The hardest thing when starting a WordPress blog is finding the WordPress plugins perfect for you and which ones you simple must have. So, to help you out and get you kickstarted in to the world of WordPress blogging I’ve shared some of my favourite WordPress plugins and which I think are useful in every day WordPress use.
Essential WordPress Plugins
Probably the most popular WordPress plugin this is also one of the most useful. This plugin gives you a great post by post SEO section in your WordPress back end to change the title, meta description, focus keyword of the post. It also includes a ranking system of how well your post is optimised for search engines which includes tips on how to make it the best it could possibly be. As well as the everyday use settings such as these mentioned the plugin includes options to change the robots meta configuration, change canonicals, change breadcrumbs, clean up permalinks, create XML sitemaps, RSS enhancements, robots.txt and .htaccess editing, and Twitter cards, Facebook Open Graph and Google+ authorship settings (very useful!). If you were going to install just one plugin on your blog this is the one you need.
Do you want to post consistently on social media driving traffic back to your blog? This is a great tool to do just that. Revive Old Post, formerly Tweet Old Post, will schedule a post to be shared via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr. The scheduled posts can come from any category on your blog, be scheduled to be posted a number of days after it goes live, have the URL shortened, and has the option to add hashtags or additional text to your message. I personally use this on my WordPress blogs and it is very good at keeping a constant presence on social media and drive traffic back to your site.
Another plugin I use on my websites, MailPoet allows you to build an email newsletter and email address database in the backend of WordPress, awesome right? This has a sister plugin which allows you to create a bar at the top of your page to prompt your readers in to subscribing to your newsletter, once your users enter their email in this will be added directly in to one of your databases in MailPoet ready for sending newsletters to. Another great feature that I love in MailPoet is the fact that it has a built in email newsletter creator. Honestly, it’s the easiest thing you’ve ever done, just click and drag posts in to your email newsletter. Add titles, text, images, dividers, social bookmarks right in to the email or choose from loads of free and premium themes to make your email look incredible. As well as all this you get reports of your sent email in the WordPress back end too. If you’re looking for an email newsletter service this is my personal recommendation, I love it.
If you’re running a blog that has multiple contributors and you want to show these in the sidebar with their articles they’ve written. You cna show your authors in a list, tag cloud or dropdown with the option to have a post count next to their name and avatar. Very practical for multi-author blogs.
If you’re running a blog alongside a Youtube channel or you’re a Youtuber looking to expand in to owning your own website too this is a great plugin. The Youtube Channel Gallery WordPress plugin creates a feed of your videos and then displays them on your blog front end in a beautiful gallery with a large video player at the top with as many more video thumbnails beneath that as you want. It features a quick set up and beautiful front end display I think this is my favourite Youtube plugin I’ve seen so far, definitely worth a download if you create content for Youtube.
Used by many big blogs including SocialMediaExaminer this is a plugin that tries to keep your visitors on your site by bringing a pop up to the screen when a users cursor goes towards the top of the page. This pop up should include something like an industry report, free ebook or something that will add value to the customer and not just a simple email sign up form. You can choose from many different animations for when it does pop up, these will be able to help you capture the attention of your readers a little better than a simple block pop up. This plugin is however a paid plugin, with prices starting at $49/year with the most being $199/yr, there is also a monthly payment option.
Social proof is a great way of boosting your engagement, if people see you’re popular they’ll want to get in on the trend early. This plugin has multiple options for how the icons look and are orientated and includes sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google+, Instagram, Steam, Soundcloud, posts and comments. Despite this post being based around WordPress plugins you may want to hold off on this for a couple of months as you build your following on your social platforms; it might work against you showing small numbers of followers, likes and subscribers.