I arrived in India 2 days ago and in the midst of all the sweet chaos, I’m still finding my feet and an ideal workspace, so in the meantime, here’s something I prepared for you earlier:
As part of my business blogging series: 22 iPad Apps That Run my Life + Bizness; followed by 14 Website A Gypsetter Must Know For Life + Bizness; I now bring you 17 Plugins That Will Change Your Life (If You’re A WordPress Blogger).
WHAT’S THIS… PLUGIN THING?
If you’re already thrown by the word PLUGIN here’s a quick review:
“A WordPress plugin is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing software application. When an application supports plug-ins, it enables customization.”
AND IN HUMAN WORDS:
Plugins are pieces of code created with the purpose of expanding the functionalities of a software, in this case of WordPress. There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins already created, solving a wide range of problems and needs.
Basically, they are little packages of code and programming designed to add functionality to your blogging platform: meaning that when you want to do things, like have a contact form, you use a plugin; show Instagram in your sidebar, you use a plugin; protect your site from spammers, you use a plugin; backup your site; post videos; create a photo gallery, and so on. There really are literally 1000’s of plugins that have been invented to make your life easier. Isn’t the internet wonderful and amazing! I have so much gratitude for these people who make my dreams and life possible through their unbelievable skills that I can’t even begin to fathom.
17 PLUGINS (THAT I USE) + WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Akismet is your wonderful 24/7 security guard protecting you from spam and in a way, hackers. You need him! As they say: “Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep.”
2. Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram
I use this baby to show my latest Instagram photos in the sidebar to your right. There are many, many plugins to choose from from Instagram, and I like this one best.
My comment-keeper of choice, CommentLuv takes care of my readers and thereby creates a community. Gotta love it! (Though I’m thinking of changing over to the one developed within Jetpack mentioned below.)
4. Exclude Pages from Navigation
This plugin provides a checkbox on the editing page which you can check to exclude pages from the primary navigation. That means that you can have ‘secret’ pages which aren’t seen on your content navigation, but can be used to send people through to for various other things. For example, some of the items in my SHOP are placed on such pages.
5. Google Analytics for WordPress
If you want to be able to measure the impact that your beautiful website is having on the world then you need this plugin. Google Analytics will keep a count of a myriad of factors including page views, geography, time spent on the site and will generally give you an idea of your audience’s behaviour. So wonderful and very worthwhile. At the end of each month I receive an email with the most significant stats and I plug them into an excel spreadsheet so that I can compare all the months and see what is working and what isn’t. And based on those stats I ensure that I write purposeful and impactful pieces that YOU will love!
6. Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.
7. Jetpack by WordPress.com
Jetpack is one of my favourite plugins of all time because it really packs a punch. It has 24 various free options that are all useful for any website user. Out of the 24 free modules, there are 7 that stand out to me as things you really need.
- WordPress Stats
- Contact Form
- Shortcode Embeds
- Extra Sidebar Widgets
- Enhanced Distribution
In my experience these all come in handy at some stage. You always need a sharing plugin, a plugin to sync your social services, easy ways to add content to the sidebar and so on. Jetpack tackles all these with what you know is going to be air-tight code. It has, after all, been written by the people who wrote WordPress!
This is a great way to get your readers curiosity raised and keep them looking through your site. LinkWithin gives you the option to show articles similar to the one currently being read, which can be clicked on and followed through to new and fascinating articles. It’s a great way to encourage and engage your audience in a easy and fun format.
9. Maintenance Mode
Whenever I need to do work on my site causing it to be down for a few hours, this is the tool I use. It covers your site with a message to readers that you are currently working on the site and will be back shortly. You can personalise the message to say whatever suits as well as include your logo to keep it all looking professional. Easy, breezy, maintenance mode!
10. Popular Posts
Want to show see and your audience what people are reading the most and why they are coming back for more? This plugin does just that. In formal language it: “displays a highly configurable list of the most popular posts.”
11. Post-Plugin Library
This one does nothing by itself but supplies common code for the Similar Posts, Recent Posts, Random Posts, and Recent Comments plugins. Basically, it’s useful for some of the other plugins to function well when they connect from and to different posts.
12. Viper’s Video Quicktags
Viper is awesome because it makes playing any type of video into the site so incredibly easy. You just have to choose Viper from the top bar of your backend WordPress post and then copy and paste the video URL from it’s original location. Done. No coding and no confusion.
13. Share This
I LOVE ShareThis because it allows the community that has been created by your website, to share pieces that inspire you with those you love. What’s not to like about that?!! You can Facebook Like, Share, Tweet, Email and so on……
14. What Would Seth Godin Do?
For those of you not familiar with Seth Godin, he is basically THE online marketing guru. I suggest you Google him. This lovely plugin offers you the ability to place a little message to your readers anywhere on your site, guiding them to subscribe to your mailing list and thanking them for their love and attention. It’s a great way to make sure you’re connecting with your audience, without any of the effort of continuously reminding people that they have the option to sign up and receive exclusive and delicious gifts from you.
15. WordPress Backup to Dropbox
Keep your valuable WordPress website, its media and database backed up to Dropbox in minutes with this sleek, easy to use plugin. This way, it’s all safe and kept in a place where you can easily access it, should you need to.
16. WordPress SEO
The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. Remember what SEO is? Here’s something I wrote about it once. Basically it’s how people will find you and be wowed by your brilliance, integrity and authentic voice.
17. WP Smush.it
Reduce image file sizes and improve performance using the Smush.it API within WordPress. What that means is the all the images you use on your website get squished to a smaller file size so that your website runs as fast as possible and loads properly, despite being image heavy. Yay!
And that, folks, is how I do it!