WordPress is the most used platform in the world for blogging. This can be mostly attributed to it’s simplicity and active community. What makes wordpress so powerful is the Plugins. WordPress Plugins are small add-ons to the WordPress platform which add new functionality. So if you are starting a new blog these are some of the most important plugins you need to install before you start blogging.
WordPress Plugins that improve your blogging experience
Following are the 15 plugins I think are very necessary for a blogger. If I miss out any plugins, please do leave a comment with the plugin name.
1. Guerrilla’s Author Box
Having an author box for any blog is a very important thing. It improves the trust among the visitors. Not just that it prompts your visitors to leave comments and interact with you. So, what kind of author box on the site makes it look professional. There are many plugins which provide some advanced features. But I like to keep it simple. The need of Author box is to convey your visitors about the Author of the article and provide them the Social Media info of the author. So that they can interact with him in different ways.
I recently came across this simple and awesome plugin called Guerrilla’s Author Box. It’s a plug and play plugin. You just need to install and activate it. Once it is activated you need to fill out your social media info and Bio on your profile so that it looks neat like below. If you need to modify or change some styling it may need some tweaking in the Plugins code and CSS.
2. TinyMCE Advanced Editor
The default wordpress post editor comes with limited features. You need to know little bit of HTML to do a nice formatting with the basic editor. Enter TinyMCE Advanced Editor. It provides an exhaustive set of features. You never need to know HTML. It’s one of the most installed wordpress plugins in the world.
3. NextScripts Social Networks Auto Poster
When you write a good article, you need to submit to different social networks to get some initial push and reach for the article. But it’s a tiring process to post the same link on different sites. This awesome plugin solves this problem. Once you install and activate this plugin, you have a settings section where you can configure all your social networking sites. Next time when you are writing a blog post you will see the Auto Poster plugin at the bottom of your post editor. You can enter the custom messages for each social site and assign a category. When you publish your article, Auto Poster automatically posts the link and the data associated with it. This not just saves the time but also makes your blogging routine organized.
4. Monarch Social Share
In this age of social media a blog without social sharing buttons is so rare to see. It is very important to have a good looking plugin with support for mobile devices as well as having good performance. Monarch’s social sharing plugin is the one you are looking for. One of the most elegant plugins out there. Sorry folks, this one is a premium plugin. If you are looking for a free alternative I can suggest you installing SumoMe plugin which has a Share tool which looks almost similar but a lot bad performance wise.
5. WordPress SEO by Yoast
When we are mentioning about must have plugins, Yoast’s SEO needs to be mentioned at some point. It’s a one stop solution for all your SEO needs. Not just the webmaster tools stuff but also the Structured data related to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus. You have a great addition to your post editor section where you can add the target keyword and your SEO score when you are writing the post. Not just that it gives you fantastic suggestions to improve your SEO score and it has a lot of inbuilt keyword research tools. I use only this tool for my SEO purpose.
6. SEO Smart Links
Internal Links play a huge role in improving your blog’s ranking on Google. Not only that a blog which has good internal linking will lead to better user experience and engagement. And it’s a time taking process to do keep updating the same anchor text with the links again and again on your blog. SEO Smart links wordpress plugin solves all these problems. We will see the installation and configuration of SEO Smart Links in coming posts.
7. EWWW Image Optimizer
If you are a content website, images are one of the important things that you need to look into. Images play a great role in user experience. A post with nice visuals get more engagement than a plain article. At the same time more images lead to slower loading of web page. So it’s very important to have images which are optimized on the pages. EWWW Image Optimizer does that fine. You have lot of options to optimize the images. This plugin even converts your png images to jpeg to save bandwidth.
Are you obsessed with the minor details of the design of your blog. Are you the one who keeps on tweaking that CSS code to get the best look. I advise you to install this nice little plugin which provides you a nice box to add all your custom code here without modifying your theme’s css files. The problem with adding code to your theme’s css files is when you update the theme your code may be lost.
9. Rocket Lazy Load
Do you have a website with lot of media that loads on your page. But you don’t like to show your visitors that your website is slow and that browser keeps on loading your website? Install this nice little plug and play wordpress plugin Rocket Lazy Load. No extra settings are needed.
10. Optimize Database
Do you know that a lot of overhead on your database leads to your site getting slower. This can be caused by different things on your website. The major thing which causes this are the revisions of your blog posts. Optimize Database is the plugin which removes the unwanted stuff and optimizes your database.
11. Cloudflare Free CDN
Do you have a hosting account which restricts you with limited bandwidth or don’t you want to spend a lot on your hosting? Cloudflare’s Free CDN service rescues you from that. All you need to do is configure your DNS records and add the Cloudflare CDN wordpress plugin to your blog and configure with it your cloudflare email. We will see how to install cloudflare on your blog in the coming posts
12. Wordfence Security
Since wordpress is one of the most used platforms in the world, it’s the easiest target for hackers as well. Daily, number of websites gets lot of spam in the form of comments. Also there are many brute force attempts that happens on your login page. Wordfence Security is the best plugin I can suggest you among this list to install right away on your website. There is a pro version which provides many advanced features as well. Wordfence collects the attacks data from the blogs its installed on and keeps improving their definitions which is a great feature for a FREE plugin.
13. Contact Form 7
Who doesn’t want to put a contact form on their blog for different purposes? But we don’t want to write PHP code right? Install one of the most famous plugins on wordpress repository, Contact Form 7. You can generate many number of forms with different fields and place the short code that gets generated for them on different places on your website.
Believe it or not, email campaigns are still the best way to engage and interact with your audience. We have many premium plugins to capture the email addresses from the users. But here is one of the most awesome plugins called Newsletter. This plugin has everything from start to end.
15. Google Tag Manager
Author: Ram Manohar
Independent Digital Analytics and Tag Management Consultant. Web Analytics Expert with 8+ years of experience. Well versed in Digital Analytics, Web Programming, WordPress and Digital marketing. Contact me for consulting!