I‘ve been blogging for 6 years, now, and most of that time has been on a self-hosted WordPress blog. Part of the reason I love WordPress so much is the huge variety of third-party WP plugins that exist. If you have a self-hosted blog, and you have a problem, chances are, a plugin exists to help. I have quite a few plugins installed on my blog, and I thought I’d share with you my favourites.
Analytics: you probably have JetPack installed, which is WordPress’ analytics tool. However, you should also have, or have instead of JetPack, Google Analytics. It can be a bit tricky to install–you need to make sure you put code in every page of your site, and you need to make sure you put that code in the right place, or it doesn’t work. I like Yoast’s Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin for this.
SEO: if a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it… if you’re writing a blog and no one reads it… what’s the point? You want to make sure you are optimizing your SEO and keywords so that you show up in google searches. Yoast also has a plugin for this that I quite like: WordPress SEO Plugin.
Social sharing: It’s incredibly important to make it really simple for people to share your posts to Facebook, Twitter, or their favourite social bookmarking tool. You can use WordPress’ built-in ones (Dashboard–>Settings–>Sharing to set it up) which will place sharing buttons at the bottom of each post automatically. There are tons of other great 3rd party ones out there, as well, however. Digg Digg is one of the more popular ones, or Sexy Bookmarks. You can also use a plugin to make sure you have Facebook “Like” and “Share” options, or to allow people to tweet the link. I also adore the JQuery Pin It Button that creates a “Pin This” hover button on all of your images.
Images: Compfight is my favourite plugin for sourcing royalty-free images to feature on my blog posts. It searches Flickr’s Creative Commons licences, and then automatically links back to the creator.
Backups: I use a plugin called Back WP Up, which automatically backs up my entire site once a month to a Dropbox. Cool, right?
Creating Tweetable Quotes: Sometimes, I like to pull out 140-character sound bytes. There’s a plugin for that! Click to Tweet creates tweeteable quotes that your reader can then send to their twitter with one click. It even @metions you.
Lead capture: Once someone lands on your blog for the first time, you want to capture them, if possible, and turn them into a subscriber. You can, of course, encourage them to follow you on Facebook and Twitter, but the ideal is to get them to subscribe to your RSS feed, either through an RSS reader, or via email. There are few plugins I use for this. I use Feedburner for my feed, so I use a plugin called Subscribe Remind which goes on the end of every single post asking the reader to subscribe.
Reel ’em in… waaaaay in: I really like the YARRP plugin. It places suggestions at the bottom of each post, suggesting related posts that the reader may be interested in reading.
What are your favourite WordPress plugins? Share in the comments section below.