’re going to want a contact page for your site, and this is the easiest way to get one. Simply put in some info such as your email address and what sort of info you want users to input and your contact page is made within seconds. Definitely worth it considering there are so many things you have to get done when starting a blog!
- WP Smush
Load time is important when you have a blog. The faster your site loads, the happier your audience will be. Unfortunately, some things can cause your site to load slowly, a big one being pictures. This plugin automatically compresses images you add onto your site so that their files aren’t as big and won’t take as long to load.
- Yoast SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s super important. By SEO optimizing your post, you’re ensuring that your posts will be seen by as many people as possible – definitely something you need if you want to grow an audience. SEO can sound a bit confusing, but this plugin takes all the fear out of it. This plugin will tell you exactly what you have to do to each post to make sure its SEO is as good as it can be.
- jQuery Pin It Button
Something we really aim for as bloggers is to have our posts shared by our readers so we can reach a wider audience. The best thing you can do is to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your posts. This plugin adds a Pin it button to your images so they can pin your post and images to Pinterest right from your site.
- Better Click to Tweet
Better Click to Tweet lets you add “tweetables” to your post for your readers to easily click and tweet. Just write down whatever you’d like the tweet to say, insert it into your post, and readers can directly tweet it to their account along with a link to that particular blog post.
- W3 Total Cache
This plugin is another one that maximizes site speed and load times. It focuses on more than just pictures so that your site can run as efficiently as possible.
This plugin is the ultimate of all plugins. It’s basically a bundle deal that includes a bunch of different features. From SEO tools, to security and backup, to additional customization settings, jetpack does it all!
- Broken Link Checker
If you add links to your site, you’re definitely going to want this plugin. There’s nothing worse than clicking a link and finding out it leads you to nowhere. This plugin prevents that from happening. Broken Link Checker scans your website for broken links so you can make sure all your links lead to where they’re supposed to.
- Social Warfare
So I already told you about jQuery Pin It button but you’re most likely going to want your audience to share your posts on more social platforms than just Pinterest. Enter Social Warfare. This plugin makes it easy for your audience to share your posts on any social platform of your choosing. You have the ability to choose where you want your share buttons to go, what they look like, and more.
Enjoy the Benefits of Plugins!
As a blogger there are a bunch of things you have to take care of if you want your blog to be as successful as possible, but the good thing is there are some things out there that will make your life a bit easier.
Downloading these plugins will take your blog to the next level while giving you a helping hand so you don’t have to do all of the work that comes with starting a blog. As long as you have a WordPress site running and ready to go, you should definitely download a few plugins to make sure you get the most out of what WordPress has to offer.
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