One of the many advantages of setting up your blog on WordPress is the vast number of available plugins.
But why do you need plugins in the first place?
In case you’re wondering, a plugin is a bit of software that you can upload to your WordPress site to make it easier to further optimize and customize that site. Think of it as an extension to your blog design. The purpose of any plugin is to boost the functionality of your website. When used together, a few plugins can turn your amateurish blog into a professional site convenient for you and, most importantly, your visitors.
Now, WordPress has over 47,000 plugins all ready to be downloaded and used on your blog. But to have a beautiful and well-functioning blog doesn’t require you to install all those. So, where do you start when you’re so spoilt for choice?
How about you start with these 7?
1. Editorial Calendar
One of the fundamental tips for running a successful blog is to organize yourself. When it comes content writing and publishing, nothing beats Editorial Calendar in helping you organize topic ideas as well as publishing dates.
By writing down your topics in publishing succession, you can easily identify any gaps in your content schedule. You can then adjust them accordingly. This helps you know exactly how your near-future content schedule integrates with your overall blogging goals.
It’s time to move over paper, pen and misplaced notes and get into digital organization for your blog.
2. Yoast SEO
When it comes to SEO, WordPress stands tall above other platforms. But you can definitely make your SEO better. With Yoast SEO plugin, you’re able to oversee all the necessary ranking aspects and improve on them.
Yoast SEO helps you improve your content writing for the web by giving you a snippet of how a particular page will appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Using this, you can then tweak your content from the search engine’s perspective.
On keyword usage, Yoast SEO will force you to choose a particular keyword that you’re going to focus on throughout the article and then make sure that you really use it evenly on the article.
As a new blogger, Yoast SEO is all your SEO needs.
One of the best ways to build a community around your blog is by encouraging your readers to leave comments after they read your posts. And what a better way to encourage comments than by helping authors to get traffic from your blog?
ComentLuv is a plugin that automatically places the name of your reader and a link to their most recent blog posts in their comment. This not only helps other readers to discover new content but also rewards the said reader by helping them gain traffic from your blog.
Authors will enjoy commenting on your site if they know you use CommentLuv. Go ahead and try it. Your comments per post will increase and you’ll build a stronger community.
4. Comment Email Reply
Effective engagement isn’t just about encouraging your readers to leave comments. It’s also about replying to their comments and starting a conversation.
Comment Email Reply helps you and your readers do just that. The plugin sends an email notification to a comment author whenever someone reacts to their comment.
This way, you can ensure that the momentum achieved after reading a post is maintained during the discussion. Readers don’t go for days just to come back later and realize someone replied to their comment.
While you should welcome comments on your blog, some commenters are on your Comment box with malicious intent for both you and your readers. Their comments should therefore not be allowed to see the light of the day. Which is why you’ll need Akismet. The plugin scans your comments to determine if they are spam or not. To allow a human’s perspective, it will let you review all the comments that look like spam before discarding them.
Akismet has a discard feature that automatically blocks the worst of the spam. This both saves you disk space an also helps speed up your site.
Having sharing buttons on your posts is one of the best ways to promote your blog and make sure your helpful content reaches as much of your intended audience as possible. It’s therefore paramount to make this process as easy for the reader as possible.
Shareaholic makes this possible by allowing one-click sharing of your content. The plugin comes with sharing buttons for just about any social site you can think of. You can then pick the sites you want and customize the buttons as you please in terms of color, layout, size, alignment and position.
7. Broken Link Checker
Do you want to improve your blog’s organic traffic?
Of course you do. But you can’t do that if your blog contains broken links that only lead your visitors to an error page. It’s therefore important to always check that all the links are working.
Broken Link Checker checks all the posts, comments and any other content on your blog for broken links and any missing images then notifies you. You can then edit or remove those links. The best thing is that you don’t have to manually update all the posts with broken links. You can edit the links right there on the plugin’s dashboard. The search is fast, taking a few minutes to just about an hour depending on how big your site is.
Imagine something you wish your blog could do and there’s a very high chance that there’s a plugin for it. If it doesn’t exist then be sure someone is already working on it. The above plugins will help you jumpstart your blog as well as inspire you to boost your blog’s functionality by searching for more.
Which plugins have you already installed? How has that changed your blogging experience? Let us know in the comments and help other new bloggers.