Here’s the progress we’ve made so far in this series on How To Start Your Own Blog
- decided to start a blog
- found our niche
- bought a domain
- chose the blogging platform
- set up your blog and made it all pretty 🙂
- signed up for and installed Google Analytics
- added copyright to the website footer
- added an About Page
- set up our email newsletter
- learned how to choose and install a new plugin
You should pat yourself on the back for getting this far. We have covered a lot and done a lot of good work, so far! Let’s keep moving! Congrats on your success!
We have discussed plugins and how to search for them and what to look for and how to install them.
Make sure you carefully consider whether you need it when someone tells you to “add this plugin” to your site. You’ll end up with way too many and then it’s a pain to choose which ones to keep and which ones to dump.
But, which WordPress plugins do you need?
Well, that depends on your blog and you. Sometimes I will be reading a blog and see a really cool thing that I think will look good on my site and so I go and try and find the plugin that made it happen. Sometimes it will be a free one and sometimes it will be one of the WordPress premium plugins.
Sometimes I search for WP plugins out of a need. Maybe I want a countdown clock on my sidebar counting down to a deadline, maybe I am looking for something to help me with my SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or maybe I need a share button or buttons to help people follow my site on social media.
All of those things are done with plugins, these WordPress add ons can make our blogging life easier or much more difficult. Depending on if we have too many or if they conflict with each other.
In this post I wanted to go over a few plugins I feel are must have that I personally use on my sites. Let’s get started and see if we can find you a few new plugins that will benefit your new blog:
Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against their global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. You can review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
Pinterest Pin It Button
Pinterest pin it button on image hover plugin provides facility to pins your blog posts, pages and images into your Pinterest account boards. Simply install then activate the plugin and start pinning.
You can show or hide pin it button in post/page. You can enable or disable pin it button on image hover through plugin settings tab.
Stream tracks logged-in user activity so you can monitor every change made on your WordPress site in beautifully organized detail. All activity is organized by context, action and IP address for easy filtering. Developers can extend Stream with custom connectors to log any kind of action.
This plugin will let you add, remove and arrange the buttons that are shown on the Visual Editor toolbar. You can configure up to four rows of buttons including Font Sizes, Font Family, text and background colors, tables, etc. It will also let you enable the editor menu, see the screenshots.
It includes 15 plugins for TinyMCE that are automatically enabled or disabled depending on the buttons you have chosen. In addition this plugin adds some commonly used options as keeping the paragraph tags in the Text editor and importing the CSS classes from the theme’s editor-style.css.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your site by increasing website performance, reducing download times via features like content delivery network (CDN) integration.
The only web host agnostic WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework recommended by countless web developers and web hosts. Trusted by numerous companies like: AT&T, stevesouders.com, mattcutts.com, mashable.com, smashingmagazine.com, makeuseof.com, kiss925.com, pearsonified.com, lockergnome.com, johnchow.com, ilovetypography.com, webdesignerdepot.com, css-tricks.com and tens of thousands of others.
Smush has been benchmarked and tested number one for speed and quality and is the award-winning, proven crowd favorite image optimization plugin for WordPress.
Now with image resizing! Set a max width and height and large images will scale down as they are being compressed.
Our servers do all the heavy lifting. Strip hidden bulky information from your images and reduce file size without losing quality.
Large image files may be slowing down your site without you even knowing it. WP Smush uses WPMU DEV’s super servers to quickly smush every single one of your images and cuts all the unnecessary data without slowing down your site.
WP Smush meticulously scans every image you upload – or have already added to your site – cuts all the unnecessary data and scales it for you before adding it to your media library.
Keep any WordPress site secure, increase traffic, and engage your readers.
Traffic and SEO Tools
Traffic is the lifeblood of any website. Jetpack includes:
- [free] Site stats and analytics
- [free] Automatic sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, and WhatsApp
- [free] Related posts
- [paid] Search engine optimization tools for Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com
- [paid] Advertising program that includes the best of AdSense, Facebook Ads, AOL, Amazon, Google AdX, and Yahoo
Security and Backup Services
Stop worrying about data loss, downtime, and hacking. Jetpack provides:
- [free] Brute force attack protection
- [free] Downtime and uptime monitoring
- [free] Secured logins and two-factor authentication
- [paid] Malware scanning, code scanning, and threat resolution
- [paid] Site backups, restores, and migrations
Add rich, beautifully-presented media — no graphic design expertise necessary:
- [free] A high-speed CDN for your images
- [free] Carousels, slideshows, and tiled galleries
- [free] Simple embeds from YouTube, Google Documents, Spotify and more
- [free] Sidebar customization including Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds
- [free] Extra sidebar widgets including blog stats, calendar, and author widgets
- [paid] High-speed, ad-free, and high-definition video hosting
Discussion and Community
Create a connection with your readers and keep them coming back to your site with:
- [free] Email subscriptions
- [free] Comment login with Facebook, Twitter, and Google
- [free] Fully-customizable contact forms
- [free] Infinite scroll for your posts
WordPress security is all we do. Secure your WordPress website with Wordfence. Powered by the constantly updated Threat Defense Feed, our Web Application Firewall stops you from getting hacked. Wordfence Scan leverages the same proprietary feed, alerting you quickly in the event your site is compromised. Our Live Traffic view gives you real-time visibility into traffic and hack attempts on your WordPress website. A deep set of additional tools round out the most complete WordPress security solution available.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) displays pages, posts, and custom post types related to the current entry, introducing your readers to other relevant content on your site.
- Thumbnail or list view of related content.
- Related posts, pages, and custom post types.
- Templating: The YARPP templating system gives you advanced control of how your results are displayed.
- An advanced and versatile algorithm: Using a customizable algorithm considering post titles, content, tags, categories, and custom taxonomies, YARPP finds related content from across your site. Learn More.
- Related posts in feeds: Display related posts in RSS feeds with custom display options.
The WordPress recipe plugin for non-geeks. EasyRecipe makes it easy to enter, format and print your recipes, as well as automagically doing all the geeky stuff needed for Google’s Recipe View.
Form Builder is responsive simple to use plugin for creating forms with advanced capabilities. Supports integrations with other services and allow you to store form submissions.
Create beautiful, responsive forms with a simple drag & drop form editor. Ditch the old shortcode supported contact form 7 and start using form builder which actually improves your form usage and speed up the process.
Form Builder plugin is easiest way to build any responsive form for your website. No fuss or messing with code create the form you want easily with simple drag & drop form builder.
I looked through my sites and pulled out several you can look through and decide if you might need them on your blog. These are must have plugins for my sites. I couldn’t do without any of them.
Be sure to read all of the posts in this How To Start Your Own Blog series. Don’t miss any of them or you could be setting yourself up for failure. Each one is as important as the next. Remember, you’re skipping all of the mistakes I have made over the years.